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Telephone

The country code for Austria is 43. To call Germany from the United States, dial the international access code 011, then 43, then the city code, then the regular phone number. Note: The phone numbers listed in this guide are to be used within Austria; when calling from abroad, omit the initial 0 in the city code.

For directory assistance: Dial tel. 1611 if you're looking for a number inside Austria, and dial tel. 1613 for numbers to all other countries.

For operator assistance: If you need operator assistance in making a call, dial tel. 0180/200-1033.

Local and long-distance calls may be placed from all post offices and from most public telephone booths, about half of which operate with phone cards, the others with coins. Phone cards are sold at post offices and newsstands in denominations of 6€ to 25€ (US$9.60-US$40). Rates are measured in units rather than minutes. The farther the distance, the more units are consumed. Telephone calls made through hotel switchboards can double, triple, or even quadruple the base charges at the post office, so be alert to this before you dial. In some instances, post offices can send faxes for you, and many hotels offer Internet access -- for free or for a small charge -- to their guests.

Austrian phone numbers are not standard. In some places, numbers have as few as three digits. In cities, one number may have five digits, whereas the phone next door might have nine. Austrians also often hyphenate their numbers differently. But since all the area codes are the same, these various configurations should have little effect on your phone usage once you get used to the fact that numbers vary from place to place.

Be careful dialing toll-free numbers. Many companies maintain a service line beginning with 0180. However, these lines might appear to be toll free but really aren't, costing .12€ (US19¢) per minute. Other numbers that begin with 0190 carry a surcharge of 1.85€ (US$3) per minute -- or even more. Don't be misled by calling a 1-800 number in the United States from Austria. This is not a toll-free call but costs about the same as an overseas call.

To call the U.S. or Canada from Austria, dial 01, followed by the country code (1), then the area code, and then the number. Alternatively, you can dial the various telecommunication companies in the States for cheaper rates. From Austria, the access number for AT&T is tel. 0800/8880010, for MCI tel. 0800/8888000. USA Direct can be used with all telephone cards and for collect calls. The number from Austria is tel. 013/00010. Canada Direct can be used with Bell Telephone Cards and for collect calls. This number from Austria is tel. 013/00014.

If you're calling from a public pay phone in Austria, you must deposit the basic local rate.

Toll-free numbers: Numbers beginning with 08 and followed by 00 are toll-free. But be careful. Numbers that begin with 08 followed by 36 carry a .35€ (US55¢) surcharge per minute.

Cellphones

The three letters that define much of the world's wireless capabilities are GSM (Global System for Mobiles), a big, seamless network that makes for easy cross-border cellphone use. In general reception is good. But you'll need a Scriber identity Module Card (SIM). This is a small chip that gives you a local phone number and plugs you into a regional network. In the U.S., T-Mobile, AT&T Wireless, and Cingular use this quasi-universal system; in Canada, Microcell and some Rogers customers are GSM, and all Europeans and most Australians use GSM. Unfortunately, per-minute charges can be high -- usually US$1 to US$1.50 in western Europe.

For many, renting a phone is a good idea. While you can rent a phone from any number of overseas sites, including kiosks at airports and at car-rental agencies, we suggest renting the phone before you leave home. North Americans can rent one before leaving home from InTouch USA (tel. 800/872-7626 or 703/222-7161; www.intouchglobal.com) or RoadPost (tel. 888/290-1616 or 905/272-5665; www.roadpost.com). InTouch will also, for free, advise you on whether your existing phone will work overseas.

Buying a phone can be economically attractive, as many nations have cheap prepaid phone systems. Once you arrive at your destination, stop by a local cellphone shop and get the cheapest package; you'll probably pay less than US$100 for a phone and a starter calling card. Local calls may be as low as 10¢ per minute, and in many countries incoming calls are free.

Internet & E-Mail

With Your Own Computer -- More and more hotels, cafes, and retailers are signing on as Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) "hot spots." Mac owners have their own networking technology: Apple AirPort. T-Mobile Hotspot (www.t-mobile.com/hotspot or www.t-mobile.co.uk) serves up wireless connections at coffee shops nationwide. Boingo (www.boingo.com) and Wayport (www.wayport.com) have set up networks in airports and high-class hotel lobbies. iPass providers also give you access to a few hundred wireless hotel lobby setups. To locate other hot spots that provide free wireless networks in cities in Austria, go to www.jiwire.com.

For dial-up access, most business-class hotels offer dataports for laptop modems, and a few thousand hotels in Austria now offer free high-speed Internet access. In addition, major Internet service providers (ISPs) have local access numbers around the world, allowing you to go online by placing a local call. The iPass network also has dial-up numbers around the world. You'll have to sign up with an iPass provider, who will then tell you how to set up your computer for your destination(s). For a list of iPass providers, go to www.ipass.com and click on "Individuals Buy Now." One solid provider is i2roam (tel. 866/811-6209 or 920/233-5863; www.i2roam.com).

Wherever you go, bring a connection kit of the right power and phone adapters, a spare phone cord, and a spare Ethernet network cable -- or find out whether your hotel supplies them to guests.

Without Your Own Computer -- To find cybercafes check www.cybercaptive.com and www.cybercafe.com. Cybercafes are found in all large Austrian cities, especially Vienna and Salzburg. But they do not tend to cluster in any particular neighborhoods because of competition. They are spread out, but can be found on almost every business street in large cities.

Aside from formal cybercafes, most youth hostels and public libraries have Internet access. Avoid hotel business centers unless you're willing to pay exorbitant rates.

Most major airports now have Internet kiosks scattered throughout their gates. These give you basic Web access for a per-minute fee that's usually higher than cybercafe prices.

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.