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Cell Phones

Camino Badges
Camino(s) past & future
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
Hi all! I have three cell phone questions:

Which is the best provider for the CF, Vodafone or Orange?

I have an old Vodafone SIM card from when I did the CF in June 2018, can I still recharge that? If so, will I have to wait until I get to Spain or can I charge it up from here in the US?

My wife is going with me and I want to get her a "burner" or "Flip Phone," which is what we call them here--a non smart phone (a dumb phone? Anyway, not an iPhone or the type with a large screen). How would you say Flip Phone or Burner phone in spanish?

Thanks for any help.

Warmly,

Barry
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Hi all! I have three cell phone questions:

Which is the best provider for the CF, Vodafone or Orange?

I have an old Vodafone SIM card from when I did the CF in June 2018, can I still recharge that? If so, will I have to wait until I get to Spain or can I charge it up from here in the US?

My wife is going with me and I want to get her a "burner" or "Flip Phone," which is what we call them here--a non smart phone (a dumb phone? Anyway, not an iPhone or the type with a large screen). How would you say Flip Phone or Burner phone in Spanish?

Thanks for any help.

Warmly,

Barry
Often terms like that in one language, don't really translate to another language, as they are really just slang terms.

Might be easier to just ask for 'Cheap Phone' or 'Disposable Phone' perhaps.
Then the meaning is clearer.

But hopefully a Spanish speaker will have the answer.......
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Often terms like that in one language, don't really translate to another language, as they are really just slang terms.

Might be easier to just ask for 'Cheap Phone' or 'Disposable Phone' perhaps.
Then the meaning is clearer.

But hopefully a Spanish speaker will have the answer.......
Perhaps also try asking for a 'basic' phone. I have a feeling that if you purchase the phone at your arrival airport or in a large town, a customer service representative may speak enough English to know what you want.
 

andycohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012,13,15); Finisterre / Muxia (15); Portugeuse (17); Primitivo (17); Norte (18); Ingles (18)
Don’t overcomplicate it. At most, it’s going to cost you an extra 5 euros to get a new sim card. But if you’re really fixed on topping up, just go to the Vodafone website for Spain, and see if you can do it.

I’ve had both Vodafone and Orange on my caminos in Spain, and both have been fine. I just go into the first cell phone store I come to, and get my new sim card. The only extended time I didn’t have coverage in Spain was for a few days on the Primitivo, where no one had coverage.

Also, on your phone there should be a setting to “enable wi-fi calling”. This will allow you to make a call over wi-fi when you’re in your lodgings at night, or from a bar, should there not be cell coverage.

As to getting a cheap phone, you’ll just see them on the shelves in the cell phone stores. Just pick out the cheapest one, and point it out to the sales person. Or you can get one in advance here, from Amazon, or at a local cell phone store. Just make sure it’s unlocked.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
My opinion on cell phones has been expressed before...several times so I won't repeat. My thoughts here are simple, get the dumbest dumbphone you can find. You will be caught in driving rain(s), you will forget the dad-blamed thing somewhere at least once, you will forget to charge or leave your charger in the last albergue, misplaced, lost, or stolen are all options. Why do you need the last word in modern telecommunications - the Camino is a wonderful refuge from all the so-called news, politics, natural disasters, local embroilments back home, sports, crime, and most other incidents which clutter our lives with undesired and distressfull disturbances. Whatsapp is good enough for 90% of what you may need to broadcast - do people back home really need to know that you have safely arrived in El Burgo Ranero(?) - far too many people think the León is a large city in France anyway. The phone option on Whatsapp sux but will be more than adequate to announce your triumphant entry into SdC!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sept - Oct 2019
I'm just back from disneyland paris where my husband and i used facebook for calling each other. Its a new(ish) service similar to whatsapp. It might be better to buy a cheap smartphone (samsung s3 or a cheap iphone) and use these free services rather than invest in a cheap non smart phone. The smartphones also have gps location on them when there is no mobile service, so would make it easier for emergeny services to locate you if needed.
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Un teléfono móvil tipo concha ... básico ... con botones ... barato ... tipo concha ... para personas mayores ...
y gente frugal ... pasado de moda.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
......the Camino is a wonderful refuge from all the so-called news, politics, natural disasters, local embroilments back home, sports, crime, and most other incidents which clutter our lives with undesired and distressfull disturbances.
@scruffy1, How right you are! I for one have been caught up in the anxiety and stress induced by too much screen time "news", even some of what is here on the forum. It is clear to me now, I need to walk the Meseta and perhaps a mountain or two.

