Make Cheap Calls Home From Italy on Your Cell Phone

If you own a mobile phone with GSM (meaning it works overseas), you know what an expensive proposition it can be to make calls from abroad to the U.S. (And I’m not even talking about data charges which can make your iPhone into a cash cow for AT+T – more on that in a moment.)

Now I usually recommend folks go to the corner Tabac (look for the brown sign with a white T) in Italy and buy a international calling card. You can get several hours of call time for just 5 euros! Just use the toll-free number on the card on a landline phone.

But many of us love the convenience of our cell phones. Even if you have an international calling plan, as I do on my iPhone, calls are expensive – I pay 99 cents per minute and that fee also applies to calling my cell phone voicemail!

This awesome New York Times article entitled “Cheap Mobile Calls Even Overseas” can save you tons of money as it outlines how to use some new apps provided by Skype, Fring and Truphone and make calls potentially for free. A must read.

And back to those data charges. A friendly warning – AT+T charges significant fees for using data (i.e. downloading your e-mail) overseas. Your first step should be to call AT+T and ask for an international plan before heading to Italy or abroad. Then, turn off data roaming and try only to access the Internet or your e-mail using WiFi at a hot spot or your hotel. Many travelers have come home with bills of $500 or more because they did not understand these charges!