advertisement

Telephones

Local calls in Orlando require that you dial the area code (407) followed by the seven-digit local number, even when calling just across the street.

Many convenience groceries and packaging services sell prepaid calling cards in denominations up to $50. Many public pay phones at airports now accept American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. Local calls made from most pay phones cost either 25¢ or 35¢. Most long-distance and international calls can be dialed directly from any phone. To make calls within the United States and to Canada, dial 1 followed by the area code and the seven-digit number. For other international calls, dial 011 followed by the country code, city code, and the number you are calling.

Calls to area codes 800, 888, 877, and 866 are toll-free. However, calls to area codes 700 and 900 (chat lines, bulletin boards, "dating" services, and so on) can be expensive -- charges of 95¢ to $3 or more per minute. Some numbers have minimum charges that can run $15 or more.

For reversed-charge or collect calls, and for person-to-person calls, dial the number 0, then the area code and number; an operator will come on the line, and you should specify whether you are calling collect, person-to-person, or both. If your operator-assisted call is international, ask for the overseas operator.

For directory assistance ("Information"), dial 411 for local numbers and national numbers in the U.S. and Canada. For dedicated long-distance information, dial 1, then the appropriate area code plus 555-1212.

Mobile Phones

Just because your cellphone works at home doesn't mean it'll work everywhere in the U.S. (thanks to our nation's fragmented cellphone system). It's a good bet that your phone will work in Orlando, but take a look at your wireless company's coverage map on its website before heading out.

If you're not from the U.S., you'll be appalled at the poor reach of the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) wireless network, which is used by much of the rest of the world. Your phone will probably work in Orlando; it definitely won't work in many rural areas. To see where GSM phones work in the U.S., check out www.t-mobile.com/coverage. And you may or may not be able to send SMS (text messaging) home.

If you need to stay in touch and you know your phone won't work in Orlando, you can rent a phone that does from InTouch USA (tel. 800/872-7626; www.intouchglobal.com). Make arrangements in advance, as rentals aren't readily available within the Orlando area. Note that you'll pay $1 a minute or more for airtime in addition to the initial rental fee, and there are often significant restrictions (and high fees for overages) regarding the number of minutes available to you. If you only plan on making calls within the U.S., a good solution is to purchase a pay-as-you-go phone. They don't require a lengthy contract or monthly plan to use, and you pay only for the calls you make. Cricket (www.mycricket.com) and T-Mobile (www.t-mobile.com) are among the most widely known for offering this type of service; however, others (such as AT&T and Verizon) are beginning to jump on the bandwagon.

If you have Web access while traveling, consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP), such as Skype (www.skype.com) or Vonage (www.vonage.com), which allows you to make free international calls from your laptop or in a cybercafe. Neither service requires the people you're calling to also have that service (though there are fees if they do not). Check the websites for details.

Internet & Wi-Fi

The Orlando International Airport (now with its own 4G wireless network serviced by Verizon and AT&T), most Orlando area hotels, and a select number of local restaurants offer some form of Internet access (whether Wi-Fi or high-speed). Be prepared to pay a fee for the service (generally between $10-$13 for a 24-hour period -- though select hotels may offer short-term connections at a slightly lesser cost, with access often restricted to the lobby), unless you have a wireless card (with a valid subscription) allowing you access at any time, from anywhere. Several hotels, especially those catering to the business set, have public computers available to guests (fees vary) or in-room computers (some with Web TV, others with an actual computer station). T-Mobile, Wayport, and Boingo area among the most popular hot-spot providers (visit www.wi-fihotspotlist.com for a comprehensive list of both providers and properties in the area).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.