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Seriously Techno Challenged!

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012
Camino del Norte 2012
Geneva/Le Puy/SJPP/Bilbao 2015
Prague/Geneva ?
#1
I have spent all week reading every thread I can find about cell phones, SIM cards, GPS, data plans, etc.
Many of you are so knowledgeable about such things, however, I am not. I am technologically challenged!
I have not carried a phone on my previous caminos but I plan to this summer since I am venturing out further from the popular routes. I plan to walk from Prague to Geneva.
Could someone please write Cell Phones for Dummies along the Camino Routes?

I have an iPhone 6s on a Verizon plan. (I actually had to go in to my settings to find that out!).
I would like to be able to make phone calls for accommodations, communicate via What's App, and download some maps.

I read that T-Mobile offers a great 55+ plan. Should I switch carriers? Should I just get a new, short term plan for my old iPhone 4? Or stick with Verizon? Do I need to get a SIM card in Prague and will it work as I move through other countries?
I am totally unfamiliar with GPS! I have found maps that say "download now" but then what? Do I need wifi to access? Does my location sync with the map?
Geez...I'm lost already and I haven't even left home yet!
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
2015 Villafranca to Santiago
2016 St Jean to Los Arcos
2018 24-Sept Leon to Finnisterre
#2
There's probably a better system, but I also have the i-6 with ATT and just pay $60 for 30 days use for unlimited text-w pics, $0.35min int'l phone calls, and 1GB data. If you don't watch a movie, you should be ok for a month.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#3
Verizon has a plan, among a couple, which I found easy to use and fairly inexpensive. You only pay if you initiate a call or text outbound. When you do, you start a 24 hour period of unlimited calls and texts. The 24 hour period is $10.00. An hour prior to the end of the 24 hours, Verizon texts a message letting you know time is almost expired. At the end of the 24 hours, no more charge occurs until you initiate another 24 period.

It is automatic. You don't have to turn the feature on or off. When I go back on Camino in September, the plan will still be waiting to be used; I don't need to contact Verizon to start it up again. I also have the option of having them remove the plan altogether, but since I am going back to Europe, there really is no need to do so.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#4
I read that T-Mobile offers a great 55+ plan. Should I switch carriers?
Thanks for mentioning T-Mobile's 55+ plan. We've used T-Mobile for several years now, and I love having unlimited data included when I travel abroad. It's worked great for my two Caminos, and other travel in Europe, Mexico and Central America. But I didn't know that they had a special plan for 55+. I just phoned to change my plan, and I'll be saving about $35 a month! Phone calls on T-Mobile still cost 20 cents a minute, so I make free or very low cost calls- 2 cents a minute - using the Viber app. I buy $5 worth of Viber credit, and that lasts me for months. I use that option when I need to call landlines either back home or within Spain when I want to call albergues. I also tend to communicate with other pilgrims that I meet using either WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
 

Sarah Fisher

Master Traveler, Novice Walker
Camino(s) past & future
September 2018 - Camino Frances
#5
I just came here to voice a similar concern. I'm not really technically challenged. I'm more worried about being able to stay on the trail while going by myself and would feel a million times better if I have GPS as a back-up. Also, my parents find this whole thing insane and will insist on me making contact with them every day. For short vacations, I've done the Verizon $10 per day plan. But that would be insane over a month. I'm over 30 but still on my parents' cell phone plan. And I know my mom will insist on paying whatever fees but I'd love to have a more reasonable option.

I have an iphone 6. I don't plan/want to have much real world contact. How much data does GPS actually use? I could easily just upgrade my data for a month if that's the best way.

I'm doubting buying a phone when I arrive will be that great as I want a smart phone mainly for GPS.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#6
I just came here to voice a similar concern. I'm not really technically challenged. I'm more worried about being able to stay on the trail while going by myself and would feel a million times better if I have GPS as a back-up. Also, my parents find this whole thing insane and will insist on me making contact with them every day. For short vacations, I've done the Verizon $10 per day plan. But that would be insane over a month. I'm over 30 but still on my parents' cell phone plan. And I know my mom will insist on paying whatever fees but I'd love to have a more reasonable option.

I have an iphone 6. I don't plan/want to have much real world contact. How much data does GPS actually use? I could easily just upgrade my data for a month if that's the best way.

I'm doubting buying a phone when I arrive will be that great as I want a smart phone mainly for GPS.
There are apps that you can get with maps that you download, so they work offline. But it is pretty hard to get lost on the Camino Frances. :)
 

Nurah

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016) Frances, (2018)Portuguese
#7
Wanting to escape from using a lot of technology while on the Camino Frances in 2016, I simply used my phone only on WiFi, which was available in most if not all of the albergues I stayed at. I communicated with my contacts by texting and calling using Whats Ap and Viber.
 
