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Phone, camera, electronics

Year of past OR future Camino
Portugal route from Lisbon in May (2015)
Via de la Plata from Seville in April-May 2017
I don't want or need to call home, blog, post on Facebook, make a travel log, or check email daily. No twitter, no Instagram. No need to read the daily news. No GPS. It's a time to unplug from (most of) the world. My Sprint/CDMA phone will not work there, although I'll carry it for no other reason for using it in the states when traveling. It will be my pictures to show and music when needed. Have a little point-and-shoot camera for taking pictures (more capacity than the phone). I don't understand SIM cards. At first I thought I would not want to call ahead to make reservations. In an emergency, I wouldn't know who to call. So - why would I need a local phone? The more I look at the Guide book, I'm thinking in SOME cases I might want to call ahead for that evening or return flight info. But not always. Anyway, what are thoughts about buying a temporary pre-paid phone? Will it work in both Portugal and Spain?
 
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Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Educate yourself on SIM cards and how easy it is to switch carriers, unless you have an ancient Sprint CDMA only phone, the newer Sprint 4G/LTE phone have GSM SIM card slots, they just need to be unlocked for use with an international SIM card. They also work overseas as well.
I don't believe in buying an inexpensive "disposable" phone that will get just get added to the E waste pile that gets bigger by the day. A local SIM card is always cheaper that buying the whole phone or buying an international plan through Sprint and can be used on the phone you already own and are familiar with.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Anyway, what are thoughts about buying a temporary pre-paid phone? Will it work in both Portugal and Spain?
Are you thinking of buying a cheap handset and using a pre-paid SIM? If you don't have another handset that will work in Europe, you might be able to borrow one, and get a prepaid SIM on arrival, but failing that buying the handset and SIM is you last resort. You will need to make sure the handset operates in the frequency bands used in Europe, but if you buy one on arrival, that shouldn't be an issue.
 

robertt

Active Member
While travel and another Camino (le Puy-Regordane-Arles-Puente?) are looking a bit unlikely for me, I've just defiantly renewed my passport and ordered a camera-centric phone (this one called Vivo Xshot). It should take pics as good as my Fuji did five years back, and I will also have a phone which works with French/Spanish sims and holds numerous books and other such material. For a cold weather walker in France, a phone is handy both for safety and those quirky accommodation problems you can strike there. Also, without a modern phone, I'd be carrying more weight just in books, let alone camera.

Having said all that, a fully non-electronic Camino might be fun. That's what every bush-walk or ramble was like just twenty years ago. (But I'm not much chop as a purist.)

I have to stop typing now. The seventh Australian wicket has just fallen and it all started when I came here.
 
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NicoZ

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013
I don't believe in buying an inexpensive "disposable" phone that will get just get added to the E waste pile that gets bigger by the day. A local SIM card is always cheaper that buying the whole phone or buying an international plan through Sprint and can be used on the phone you already own and are familiar with.

It only adds to the waste if he tosses it. You can buy a low end feature phone for virtually nothing. If his carrier charges to unlock then it can be cheaper to buy the phone. He can then keep it for trips. Lend it out. Or sell it .

You could just go without and make friends if you need to make a call. Two out of every three pilgrims will have a phone.

The problem is in real emergencies you're often alone.

Any phone sold in the EU should work in any other EU country. UK phones come with UK charger plugs which would be an issue but phones today are supposed to use USB chargers so this isn't a big issue. You'll pay roaming but for limited use there is no point changing SIMs every border you cross. The added cost of EU voice roaming is so low that it takes a fair bit of use to cover the added cost of the new SIM. Plus the old SIM is really waste. You can't really do anything but throw it out.
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
If a phone carrier charges you to (like Canada) unlock your phone, it's time to go with another carrier.
Unlock what you already own if it can be unlocked, you don't necessarily have to buy a local SIM card but it does give you an option if you want to get local phone service, for less than the price of a bad pilgrim meal you buy a local SIM card with enough credit to make a few voice calls on a device you are familiar with.
Sprint does unlock their phones for use with an international SIM cards, you just have to call them. I have had good luck with Sprint unlocking my friend's iPhone 5C and it worked fine when I installed a Telcel Mexico SIM card once we were in Mexico.
Here is a video of how simple it is to swap SIM cards on an unlocked phone.
 

xin loi

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
We had NO electronics with us last May & June and did not miss them. Was not amused by all of those people booking the albergues ahead every day. The constant competition for beds was a very disappointing part of the experience. However I think it might be worthwhile to have a phone just to make 50 reservations at every albergue within 35 kilometers.
 

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