In general, making an international phone call is fairly easy. It might be free or it might be pretty expensive; however, the process is relatively simple.
When calling from one country to another
There are several sets of numbers that you will need to dial in succession
First, dial the International Exit Code (aka International Direct Dial codes) for the country you are calling from. Each country has a number which allows the dialer to make an international call from their country. For many countries, this number is 00. For the USA, it is 011.
Helpful hint – Use the + sign in place of the International Exit Code when dialing from a mobile phone
For mobile or cell phones, the + sign can be dialed in place of the country’s exit code.
Next, dial the Country Code for the country that you are calling. If someone has a USA phone number, you would dial a 1 regardless if they were currently in the USA or traveling in Europe.
Lastly, dial the Phone Number of the person or company that you are calling.
Simply stated –
Dial…International Exit Code…Country Code…Phone Number
To make things a little simpler, mobile phone technology allows the caller to dial a + instead of the International Exit Code. With a mobile (cell) phone, you would
Dial…+…Country Code…Phone Number
When calling a phone number within the country you are in (a domestic call)
When calling a phone number within the country you are in (also called making a domestic call), you do not dial the Exit Code, nor do you dial the Country Code. Since you are already on that country’s telephone network, you just dial the local number. In some cases, you will need to first dial the Trunk Code for that country. For many of the countries that use one, the Trunk Code is either 0 or 1.
Simply stated –
Dial…Trunk Code (if applies)…Phone Number
Sometimes when phone numbers are stated, for instance a hotel’s local number as stated on their website, it might include the Trunk Code for that country. Many times, the Trunk Code will be stated at the beginning of a phone number. If you see a phone number starting with a zero, that will be the Trunk Code and should be omitted if dialing in from abroad. Only include and dial the Trunk Code when you are already in the country dialing a phone number within the same country.
North American Numbering Plan
The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) is an integrated telephone numbering plan that includes 20 North American countries. These countries include: United States and its territories, Canada, Bermuda, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Sint Maarten, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks & Caicos. All 20 countries use 1 as their country code and then have a 10-digit number. The first three is the area code and the remaining seven is the phone number. For instance, if you are in Los Angeles, CA, you would dial a phone number in the Dominican Republic the same as you would a phone number in Northern California (1-XXX-XXX-XXXX).
Travel tips for dialing internationally
See the list of Exit Codes, Country Codes and Trunk Codes for each country. There is also some easy to understand information about calling abroad.
The + should be visible on your cell phone’s keypad. On my iPhone 4S, it is located on the “0” key. To get a 0 you just press the key. To get the + you press the 0 key and hold it down until the + displays. After the +, dial the country code and then the phone number.
If you are in a country wanting to dial a number within that country (e.g. dialing a local restaurant), it does not matter if you are using your normal cell phone that has a USA number or an unlocked phone that has a local SIM card, you dial the local phone number the same way – Trunk Code (if applicable) and then the Phone Number. Keep in mind the call will be cheaper for the unlocked phone using the local SIM card.
There are a number of ways to simplify calling.
One is to enter the + when setting up any phone numbers in your contacts list. When you depress the contact name, the + will automatically be included when the number is dialed. This will have no impact when dialing contacts when you are home and not traveling.
Some phones such as the iPhone have a feature that will automatically add the necessary information to the numbers in your contact list when calling from abroad. On the iPhone 4S for example, under Settings, then Phone, turn on Dial Assist.
If you are using your normal cell phone and cell phone carrier while traveling in a foreign country, someone trying to reach you should just call your phone number as they normally do. If you have a SIM card, you will have a phone number different than your normal one. If the phone number is a foreign number, someone, from the USA, trying to reach you will have to dial the USA Exit Code which is 011, then the Country Code of your new number, then the phone number. If your new phone number is a U.S. phone number, they would dial it as normal (1, the area code and then the phone number).