Best New Hotel Amenity? Free Smartphones for International Travelers.

Finally, an end to data and roaming charges while abroad

By Kirk Miller

 
handy
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13 August 2018

Sure, everyone and their mother — including ours (Hi Mom, no, don’t text me) — has a smartphone at this point.

But when you visit another country, you may have to buy a local SIM card or contact your carrier so you can actually get phone service ... which might come with a daily fee, roaming charges or data caps.

Thankfully, the U.S. is finally offering a free calling solution for foreign travelers that the rest of the world has seemingly enjoyed for years.

Handy (not the handyman app) has been providing free smartphones for visitors to Asia and Europe for a while now. The Android caller acts as a remote/concierge/portal, enabling guests to control their TV, lighting and temperature in their hotel rooms, as well as order housekeeping, room service or spa treatments, all from their handset. It can also serve as a key.

handy

As well, guests can use handy like, well, a phone. It offers free global calling and data use, which hotels can subsidize by offering customized city guides and guest-specific discounts and services.

Available in more than 650,000 rooms worldwide, handy is now also available at the NoMo SoHo Hotel in New York, the first time it’s been offered in the United States. Besides the above-mentioned perks, the NoMo handy arrives with a personalized NYC phone number, as well as the ability to download apps and upload photos to social media. All info is erased after your stay.

Given the price of hotel rooms in New York, having a free phone, concierge and city guide at your fingertips might provide a real incentive to visit. And while they're crowding us out on this side of the pond, we now have a similar incentive to head over to Europe.

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