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How do I use my phone when traveling to Italy?

I'm traveling to Italy for 2-weeks and want to be able to call/text home.  I have a Samsung Galaxy S 5, 4G LTE.  Do I need to get a SIM card or get an international calling plan?  I'm also thinking of upgrading to an iPhone - would this make a difference?  Does one phone have better international capability than the other?  Any help would be wonderful!

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Re: How do I use my phone when traveling to Italy?
Sr. Leader

All are great international phones.  You can get a local SIM in Italy, that gives you a temporary new italian number and your U.S. Number won't call the phone.   You can get the $40 international plan with 100 MB, 100 min, 100 texts to use in Italy and calling home.  This option keeps your same number. 

Re: How do I use my phone when traveling to Italy?

I would start with Verizon's Trip Planner:

International Trip Planner

I think your phone should work, but using the trip planner will not only tell you if it will, but it will give you the rates/package you would be eligible for.

You will without a doubt get less to add an international package to your line than you would if you just bought a local SIM card when you arrived. It might be cheaper to add an international package, but you will be SEVERELY limited. 100 minutes 100 text and 500MB for $40 for example (I don't know if those numbers are accurate, it's just an example.) Overseas you'd get a pre-paid card and more than likely get more minutes, more text and more GB. While more minutes and more text aren't that useful if you want to text or call someone back home, they are if you need to call ahead, call a taxi, call a hotel etc. in Italy. The extra GB would be good also; depending on if you already have your schedule mapped out or if you'd like to rely on the GB to search. You could then download an app to text and call back home; I personally use WhatsApp to text and call overseas and it works while on a cellular network or while connected to Wi-Fi.

If it were me I'd buy a pre-paid local SIM card, use WhatsApp to contact back home and call it a day. If SIM cards work the same over there, they are good for 30 days and hopefully you can get some 2GB of data with unlimited talk and text for $60 usd.

As for getting a new phone, I'm a big believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." I guess that depends on how long you have until you leave. Going from Android to iPhone might take a bit of getting use to and I could see where switching just a couple weeks before you leave might cause frustrations before you leave and when you get there.

Re: How do I use my phone when traveling to Italy?

Can't I use WhatsApp in Italy for calls and texts using hotel or train wi fi?