For the record, I do carry a smartphone with a Vodafone SIM for emergencies and to briefly email my family once a day. This is because I walk alone, sometimes in remote areas.
 
Last edited:

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
You may need phones for emergency or family contact, and a smart phone app for bookings, but try not to let them take over. Your pilgrimage is your time away, to let the camino talk to you instead of your phone.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
You may need phones for emergency or family contact, and a smart phone app for bookings, but try not to let them take over. Your pilgrimage is your time away, to let the camino talk to you instead of your phone.
I agree completely and that is why I think a smartphone is better. It just makes things easier and quicker if you need to use it or in case of an emergency. AN emergency can arise at any time and with a smartphone you can download the AlertCops app and be in contact with someone who speaks English and can help and guide you. It is also great as you said to speak on Viber or Whatsapp with loved ones back home.
Hi all! I have three cell phone questions:

Which is the best provider for the CF, Vodafone or Orange?

I have an old Vodafone SIM card from when I did the CF in June 2018, can I still recharge that? If so, will I have to wait until I get to Spain or can I charge it up from here in the US?

My wife is going with me and I want to get her a "burner" or "Flip Phone," which is what we call them here--a non smart phone (a dumb phone? Anyway, not an iPhone or the type with a large screen). How would you say Flip Phone or Burner phone in spanish?

Thanks for any help.

Warmly,

Barry
I agree completely with what Albertgirl said and that is why I think a smartphone is better. It just makes things easier and quicker if you need to use it or in case of an emergency. AN emergency can arise at any time and with a smartphone you can download the AlertCops app and be in contact with someone who speaks English and can help and guide you. It is also great as you said to speak on Viber or Whatsapp with loved ones back home. I always use Orange only because their plan for 20 Euros which gives me 80 minutes of calling within Spain and if I remember correctly 10 gigs of Internet works best for me. I rarely prebook as I walk during non peak times and it isn't necessary. This year I will walk in November and December so I will use the phone more just to check if Albergues are open. I like the amount of internet so if the wifi is weak I can call home without a problem. Also if your Spanish is weak it is easier to communicate if you have a translation app or if you are booking in an albergue or hostel you can always use Booking.com. I just think it makes your life easier.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
I have an old Vodafone SIM card from when I did the CF in June 2018, can I still recharge that?
No. They die and expire within six months. If you buy a recharge from Vodafone, they will take your money, which promptly disappears. You will not get a credit even if you immediately purchase a new SIM card. You get a lot of phone minutes and data for under 10E these days.
 
Camino(s) past & future
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
Funny or tragic story which will underscore Scruffy1's post:

I was just East of Logrono, checking my position with a Camino App, when I fell down an embankment, rolled over my pack and broke a couple of ribs. I finished the CF, but was in excruciating pain for, well, it still hurts a a little bit a year later. I learned my lesson. I only want the phone to keep in touch with family. I have an iPhone. I want my wife to have a telefono basico (thanks to Raggy) so we can keep in touch should we get separated, and:

I sort of answered my own question. I forgot that I mostly used Skype the whole time. I just couldn't receive calls, only make outgoing ones.

Thanks for all your replies.

