International cell phone usage

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We are Travelling to Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina in a month (April, 2017). What is the best way to use cell phones in each country, in order to keep in touch with each other and in case of emergencies. We have VZ 5S phones but have never used phones overseas. Any advice is welcome. Thanks, Karen

You should probably take a look at Google's Project Fi. I just switched. For $20/month they claim calling and text in 135 countries, including your destinations, plus data at $10/GB, paying only for what you use. The catch is that there are only about four models of Nexus phones that will work.

Alternatively, you could carry GSM-capable phones and buy SIM cards in each country. This is kind of a hassle though. IIRC Verizon will loan you a GSM phone for this option. I'd ask them.

I heard that you must align with Verizon and I'm a loyal T-Mobile user. What's the scoop?

Traveler2 offers reasonable solutions. I have bought local sims for my iphone in Sweden and Spain -- no problem. But most of the time I can get by with Skype-out on wifi that seems to be available almost everywhere I travel. I call my U.S. voicemail with Skype-out, then return calls as needed.