Making overseas phone calls

When calling the US from Europe, remember that European rates for overseas telephone calls are considerably higher than US rates - especially since the cost of overseas calls from the US was cut by 35 percent about a year ago. To circumvent this expense, experienced travelers quickly give the number where they are staying to the person they're calling, and ask to be called back.

If you call from your hotel, be sure to ask in advance what surcharge will be placed on your call, as these can be quite high. AT&T claims that surcharges ranging from 100 percent to 300 percent of the cost of the call are not uncommon. To combat this problem, the company is promoting a program it calls Teleplan, an agreement with hotel groups to limit their surcharges. Rates vary from hotel to hotel, but the range is $1 to $10 per call. Hotel chains participating in the plan include Comfort Hotels International in the UK, France , and the Netherlands; Inter-Hotels, Switzerland; Novotel Hotels in Germany and Austria; Mandarin International; the Panama National Hotel Association; the hotel associations of Ireland, Israel, and Portugal; Hilton International Hotels; Marriott Hotels; the Golden Tulip Hotels in Holland; the Lygon Arms Hotel in Broadway, England; and the Ledra Hotel in Cyprus.

If you can not conveniently call from your hotel, most post offices in Europe will place a call for you. By the way, placing an overseas collect call is very time-consuming; and some hotels won't do it at all.

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