Traveling Overseas? Get a Calling Card.

When traveling abroad, prepaid calling cards can be a nice little money saver. International calls run up all sorts of fees on you, many costing a dollar per minute, which can add up quickly.

But with calling cards, you don’t need to adjust your phone plan or do anything complicated. The calls cost what they cost. Here’s a guide on what they are and how to use them.

Buying your Calling Card

You can buy calling cards from several places: general convenience stores, grocery stores, phone companies and several places online, such as

And when it comes to making your purchase, there are a lot of variables to consider! However, finding the best card for your needs is easier if you know what to look for:

  • Some cards are only useable when calling to certain countries, as indicated on the card (example: “Valid only in the U.S.”).
  • Certain countries do not allow the use of calling cards, so research accordingly before investing money in one.
  • Read the disclaimer and check the expiration date. The FCC warns customers about shady business practices that tack on hidden maintenance fees and offer cards past the expiration date. You want either low or no maintenance fees.
  • You want to be able to use the minutes before the expiration – if you don’t, you lose them.
  • Compare the dialing and hanging-up fees between other cards. Some cards also round minutes up, so pay attention to that as well. Because of this, we recommend making as few calls as possible since those fees can add up.
  • Buy a card with a customer service number on it so you have a reference if you experience trouble.
  • Consider the type of phone you will be calling (US domestic, International or cellular).You can get charged more if you call to a cellphone.
  • If you want to add more minutes, make sure your card is rechargeable. Recharging fees are common.

Like other kinds of prepaid cards, you put money on the card up front. You’ll typically put between $1 to $20 on the card, but it all depends on the amount of minutes you want to use while traveling and to where you’re calling.

Using your Calling Card

Follow the instructions on the calling card to make your call. The process usually goes like this:

  1. Dial the access number listed on the card.
  2. Calling cards usually require you to enter a personal identification number, so keep that PIN handy. This is also how you find out how many minutes you have remaining.
  3. Dial the number you’re trying to reach. If you need to know which country code to use, visit

What about International Cellphone Plans?

International plans vary, but some have a number of limitations, roaming fees and high costs per minute. Calling cards can be simple and temporary solutions, which is what you want for traveling. Plus, your phone might not work outside the US anyway.

Use Calling Cards for Reconfirmations

Need to make a long-distance call to reconfirm your vacation but don’t think it justifies the accompanying fee from your cellular carrier? Grab a calling card for a couple bucks and save on international fees.

Calling cards are great for international travelers and something to keep in mind while planning for your vacation. The flat fee is an attractive benefit if you don’t want you pay all those international calling fee, so we hope this information helps you save on your next trip overseas!

Have you ever used calling card while traveling? Share your tips with us in the comments below!

Corey is a writer from Overland Park, KS, and has been with Vacation Quest since September. Once a sportswriter, he traveled the country and became proficient in airport security line etiquette and leaving items in hotel rooms.