California Dreamin'

In two weeks time we will have spent our first night in LA. Looking ahead a question someone might be able to help us with. Our cell phones are very expensive to use outside the European Union, something like $2 per minute, plus a $5 access fee each time for calls and lots more for roaming. We still have my wife's old iPhone 3S. I'm thinking that maybe we could get a SIM card and get a cheap Pay as You Go scheme for say $10 or $20 which is all we are likely to need for the three weeks we are in California. Is that possible?? Any recommendations for company to use?


  • I can't be much help here since I have had the same phone line and telephone number so long that the phone company employees are actually impressed when they look at my record.

    But as I understand it you should be able to walk into any consumer goods store (Walmart, Target, Street corner bodega etc) and buy a prepaid phone with whatever number of minutes you want and refill it as needed.  $10 or $20 should get you plenty of talk time and maybe some texting.

    And if you need to call back to the European Union sign up for PIngo and dial the access to call the UK for 2 or 3 cents a minute.  My browser thinks they are spam but I have never had a minutes worth of trouble out of them and I have used them on and off for maybe 10 years.

    Good luck
  • Thanks jUj, that's useful. We are unlikely to want to call back to the UK and if so would use wireless in hotels, via Skype. It is just in case we need to contact hotels, book things,  break down or whatever.
  • My guess is the stores in the airport will have everything you need conveniently available as you walk thru the terminal but it will cost you 2 to 3 times as much.  My advice is wait till you get in the real world outside the airport before you buy.
  • This is the point at which people who have watched The Wire will tell you these cheap phones are called "burners"
  • In the pimpin/mack game they are also known as "playa phones"
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