May will be our 1st trip CSS and I've been reading all the "don't forget" threads and have noticed that calling cards were mentioned alot.
Is cell service that bad? We were told by our travel aggent to contact Verizon before leaving and will have no problem using our phones to call home.
Any input will be greatly appreciated.
Chris & Jenny
I purchased all these special calling plans with data and was screwed because my cell phone didn't work!
I saw a thread about magic jack (I know they have it for iPhones, iPods, and iPads), and it offered free calling as long as you have wifi. It uses wifi to place calls like you would normally but you don't get charged (no data used either). You can also sign up for an account I believe it's $29 a year and the will give you a phone number with *** then the number for people to call your device as long as you have wifi (they dial a certain 1-800 number then follow the prompts out in your number with the *** and then as long as you have your notifications on it will alert you of an incoming call). People say it works so I figured for $29 a year I may as well try it too.
Cell service is fine but you get big roaming charges so you may want to check with Verizon to see what those are like ..... We've never bought the calling cards so don't know how those work .... We just use the room phone for $1.00 per minute ..... Of course, we don't call home except to say, "we're here & this is our room # if you need us" & maybe to say "Merry Christmas" since we go over the holiday so keep our calls to a couple of minutes each. We keep in touch by e-mail for free.
Its not that the cell sevice is bad, its spendy. Even with an international plan calls were going to cost over dollar and we would have to make over 30 minutes of calls for the international plan to be worth having. Also, not sure about Verizon but with ATT we were charge for all the txts that our phone recieved even though we didnt read them. Wish we had known that our first trip. So now we just turn our phones off and use skype to check in with the kids ( wifi is free and we could use it from room and beach) and you can get calling cards in the gift shop.
If you have a laptop or Ipad or something like that, just sign up for skype and connect with everyone that way. The wifi on the resort is free! You will be able to see their faces and hear their voices. That is how we will communicate this October from CSA. A lot of the things on the "don't forget" thread are outdated. If you call on your cell phone it's gonna cost you. Make sure to check rates if that's how you want to connect with home.
Cell service is great, however using your home cell phone is not cheap. Check with your provider, but when I checked with Verizon last year it was $1.99 per minute. It's somewhat outside the box, but I left my cell phone at home and stopped at Digicell in Ochee and got a Jamaican Cell phone for around $45. Its a prepaid phone. For around $20 worth of prepaid, You can make 1000 minutes of "local" calls (anywhere on the island) and 300-500 minutes (I don't exactly remember) of calls to the States. Next trip, I just need to recharge the phone with minutes. It has the added benefit of no one having the number until you call them, and then they get to pay international rates to call you back!! Being a retired guy living in Virginia I have no affiliation with Digicell etc..
We have Sprint and the service in Jamaica is fine. The roaming texts are 5 cents per incoming and 50 cents per recipient for outgoing. Calls are about $1.89/minute. Data is what will blow up your bill, because every app on your phone that does regular upadates is constantly using data. The best bet is to turn your phone to airplane mode before you leave for the MoBay flight. Then, upon arrival at the resort, go back to normal mode, and immediately turn off your data roaming. Then, turn on wifi and connect to the free resort wifi service. Data transmitted over wifi does not incur charges from the phone carrier. Any texts that come in are cheap, and you don't have to answer your phone if somebody calls. As others have mentioned, video calling through wifi is also free. Last time, we had our phones on most of the ten days, and even with a few texts and two short calls, we spent less than $10. Just be smart about it.
Last edited by dank120; March 3rd, 2013 at 03:06 PM.
I called AT&T to discuss this with them. Yes, phone calls cost a fortune. Texts are free for incoming but are $.50 for outgoing. I have an iPhone if that makes a difference. I went ahead and added the text only international plan for $10 (for 30 days) which will give me 50 outgoing texts. Will tell family and those taking care of our animals to text only. That's really the only people that I need to be in contact with, etc. Figured it was worth it as 20 outgoing texts would cost $10, so the plan is cheaper. They also told me how to turn off my data roaming so I don't get slammed with huge charges when my apps update, etc. My hubby said he will just turn his phone off when we get there. But we need some sort of life line to home in case something happens. I have given out the resort phone number so they could contact us that way if they can't reach us via cellphone.
Subimebrad- you can Skype for free to another Skype acct with wifi,we kept in touch with the kids with Skype last year and didn't cost anything. I think you only have to buy skype minutes is you want to skype/call a land land or cell phone. You can pay as you go about $0.2 a minute or pay by the month around $13.
Last edited by redinthehead; March 6th, 2013 at 10:55 AM.
Reason: more info