Travelling with a cell phone question

So, I'm going to Italy for my honeymoon in September, and I have a few questions about cell phone service in Europe. I have an iPhone 4S through AT&T and my fiance has a Thunderbolt through Verizon. As hers is owned/paid for through her job, I don't think using that is an option. Can I use my phone while I'm over there? I mostly want email and maps, with a bit of translation mixed in. Should I buy an unlocked phone? Should I buy a burner when I get over there?

Thanks, in advance.

I believe you can have international service enabled for GSM phones like your 4s. Call AT&T and ask them about it.

Yeah, speak to your carrier first. And expect to be absolutely flayed alive on data costs so avoid 3G and precache maps when you can get a wifi signal.

Yeah, you can call AT&T and enable international service on it. Additionally, you can pay to add an international plan that gets you reduced-cost minutes when roaming internationally, but I'm not sure it saves you on data.

Even if it did, it's all pretty stupid expensive compared to a cheap local phone.

I upgraded to a 4S from a 3Gs and held on to the 3Gs so I could take advantage of the "out-of-contract" unlock, so now when I travel internationally I can rent a cheap sim.

Previously I'd been taking my ancient Android G1 dev phone (HTC Dream I think?) to do so.

In most of Europe, at least, you can usually find a prepaid SIM provider that will do unlimited (or lots of...) data for a week or even a month for €10-15. It is so nice being able to use as much data as you want for looking up maps, restaurants, etc.

If you don't want to spend the money on data access, I definitely recommend getting Offmaps. It lets you download OpenStreetMap data (including "points of interest" and, in some cities, travel guides) and use them offline.

I second the idea of getting a prepaid SIM while you're over there -- I don't know how practical it would be for you, since you'd need to get the iPhone unlocked, but if you could do that, it would make an excellent travel device, since it supports a whole bunch of GSM and 3G bands. When katisu and I traveled to the US last year, we got her carrier to unlock her 4S, and my HTC Desire was already unlocked, so we able to get AT&T prepaid SIMs and use the crap out of maps/web/email, which was super-handy.

If it's not an option to unlock the 4S, maybe look at a prepaid 3G WiFi hotspot -- you can get those for about $100 here with a bunch of data, so I bet in Europe they're just as cheap, if not cheaper. That'll give you cheap enough data access on both of your devices (at least while you're traveling together), and while you won't be able to make calls directly, you could use Skype for that.

3rd the above. Whenever I go to the US (from canada) I put a at&t sim in my phone and use there pay as you go service for voice/text and data. 25 $ roughly for a week instead of 500+ in roaming charges.