I want to get a phone that I can use outside the United States. What should I look for?

First, make sure you get a GSM phone with a SIM card so you can have service worldwide.  Without a SIM, you will be limited to North America and some countries in the Far East.  Second, make sure that the phone supports the “frequency bands” that are used abroad.  Ask the store or check on the manufacturer’s Web site.  Third, check with your service provider to see if they have “roaming agreements” in the countries where you are going, so you can use the other network when traveling there.  Those three things are needed for you to make and receive calls anywhere in the world, and to be billed accurately for them.  While you check the availability of roaming from your service provider, you might want to check the rates of the airtime minutes.  They vary depending on the country and tend to be very high compared to your rates at home.