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Cheapest way to keep in phone contact with the UK from NZ?

Chorley
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Cheapest way to keep in phone contact with the UK from NZ?

My husband leave the UK on 27th December and will visit Sydney, North & South Islands and the Cook Islands during our six week holiday.

I want to keep in 'regular' contact with my family whilst we are touring, can anyone give me any advice on the best way to go about doing this? I have an Orange monthly contract and my mobile will work whilst in NZ but I'm very conscious that astronomical bills can very quickly and easily mount up!

Also are there any hidden charges for withdrawing money from a UK bank account via ATM's in NZ? Any hints/tips are appreciated.

Many Thanks.

Wellington, NZ
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1. Re: Cheapest way to keep in phone contact with the UK from NZ?

The cheapest way is to get a local SIM. 2 Degrees is the cheapest in NZ; best to ask on the Australian and Cook Island forum about their cheapest provider. Search for 2 Degrees using the TA search facility - there has been heaps of threads about it.

Check what your bank charges you for withdrawing money out of a foreign ATM.

Wellington, NZ
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2. Re: Cheapest way to keep in phone contact with the UK from NZ?

The cheapest way would be to buy a calling card (eg. Yabba http://www.yabba.co.nz/) and call from public phones or from your accommodation (just check the cost of local calls).

There is also Skype, but you will have to find a computer.

All UK banks charge foreign transaction fees, so you'll have to check with your bank. Nationwide was the only bank/building society that didn't charge but they changed that a few months ago.

Whangarei, Northland
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3. Re: Cheapest way to keep in phone contact with the UK from NZ?

The absolute cheapest way would be via Skype (which you can use to call phones lines, aswell as computer to computer). Obviously you need a computer and an internet connection to do that.

The other way is to buy a calling card which can be used from any landline phone in NZ (ie, from a phonebox or from the phone at your hotel). These cards generally will give you call costs of around 4c a minute to most countries.

The one that is supplied by Telecom (equivalent of BT) is called Yabba, available from Telecom shops around the country, but if you go into more or less any dairy (Corner Shop) they will sell a variety of other calling cards that will work just aswell.

If you decide to buy a NZ SIM for your mobile (which are basically free, so you might aswell- you get an equivalent amount of free airtime as what you pay for it - eg. $5) then generally they have fairly competitive calling rates to the UK aswell - not quite as cheap as the calling card option though.

Go for 2 degrees or Vodafone SIMs (2 degrees ones are available in most Supermarkets and Shell & Mobil petrol stations, amongst other places)

Wellington, New...
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4. Re: Cheapest way to keep in phone contact with the UK from NZ?

Using a phone card is not going to be as easy as one thinks as public phones are now not as plentiful as they used to be. If fact I live in Wellington and couldnt tell you where the nearest one was. Cell phones have proved their deathnell. 2 degrees is the cheapest sim card to buy and use. Full details are on their website. The SIm cards can be purchased at any supermarket or petrol station. Top ups can be done at any supermarket.

It may prove to be just as cheap to retain your 2 degrees card whilst in the Cooks.

Happy holidays

Christchurch, New...
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5. Re: Cheapest way to keep in phone contact with the UK from NZ?

If you have a Barclay's card you can withdraw money from Westpac ATM's (there are zillions of them) without any transaction charges. In cities there are machines on most corners.

NZ runs on plastic. You can pay for a coffee in most places with a card although in smaller places there may be minimum spends for a card.

If you have a 3G phone I would get a 2degree sim card. Dick Smith have them for $20 that includes $20 credit.

Edited: 14 December 2010, 22:49
Wellington, New...
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6. Re: Cheapest way to keep in phone contact with the UK from NZ?

ReEgarding the use of Plastic Visa and Mastercard are accepted just about everywhere. Diners, American Express and others if accepted generally have a loading of around 2% of the charge due to higher caharges to the retailer.

Christchurch, New...
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7. Re: Cheapest way to keep in phone contact with the UK from NZ?

Good point Bean. In fact many smaller traders only take Visa or Mastercard.

Greymouth, New...
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8. Re: Cheapest way to keep in phone contact with the UK from NZ?

the newer cell phones with roaming, have small computers which connect to the internet, on which you can have skype.

You still need a nz sim card for the phone to operate.

on our last travels we bought an apple I Pad and used emails for much of the communication. Wifi was variable and also varied in price, however with some airlines, you can also access WIFi and they were a lot cheaper than on the cruise ship for access.

NZ has free wifi at all or most public libraries

Lewes, United...
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9. Re: Cheapest way to keep in phone contact with the UK from NZ?

Regarding mobile phone usage: I have been watching several different threads regarding the cheapest way to make phone calls within NZ for somebody coming from the UK. (We will be in NZ in Feb/Mar 2011.) I know my mobile phone will work in NZ as it's quadband, but, when I asked my UK call provider about unlocking it, so I can use the recommended 2 degrees SIM, I was told it would cost me £35 to unlock a 5 year old phone. I'd need to make a lot of calls before I'd recoup that £35 unlock charge.

Please would somebody explain a little more about the calling cards. How do they work?

Regarding ATMs: Our UK high street banks (we each have an account with a different bank) have said there are no actual charges for using the ATMs. However, several of these banks have recently increased their currency exchange fees. What this means is that, although you won't see a charge on your bank statement back in the UK for using any foreign ATM (depending on the type of account you hold), you will still be charged a hidden premium loading on the exchange rate, so get a rotten exchange rate. Further, as this charge is a percentage, the more you spend, the more it will cost you. While using ATMs will still be the easiest way of getting cash in NZ, there will be a hidden charge for the convenience, be warned!

While credit cards seems the way to go for most purchases, probably especially in restaurants and for petrol, they have always had this hidden charge lost in their exchange rates.

SWT

Auckland, New...
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10. Re: Cheapest way to keep in phone contact with the UK from NZ?

If you are travelling with a computer or device that has internet access and can access the internet then Skype would be the way to go