Communications

DESTINATIONS austria communications-26

TRAVEL TIPS

Communications

Internet

Most hotels in Austria have worked hard to upgrade their Internet offerings, and the majority will offer some form of Internet access for your laptop, sometimes still via a LAN line, but often with Wi-Fi. Occasionally these services are offered free of charge; sometimes you have to pay. Hotels that don't offer Internet access in the rooms will usually have a computer somewhere in their business center or lobby available for guests to check email. Outside of hotels there are some, but not many, Internet cafés (ask at your hotel). A good number of cafés offer Wi-Fi to customers.

Contacts

Cybercafés. The website lists more than 4,000 Internet cafés worldwide. www.cybercafes.com.

Phones

The good news is that you can now make a direct-dial telephone call from virtually any point on earth. The bad news? You can't always do so cheaply. Calling from a hotel is almost always the most expensive option; hotels usually add huge surcharges to all calls, particularly international ones. In some countries you can phone from call centers or even the post office. Calling cards usually keep costs to a minimum, but only if you purchase them locally. Cell phone calls are nearly always a much cheaper option than calling from your hotel.

When calling Austria, the country code is 43. When dialing an Austrian number from abroad, drop the initial 0 from the local Austrian area code. For instance, the full number to dial for the Hotel Sacher in Vienna from America is 011 (international dial code) –43 (Austria's country code) –1 (Vienna's full city code is 01, but drop the 0) and –514–560 (the hotel number). All numbers given include the city or town area code.

Calling Within Austria

As the number of cell phones has risen in Austria, the number of coin-operated pay telephones has dwindled. If you find one, a local call costs from €0.14 to €0.60, depending on whether you call a landline or a cell phone. Most pay phones have instructions in English.

When placing a long-distance call to a destination within Austria, dial the local area codes with the initial zero (for instance, 0662 for Salzburg). Note that calls within Austria are one-third cheaper between 6 pm and 8 am on weekdays and from 1 pm on Saturday to 8 am on Monday.

For information about phone numbers inside and outside of Austria, dial 118–877. Most operators speak some English; if yours doesn't, you'll most likely be passed along to one who does.

Calling Outside Austria

It costs more to telephone from Austria than it does to telephone to Austria. Although nearly everyone now uses their cell phone for all calls, international or otherwise, it is still possible to make inexpensive calls from some post offices, and you can get helpful assistance in placing a long-distance call; in large cities these centers at main post offices (Hauptpostamt) are open around the clock. To use a post office phone you first go to the counter to be directed to a certain telephone cabin; after your call you return to the counter and pay your bill. Faxes can be sent from post offices and received as well, but neither service is very cheap.

To make a collect call—you can't do this from pay phones—dial the operator and ask for an R-Gespräch (pronounced air-ga-shprayk). Most operators speak English; if yours doesn't, you'll be passed to one who does.

The country code for the United States is 1.

U.S. Phone Access Codes from Austria

AT&T Direct. 800/331–0500; 916/843–4685; www.att.com.

MCI Verizon Worldwide Access. 800/999–762.

Calling Cards

If you plan to make calls from pay phones, a Telecom Austria calling card is a convenience. You can buy calling cards with a credit of €10 or €15 at any post office or Telecom Austria shop, and they can be used at any public phone booth. Insert the card, punch in your access code, and dial the number; the cost of the call is automatically deducted from the card—note that the "credits" displayed is not usually the amount of money left on the card, but a different sort of counter. A few public phones in the cities also take American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, and Visa credit cards.

Mobile Phones

In Austria a cell phone is called a Handy.

If you have a GSM cell phone, you can probably use your phone abroad. Roaming fees are generally being dramatically reduced by most phone companies. As soon as you switch your phone on after arriving you are likely to get a message from your provider telling you exactly how much it will be to call home or to receive calls. It's almost always cheaper to send a text message than to make a call, because text messages have a very low set fee.

If you just want to make local calls, consider buying a new SIM card (note that your provider may have to unlock your phone for you to use a different SIM card) and a prepaid service plan in the destination. You'll then have a local number and can make local calls at local rates. If your trip is extensive, you could also simply buy a new cell phone in your destination, as the initial cost will be offset over time.

If you travel internationally frequently, save one of your old cell phones or buy a cheap one on the Internet; ask your cell phone company to unlock it for you, and take it with you as a travel phone, buying a new SIM card with pay-as-you-go service in each destination.

If you want to use your own cell phone in Austria, first find out if it's compatible with the European 1800 GSM standard. Once in Austria, stop by a cell phone store, usually identifiable by the word "Handy" in the name, and purchase a prepaid SIM card (make sure your existing SIM card is unlocked). Prepaid cards start at around €15. Local calls are then billed at about €0.15 to €0.20 a minute. If you don't have a phone but want to use one here, look into buying a used phone. Rates are reasonable. Buy the prepaid card in the same way you would as if you were bringing in your own phone.

When dialing an Austrian "Handy" from abroad (generally 0676, 0699, or 0664), dial 00–43, then the number without the 0.

Contacts

Cellular Abroad. This company rents and sells GMS phones and sells SIM cards that work in many countries. 800/287–5072; www.cellularabroad.com.

Mobal. You can rent cell phones and buy GSM phones (starting at $29) that will operate in 190 countries. Per-call rates vary throughout the world. 888/888–9162; www.mobal.com.

Planet Fone. Cell phones can be rented from $21, but the per-minute rates are expensive. 888/988–4777; www.planetfone.com.

BACK TO AUSTRIA

Ready for a trip of a lifetime to ?

CONTACT US TODAY