OK; I want to reap the benefits of SO, but also be able to use my phone on future trips in Europe or maybe even Asia.
I'm thinking buy an SO phone/SIM package and then a better quad GSM phone?? Is this the best way?
Yes. You can get something like the Motorola RAZR for $100 or less. Then buy SIMs in the countries you will be visiting or get an "international" SIM like Mobal or United Mobile. That's what I've been doing for the past couple of years. See also http://www.prepaidgsm.net/forum/