Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trail

Discussion of Bushwalking, Hiking, Trekking, Tramping, Rambling and Camping elsewhere around the world.

Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trail

Postby Gippsmick » Sun 17 Nov, 2013 3:18 pm

Any tips or experience on arriving in the States and purchasing a mobile phone for use on the AT for email, blog updates etc... Is it easy to do?
User avatar
Gippsmick
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed 08 Oct, 2008 1:02 pm
Location: East Gippsland - Victoria

Re: Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trai

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 17 Nov, 2013 3:32 pm

Depends on the compatibility of your current phone, you can purchase an AT&T prepaid SIM card and run off that (eBay or post arrival). Potentially have everything set up before you arrive. Otherwise there are plenty of packaged prepaid options. Might look into Verizon if you are seeking a local network compatible phone for its coverage. But do check their specific coverage.
Just move it!
User avatar
GPSGuided
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 6900
Joined: Mon 13 May, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: Sydney
Region: New South Wales

Re: Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trai

Postby norts » Sun 17 Nov, 2013 7:00 pm

Verizon seem to cover more of the AT, I am going with verizon next year.
When are you heading overGippsmick
norts
User avatar
norts
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1931
Joined: Wed 01 Aug, 2007 11:45 am
Location: Germantown Tas.
Region: Tasmania

Re: Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trai

Postby Gippsmick » Mon 18 Nov, 2013 9:17 am

Off next year Norts. Looking for a phone to keep everyone in the outside world posted on progress.
User avatar
Gippsmick
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed 08 Oct, 2008 1:02 pm
Location: East Gippsland - Victoria

Re: Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trai

Postby TomGalvin » Mon 18 Nov, 2013 5:59 pm

Verizon has the best coverage along the trail, but assume you will not have signal most of the time. You can pickup prepaid phones at Walmart or Radio shack. Another option is to buy prepaid international calling cards. Cheaper, lighter, and waterproof.
User avatar
TomGalvin
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat 24 Aug, 2013 9:23 am
Location: Pagosa Springs, Colorado, USA
Region: Other Country
Gender: Male

Re: Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trai

Postby Turfa » Mon 18 Nov, 2013 8:59 pm

Having a phone on the trail is handy. Sometimes you might need to call a shuttle service to get into town to resupply or to check on accommodation availability. ......... Oh, and for ordering pizza !

I didn't have a phone myself, but other hikers who did usually managed to get service when needed, just check for service on the ridge tops. (And that was a few years ago now, so I would expect that service coverage is even better now)

If I went back to do it again now, I still don't think I would bother with a smartphone for checking email, posting updates etc. Part of the attraction of the trail for me was the feeling of being out of the loop for an extended period.........
User avatar
Turfa
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 317
Joined: Mon 18 Jan, 2010 3:06 pm
Region: Australia

Re: Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trai

Postby russ752 » Tue 19 Nov, 2013 11:06 am

I bought a mobile for $15 in a Walmat and refill cards were $20 for 200 mins. Came in very handy and I was amazed at the unlikely spots on the trail where I could receive a signal. You will however need a valid address and telephone no. in the States to activate it
russ752
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 2:21 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Region: Victoria

Re: Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trai

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 19 Nov, 2013 11:21 am

About two years ago when I activated my AT&T SIM, they had some kind of agreement with Apple that they won't permit the activation of a prepaid SIM on an iPhone. To get around it, I simply provided the IMEI of a regular mobile phone to the agent. All good on the iPhone after. Not sure if this restriction is still in place though. So the point here is, make sure you can call up the IMEI of another.
Just move it!
User avatar
GPSGuided
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 6900
Joined: Mon 13 May, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: Sydney
Region: New South Wales

Re: Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trai

Postby russ752 » Tue 19 Nov, 2013 3:52 pm

Gotta to agree with you Turfa I would never take a smart phone on a hike. The times on the AT when there was a signal the hikers with tablets and smart phones stopped interacting with the people around them and started posting and blogging. I will always remember one guy in Maine who showed me a post that he had sent. He had taken a photo of his dinner!! This was in one of the most beautiful places in the States with absolutely stunning scenery all around.

When I finished my hike I had a week to kill before coning back to Oz so I stopped off at Boston for a few days. Stayed at a hostel and same thing. Common room was full of people on their tablets etc and no one talking to each other. I spoke to the owner about it and he said it started happening about 4 years ago, No one communicates face to face anymore.

Back in the 70's I did the old backpacking around Asia and Europe thing. I always remember that if you were low or feeling lonely hostels were the place to go. You could always find company and hook up with someone. Sometimes I think that Steve Jobs was a curse on humanity
russ752
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 2:21 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Region: Victoria

Re: Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trai

Postby Turfa » Tue 19 Nov, 2013 9:02 pm

I'm sure it makes me sound like an old fart, but I'm with you 100% Russ. One of my most enjoyable memories of my time on the AT is cranking out a solid 20 mile day, cruising into a campsite or shelter in mid afternoon & apart from eating & getting water, having absolutely nothing to do but to sit around & talk BS with other hikers..........getting online & letting the outside world intrude on that would kind of spoil it for me........(old fart mode <off>). :-)

But back to the OP's question..... Picking up a cheap pre-paid phone in the US is about as easy as it gets, drop in to Walmart, Best Buy or any other of the large stores and you can get something for well under $100 . Walmart actually have an entire category on their website for sub $100 phones with no contract
User avatar
Turfa
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 317
Joined: Mon 18 Jan, 2010 3:06 pm
Region: Australia

Re: Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trai

Postby jacko1956 » Wed 20 Nov, 2013 1:17 am

The world has changed.
Smartphones are everywhere on trail and off.
Invaluable to have weather info as well as ability to book hotels/hostels/shuttles and keep family/freinds up to date. (It is CROWDED out there and spaces in hostels etc are at a premium.)
Verizon is the only one to get.
I had a Samsung mini this year.
Cost $99 and about $70 a month for prepaid phone and data.
Used wifi in towns a lot for data.
Buy from a genuine Verizon store NOT a franchise. Franchises don't support the Verizon specials you can find online.
Don't carry a solar charger, get one of those rechargers that is another battery you can plug a usb cable into.
jacko1956
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 157
Joined: Thu 21 Jul, 2011 10:33 pm
Region: Western Australia
Gender: Male

Re: Buying a US mobile phone for use on the Appalachian Trai

Postby sef » Tue 26 Nov, 2013 4:18 pm

Hey mate, well over half the US population lives within a hundred miles of the AT, so cell coverage isn't going to be an issue.

If you already have an Australian mobile that's unlocked and 'quad band GSM', your real options are AT&T and T-Mobile. In order to get a SIM over there, you have to buy a phone (unless you can pick a card only up from a flea market or similar) and that $30 piece of junk phone is your option if you don't have an Aussie GSM phone. Data is affordable on T-Mobile, prohibitively bad on AT&T. T-Mobile has dodgy coverage.

If you've time and some patience, I suggest looking into "red pocket mobile" who are a Chinese AT&T reseller. You can pick up a SIM card for next to nothing on ebay and general delivery it to an early PO, best rates of the lot.

& the AT is such a poo... that I wouldn't be concerned with it changing your experience at all. The preachy luddites out there drop out in Georgia.
sef
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun 20 Dec, 2009 9:07 pm
Region: Queensland


Return to International

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests