Payphones – do we need them?

Every time, I cross payphones at the corner of the road, in a station or an airport with gum stuck on to them, I have always wondered if people still use them! In the age that we live, where even a five year old has the swanky new iPhone, I was under the impression that this particular piece is more of a reminder of our humble beginnings…till last week in Switzerland, when I actually had to figure out how to use one!


A opportunity to see a new country can leave anyone bubbling with excitement. Sometimes, you get a little too carried away (or maybe its just me). After making sure I have everything on my checklist for my trip, off I went to catch my flight! I have been so used to using Matrix sim cards while travelling from India, that I forgot to find out if my cards/cell phones etc. will need additional calls to make it work in other countries. How naive of me! I assumed that with the power of a credit card, I will be rescued from any given situation.

credit cards payphones

So, it was when I landed in Switzerland, did I found that my brand new phone is a locked one! That means I can’t simply buy a new sim at the airport! To worsen this, all the wi-fi networks required a number to connect! I did not have Tanveer’s phone number nor did I have the hotel name (talk about being too comfortable while travelling).  I had to get in touch with him desperately to let him know by which train I was reaching Geneva. I was even contemplating asking some strangers if I could use their phone to dial an international number!


That is when I saw the badly maintained, dirty payphone! I had never used one in my life as I seriously considered them old- fashioned. I tried pushing in all the coins I had through every little crevice (all the instructions were in German!). I even tried pushing my credit card in through some slots and finally got it working. I had just enough money to speak for 30 seconds and I managed to convey my message to my brother who in turn contacted Tanveer.

Only to realize somethings never go out of need and never be too comfortable while travelling.

4 thoughts on “Payphones – do we need them?

  1. I miss the days of payphones. There used to be phone and computer centers around too, so you didn’t have to travel loaded down by that stuff. I have a special (non-smart phone) from Mobal now, but it charges a ton of money per call. Maybe I should go on the sim card system like you!

  2. Pingback: Do You Ever Have Enough Money To Travel? | Chasing Sunsets

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