Many convenience stores 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 usually cost 50¢. 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 411; for long-distance information, dial 1, then the appropriate area code and 555-1212.
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 major cities, but take a look at your wireless company's coverage map on its website before heading out.
You can rent a cellphone from Roberts Rent-A-Phone (tel. 800/964-2468; www.roberts-rent-a-phone.com).
Internet & E-Mail
With Your Own Computer -- Checking e-mail and getting online is easy just about everyplace in Maryland and Delaware. Wireless connectivity is available throughout both states -- a little more difficult to find at the beach and a few B&Bs, but only just a little. Free Wi-Fi is most often available in the less expensive chain hotels, B&Bs, and small business hotels. Even in the pricier places, free Wi-Fi is usually available in the lobby or other public spaces. Most larger hotels also have business centers with printers and computers, so visitors can check their e-mail and print out their boarding passes to go home. Internet connectivity is listed with each hotel throughout this guide, if it is available.
Most laptops sold today have built-in wireless capability. To find public Wi-Fi hot spots at your destination, go to www.jiwire.com; its Wi-Fi Finder holds the world's largest directory of public wireless hot spots. Many hotels in the U.S. now also offer free high-speed Internet access.
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 -- Most major airports have Internet kiosks that provide basic Internet access for a per-minute fee that's usually higher than cybercafe prices. Also check out such copy shops as FedEx Office, which offers computer stations with fully loaded software (as well as Wi-Fi). Public libraries are also good places to get online.
For help locating cybercafes and other establishments where you can go for Internet access, visit www.cybercaptive.com and www.cybercafe.com.
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.