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Telephone calls from Spain to Home?

amriwalking9496

New Member
Can anyone tell me what is the best and cheapest way to phone home to California? Are there phone cards I can purchase? Should I take my cell? I heard US cell phones don't work very well?

Thanks :D
 
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annakappa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
Why don't you get Skype, if you don't already use it? Once you are registered, you can call from any computer that has a microphone to either, another registered e-mail address for free, or if the recipitant only has a house or cel. phone line, then you pay a very modest rate. When walking last year, we used Skype. Anne
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
amriwalking9496 said:
Can anyone tell me what is the best and cheapest way to phone home to California? Are there phone cards I can purchase? Should I take my cell? I heard US cell phones don't work very well?

Thanks :D
I believe that phones from T Mobile and ATT in the US will work in Spain... but it will be expensive and you need to call them ahead of time to activate it I think....

If you have an ATT or T Mobile (GSM) phone you could bring it and buys a Spanish sim card (that would give you a Spanish phone number that you can use to call + receive calls. Receiving calls are free for you..). Remember you need to get a adapter for charging it.. RadioShack should have it.

Have a look at these posts for some more info:
equipment-questions/topic6991.html
el-camino-frances/topic6420.html

Greetings from Santiago,
Ivar
 

mlcamino

New Member
Another option available in most cities is to make calls from "Locutorios." These are shops with several phone booths. You are assigned a booth, make your phone calls and then pay when you are done. The rates are generally very reasonable and the sound quality excellant. Just look for signs that say "Locutorio" or ask if there is one nearby. I have used these all over Spain and find them very convenient and reasonable.
 
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Rebecca

New Member
amriwalking9496 said:
Can anyone tell me what is the best and cheapest way to phone home to California? Are there phone cards I can purchase? Should I take my cell? I heard US cell phones don't work very well?

Thanks :D

I didn't use my T-Mobile; instead I rented a cell phone from National Geographic's Cellular Abroad:
http://www.cellularabroad.com/
I used it to call home (California) and to make calls within Spain. Incoming calls were free. Battery charger included. It's probably not the cheapest way, but it was less complicated for me.
Hope this helps,
ra
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
For the low-tech peregrinos, here's what I have done on multiple occasions.

I bought a cell phone in 2000 for 25 E that came with 25E of phone time. Each year when I go back, I just get a new card, new phone number, and it works fine. I use that as an emergency back-up as well as for calling ahead in Spain to reserve places when that seems like a good idea.

For regular calls to the US, I either use the locutorios (I agree with mlcamino that the rates are usually very good) or buy a prepaid card that requires you to punch in numbers. There is a wide range in cards, the one I found to give the most minutes was Eurocity. (Some of these cards have daily fees, per call fees, etc, and it's hard to read the fine print -- the cards are always available at tabacalera shops, and the people working there usually have an opinion about the best cards for your particular calling destination).

If you use a phone card to call internationally, you will also find that you get a much better rate if you call from a private fixed landline. I have often found that small pension owners will trust me to use their phone and call home with the card. Another good option is the green and blue pay phones you find on the bar in many cafes -- not on the wall, these are regular phone units on the bar itself. That is a pay phone that is really a land line for the bar owner, I think, but whatever the set-up it certainly gives you much better rates.

Laurie
 

frescotours

Member
Past OR future Camino
First one Frances 1999 (from Burgos), since then...over 100 in Galicia, Portugal, Basque....
This is my favorite card. You can use this link to buy them online and call as soon as you hit the ground: http://www.spainsim.com/vodmovicallcards.htm
This specific one allows you to call the States and Canada for a couple hours - only 6 euros!

Hope this helps!
 

Canuck

Veteran wanderer
Past OR future Camino
?
frescotours said:
This is my favorite card. You can use this link to buy them online and call as soon as you hit the ground: http://www.spainsim.com/vodmovicallcards.htm
This specific one allows you to call the States and Canada for a couple hours - only 6 euros!

Hope this helps!

From what I can see at the reference, it's good only if you have a spanish cell phone (SIM).

Landing in Spain with a North American cell phone, you would still be required to make a ''roaming call'', at a high cost, to piggy back on the proposed system.

In order to use the proposed card at a decent cost, the only option is to buy a Spanigh SIM card, if your phone is unlocked. That would increasing the cost of the operation, but never the less it remains a good option to consider.

Jean-Marc
 
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Sojourner47

Guest
For British travellers, DON'T get a Tesco International Calling Card (prepaid - supposedly giving cheap calls home from Europe)
I took one to France and Belgium last Sept, and had endless trouble getting through - had to plumb in a code etc - in the end it cost me far more in wasted time phoning the call centre than it would have if using regular roaming. I kept getting "this service is not available" messages....
 

ricksca

New Member
As an addendum to the Skype suggestion: While I know that many have advised leaving electronic devices home (for some really good reasons), there just isn't a more useful gizmo than the Ipod Touch. With the Skype app, every hotspot becomes a free phone call conduit to everyone in the world who has Skype. If you have to call a landline, the calls are just a couple cents a minute. If you have the 4th Gen Ipod you can make video calls.
 

ffp13

Addicted pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
Completed Caminos: 2009 SJPP, 2011 Roncessvalle , 2012 Pamploma, 2013 Roncessvalle, 2013 Porto, 2014 Burgos, 2014 Porto

Future: Roncessvalle
Good luck finding a hotspot on the camino, I had a iPod touch I'm 2009 found 4 hotspots between SJPP and Santiago and all were very slow connections, the situation may have changed in 18 months but somehow I doubt it, I had an app for finding hotspots, all that did was reduced battery life , but I did appreciate the music and talking books when I could not sleep.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Good luck finding a hotspot on the camino
Spain does not have as many hot spots as France. Getting the password is tricky. Many bars do not know their password, or are reluctant to give it out. Most have not changed their original password from the long and impossible one to something more user friendly that the bartender could memorize. Hot spots were frequent in France, while actual computers were rare. Exactly the opposite was true in Spain. I don't know why; maybe someone else does.
 