Warmly,


Barry
 
Camino(s) past & future
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
I agree completely and that is why I think a smartphone is better. It just makes things easier and quicker if you need to use it or in case of an emergency. AN emergency can arise at any time and with a smartphone you can download the AlertCops app and be in contact with someone who speaks English and can help and guide you. It is also great as you said to speak on Viber or Whatsapp with loved ones back home.

I agree completely with what Albertgirl said and that is why I think a smartphone is better. It just makes things easier and quicker if you need to use it or in case of an emergency. AN emergency can arise at any time and with a smartphone you can download the AlertCops app and be in contact with someone who speaks English and can help and guide you. It is also great as you said to speak on Viber or Whatsapp with loved ones back home. I always use Orange only because their plan for 20 Euros which gives me 80 minutes of calling within Spain and if I remember correctly 10 gigs of Internet works best for me. I rarely prebook as I walk during non peak times and it isn't necessary. This year I will walk in November and December so I will use the phone more just to check if Albergues are open. I like the amount of internet so if the wifi is weak I can call home without a problem. Also if your Spanish is weak it is easier to communicate if you have a translation app or if you are booking in an albergue or hostel you can always use Booking.com. I just think it makes your life easier.

What's the weather like in November and December? We're planning on going in April and are afraid it might be too cold (as we don't want to carry heavy clothing). Are there some albergues open in November and December? I thought they all closed mid October.

Thanks for any info.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
I thought they all closed mid October.
No. Some close in mid-October. There are still enough to accommodate the pilgrims who are out there.
afraid it might be too cold (as we don't want to carry heavy clothing)
There is no need to be carrying heavy clothing. See my post on your other thread about September-October. Same applies for November-December with minor adjustments.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
What's the weather like in November and December? We're planning on going in April and are afraid it might be too cold (as we don't want to carry heavy clothing). Are there some albergues open in November and December? I thought they all closed mid October.

Thanks for any info.
I have to disagree somewhat to what C clearly said. I think it got progressively colder the later into October I got. I stayed in a few albergues that were pretty chilly. In a few cases it was colder inside the albergue then outside. I think Galicia can get quite cold in November and December. I will be walking the CF this year in Nov/Dec and will have a much better. Cold and hot are sort of relative of course. I live in the tropics now and people in winter will have sweatshirts and coats over their sweatshirts and in the morning and it is 70+F (21C) degrees out in the morning. There were definitely albergues that were closing the later into October but there will be albergues open for sure. There will be less and you will have to plan a little more but it is definitely doable. Probably will get alot of rain in Galicia but you can never be sure of the weather.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
Phone provider questions are like boot/shoe questions.
Everyone has their favorite.

I've walked most of the routes of the Camino and have found Vodafone to work great for me.
Never had a problem with connecting.

I'm not sure if you can use your old SIM card. You could find out when you arrive in Spain.

Also, just ask for a burner (tourist) phone - there have always been people who speak English in the Vodafone stores when I've been there, and they're used to pilgrim's questions.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Primitivo, Oct 2019
I agree completely and that is why I think a smartphone is better. It just makes things easier and quicker if you need to use it or in case of an emergency. AN emergency can arise at any time and with a smartphone you can download the AlertCops app and be in contact with someone who speaks English and can help and guide you. It is also great as you said to speak on Viber or Whatsapp with loved ones back home.

I agree completely with what Albertgirl said and that is why I think a smartphone is better. It just makes things easier and quicker if you need to use it or in case of an emergency. AN emergency can arise at any time and with a smartphone you can download the AlertCops app and be in contact with someone who speaks English and can help and guide you. It is also great as you said to speak on Viber or Whatsapp with loved ones back home. I always use Orange only because their plan for 20 Euros which gives me 80 minutes of calling within Spain and if I remember correctly 10 gigs of Internet works best for me. I rarely prebook as I walk during non peak times and it isn't necessary. This year I will walk in November and December so I will use the phone more just to check if Albergues are open. I like the amount of internet so if the wifi is weak I can call home without a problem. Also if your Spanish is weak it is easier to communicate if you have a translation app or if you are booking in an albergue or hostel you can always use Booking.com. I just think it makes your life easier.
Amen. Google translate was invaluable when trying to describe symptoms to medical personnel, on more than one occasion. Not to mention RometoRio. And Jacotrans only communicates by WhatsApp. I've been able to make bookings from the middle of nowhere using the Camino apps on my phone. I'm retired so it's not like I'm getting a lot of work related emails, and I'm not a particularly communicative person in normal life, so a smartphone is no intrusion.
 

