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It looks like Google Fi is built around Android phones, something we don't use, all Apple iPhones for us.. So SIM swaps were our choice.. This way we had all our other Apps, contacts, access to various cloud accounts. We had Wifi in our condo, but out and about, it was better to have O2 network access.. Many others available...

We also bought Oyster cards, still time left on them, too, but along the way we lost one, had to buy a day pass on our last day there..

It all worked well.. Well, other than the air conditioning..
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Purchase a (local) SIM card and replace the one in your phone. MUCH cheaper and way more data etc. Can be topped up if need be. I suspect (knowing ATT) that if you go 'over' on their plan the penalty is severe!

I caught a sale last time and bought several SIMs for our group for 33% off...I think I paid 10 pounds per...still have them and can re-use as needed for future trips. They were good throughout Europe.

Teri

ps...you might want to disable most apps from using cellular data
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Hi Teri,

Did your purchase the sims here, before leaving (that would be nice) or do you need to wait until you get to London?

Thanks,

Bill
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Did your purchase the sims here, before leaving (that would be nice) or do you need to wait until you get to London?


They are, from what I found, nearly impossible to purchase here. But I purchased at a big box store kinda like a best buy. So easy. Purchase more at a phone purveyor. They seem to be everywhere. I think the big box store was called "carphone warehouse" ... kind of a throwback name IMO! But locations can be found online.

Teri
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Thx Hockey.....Yes Carphone Wharehouse are everywhere. Couple of further questions please.

1. As this now has a different sim card in and therefore using the UK carrier of choice, would I have to use the area code 001 from the UK to the US?

2. Normally when dialing from US to UK, would use 011441 then the number but in London areas leave the 0 out. How would the dialing process change being in the UK and dialing contacts in the UK?

3. You mentioned disabling most apps from using cellular data, which in particular and do I turn roaming off? Mostly would be using WiFi in hotels etc and offline google maps.

4. Lastly, if and when using WiFi, by turning off cellular, would this also ensure no data being processed?

Many Thx.
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1. As this now has a different sim card in and therefore using the UK carrier of choice, would I have to use the area code 001 from the UK to the US?

we pretty much used it to call each other...I would think 001 would be needed but trial and error will let you know for sure!

2. Normally when dialing from US to UK, would use 011441 then the number but in London areas leave the 0 out. How would the dialing process change being in the UK and dialing contacts in the UK?

we called each other using the numbers the phones told us would work? 11 digits? Trial and error is all I can offer to place calls elsewhere...


3. You mentioned disabling most apps from using cellular data, which in particular and do I turn roaming off? Mostly would be using WiFi in hotels etc and offline google maps.

In particular, I never allow App Store to use cellular data...apps can decide to update at any time! As I used the chip in a number of countries, I'm gonna assume I had roaming ON.

4. Lastly, if and when using WiFi, by turning off cellular, would this also ensure no data being processed?

So does turning off cellular data app by app...and not allowing cellular to take over when wifi is weak.

Pretty good chance the person selling the phone can answer all above questions re placing calls. I would check the documentation that came with the sims but they are loaned out at the moment...

Teri ... this was really so so much easier than previous trips abroad. Technology has really improved in the area of communication. Tell ATT to take a hike!!
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Thx a bunch...yep be nice to tell them to take a hike.
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Just back after a week in London. Condo was near the Elephant & Castle Tube station, a short walk up the road to 316 Walworth road brought us to a handy IBUY storefront. Owner popped in a couple O2 2 Gb Pay as You Go SIMs, set 'em up. 500 minutes of talk time, 5000 texts, all for £10...

A while later we got a note from O2 that they had doubled our capacity.. We didn't use hardly anywhere near the limits, but it was a simple text of 4444 to top it up if more was needed..

Used it all week, once back in the US, I popped out original SIMs back in, back to where we were..

I put each other's new numbers in our Contacts, handy...

One thing to watch is to hang onto your SIM, DW's fell out of her case, so a little concern, but we found it in the bottom of her purse once we were home again.. I keep the original in the back of the case, but there is an adapter card with the new SIM, so it could have been popped in there for the duration.. Just don't mix 'em up...

weco
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Weco, handy info. Did you use your iPhone and if so, my previous questions regarding dialling codes etc, did you have to change anything? Hope you enjoyed London. Going next month. 10 days in the Dorset area and 9 days in Central London. SW1 area. Get an Oyster card for buses and tubes or used your watch?
Thx. Bran.
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Yes, we have iPhone 8 & 8+, had been using them on the prior two weeks on the Viking Sun's Midnight Sun cruise up to the Northernmost tip of Norway and on down to London via Scotland, but waited until we were in London to pick up the O2 SIMs.. Ship had great wifi, generally a satellite link, so we used WhatsApp to stay in touch with family back home here in Northern CA... Worked well, even called a couple times through it via wifi...