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ivar

Administrator
Staff member
I recently bought a FON router at home. It gives me free wifi with any other FON users around the world. Just came back from Portugal (this weekend) and they were "everywhere"... one street had 4 wifi networks in 400 meters.
http://corp.fon.com/en/this-is-fon/

See coverage maps here:
http://maps.fon.com/

Just as an FYI: If you are not a member of FON, you still get free access to any website/service that include the URL google.com (Google is an investor in FON). This does include maps.google.com and mail.google.com (gmail).... and things like http://www.google.com/places/

Saludos,
Ivar
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Past OR future Camino
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
ffp13 said:
Good luck finding a hotspot on the camino,

I found them in some of the most unexpected places! Like near the fountain in Azofra. Of course I set out with the intent that if I found them, then that was great. If not, then no big deal. Lots of the hotspots are password protected though and I have to say, finding anyone who knows the password is a challenge. I brought my Blackberry Storm2, with phone service disconnected. I used it as an alarm clock and a PDA with all my information for my travels in it. It was fun to check in every once in a while from some place in the middle of Spain. So, I guess if you don't depend on it, then you will enjoy it more when you find it. In some of the larger cities, there are bars with the wi-fi logo on them too.
 

evanlow

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
Best bet for open network are bars and libraries.

Bars are noisy. Libraries just the opposite.

I only managed to call home piggy back on the wifi once. And that is on Sunday outside a library....
:wink:
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
ivar said:
This might be interesting too if you are traveling to various countries (I have not tried it):
http://www.maxroam.com/Home.aspx?cur=EUR

Saludos,
Ivar

Thanks for that Ivar--

My wife and I each got one of those cards-5 Euros for a SIM card with 10 Euros credit. They work,

I added a French number for 6 euros a month.

We now can give people our number before leaving, and don't have to go find a store and spend 30 Euros for card.
 
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Deleted member 3000

Guest
Public phones may be an option, but to me, they looked like they were disappearing except in bars, restaurants, and hotels:
International calling from payphones in Spain

The blue payphones of the national telephone company of Spain are widely available in cities and towns across Spain. It is possible to make international calls from these payphones in Spain; however, if you choose this method you are stuck with the international calling rates of Spain’s national phone company which are not the most competitive. The advantage of using payphones to make international calls from Spain is that these payphones accept credit cards in addition to phone cards and coins. Be aware that although the payphones in Spain may look the same and can all be used for making international calls, using a payphone in a restaurant for international calls will incur a higher charge than using a pay phone on the street for international calls in Spain. The phone card you need to buy to make international calls from payphones in Spain is available from any newsagent or post office in Spain. Phone cards for international calls from payphones in Spain can be bought in denominations of 6 or 12 Euros.

International call centers in Spain

The recent influx of immigrants to Spain has brought about a growth in the number of international call shops in most major towns and cities in Spain. Simply ask how much the cost per minute is of your destination and you’ll be directed to a booth from where you make the international call from Spain. Afterwards you pay only for the cost of the international call.

International calling cards in Spain

There are a number of international calling cards available in Spain from private call service providers that are cheaper than using the national phone company of Spain. These cards are available at many newsagents throughout Spain. The type of international calling card you’ll want depends on the country you are calling; different international calling cards are cheaper for different countries.

International dialing codes in Spain

If you want to make an international call to Spain then the international dialing code for Spain is 00 34 followed by the entire number. If you are making an international call from Spain then press 00 and wait for the new ring tone before proceeding with the full international dialing code of your destination followed by the phone number.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
falcon269 said:
Public phones may be an option, but to me, they looked like they were disappearing except in bars, restaurants, and hotels:

Disappearing, out of order, no one knows how to make them work. Cell phones wiped them out.
Smart phones and free wi-fi are wiping out internet cafe's. We poor pilgrims need to adapt.
 

KristinaMaria

New Member
I used Skype throughout most of the Camino in order to touch back home with my Mom and Grandparents. If your relatives have easy access to the Internet I would highly suggest this method. Along the Camino Frances there were many opportunities to use the Internet for free or for an hourly price. Eventually I also got an over the counter vodafone just in case I needed to make an emergency call.
 

ffp13

Addicted pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
Completed Caminos: 2009 SJPP, 2011 Roncessvalle , 2012 Pamploma, 2013 Roncessvalle, 2013 Porto, 2014 Burgos, 2014 Porto

Future: Roncessvalle
I have a VOIP phone service on my iPhone ( something like skype ) and can make extremely cheap calls to house phones anywhere in the world just as long as I have good WiFi , McDonalds has blocked VoIP from their free wifi :( but I have found many places where it does work, eg town community centers , some bars, hotels, and even some alburgues eg just out of leon. Skype has a pre pay service that you can make international calls for around 4c a min.
 
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I second the use of the Locutorios - they worked great for me the few times I had to call the USA.
Inexpensive, easy to use, and better than carrying more equipment, imo.
 

summerthor

New Member
I spent 3 months in Spain and Portugal last year (not on pilgrimage). For calling home I used Skype. I had no problem finding internet cafes with headphones in the cities. I also bought a Movistar cell phone for 20 euro that came with 12 euro of prepaid time. I didn’t use that for calling home but it was really nice to have a local phone... I’m afraid I’ve gotten so I feel naked without one... but I also travel alone so it is a good safety feature.
 

daesdaemar

Camino-holic
Past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles - twice
I took my GSM phone and bought a Vodaphone Mi Pais card for 15 euros of which 12 euros was air time. I could call back home to USA after 8 PM for 18 cents per minute and I had a phone to use locally also.
 

eano

Member
This might be interesting too if you are traveling to various countries (I have not tried it):
http://www.maxroam.com/Home.aspx?cur=EUR

I too used maxroam in June this year. Very cheap text messages but expensive calls home to Australia.....therefore mostly used email/blog and text messages for keeping in touch. Good to be able to give family my phone number before leaving home and know that it is actually working. Topping up phone credit is easy with access to a computer but a little more difficult when trying to do it over the phone. I have kept the SIM and so long as credit is added within 12 months I can use it again for another trip.

