Cynthia Landon
United States
Orlando
Florida
flag msg tools
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Just wondering if anyone has some suggestions on how best to call back to the US while I am in Germany for Essen? I thought maybe a phone card but I don't know where the best place to buy them is and if I need to get them before I go. I am leaving tomorrow - probably should have thought about it sooner but...

Any help would be appreciated with geek gold.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Bohrer
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The rates using the phone in your hotel room are probably very reasonable, as has been my experience over the last 12 years.
 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michelle Zentis
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've used the MCI phone cards available at Costco with great success. They come with a list of the toll-free access numbers for many countries, including Germany. The only thing you have to watch out for then is toll-free access charges at the hotel.
 
 Thumb up
3.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cynthia Landon
United States
Orlando
Florida
flag msg tools
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
caesarmom wrote:
I've used the MCI phone cards available at Costco with great success. They come with a list of the toll-free access numbers for many countries, including Germany. The only thing you have to watch out for then is toll-free access charges at the hotel.


I imagine from payphones there is also a surcharge to use a phone card... do you have any idea how much those charges would add to the cost in a hotel or at a payphone?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michelle Zentis
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It depends on the hotel. Some don't charge anything, some charge like $2 a minute. If you know where you're staying, you might try to contact them today to find out what their surcharge is.

I don't know about pay phones. You might be able to find out something from MCI or from Deutsche Telekom.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Allwood
United Kingdom
Whitley Bay
Tyne and Wear
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have two methods that I use to communicate whilst on travels.

If I have my laptop with me then I use a microphone and Skype, allowing me to phone via the Internet, assuming that your hotel has broadband Internet access or you can find a WiFi hotspot. Calls using Skype to the States are currently free I believe!

Other than that I use Ekit.

http://www.lonelyplanet.ekit.com/ekit/home/

This is a global calling card, which saves 70% off regular international call charges and has 0800 freephone or local call charge access numbers in countries throughout the world.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brent Lloyd
United States
League City
Texas
flag msg tools
Canadian Game Design Award: http://www.fallcon.com/design
badge
Canadian Game Design Award: http://www.fallcon.com/design
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I travel alot and have found phoning directly from your hotel can be very expensive if you are not careful. I do not recommend it unless you first check with the front desk about rates, do not trust the rates on the card in the room. I have been burned doing that.

I use Skype as well and recommend it. I have a lap top for work and I bought an inexpensive headset to avoid feedback issues. Last I checked, computer to computer is free anywhere in the world. Calling a North American phone from your laptop is 1.7 cents a min. The draw backs to skype are obviously you need to tote your laptop around, you need high speed internet and during times of congestion the calls can be laggy.

I would alternatively recommend you buy a phone card for calling home from europe. You can buy them in almost any store or newspaper stand in Germany for E5, E10, E20, etc. They are easy to use, scratch off the covering over the access code, phone the number given right on the card, it is all in english, type in the access code when asked, dial your number. Easy. I recommend the E10 card for 3 or 4 calls home of 5 to 10 mins duration each.

Have fun, I am jealous of you folks heading to Essen.

Peace
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
paul canosa
Japan
shizuoka
Shizuoka
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I use skype daily from japan to call the united states. Its crystal clear.
for a reasonable rate you can call analog phones too.

get skype you won't regret it
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Brooks
United States
Beaverton
Oregon
flag msg tools
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
donpaulo wrote:
I use skype daily from japan to call the united states. Its crystal clear.
for a reasonable rate you can call analog phones too.

get skype you won't regret it


Hmmm... have any of you found affordable WiFi access in the area? I found it to be VERY expensive last year - 20 euro per day, or something like 5-10 euro per hour. If all you are doing is making phone calls, this could be an expensive way to get "free" Skyp calls.

If there's free WiFi somewhere in the area, I'd love to know about it!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick Korner
Canada
Coquitlam
British Columbia
flag msg tools
badge
Stop poking me! Ow! I mean it! That hurts!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Last time I bought a local callind card (I think it was called 'Go Bananas' - I'm not kidding) and it worked fine.

Just note that most if not all of the calling cards you can buy over there have drastically different rates when calling from a pay phone vs. calling from a landline. So the talk time they promote is likely to be slashed substantially.

Or you could bring a cell phone and pay roaming charges...oh wait, that'd be stupid.

pk
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Mitchell
United States
Elk Grove
CA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Collect
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Melissa
Australia
Parkville
Vic
flag msg tools
admin
designer
May you find the Perfect Shoe! xxx
badge
Mostly offline, but trying.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
cynthialandon wrote:
Just wondering if anyone has some suggestions on how best to call back to the US while I am in Germany for Essen? I thought maybe a phone card but I don't know where the best place to buy them is and if I need to get them before I go. I am leaving tomorrow - probably should have thought about it sooner but...


Echoing the recs for skype, if you will have internet access. It's free (skype to skype) and easy.

Otherwise, if you are just phoning home, my recs are:

1. If you are at a pre-arranged number (hotel or cell phone), call collect (possibly with a pre-arranged fake name), on the understanding that they will refuse the call and then call you back.

2. If not at a pre-arranged, call them quickly from a payphone and leave a number where they can call you back.

We also have a system (not sure what it would be called there) where we can call a special number from overseas and have the call billed back to us, as though we had called from our home phone. There's a surcharge, but it's cheaper than roaming fees or payphones.

Have fun in Essen!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ubergeek
United States
Washougal
Washington
flag msg tools
Be Happy in your Game!
badge
I spent 100 Geek Gold and all I got was this lousy overtext message!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Do you have a cel-phone? If so, check if it's compatible with Europe. I know the Cingular phone I have is switchable in the system menu. I use that to call home and it ran me about 24 cents per minute last year which is reasonalbe for international. I believe you just need to dial the international prefix from Germany which is 010 (I'll have to check this again to be sure) and then the area code and number.

Of course that's all contingent upon having a cel-phone.

Barring that, phone card is probably the best way to go if you need to make any emergency calls.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Bakalchuck
United States
Durham
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
When I was in Essen I bought a phone card at the Main train station. It cost 10 euro and was good for 1000 minutes.

It was a small store on the main level and the salesman was very helpful, spoke english and explained what type of pay phones the card would work with and which ones if wouldn't.

The quality was terrific.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd call everyone before I left and tell them I'd call when I return. laugh
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Myk Deans
United States
Rotonda West
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Last year I used iChat on my Mac to voice chat with my wife and it worked great. I was already paying for T-Mobile wifi internet access to keep the blog up to date, so it didn't cost any more. As Chris mentioned earlier, wifi access wasn't cheap, but I was using it a lot and a few other people also used the access, so I didn't feel too bad about it.

Mike
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mattwran
United States
LONGMEADOW
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I lived in Germany for a time and by far the cheapest calling options (other than Skype of course) are these things called Vorwahlnummern. Remember 1010220? These are like that - numbers you dial before the phone number, which in affect choose a carrier for your call. Since there are tons of these in Europe, competition drives prices down. It looks like the cheapest right now for calls to the US is 01071. 0.9 euro cents per minute - that is not a typo! Which number is cheapest changes day by day, so if you really want to stay up to date check out http://www.billiger-telefonieren.de/

it's in german unfortunately but all you have to is under "Welche Länder sollen dargestellt werden?" choose the USA and click 'Berechnen.'

To make a call using 01071 simply dial 01071+001(country code)+area code+phone number.

Caveat - I know these work when you have your own phone line. I assume you can still use these numbers from a hotel phone, but I have never tried it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.