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  1. #1

    Default Inexpensive way to send/receive calls from home?

    Getting ready to leave for CSA next week and have a question about inexpensive ways to send/receive calls from home in case of emergency. We have Verizon cell phones and when I called today to see about rates, they told me $1.99/minute for the phone in Jamaica and $1.69 for the phone in the US...nearly $4 per minute for a cell to cell call!!!

    Seen where someone mentioned getting a calling card when you get down there, but I couldn't find any of the details. Can you get them at the resort and how does it work? We've already got an AT&T calling card from Sam's Club we use currently at home...will that work or do you need a calling card from there?

    Wife has an Ipod she was thinking about using down there to send and receive emails also, will it work for that? She also has a Apple mac book pro, but didn't know about taking it through security at the airport and on the plane?

  2. #2


    The calling cards, called Jus'Talk, are available in the gift shop. You have to ask for them as they are pre-loaded and are not out on display. They are very easy to use from the phone in your room and quite inexpensive. As I remember they come in $10 and $20 cards with about 45 minutes and 90 minutes respectively. We have used them for calling home on all our trips to CSA and I highly recommend them for those that need to call home while in Jamaica. You will also be charged a couple of bucks per call by the resort for a connection fee, but still a very reasonable way to call.

    Your AT&T calling card will NOT WORK in Jamaica, leave it at home.

    Email is also available, we use a small netbook for email in and out. There are also computers available in the Great House, upstairs in a very nice little internet cafe, for guests to use for internet access to email or what ever. I have used these to print out our boarding passes and pre-pay checked bag fees for our return trip.

    A word of caution to you and others:
    Do not use a credit card or call collect. These are both very expensive methods of calling home, considerably more than your quotes for cell phone rates.

  3. #3


    i personally carried two macbooks, a dslr, 3 point and shoot cameras, a second lens, and an ipod through security and no one cared. if you need to make a call take your laptop and use skype.

  4. #4


    We have Verizon as well and have never been able to use our phones (Droid) while in Jamaica. I was thinking about bringing my laptop this time. I hope we get some ideas on how to solve this. Thanks for posting the question.

  5. #5


    CN-July 2006
    CSA-July 2009
    CSA-July 2011

    Eat, Drink, and be Merry for tomorrow you may die.

  6. #6


    We picked up a 90 minute "JusTalk" calling card at the CSA gift shop for US$10. The resort charged a US$2 connection fee per call. We called every day for a week for US$24. However, this was two and a half years ago and I don't think they carry them anymore. You may be able to find them at a store off the resort grounds. Ask any of the staff (especially at the guest services desk). They should know. We found that calling cards purchased in the US do not work in Jamaica. I'm not sure why.

    Our last trip we took our laptop and used Skype to video chat with our daughter every day. It worked well, was free and it's not a problem getting a laptop through the airport. Just put it throught the x-ray machines seperately, out of the carrying case. The only downside was that it was one more thing to carry. We plan on taking our laptop again next trip.
    Last edited by NeedBlueWater; May 29th, 2011 at 08:59 AM. Reason: Adding info RE resort connection fee.
    Happy & Safe Travels!


  7. #7


    Thanks much for the responses!

    Will definitely check out the calling cards when we get there. We also loaded Skype on the home Mac computer last night, her laptop, & the Ipod touches. Very cool, not like the older days of ICQ. She's a little reluctant taking her laptop on the trip for fear of it getting damaged or stolen, but hey, you only live once and I say no worries!

  8. #8


    Has anyone used Facetime on an iPod or iPhone to talk to people in the States?
    T.O. & Mia
    CSS - June 17-23, 2011 Weddingmoon!
    CSS - June 19-23, 2012

  9. #9


    No calling cards at CSS last year.
    Hubby says as long as it's less than 5 minutes, which is too short for grandma! lol, we will be fine calling every few days.
    He didn't want to do the skype, even tho I though it was a great idea.
    He said grandma will just have to be okay w/ a few calls while we are dad, papaw, will be helping, as well, but mom does most of the work.....

    CSA 2009, 2014 [20th anniversary]
    CSS 2010
    CN 2011
    CTI 2017 [50th birthday & 23rd anniversary], 2019 [25th anniversary]

  10. #10


    We bought a calling card at home before we went to Jamaica last trip, you just have to make sure it will work for International travel. This trip we plan on using Skype, but will carry a calling card for back-up.

