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"Disposable" cell phone

Vancouver Island...
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"Disposable" cell phone

I had a friend visiting the US from overseas and when he arrived he bought what was referred to as a throw-away phone. It was fairly inexpensive and I think he just picked it up at WalMart or somewhere similar.

I have checked into international calling with my cell phone and it's ridiculously expensive so I am looking at alternatives. Has anyone heard of or purchased something like this that can tell me the specifics

how much to purchase?

brand name (so I can google it for more info)

can you add on extra time or do you need to buy another phone?

where can I find one?

I haven't been able to find such a thing in Canada, just the long distance cards, but if you use them from a payphone (which are increasingly hard to find) then you often get dinged with a service charge which eats through the minutes pretty quick. Also, it would be great to be able to receive incoming calls.

Honolulu, Hawaii
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1. Re: "Disposable" cell phone

Check out TracFone

http://www.tracfone.com/

Also Virgin Mobile

http://www.virginmobileusa.com/

You can get them at radioshak. I think you can also get them at Longs and CVS stores.

Edited: 1:10 pm, August 01, 2011
Vancouver Island...
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2. Re: "Disposable" cell phone

Thanks so much MrsCombs.

I checked out TracFone and according to their website I can get a phone for $9.99 with no additional fees or activation charges. Has anyone tried this out and is it really that simple?

It seems too good to be true so I wonder if I am missing something. I might just give them a call and see if there is anything I need to know. I hope this works out since we need our family to be able to contact us in case of emergency.

Buffalo, New York
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3. Re: "Disposable" cell phone

The 9.99 tracfone is free to activate but it only comes with 10 mins. You would need to buy an add'l minutes card which costs $19. 99 for 60 mins. this is the plan that I'm familiar with so perhaps there are others. I have a tracfone and it works beautifully in Hawaii.

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Vancouver Island...
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4. Re: "Disposable" cell phone

That sounds ideal. I have yet to see anything comparable in Canada.

Thanks for the feedback. I will most certainly try it out and include the results in my trip resort.

Ulladulla, Australia
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5. Re: "Disposable" cell phone

I have been looking into just getting a US SIM card for my iPhone and I found this website http://www.travelgear.com.au/p/TMOBILEUSA/T-Mobile+USA+prepaid+mobile+phone+SIM+card+with+USD$30+credit

It's for Australian's so this particular site won't help you but it's using t-mobile which is a US phone company so you could probably get a SIM card when you arrive or maybe there is a Canadian site that sells them.

It looks pretty cool, you can use your own phone and you can get plans that have unlimited international phone calls, texts and unlimited data if you have a smart phone.

Vancouver Island...
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6. Re: "Disposable" cell phone

Thought I would follow up with the results of my quest for a phone.

I wanted to purchase the Tracfone but was unable to use their website with my credit card from Canada. So, I went on to Amazon.com and tried there. It worked. All I needed was a shipping address in the US. Since I was heading to Santa Fe the next week I called the hotel and they said no problem to have it sent there.

I purchased a $15 phone with double minutes, along with a 200 minute card. Total was $54 including shipping. It took 3 days to arrive and was waiting at the hotel well before I arrived. Picked it up when I checked in and was able to activate it and use it to call and receive within 30 minutes. The 200 minutes were upped to 400 with the double minutes deal and activation gave me 60 days plus the 90 with the extra minutes. Good until January sometime.

It was easy to set up a Canadian number for my family to use when calling me and I love the fact that I can give it out before we leave. When in the US I can call almost any country for the same cost as a local call and no doubt it will come in quite handy while traveling.

The only downside is that there is no manual included so it took me a few minutes to learn how the features worked on the phone. When activating it there was no obvious place to find what number had been assigned to the phone and I had to go into the phone info to find it.

Thanks again MrsCombs and Maliboo for your recommendations.

St. John's, Canada
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7. Re: "Disposable" cell phone

Great info on the tracphone! However, I'd like to have a phone unit with a data plan - texting, facebook, etc. I'm going to google this phone. However, if you've other information I'd greatly appreciate it. Tks.

Vancouver Island...
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8. Re: "Disposable" cell phone

No doubt you have already figured this out but you certainly can get a tracphone with all the data options etc. Everything I found was easily sourced online. I have a friend who lives in the US and has a tracphone on a monthly plan. Not sure how that works but she loves it.

St. John's, Canada
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9. Re: "Disposable" cell phone

Tks for all the info!! Since I don't have a USAddress for Hawaii, the company suggested that I could purchase a Tracfone at any local Walmart there. So I'll check it out - the Cdn data/LD plans are very expensive when traveling US. Last spring we added US plans for a one week trip to Florida and our 2 phone plans cost around $150 - I think because we had to keep the plans for a minimum amount of time.

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Vancouver Island...
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10. Re: "Disposable" cell phone

There were plenty of options in Walmart. They had a good selection of cards with time and minutes etc. If you can, buy the double minutes with the phone. It sure is nice to buy a 400 minute phone then get 800.

Also, google for coupon codes before you buy/add time to your phone. I was able to get a couple hundred extra minutes just by punching in a code that I found online. If you check what the codes are for before you buy the card you can make sure to buy the card option that gets you the biggest bonus.

I think I also saw the phones in Radio Shack and maybe even 7-11 or equivalent. They are certainly available.