Going to Europe? Then you should think beforehand how you are going to keep in touch with your friends, colleagues and family which may turn out to be a little bit harder than one may expect in 21st century. Most international communication methods are either inconvenient or exorbitantly costly so it pays to plan ahead. Let's take a look at your possibilities.
Skype and Viber.
Skype and Viber may look like your ultimate communication choice they cost you nothing (mostly), allow you to connect with both cellphones and personal computers, don't depend on the antics of mobile phone operators but, unfortunately, they require Internet connection. Although Wi-Fi is easily available throughout Europe, it is still not always convenient to limit your communication to specific places.
What looks like the most natural decision isn't exactly all that natural.
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Roaming charges in Europe tend to be staggeringly costly, and buying a local SIM-card just isn't a very good investment either (at least if you are not going to visit the same country every now and then in future).
You may, however, rent a cell in Europe. This way you will be able to both keep in touch with people back home and avoid paying an arm and a leg for it. As a result, you get a decent cellphone specifically tailored to your needs at a very reasonable rental price charges differ from company to company, but it will always be much better than paying for roaming.
For example, TravelCell charges a mere $1. 99 per day for a baseline phone and $13 for an iPhone with even more cost-efficient offers for students and people travelling in groups.
A landline phone is a viable way to make an emergency call. Most hotels will allow you to use their phones to call whenever you want, but the fee they will charge you will probably make sure you never try it again. Life in Europe is not cheap, and there are other, more interesting ways of spending your money than wasting it on international calls. In other words, it is not recommended to use them in almost any situation you will be better off if you simply rent a cell.