Back in the early 2000s, my wife and I started traveling internationally again, first as a couple and then with the kids each year. One of the big problems was connectivity: our cellphones wouldn’t work in Europe unless we spent a lot of money and, even then, data was out of the question. I recall driving into East Boston ahead of a May 2003 trip to Germany to pick up a rental Nokia handset that we could use overseas to check in on our kids while we were away; they were staying with different grandparents. To find the place with the rental phone, I had printed out directions from MapQuest on paper. It was a different era.
A year or two later, my wife gave me a similar European-compatible candy bar-shared phone so that we would have a phone in Europe, the idea being that we’d pick up a local SIM card wherever we were traveling and just use that for the duration.