Pilgrimage is supposed to be about detaching from your everyday life. However, when that pilgrimage involves coordinating large groups of people, getting to specific sites at specific times, and figuring out where things are, a little bit of connectivity is good thing.
Pilgrims thinking of bringing a cell phone to Madrid will soon realize the per minute costs of making even of short phone call while “roaming” can be painful to the pocketbook. A fairly inexpensive alternative can be buying a local cell phone.
There are two options: 1. bring your own unlocked, tri-band cellphone, and buy a local SIM card to pop into the cell phone. SIM cards cost about 15 euros (or 20 dollars) . That SIM card usually comes with about 5 euros of airtime, enough to send a whole whack of text messages (called “SMS” here) or make a couple short phone calls. 2. buy a phone with SIM card upon arrival. Costs can vary but I know of people who managed to buy phone with SIM card for 19 euros, airtime included.
Do your research before arriving to see which one of Spain’s four cell phone service providers has the best deal for you.