Micah26

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2018)
I just brought the phone I use here... iPhone 6s+. I got an orange SIM card when I got to Spain. My Spanish is limited but there were several people at the Orange store who spoke English. They seem to have done this before and were wonderful setting it up for me. I used the phone to email home most days as I traveled alone. I also used it to read. Otherwise I enjoyed the beautiful country and people I met. Enjoy your trip all these worries drift away along the Way😉
 

Carolyn G

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
Hi all! I have three cell phone questions:

Which is the best provider for the CF, Vodafone or Orange?

I have an old Vodafone SIM card from when I did the CF in June 2018, can I still recharge that? If so, will I have to wait until I get to Spain or can I charge it up from here in the US?

My wife is going with me and I want to get her a "burner" or "Flip Phone," which is what we call them here--a non smart phone (a dumb phone? Anyway, not an iPhone or the type with a large screen). How would you say Flip Phone or Burner phone in spanish?

Thanks for any help.

Warmly,

Barry
I think it will depend where you buy it. Both Vodaphone and Orange are good. I bought a Sim Card good for 1 month for about 15 Euros in Pamplona and another one in Leon to last for the rest of the trip. If you buy it in France, it’s Vodafone. In Spain, buy either.
The stores are in the larger cities so plan accordingly. I always had cell service & was glad to not have to use the free not secure WiFi
 

Richmond Gardner

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
My opinion on cell phones has been expressed before...several times so I won't repeat. My thoughts here are simple, get the dumbest dumbphone you can find. You will be caught in driving rain(s), you will forget the dad-blamed thing somewhere at least once, you will forget to charge or leave your charger in the last albergue, misplaced, lost, or stolen are all options. Why do you need the last word in modern telecommunications - the Camino is a wonderful refuge from all the so-called news, politics, natural disasters, local embroilments back home, sports, crime, and most other incidents which clutter our lives with undesired and distressfull disturbances. Whatsapp is good enough for 90% of what you may need to broadcast - do people back home really need to know that you have safely arrived in El Burgo Ranero(?) - far too many people think the León is a large city in France anyway. The phone option on Whatsapp sux but will be more than adequate to announce your triumphant entry into SdC!
Totally agree. You could alternately take your smartphone for photos and just get WhatsApp for checking in. There is enough WiFi for any connecting with the world... or not
 

Carolyn G

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
Why buy a new phone instead of just a SIM card?
It’s all good - just be wary of the free WiFi. We saw plenty of “spoofing” and “sniffing” while it was happening.
 
Camino(s) past & future
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
Why buy a new phone instead of just a SIM card?
It’s all good - just be wary of the free WiFi. We saw plenty of “spoofing” and “sniffing” while it was happening.
I am getting a SIM card for my iPhone and getting my wife a cheap burner phone so we can stay in touch. Thanks for your help, BTW
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
What's WhatsApp?
Wikipedia describes it here. It "has become the primary social communication network in multiple countries, including Brazil, India, and large parts of Europe."
what is "Sniffing," and "Spoofing?"
I didn't know either, but Google is an amazing tool.
 

Carolyn G

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
It’s when people can hack into your phone. I can’t explain it but we saw SENT mail we hadn’t sent and Downloads we hadn’t started. Cell service is more secure. There was enough data on my SIM card for me to use my phone’s Hotspot for my husband to use his phone instead of using local WiFi .
I don’t want to suggest that this is anything more than a random issue.
 

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