I really wanted the phone for security as much as anything but realised once I got home I had no idea of how to contact any Spanish emergency services while I was there.
 
Eano mentioned:
I had no idea of how to contact any Spanish emergency services while I was there.

Emergency Number in Spain
If you require urgent police attention, ambulance, fire brigade etc. 112 (no area code)
If you want to report assault, robbery or accident to the police 902 102 112

This should work for most situations. It's unlikely you'll reach someone that speaks English...so know a few key phrases in Spanish and the message will get through.

Not exact by any stretch but will get the message across:

I am lost = Me he perdido

I am injured = Estoy herido

I need medical attention = Necesito atención médica

I have been robbed = Me han robado

I am located near...= Estoy cerca de...

Hope that helps a bit.

Buen "getting the message across" Camino,

Arn
 
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ncali12

Member
Along phone lines: has anyone used one of the solar powered battery chargers for phones? REI has one for iPods. It looks pretty convenient. It's also expensive so I'm wondering how good/reliable it is. Or if anyone has experience with any of them -- for iPhones. I guess if there is good wifi service at various places people with iPhones and iPods can also facetime at no charge too and skip the usual phone card/SIM card altogether. I'm not sure how the SIM card works for iPhones. Do you just buy a SIM card in Spain and swap it with the US card in the phone. Then how do you get minutes on it? Pre-pay?
Thanks, AL
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Along phone lines: has anyone used one of the solar powered battery chargers for phones? REI has one for iPods. It looks pretty convenient. It's also expensive so I'm wondering how good/reliable it is. Or if anyone has experience with any of them -- for iPhones.

I bought a small one, and it is worthless. The larger ones at REI might work. There are outlets at all stops to charge phones.

I guess if there is good wifi service at various places people with iPhones and iPods can also facetime at no charge too and skip the usual phone card/SIM card altogether.

WiFi (wee-fee in Europe) is spotty and usually locked with no one knowing the password (contrasena).

I'm not sure how the SIM card works for iPhones. Do you just buy a SIM card in Spain and swap it with the US card in the phone.

No. Your iPhone must be unlocked and jailbroken. If it is, you can get a SIM chip from Orange or Vodafone and add data capacity as you use it at tobacco stores, cell phone stores, mercados, and a lot of other places. There are some other topics that discuss this further.
 

Lydia Gillen

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007/8/9, 2011 , 2012/13/14. C.F 2015
Camino Portugues 2017,2018,2019
volunteering
Arn,

If I am using an Irish mobile phone would I need to put in 0034 before those two emergency numbers that you have quoted.

I know that to many this may seem a stupid question and indicates my lack of technology. I feel like a dinosaur reading this thread. I know you are all speaking English but I understand so little of it.

Lydia
 

micamino73

Active Member
Lydia Gillen said:
Arn,

If I am using an Irish mobile phone would I need to put in 0034 before those two emergency numbers that you have quoted.

I know that to many this may seem a stupid question and indicates my lack of technology. I feel like a dinosaur reading this thread. I know you are all speaking English but I understand so little of it.

Lydia

When you are in spain you can call the local numbers from your mobile without the 0034. Also if you bring a meteor sim they have a option of no roaming costs.. Which can be handy,
 
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Deeppockets

New Member
Has anyone used http://www.gotalk.co.uk or http://www.gotalk.com.au

I live in Australia and recently saw an advertisement for Gotalk on a Virgin Australia flight.
Their rates look very reasonable using their pre-paid global roaming SIM cards which seem to be easy to recharge.

They provide you with a unique UK number for your Gotalk SIM (ie +44....).

Rates from Spain to an Australian landline are A$0.30 flagfall + A$0.30/min. Calls to a mobile are A$0.45/min. SMS messages to Australia are A$0.60 to send and free to receive from Australia.

I would be grateful for any feedback on the quality and reliability of this service which I presume is VOIP (like SKYPE). I will be using my iPhone 3S if I buy the gotalk SIM.

Peter S
 

Simplysandy

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino april(2013)
Telephone

Hi what is he cheapest way to call from Spain to south Africa while on the camino?
Any help appreciated! Walking in April for five weeks and need to contact kids and loved ones back home
 

mustbjones

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Fall 2013
Making telephone calls in Spain

I have noticed that telephone numbers are written in pairs. Is there any particular reason why? Also, while in Spain is the country code, 34, necessary? Thanks.
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Re: Making telephone calls in Spain

Hi there,

In Spain it is not necessary to add the +34, that would be for calls coming from outside of Spain.

Usually phone numbers are written as 981 777 666, I think just to make it easier to remember... Also, a tip: In Spain phone numbers starting with 9 or 8 are fixed phones. Numbers starting with 6 are mobile phones. Calls to mobile phones are a bit more expensive.

