The National Geographic Xplorer is a new pay-as-you-go cell phone...

The National Geographic Xplorer is a new pay-as-you-go cell phone with a global SIM card that works worldwide. The rugged handset is waterproof and has a built-in FM radio, flashlight and external speakers. It comes with $29 credit of outgoing calls and a battery charger with international plugs.

An interesting idea for globe-trotters — National Geographic and Cellular Abroad have introduced a new pay-as-you-go mobile phone that works in more than 200 countries.

For $179, customers get a Samsung B2100 Xplorer handset, two always-active phone numbers (one U.S.-based, one United Kingdom-based) and a global SIM card with $29 of outgoing call credit. More compelling: There’s no monthly fee for the service, and incoming calls are free in about 70 countries, which makes this a viable way for parents and kids to remain in touch during semesters abroad or school/business trips.

Before you buy, research the per-minute calling rates using the calculator at and consider whether the investment is less costly than the international rates you’d pay through your regular mobile carrier.

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