Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I Need to Know Tuesday

First, I'd like to say thanks for the great feedback last week with my first "I Need to Know Tuesday" post! It's Tuesday again, and again, I need your help!

I'm a planner. And I've been doing a lot of thinking about our upcoming trip to England. Leaving our will-be 17 month old with my parents for a week gives me something else to think about: a communication plan.

We've been trying to think about the best/easiest/most inexpensive way to stay in touch while we're away. If we were staying in Newcastle or London the whole time, we wouldn't have problems with connectivity. But we'll be staying in the countryside for most of our holiday. I ran it by my friend Jen today, and she had some good ideas. But I'm sure there is something I haven't considered yet. Here are the pros and cons of the options we're considering.

Laptops - power conversion, bulky to carry around, wifi access

Cell phones - ours won't work over there. I'm wondering if we can "rent" a phone for our stay. Preferably something with a data plan. The bonus of the cell "rental" of course, is that we can be reached anytime. I assume they have our equivalent of pay as you go, no plan cell phones. But I wonder if they have data plans, too.

Prepaid phone cards - this was Jen's gem. Yep, old fashioned. But smart. We can use them to call home anytime, and telephones will be in ample supply, no matter where we are.

So readers, I need to know...what are your suggestions?


Emily said...

you can rent phones you can also have yours temporarily converted but i'm pretty sure that costs more.

I would pick either the pre-paid card or the rented cell, in that order if it were me.

Have fun!!

Brenna said...

If you have ATT, you can add an overseas thing as an extra. I'd ask if you can remove it right after you get back without any problems...
I'd try to have two separate communication plans, that way, if one fails, you have a backup.

emk said...

Can you guys really be without a laptop anyway? I say have that be your backup (with converter) and go with some sort of phone thing for primary. I was going to say the same thing as Brenna did regarding the temporary international addition on a cell phone plan. Can't go wrong with the phone card thing, either-- as long as they still have them!

Party of Eight said...

I don't know what to say...we've never left the country before (well, Canada when Ray was a baby, but we brought him with us). We did go to San Diego for a week and left the kids (3 children at the time) with grandparents. When we are away from the kids, we usually call once a day to check in. Good luck figuring things out :)

Cmaaarrr!!! said...

A few thoughts:

*I agree with Brenna - if you have AT&T, get them to activate service for the UK. It will be easier, isn't amazingly expensive, and people who might need to get ahold of you in case of an emergency already have your number.

*If you don't have AT&T (and I'm not familiar with the other companies' plans), I'd get a pay as you go phone once there. I'd keep the calling card as a last resort, because even though phones will be ample, you'll still be tied to a landline to use them. Then again, maybe I'm just too used to having a mobile on me 24/7. :)

*The laptop option is bulky, but in terms of power conversion, you'll need adapters for other things you'll likely be bringing with you anyway. If your parents have Skype, then that makes it a great free option, and if you both have webcams, then you get to wave at Jilly from jolly ol' England. If they don't have Skype capability, buying a number through Skype is probably cheaper over the course of the trip than any phone/calling card option to talk via voice. Then again, the question of wifi access and how much it costs is another matter...

When one of us has been abroad, we use the AT&T option for urgent things or brief calls, and have longer talks over Skype.

I hope some of this helps, and that I didn't repeat too much of what you already know. :)