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Phone home from abroad

Phoning home to France while on a trip abroad can be expensive however there are several options to keep your costs down

PHONING home to France while on a trip abroad can be expensive, however there are several options to keep your costs down.

If you use your ordinary French mobile you not only pay a higher “roaming” fee for your normal calls, but you are charged a fee for receiving calls as well.

Things are not as bad as they were since new rules for calls within the EU introduced this summer - calls must cost no more than €0.51/min and receiving them no more than €0.23.

When you arrive at your destination you should get a text telling you the cost of a local call, a call to France and receiving one.

However, options to reduce telephone costs further include:

- Take out a special holiday option with your provider. For example, with SFR, the Pack séjour Europe-DOM (Trip pack for Europe and overseas departments of France) is e12, giving you 30 minutes of calls.

- Use texts rather than calls - in the EU these cost a maximum e0.13 each and are free to receive.

- Use a prepaid card. Specialised ones can be bought for for cheap calls abroad. You buy these from shops such as newsagents in your destination country.
They can be used in phone boxes or from landlines and involve calling a number and then typing in a code, so the call is then paid for from the credit on the card.

- Visit specialised call centres found in cities, which offer cheap rates for calling abroad.

- Swap your SIM card for one from the country you are in (another option is to have a dual-SIM option, available on some top-end phones - where you can switch between two SIMs in one phone). To do this you need to unlock your mobile by asking for a code déblocage from your provider.

- Talk computer to computer using Skype.

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