Buen Camino!
Ivar
 
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Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
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Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
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Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Re: Making telephone calls in Spain

In the UK if we put +44 for UK calls unneccessarily it doesn't matter. Am I right that if we use a non-Spanish mobile then we will need the +34. We used it last year for landlines, and probably for mobiles too - did the system just ignore it, like +44 here? Or does it also depend on the phone provider?
Our phone is Orange and we think it thought it was Spanish based as our calls were costing less than expected.
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Re: Making telephone calls in Spain

Tia Valeria said:
In the UK if we put +44 for UK calls unneccessarily it doesn't matter. Am I right that if we use a non-Spanish mobile then we will need the +34. We used it last year for landlines, and probably for mobiles too - did the system just ignore it, like +44 here?
If you put +34 in front of a spanish number while in spain (using a spanish number) , the call will go through anyway.. but it is not necessary to add it.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
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Re: Making telephone calls in Spain

Thanks Ivar
 

dulcitea

New Member
  1. http://www.cellularabroad.com/
    I used it to call home (California) and to make calls within Spain. Incoming calls were free. Battery charger included. It's probably not the cheapest way, but it was less complicated for me.
    Hope this helps,
    ra

    Thanks Rebecca! I just purchased a phone from National Geographic. I thought the price for the basic phone was reasonable and hopefully it will be as easy to use the phone as it was to order. I would prefer to just use the locutorios, but my husband insists on being able to reach me, and I operate under the delusion that my children still need to be able to reach me :)
 
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PMSLAW

Recovering (retired) Lawyer
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Portuguese (2018)
As an addendum to the Skype suggestion: While I know that many have advised leaving electronic devices home (for some really good reasons), there just isn't a more useful gizmo than the Ipod Touch. ....
I wholeheartedly agree! We walked SJPdP to SC earlier this year. I used my (non-phone) iTouch for Skype calls to the States AND local calls in Spain. It was my email server, music, weather report, and uploaded my photos (over 2300) into the "cloud" for safe keeping and distribution. There were very few days that I didn't have free wifi. If a bar/cafe had a password they were happy to share it with a paying customer, which often was me just ordering a mineral water.
 

luvtraveling

Member
Past OR future Camino
2017
http://www.telestial.com
I use a Telestial sim from my quad band phone. Rates are good and it comes with a UK number and a US number. Family at home can call free from their cell phones to my US number. I have used it many times while in Europe and even Central America.
 

GSatt22

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
Is it possible to buy a Spanish sim card in SJPdP? If not, where is the first place you can get one and which one do people recommend?
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide 2013-2016
Hi Gray, the first place you will come to where you can acquire a Spanish SIM will be Pamplona. There are shops for several prominent carriers, with Orange and Vodafone being the most likely to have an English speaker on-hand. I used Orange and was satisfied with them, although at times I had trouble sending text messages.

The prepaid plan I had charged 9 cents a minute for calls within Spain, with a 15 cent connection fee for each call. A month later one of my clients got a different deal - one cent a minute, still with the 15 cent connection fee, and one euro per week service charge. Another friend got a plan that allowed calls to the US for one cent a minute, 15 cent connection fee. I think you can start out with for as little as 10 euros.

As you can see, plans change, sometimes monthly, and you can ask at the store what the best offer is for your needs.
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
El Corte Ingles (in the electronics section) in Pamplona would be the best place to buy a Spanish SIM card, they have all carriers available.
 
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GSatt22

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
Hi Nancy, Bajaracer,

Thank you both, good and timely information. I am leaving SJPdP tomorrow and have a French sim card I bought when I arrived from Vienna (great place to train for the Camino incidentally, the hills around Klosterneuburg, were excellent exercise). The main reason for the phone is as a security back-up, I don't intend having a lot of use for it otherwise.
 

Travel Diva

Member
I believe that phones from T Mobile and ATT in the US will work in Spain... but it will be expensive and you need to call them ahead of time to activate it I think....

If you have an ATT or T Mobile (GSM) phone you could bring it and buys a Spanish sim card (that would give you a Spanish phone number that you can use to call + receive calls. Receiving calls are free for you..). Remember you need to get a adapter for charging it.. RadioShack should have it.

Have a look at these posts for some more info:
equipment-questions/topic6991.html
el-camino-frances/topic6420.html

Greetings from Santiago,
Ivar

I am a diabetic and I am walking alone and want to buy a Spanish SIM card does anyone know that I could buy one Logrono Rioja? I am starting from there. I have a German SIM card (Vodafone -callyacard) which I use every year when I visit my godchild and it works and incoming calls are free. Does anyone know if Spanish SIM card by Vodafone has the same facility? I like to have a phone for emergency as I would feel a bit more secure if I needed anything also receiving calls from family once in a while as like to call me at a pre- determined time. I am also going to setup Skype on my netbook as I am going take my netbook (as I plan to blog about my journey). so it makes good sense to have a phone for emergency. Does anyone know?
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
There are a few Vodaphone stores in Logroño, or El Corte Ińgles which has all phone carriers SIM cards. Tobacco shops also carry SIM cards and you can add credit from them as well.
And yes, incoming calls are free for Spanish mobile phones.
 
Last edited:

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
I understand you can purchase SIM cards in both Madrid and Pamplona - is the shop in one of these places easier to get to than the other?
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
I understand you can purchase SIM cards in both Madrid and Pamplona - is the shop in one of these places easier to get to than the other?
El Corte Ingles in Madrid or Pamplona would be your best bet.
 
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Lennyh1

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Sept(2013)
We will be arriving in Madrid airport early Sunday morning. I hope to get a Senior Discount Card, a RENFE train ticket to Pamplona, and a SIM card for my phone. Do you think that is at all possible?
We are spending the night at Hotel Europa near Puerta del Sol and leaving for Pamplona the next day.
 

erjanneli

New Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP-Santo Domingo(2011), St.Domingo-Fromista(2012), Fromista-Ponferrada(2013), Ponferrada-Santiago(2014)
If you only have time, a week or so, there is a website simcardspain.es, where you can make an order for any kind of simcards. I got my own yesterday, it took only 4 days to deliver to Finland:).
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
Lennyh1,

It is very straight forward to get a senior discount card at madrid barajas airport. Just drop by the renfe office at the airport and in no time you will get your discount card (tarjeta dorada).

As for the sim card, you might have trouble buying one on a sunday. Shops are generally not open on a sunday in spain. Wait until you get to pamplona and you will not have any problem buying one.

Buen camino and good luck.
 

