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DD#2 -- Going to France! -- OP #17, #28

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Tmobile phones are cheap and can be used overseas.  I have a new provider, but when I visit Europe I pull out my old Blackberry, buy a cheap pre-paid plan to activate the SIM and then contact t-mobile to let them know I'll be using it overseas.  You can buy a new SIM card pretty much anywhere over there, pop in the new SIM card and the phone will be up and running within 15 min or so.

A phone card is a good option as well and you can top it up over the phone or online.

Most cities have internet cafe's to keep in touch via email and facebook

Canon and Nikon make cheap good quality digital cameras.  You can buy a 16 or 32mb memory card so she can take a ton of pictures without running out of space.  OneSaleADay always has them on sale for 8 or 10 bucks

What does she need the phone for?

If she has internet at her hotel, she can contact you daily to let you know she's okay. You'll be able to email her. There will be a phone in her hotel room, which she can use to call you, and you can call her on, if there's an emergency on either end.

If anything bad happens, she is with a tour group. The leader of the tour, or the management of the tour company will get in touch with you if necessary. On the flip side, if anything happens at home that she really needs to know about right away, you can contact the tour company and they will get in touch with her.

It's not as if she's heading off to the back of beyond. She'll be in a major city with multiple ways to contact family and friends. And she's with a large group, not wandering around on her own.

I'd save money by not getting a phone and put it towards a camera so that she can get good pictures of a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

You need a phone that uses GSM (e.g., has a SIM card).  If you have Verizon they use a different technology that won't work in Europe.

I would consider getting her a digital camera...she could up load pictures while still there!

As long as everyone is clear on what they are doing/where and when to meet up, I don't think a cellphone is indispensable to communicate with her group, and as others have pointed out, she has plenty of other opportunity to contact you if she needs.

For the camera I pod the cheap digital one, it will be cheaper than a disposable film one and the cost of developping, and it's 1000x times more usefull (you can erase unwanted pictures and send one by mail in a matter of minutes, versus days (finishing the film, processing the pictures, scanning them or mailing them..) and she can keep using it after the trip.

Is it 30€ for lunch and dinner? A good sandwitch can be found in most independent or chain* boulangerie (* Paul, la brioche dorée are a few good ones), there's often a menu with sandwitch/drink/dessert for 8€.
If she likes Japanese food there's a well known street near the Louvre, Rue St Anne, that has a lot of good ones.

Get a pay as go you phone in the airport.  You can buy one here, but I think that's mainly useful if you know you're going back to Europe a few times.

Get a money belt or money pouch.  If she prefers to carry a purse or a backpack, the pak-safe brand is really good. 


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