You want an unlocked phone. To ensure compatibility worldwide, pick quad-band GSM phones over the other types. Make sure its GSM and not CDMA technology. One easy way to tell is that GSM phones use SIM cards and CDMA phones don’t.
Regular phone or smartphone?
The answer to this is easy, get both! Use a smartphone as your main phone, and keep a regular phone as a backup.
My favorite choice is an unlocked iPhone because its like a portable computer in your pocket and I have an app for everything already. For instance, here is a link to what I used abroad with my iPad last year.
The main advantages of the a regular phone are not to be overlooked:
- Inexpensive to purchase, inexpensive to operate
- Battery life
- It always works