Lennyh1

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Sept(2013)
Piogaw,

Thanks for the info. I think we may take a bus from the airport to Atocha Station, but the Terejta Dorada and our tickets and then catch the short cab ride back to the hotel. I'll just get the SIM wherever ever and whenever I can.
Thanks again,
Lenny & Dianne
Whidbey Island
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Lennyh1,

It is very straight forward to get a senior discount card at madrid barajas airport. Just drop by the renfe office at the airport and in no time you will get your discount card (tarjeta dorada).
.....................

Buen camino and good luck.
You may be required to have a photocopy of your ID (eg passport) to get the tarjeta dorada and it might be kept by the renfe office. We plan to take photocopies with us next year.
 
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piogaw

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
You may be required to have a photocopy of your ID (eg passport) to get the tarjeta dorada and it might be kept by the renfe office. We plan to take photocopies with us next year.
Hello tia,
I have just bought a ticket yesterday at the renfe office in chamartin station with my tarjeta dorada for madrid to sdc. There was no requirement to have a copy of your id or passport. As far as i can remember when i bought my targeta dorada last year there was no requirement either to have a copy to ne kept by the renfe office.
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
Hello lenny and dianne,
I hope this message gets to you on time. When you arrive at madrid barajas airport, go to the renfe office and buy your tarjeta dorada and your train ticket to pamplona. This ticket will include the travel from the airport to atocha station with the cercanias (suburban train), with the logo of red circle with an inverted c at no extra cost.

I don't know where your hotel is located. Do let me know, you might not have to go all the way to atocha station.

Buen camino and god bless.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Hello tia,
I have just bought a ticket yesterday at the renfe office in chamartin station with my tarjeta dorada for madrid to sdc. There was no requirement to have a copy of your id or passport. As far as i can remember when i bought my targeta dorada last year there was no requirement either to have a copy to ne kept by the renfe office.
That is good news for the RENFE train. We flagged this up because after RENFE took over the FEVE, early thi syear, we had to have the photocopied ID and they kept it. If we had been trying to buy the tarjeta when buying our train ticket we would have missed the train:(. Maybe they are relaxing the rules again. That would be good for next year.
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
Thanks Piogaw,

Our hotel is very near Puerta del Sol so not too far from a
attocha, correct?
Hello lenny and dianne,

There are quite a few stations near the puerta del sol. You can get off the pueta del sol station with the cercanias. Be aware that if you take the metro, you will have to transfer several times to go to puerta del sol as sections of line 1 from bilbao to puerta del sol are closed for maintenance until september. I was in madrid a few days ago on my way to sdc.

Good luck and buen camino.
 
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piogaw

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
That is good news for the RENFE train. We flagged this up because after RENFE took over the FEVE, early thi syear, we had to have the photocopied ID and they kept it. If we had been trying to buy the tarjeta when buying our train ticket we would have missed the train:(. Maybe they are relaxing the rules again. That would be good for next year.
Hello tia,

I believe the reason a photocopy of your id is required when you used the feve discount card is because the two companies have not been integrated completely when renfe took over feve. That is why the accounting is kept separately.
Once the two companies are integrated, you will probably not need a photocopy of your id.
 

Brendaparrish

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances july(2014)
Hi Gray, the first place you will come to where you can acquire a Spanish SIM will be Pamplona. There are shops for several prominent carriers, with Orange and Vodafone being the most likely to have an English speaker on-hand. I used Orange and was satisfied with them, although at times I had trouble sending text messages.

The prepaid plan I had charged 9 cents a minute for calls within Spain, with a 15 cent connection fee for each call. A month later one of my clients got a different deal - one cent a minute, still with the 15 cent connection fee, and one euro per week service charge. Another friend got a plan that allowed calls to the US for one cent a minute, 15 cent connection fee. I think you can start out with for as little as 10 euros.

As you can see, plans change, sometimes monthly, and you can ask at the store what the best offer is for your needs.
Nancy,
I just booked my flight for the camino and hope to start from sjpp on July 9th for a little slower walk to Pamplona before speeding up....would love to be with a group the first leg...if you have any inquiries for such....
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide 2013-2016
Nancy,
I just booked my flight for the camino and hope to start from sjpp on July 9th for a little slower walk to Pamplona before speeding up....would love to be with a group the first leg...if you have any inquiries for such....
Brenda, thanks! So exciting that you've got your flight booked! At this time I am planning to be on the Camino only through the middle of June, but I will let you know if that changes.
 
Hi! I am bringing this topic back up again. I am only bringing my IPhone 5 on my Camino this May/June....Verizon is my carrier, so do I go to them for an international calling/text plan or get a SIM card or both? I will want to send a few emails, make a few calls back to the states and text messages as well. Maybe a pic every now and then, but I don't want this to cost me more than the whole Camino!!! Any help on this is welcome...I have read through different threads and the more I read them the more complicated they get and the more confused I get!!!o_O

Thank you ahead of time.
Buen Camino to all forthcoming Pilgrims...
Rosemary
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Past OR future Camino
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
Rosemary, I have Verizon with an iPhone 4S and I'll tell you what I did. I called Verizon and asked to have them unlock my phone. Then when I got to Spain, I went to an Orange store and said in my broken Spanish "necesito una SIM card por mi iPhone. Mucho internet, no telefono" I paid 10€ for the SIM card and topped it off in a tobaco shop every week for 5€. I had unlimited internet and some phone with texting. Worked perfect for Skype calls home. I wrote a tech post on my blog about this too.
 
