Many convenience groceries and packaging services sell prepaid calling cards in denominations up to $50; for international visitors these can be the least expensive way to call home. Many public pay phones at airports now accept American Express, MasterCard, and Visa credit cards. Local calls made from pay phones in most locales cost either 25¢ or 35¢ (no pennies, please). Most long-distance and international calls can be dialed directly from any phone. For 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 very expensive -- usually a charge of 95¢ to $3 or more per minute, and they sometimes have minimum charges that can run as high as $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 local directory assistance ("information"), dial tel. 411; for long-distance information, dial 1, then the appropriate area code and tel. 555-1212.
A new law in Massachusetts prohibits texting while driving. It also prohibits all cellphone use for those under the age of 18.
You will see numerous cellphone towers on the Cape, and most of the region has pretty good cellphone service. Exceptions are Woods Hole and the Outer Cape, particularly Truro and Provincetown. Verizon seems to have the best cellphone coverage of all the carriers.
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. 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 your phone won't work, rent one from InTouch USA (tel. 800/872-7626; www.intouchglobal.com) or a rental car location, but beware that you'll pay $1 a minute or more for airtime.
Internet & Wi-Fi
Most Cape and island towns have at least one cybercafe; check with your innkeeper or the local chamber of commerce to find the closest one. Almost all public libraries have free Internet access. In addition, almost all inns have free Wi-Fi. Two towns -- Falmouth and Orleans -- have free Wi-Fi zones in their downtown areas.
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.