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International Phone Calls - Dialing Tips for Travelers

What you need to know about international dialing conventions


Young woman making phone call using smartphone
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Phoning Europe from the US

What are all those numbers? Hold on, help is on the way.

Anatomy of a European Phone Number - Breaking the Telephone Code

First, you will need to know what the sections of a phone number mean. Let's say you want to make reservations at Florence's famed Uffizi Gallery. You will see the number on their web site:


You may sometimes see it written:

(++39) 055 294883

(The single or double + reminds you to add your International Access Code, which for North America--the US and Canada--is 011.)

What do the numbers mean?

39 is the country code for Italy. 055 is the city or area code for Florence (Firenze). Note: Country Codes can vary from 2 to three digits. City codes in Italy can vary from 2 to 4 digits. The rest is the local telephone number, which also may vary in the number of digits.

So I want to call this number. What do I do?

You must add the International Access Code. For the US and Canada, this code is 011.

So to call the Uffizi and request tickets, you would dial:

011 39 055 294883


(Access Code) (Country Code) (Area or City Code) (Number)

Some countries don't use an area or city code, in which case you can omit this number.

Dialing North America from Europe:

Simple. To call home, just dial 001, then the American number (area code, then local number). The 00 is the direct-dialing prefix, and the 1 is the country code for North America (Canada and the US).


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