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Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Hi! I am bringing this topic back up again. I am only bringing my IPhone 5 on my Camino this May/June....Verizon is my carrier, so do I go to them for an international calling/text plan or get a SIM card or both? I will want to send a few emails, make a few calls back to the states and text messages as well. Maybe a pic every now and then, but I don't want this to cost me more than the whole Camino!!! Any help on this is welcome...I have read through different threads and the more I read them the more complicated they get and the more confused I get!!!o_O

Thank you ahead of time.
Buen Camino to all forthcoming Pilgrims...
Rosemary

Your Verizon iPhone 5 is already unlocked for international use with different SIM cards. For swapping SIM cards - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5163
Buy a local SIM card for €10.75 from Tuenti Movil https://www.movistar.es/particulares/movil/tarifas-moviles/tarjeta/Tarifas-Tuenti/
You'll get a local Spanish number with free incoming calls and you can use your iPhone 5 like you would at home.
Most US Phone carriers "international plans" with the exception of T-Mobile are a ripoff, €10.75 is cheaper than what Verizon has to offer.
PM me if you have any questions.
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Past OR future Camino
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
People make it really difficult. More than it needs to be. I prefer Orange or Vodafone in Spain and Portugal, respectively. I still recommend calling Verizon to verify your phone is unlocked. It doesn't hurt to be sure.
 

reyna osiris

New Member
I used Skype the last time I went on Camino. Most of the albergues or local spots have wifi. To call from anywhere outside the US to the US is $19.99 for three whole months. I found this cheapest and most effective especially in big cities like Pamplona and Burgos.
 
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ncali12

Member
Can anyone tell me what is the best and cheapest way to phone home to California? Are there phone cards I can purchase? Should I take my cell? I heard US cell phones don't work very well?

Thanks :D
I found the best and cheapest way was to simply use Skype with an iPhone (or iPod). The iPhone was a great device to carry--for photos, e-mails, internet, stored information and phoning. As a back-up if you need it, you can always by a cheap, prepaid phone while in Spain. But with so much internet access, Skype was easy.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2020
Hi
Easy and cheap. From most largish places in Spain. (Pamplona, Leon, for example). You'll have no trouble locating 'Vodafone or Orange or Movistar outlet. They will all sell you a sim with value of your choice. (In my case I asked them to fit it also). I paid 30 euro and my choice was a 30day card which covered me for phone calls, texts, downloads etc.,etc. . Ask them what they have.
I wanted phone calls included so that I could contact in emergencies or call ahead if there was a need for booking .

However - are you aware that you can contact home without a SIM card at all? I used this method whilst in France , also in transit at Abu dabi airport, and in Spain before I reached Pamplona .. Ie. If you are in any place with wifi (preferably free wifi) once you have the wifi password, you contact anyone on either 'Facebook' 'email - hotmail, yahoo, etc. , just on their wifi connection. Also, you can use the app 'viber, or 'whatsapp' too if your friends have the app.

Good thing about buying SIM card is you can check your messages 'anywhere' if you really need to log in for some reason. The other method you are reliant on being near 'wifi'

I do hope I haven't confused the issue further.

Buen Camino
Annie
 
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Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Thank you for the information. I went round and round and round again with Sprint. I'm still trying to work it out.

Be persistent with Sprint, get them to unlock it, it's nice to be able to use your iPhone like you would at home.
 

ncali12

Member
…yep, I went round and round with AT&T and then found alternatives: 2) I use my normal iPhone for Skype/interneet connected calls--there are so many hotspots in Spain, that should be enough, 2) since I am in Europe a lot, I have a second phone for Europe and use a variety of sim cards. For the second, it is easy to pick up a cheap (disposable) phone in Spain and just use that. Since I am over a lot, I just use an old iPhone that has been unlocked and can take various Sim cards. But I sill use Skype for overseas calls to USA as it is cheaper. The phone-phone I just use for in country calls. If you don't plan to be on the phone a lot, you might just take a smart phone. Once there, if you find you need a phone after all, you can a pick up a cheap one in a city.
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide 2013-2016
If you are going to get a SIM in Spain, and you are walking the Camino Frances, note that the first place you will be able to buy your SIM card is in Pamplona. There you will be spoiled for choice. Vodafone, Movistar, and Orange all have multiple shops in or near the center of Pamplona. The easiest way to find a shop is a) keep your eyes open as you walk through Pamplona, and b) swing by the friendly and helpful English-speaking Tourist Information office for a map and they will direct you.

A friend did some research a year ago and found that of all the companies, Orange is most likely to have an English speaker on staff, and I've found this to be the case.
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Thank you for the information. I went round and round and round again with Sprint. I'm still trying to work it out.

Any results from Sprint? It's too bad you're getting the runaround from them, threaten to cancel service and they might yield.
 

Ronnie.s

Member
Past OR future Camino
April (2014)
Any results from Sprint? It's too bad you're getting the runaround from them, threaten to cancel service and they might yield.
FINALLY got results. My complaint was that I originally had an android phone and was told at the sprint store that I could not change sim card in the phone. So, at their recommendation, I purchased an expensive iPhone 5s (which also required another 2 year contract I might add) so that I could have it unlocked and then use a European sim card. They told me to call customer service to have this done. Customer service stated that, "Per company policy and to prevent fraud" I had to have my phone on my plan for over 90 days before they would unlock it. I'm leaving next week. I was NOT happy. I filed a complaint via their customer service. After explaining to a supervisor that I would not have purchased the phone or signed up for another 2 years had I known that I would STILL not be able to use the phone on my trip, they finally relented and UNLOCKED MY PHONE!!!! That's all I needed. I'm a happy camper now. I still had to go through a lengthy procedure to back up my phone, erase everything on the phone, and then reset it so that the "unlock" would take effect. After all of this, I hope I have no other problems when I go to purchase a sim card. Whew!
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I hesitate to plunge into this high tech discussion as a very low tech person, but I have been told that there is no cheap way to use one phone for both calling within Spain and to the US. Is that not right?