  11. #11


    I've done some research and made some calls. I will be using my unlocked Blackberry in CSA when we go in July, you can go to DigiCell in town in Negril, they are the biggest cellular company in Jamaica and offer great deals. With any unlock phone, just buy a SIM card from Digicell (about $590 JMD = ~$7 CAD) pop it in your phone, then get their prepaid cards ($499 jmd for 1 week, $$899 jmd for 2 weeks etc.) Don't forget, this is in Jamaican dollars, so make sure you convert to USD or CAD, we're from Canada.

    They even have Blackberry service for Blackberry phones and the prepaid includes data and voice for the week when you get the prepaid cards. For us to call back to Canada from Jamaica via their sim card, it's only $17.75 jmd per minute (.20 cents CAD) and SMS is $6 jmd per txt. This is amazingly cheap, even cheaper then our regular rate here in Canada, go figure.

    So basically, for $18 CAD, I will have a Digicel SIM card and 1 week's worth of prepaid voice/data and .20 cents CAD per minute long distance back home to Canada and .05 cents per SMS to Canada. We figure with the calls and sms, I will probably only spend about $25 for the week we are there for cell usage including data, can't beat that.

    We will also be bringing our netbook and using Skype with our kids at home. Definitely call Digicel if you want to find out the details. The fees I've mentioned are based on Blackberry users, might be cheaper if you're not using data and just voice. The have stores in Montego Bay as well as an outlet in the Coral Seas Plaza in Negril.

    Here's their website:

    Good luck!

  12. #12


    I am currently deployed overseas right now and I use Magicjack to be able to keep in touch with my family and friends back home. It is about $50.00 for both the device and 1 year of service. As long as you have an internet connection you are good to go. It works really well and there are no delays from the time you speak to the time the person hears you. Plus you can take this with you anywhere you go.
    Live it up, have fun, and don't sweat the small stuff!

  13. #13


    We take our laptop and are able to Skype -- not only voice but also video. Works great. And the rooms have a safe that is large enough to put the laptop so no problem re security. As mentioned above, all of the Couples resorts have Internet cafes where you can send e-mail, facebook, etc. It's all good...

  14. #14


    We used Skype on my iPod touch last week and it worked great! You can't receive calls but we were able to call the kids as much as we wanted. We called everyday, sometimes twice due to the storms, and still have almost $7 of our $10 credit!

  15. #15


    We used skype to great success.

  16. #16


    We found calling cards did NOT work at CSS. We took our netbook and used Gmail's phone system - worked GREAT called home(to US) everyday for free! You must have gmail email account to call out to any phone number in USA, really easy!!!

  17. #17


    We used a PC with webcam from CSS in December. Skype to Skype. Unlimited free videochat or skype to skype voice only is free as well.

  18. #18


    I second the magic jack as suggested by MTNMAN.

    We used it through our laptop which was accessing the free wifi. Never had any major issues. Plus, you get to pick your phone number from the geographical area of your choosing when you sign up, so everyone calls a local number to get in touch with us in Jamaica.

  19. #19



  20. #20


    Quote Originally Posted by T.O.&Mia View Post
    Has anyone used Facetime on an iPod or iPhone to talk to people in the States?
    That's what I suggest if you have the equipment. It worked well at CSA and it's free because it just uses wifi.

  21. #21

    Default texting?

    I have Verizon as well, anyone know about texting rates? What about data usage?

  22. #22


    2 years ago, had no txting.
    CN-July 2006
    CSA-July 2009
    CSA-July 2011

    Eat, Drink, and be Merry for tomorrow you may die.

  23. #23


    I really must be the odd one. In 20 + years of traveling I have called home 3 times for emergencies. When I am on vacation I am on vacation. No contact with anyone. MeMaw raised her 4 kids, including ME, She is capable to take care of the boys for 2 weeks. They are spoiled to death by the time we get back and I wonder if they even missed us.

    LEAVE all of the gadgets at home. If an emergency arises then pick up the phone and call. The worst thing happen to us with my FIL passing away. We dealt with it with the phone in the room.

  24. #24


    We use email or Skype with our netbook. or emailed using the resort computer room.

  25. #25


    Totally agree!! It's 1 week, the kids will love us even more when we get back and vice versa

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