Never changed anything real, we'd already been in Airplane mode with only WiFi enabled, that all continued until we added the new SIMs, then dropping the Airplane mode for the rest of the trip to let O2 connect..

We bought Oyster cards right away, used a cab a couple times, but mostly just walking, or the Tube.. Only went the wrong way once on the Tube, easily fixed. I have 3 different Tube Apps, somewhat helpful, but they all tended to make the connections more complicated than they needed to be, so backed up by paper maps. Fewer transfers the better..

So many things to do, we did cook a little in the condo, there was a Sansbury grocery a block or two away, so on the way back after excursions, we'd swing by... Was wishing I had a rolling cart when we bought a 16 pack of water bottles & beer & wine, but..

Next time, I doubt we'll mess with an AirB&B condo, just pay the price for a hotel with at least coffee or a breakfast nook handy... While our condo was OK, no A/C, no fans except a little 8" jobber, we weren't there that much... Our prior trip to London we stayed at the Marriot at the foot of the Eye, the County Building.. Better, altho the room was way, way out away from the entrance.. Feet get tired after a long day in museums, etc...

Have a blast, Chihuly has an expo in the Kew Gardens... Hamilton was great, many other plays to see if there is time..

weco
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Thx Weco,
Yes, think I should book for Hamilton, didn’t think the rap was me but everyone I have spoken to who likes rap or not says it was great.
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I had to readjust my listening once it got rolling. Took a bit to tune in, very, very fast, so a bit of double or triple time hearing, understanding, catching the action, and the really sharp dialog within.. Energy to the MAX, the first half flew by! No napping allowed! We sort of brushed up on the story as we came in, so knew the general story, but it was oh, so well done.. I need to see it again! And maybe yet again, mainly because it was so quick. And all over the stage, things are happening, so it is a true treat! Buy the tickets ahead of time, it will bypass the long lines having to buy tickets.. Staff is great, getting so many in and seated, as well as shuffled out tot he WC;s at the break..

Very enjoyable!

weco
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Wife’s sight very poor and she is a fidget but don’t care to go on my own. Suggestions please for seating..up front as near as possible? How long was the show? Tia.
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We were in the Orchestra, Row Q, but it may be better to be closer with the limitations. But see what is available when you go to order.

Show was fairly long, a midway intermission, so near 3 hours is ny guess, maybe less... 2nd half felt shorter... Beautiful old theater, recently refurbished... Very nice..
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Download the app “WhatsApp “

It’s free

It’s phone and text whenever you’re near WiFi. No SIM cards, no expensive plans, nada.

My mother in law regularly calls Columbia for free. My son used it 4 months in France. It’s encrypted both ways. You can test it before you leave. Both parties must have the app. Delayed texts show up later if you weren’t near WiFi when they sent it.
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Yes, we used WhatsApp on this and prior trips, generally make up a Broadcast List for day to day updates, but also individual chats, calls...

We originally used WhatsApp back when our oldest GD was in Amsterdam as a student, an exchange program, to keep in touch. Great experience for her, as weekends she made the most of her location to slip into other nearby countries, worked great.. Other GD went to Australia for a semester, again it worked great...

Advantage of the relatively cheap O2 SIMs, no need to find wifi, especially while out wandering.. for £20 for two SIMs for the week we were out there, it added a bit that was worthwhile...

Looking at Amazon, twice the price of the O2 SIMs we used.. so a local shop once there might be best...

More info via Rick:
https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/phones-tech/cell-phon...
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We used to switch SIM's all the time, but I picked up a Google Project Fi account a couple of trips ago for my main phone (and ditched the pre-paid T-Mobile ones I had been using. So far, it's been been great - inexpensive and service word-wide. It's less expensive than most US plans and generally cost competitive with Skype for foreign calls, and data costs the same as in the States ($10 a GB to a maximum of 4 GB and then it's free - but I've never gotten close to the limit).

Jeff
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It looks like Google Fi is built around Android phones, something we don't use, all Apple iPhones for us.. So SIM swaps were our choice.. This way we had all our other Apps, contacts, access to various cloud accounts. We had Wifi in our condo, but out and about, it was better to have O2 network access.. Many others available...

We also bought Oyster cards, still time left on them, too, but along the way we lost one, had to buy a day pass on our last day there..

It all worked well.. Well, other than the air conditioning..
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