What I have done for the last 10 years is use the cheap cell phone I bought in Spain in the early 2000s and get a new card with a set amount of euros worth of service on it. This is for calling within Spain -- to friends, make reservations etc. Every year when I go into the Movistar store, they are always offering deals like a basic phone plus 20 euros worth of calls for 25 euros or something like that. In-Spain calls with a prepaid plan have gotten much cheaper over the last few years, too. I think that last year I paid 8 centimos per minute or something like that. (compared with upwards of 30 centimos a minute a few years ago). So I don't see the advantage of unlocking phones if you're going to put a Spanish card on them, because the calls to the US on those cards will be expensive. But I might be wrong, please enlighten me if I am.

For calling home, I always used locutorios or pre-paid international calling cards. They are still very cheap, but with pay phones on the decline, it's not always easy to find a place to call from. But locutorios (little shops with phones, computers, etc,) are still very prevalent in Spain, I've found, though not in small villages. Last year I bought an iphone to take on the Camino because of some health scares with my elderly parents, and I left the phone in airplane mode the entire time. I spoke almost every night of 42 nights from Valencia to Santiago with them for free using Skype and wifi in bars, public places, etc. I know that means carrying two different gadgets, a pain in and of itself, but I was led to believe that it is really the only financially reasonable way to go unless you are someone who travels internationally all the time and already has a plan that calls anywhere anytime.

I would love to reduce the number of phone gadgets to one, so if I am missing something, please let me know! Thanks, Laurie
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Laurie, what phone carrier do you use and what model of iPhone do you have?
I have an factory unlocked IPhone 5 that I use on T-Mobile, I've used four different SIM cards with no special settings required, just install the activated SIM card from whatever country I'm in and turn it on. (Data might need some special text to activate) All my settings, contacts, apps, etc. all stay the same. The iPhone also detects what country you are calling(no need for a special prefix) Plus I don't have to get familiar with a different phone, I find it a pain to text with a basic cellphone as most other do.
The only special item I need is a EU USB plug.
If possible, unlock the iPhone you already own and just swap SIM cards as you travel to each country.

 

nreyn12

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide 2013-2016
I have been told that there is no cheap way to use one phone for both calling within Spain and to the US. Is that not right?
Orange offer a SIM that allows calls within Spain for around 9-15 cents per minute (changes monthly it seems) and calls to the US for one cent per minute. One SIM. There is a 15 cent connection charge for all calls. Does that qualify, peregrina2000?

Orange change their offering monthly , so the current plan may be slightly different.
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
FINALLY got results. My complaint was that I originally had an android phone and was told at the sprint store that I could not change sim card in the phone. So, at their recommendation, I purchased an expensive iPhone 5s (which also required another 2 year contract I might add) so that I could have it unlocked and then use a European sim card. They told me to call customer service to have this done. Customer service stated that, "Per company policy and to prevent fraud" I had to have my phone on my plan for over 90 days before they would unlock it. I'm leaving next week. I was NOT happy. I filed a complaint via their customer service. After explaining to a supervisor that I would not have purchased the phone or signed up for another 2 years had I known that I would STILL not be able to use the phone on my trip, they finally relented and UNLOCKED MY PHONE!!!! That's all I needed. I'm a happy camper now. I still had to go through a lengthy procedure to back up my phone, erase everything on the phone, and then reset it so that the "unlock" would take effect. After all of this, I hope I have no other problems when I go to purchase a sim card. Whew!

This is great! Now all you have to do is get a SIM card with data, buying one is easy, just have show your passport when buying one, make sure data is activated and working before you leave the store.
I would tape the Sprint SIM card and the paper clip to the back of a drivers license for safekeeping.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Laurie, what phone carrier do you use and what model of iPhone do you have?
I have an factory unlocked IPhone 5 that I use on T-Mobile, I've used four different SIM cards with no special settings required, just install the activated SIM card from whatever country I'm in and turn it on. (Data might need some special text to activate) All my settings, contacts, apps, etc. all stay the same. The iPhone also detects what country you are calling(no need for a special prefix) Plus I don't have to get familiar with a different phone, I find it a pain to text with a basic cellphone as most other do.
The only special item I need is a EU USB plug.
If possible, unlock the iPhone you already own and just swap SIM cards as you travel to each country.

Hi, Bajaracer, thanks but when I heard at about second 4 "this process is kind of tricky" I knew it wasn't for me. But it is a great option for people who aren't tech idiots like me.
Orange offer a SIM that allows calls within Spain for around 9-15 cents per minute (changes monthly it seems) and calls to the US for one cent per minute. One SIM. There is a 15 cent connection charge for all calls. Does that qualify, peregrina2000?

Orange change their offering monthly , so the current plan may be slightly different.

Nancy, thanks, if I didn't need the wifi to skype with my parents, I would definitely go this way in order to carry just one phone. But I am coming slowly to the realization that if I am going to rely on wifi I will need to bring my iphone. And if i can't change SIM cards because I am an idiot, then I will just need to stick with my original two-phone pain in the butt plan. But maybe these great suggestions will help others. Thanks a lot, Laurie
 
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Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Hi, Bajaracer, thanks but when I heard at about second 4 "this process is kind of tricky" I knew it wasn't for me. But it is a great option for people who aren't tech idiots like me.


Nancy, thanks, if I didn't need the wifi to skype with my parents, I would definitely go this way in order to carry just one phone. But I am coming slowly to the realization that if I am going to rely on wifi I will need to bring my iphone. And if i can't change SIM cards because I am an idiot, then I will just need to stick with my original two-phone pain in the butt plan. But maybe these great suggestions will help others. Thanks a lot, Laurie

Laurie, the swapping of the SIM card in the iPhone is just as simple as swapping the one in your travel phone, you just have to try it, get a paper clip and follow these directions, http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5163 or if there is an Apple Store nearby or the place that sold you the phone, see them and they will help you.
Also, which phone carrier is your iPhone set up with?
 

