When traveling I use this phone:http://www.vonage.com/device.php?type=F1000
I use it with my Vonage Internet telephone service which has free calling to the US and Canada (yes, that's right even when I am in Europe I can call home and talk to the wife and kids, or anyone else, for free).
I can usually call anywhere within Europe for 0.04 to 0.05 cents per minute.
The only downside is I have to be at an WIFI hotspot, but it seems like most hotels and cafes now have WIFI so that is much less of a problem. I don't use the phone much so it works well for me and the cost is super cheap. But if you want the phone for security, car breakdowns or the like, get an international cell phone.
Another plus is that when I travel I can take the phone with me and use it to make and receive calls to my home or work (but not both it is a single line phone). It is a bit strange to be sitting in a cafe in Radda in Chianti and having your neighbor from the US call and say, "I thought you were in Europe . . . Well, I just wanted to find out if the kids were going to be skiing over spring break?"
The response is priceless: "I am, they are, I'll be back in a week and we can nail down the specifics." This is usually met with a bit of fluster but my life has become pretty seamless, which is nice.
I am glad Vlad is holding out on connecting with a wireless phone. It shows real machismo a true tough guy. I remember him saying to me, "I don't need no stinking phuphu cell phone. I write real letters with a quill pen and take photos with a daguerreotype camera, my horse drawn cart is just fine and I don't need no stinking jet, the steam ship is better and more reliable." And don't ask him about those fancy new ski lift contraptions thingy’s. He will just bite your head off.