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017
#8
I tried using the verizon overseas plan ($40 more), but then I go over the data limit. So now I just go to an Orange office, and ask for a new sim card that I use while I'm in Europe. You get a new phone number with the sim card-- but it worked well for me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, SJPP to Finesterre April (2018)
#9
I’m using the GutHook app now. You can buy the Camino map and it works great without any internet. Keeps you tight on the trail. I also bought a SIM card in Pamplona for 20 euros with 5 gig data and unlimited calls we’re using that for bookings.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese/Coastal Sept
(2019) Via de la Plata - Seville to Santiago May
#10
There are a lot of comments that are correct but I’d sum up two thoughts:

1) If you’re from a US carrier you almost certainly have a bad deal if you travel internationally. Usually better to pick up a SIM card there or here with a local number in the country you’re going to. That said, each country has different rules so you have to check.

2) No matter how much data you have, it won’t help you if you’re lost and have no signal (or no Internet). So,
a) Make sure you have basic map reading and sense of about where you are.
b) Take advantage of the download capabilities that most apps have to download the day’s images. Even if you don’t have Internet, GPS and downloaded coordinates will work.
c) You will get lost, don’t panic. Locals, and particularly those along the Camino are used to and seem to even like to help us pilgrims find their way back. I got used to the question “Peregrino?”, a sad shake of the head and a vigorous pointing in the direction of the Camino (even when I wasn’t lost but just taking an alternative route).
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017)
#11
Thanks for mentioning T-Mobile's 55+ plan. We've used T-Mobile for several years now, and I love having unlimited data included when I travel abroad. It's worked great for my two Caminos, and other travel in Europe, Mexico and Central America. But I didn't know that they had a special plan for 55+. I just phoned to change my plan, and I'll be saving about $35 a month! Phone calls on T-Mobile still cost 20 cents a minute, so I make free or very low cost calls- 2 cents a minute - using the Viber app. I buy $5 worth of Viber credit, and that lasts me for months. I use that option when I need to call landlines either back home or within Spain when I want to call albergues. I also tend to communicate with other pilgrims that I meet using either WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
Could you tell me the benefits of the TMobile 55+ plan - especially in terms of international coverage. I would like some feedback from a user rather than a TMobile salesperson. Thanks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#12
Could you tell me the benefits of the TMobile 55+ plan - especially in terms of international coverage. I would like some feedback from a user rather than a TMobile salesperson. Thanks.
Internationally, the T-mobile plan includes unlimited text messages to and from US phone numbers, and unlimited data. They only promise 2G speeds, but I normally get 3G or 4G speeds. I found out that you can pay an extra $10 a month and get faster speed data and the ability to make your phone into a hotspot while abroad (the plan includes this ability while you're in the US). You can add the extras just for a month or two, then cancel when you return home.

It's great to be able to use maps everywhere you go! Of course there are some places that are so remote that it's hard to get a good signal, but that's pretty rare, and it happens to me at home too occasionally when I'm out hiking.

Phone calls while abroad cost 20¢ a minute, but I get around that by using apps to make calls. Using the Viber app I can make calls to any phone number in the world for 2¢ a minute. $5 worth of Viber credit lasts me months. In the US phone, data and texts are unlimited. It's a great deal at only $70 a month for two lines, and includes all taxes and service fees. If you only need one line it's $50 per month.
https://www.t-mobile.com/offers/t-mobile-one-unlimited-55
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017)
#13
Internationally, the T-mobile plan includes unlimited text messages to and from US phone numbers, and unlimited data. They only promise 2G speeds, but I normally get 3G or 4G speeds. I found out that you can pay an extra $10 a month and get faster speed data and the ability to make your phone into a hotspot while abroad (the plan includes this ability while you're in the US). You can add the extras just for a month or two, then cancel when you return home.

It's great to be able to use maps everywhere you go! Of course there are some places that are so remote that it's hard to get a good signal, but that's pretty rare, and it happens to me at home too occasionally when I'm out hiking.

Phone calls while abroad cost 20¢ a minute, but I get around that by using apps to make calls. Using the Viber app I can make calls to any phone number in the world for 2¢ a minute. $5 worth of Viber credit lasts me months. In the US phone, data and texts are unlimited. It's a great deal at only $70 a month for two lines, and includes all taxes and service fees. If you only need one line it's $50 per month.
https://www.t-mobile.com/offers/t-mobile-one-unlimited-55
Thanks, Trecile. Do you also keep a land line or do you just use the cellphone now?
 

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