Ronnie.s

Member
Past OR future Camino
April (2014)
Per Bajaracer's great advice, I got my phone unlocked while in the states. Backed up the phone on iCloud, reset the phone and then restored it. Got a Yoigo SIM card at the Madrid train station and the salesman installed the card for me without having to ask! 20 euros for 30 days with local voice and data. I've had coverage everywhere on the Camino so far (of course, I'm only at Puente La Reina currently, not very far). A bit of advice: when the new card is installed, make note of the security code. If your phone gets turned off, battery dies, etc... you will need the code to unlock the SIM card service. I had a panic attack when this happened and I tried to input my personal security code and it didn't work. Finally remembered the card the salesman gave me and found the code on the card. PHEW!
 

Al the optimist

Veteran Member
Just another suggestion - Viber. A free app that you can use whenever there is wifi available. Free wifi is available every few days usually. The one advantage is that the receiving phone rings as per a normal call so people are not tethered to their computer/phone.
 

madmich

New Member
Past OR future Camino
summer (2014)
I didn't use my T-Mobile; instead I rented a cell phone from National Geographic's Cellular Abroad:
http://www.cellularabroad.com/
I used it to call home (California) and to make calls within Spain. Incoming calls were free. Battery charger included. It's probably not the cheapest way, but it was less complicated for me.
Hope this helps,
ra
Thank you so much for posting this. I was wondering if it's possible to buy a prepaid phone once in Spain to make calls within Spain, but this may be a great option.
 

madmich

New Member
Past OR future Camino
summer (2014)
For the low-tech peregrinos, here's what I have done on multiple occasions.

I bought a cell phone in 2000 for 25 E that came with 25E of phone time. Each year when I go back, I just get a new card, new phone number, and it works fine. I use that as an emergency back-up as well as for calling ahead in Spain to reserve places when that seems like a good idea.

For regular calls to the US, I either use the locutorios (I agree with mlcamino that the rates are usually very good) or buy a prepaid card that requires you to punch in numbers. There is a wide range in cards, the one I found to give the most minutes was Eurocity. (Some of these cards have daily fees, per call fees, etc, and it's hard to read the fine print -- the cards are always available at tabacalera shops, and the people working there usually have an opinion about the best cards for your particular calling destination).

If you use a phone card to call internationally, you will also find that you get a much better rate if you call from a private fixed landline. I have often found that small pension owners will trust me to use their phone and call home with the card. Another good option is the green and blue pay phones you find on the bar in many cafes -- not on the wall, these are regular phone units on the bar itself. That is a pay phone that is really a land line for the bar owner, I think, but whatever the set-up it certainly gives you much better rates.

Laurie
Thank you for posting this information. It's very helpful.
 
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madmich

New Member
Past OR future Camino
summer (2014)
Disappearing, out of order, no one knows how to make them work. Cell phones wiped them out.
Smart phones and free wi-fi are wiping out internet cafe's. We poor pilgrims need to adapt.
Is it difficult to find internet cafes?
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Is it difficult to find internet cafes?

When was the last time you saw an internet cafe at home? I saw maybe two locutorios (call centers) in Spain.
Something like an iPod Touch would work great as wifi device to communicate with friends and family back home.
You can buy a cheap Spanish prepaid phone for local calls, incoming calls are free as well.
I carry an unlocked iPhone 5, I've used four different SIM cards (T-Mobile USA, Orange in Spain, SMART in the Philippines, and Telcel Mexico) in it with no issues, I buy a local SIM card with voice and data when I get to each country I'm visiting, I hate having to wait till I get someplace with a wifi zone.
 

evanlow

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
Wow. This thread has stretched for 4 years. Many things has changed.

1. A local SIM card is now so cheap for voice/internet that doesn't make sense to use your own SIM card and incurring the expensive roaming charges, etc.
2. SIM card can be bought anywhere from the local department store to big supermarket.
3. Apps like Viber, Skype, Whatapps, Blogger etc takes care of all the communications needs (voice, texts, blogs).
4. Additional benefits with the local SIM card with internet access also allows you to find out where you are even without GPS (cell networks) with Google Maps. It does takes some of the fun out of religiously keeping to the yellow arrows by allowing you to get lost and merge back onto the path again. At the same time also understand why some to the paths goes off and on the road again. Then again it is something that many pilgrims would rather as it takes the mystery out of the route.
5. Alarm clocks, ebooks, translator, guides, music, photo (unless it needs to be a professional DSLR) all on the same device. The flip side now is if you loose it or if it gets wet and fail you will suddenly find yourself back in time to when all of them did not exist.
6. Even charging and battery drained can be mitigated with an external USB battery pack in case the battery was drained by midday due to excessive usage (music, guide, gps) . I've seen pilgrim carrying them. They are relatively cheap and their size is about the same as the phone but it has the ability to recharge their phones 2-3 times over. In fact, most of the time in the albergues it was their battery pack that were being charged, not their phones.
7. Just remember to secure your original SIM card when you replace it with the local SIM card (unless you have one of those phones that can accept 2 SIM cards simultaneously).

Technophile or not, this one device seems to be the standard equipment list on the camino. The choice now is down to how big you want to display to be. Standard smartphone size (4 inches), phabets (5-6 inches) or tablets (7-10 inches).
 

madmich

New Member
Past OR future Camino
summer (2014)
Thank you so much for all the great information! However, I do not have a smartphone, tablet, or other device. I guess I will have fun with the yellow arrows :) Bajaracer mentioned a prepaid cell phone and I think I will go with that for local calls.

Anyone know where I can purchase this kind of cellphone? In Pamplona? Thank you.
 

krazeekuban

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2012 , 2013 , 2014 , 2015 , 2017 , voluntaria
Last year I bought an unlocked non smart phone from Walmart, bought the SIM card at the Chamartin station Orange / phone store , got lots of free minutes , charged it up a couple of times and would call my hubby twice daily. VERY cheaply and I have loaned my phone a couple of times to other pilgrims going on their Caminos and no problems. I will take it again in Oct for the Ingles. I paid $25 for the Jenny phone from Walmart
 
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