National Geographic Xplorer: Costly convenience

A ready-made travel solution, the National Geographic Xplorer's convenience does not come cheap.

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National Geographic Xplorer
Josh Miller

The National Geographic Xplorer may not look like much beyond its rugged exterior (and neat flashlight button!), but hidden within the rough 'n' tumble feature phone is a special SIM card that makes the Xplorer a certain traveler's ideal companion.

The Talk Abroad service imbues the SIM with both a U.S. and U.K. phone number, which helps North American sojourners communicate with contacts at home and abroad. Calls are significantly pricier than more conventional solutions for international dialing, and costs can add up.

While the handset itself is nothing special features-wise, the calling capabilities are handy and reliable. Unfortunately, it doesn't come cheap. Still, the Talk Abroad service will appeal to a specific demographic looking for peace of mind when away from home.