The general rule is to avoid getting international stuff from Verizon unless either someone else is paying or you really need to keep your US number (and there are other ways of doing that, but not always cheap either).
If you just need to make/receive calls, you can buy unlocked basic GSM phones fairly cheaply in the US or when you arrive and get a cheap GSM SIM. If you have a recent 4G phone, they are or will soon be global capable, and you just need to get a local SIM at your destination. And of course there are some 3G phones that are global (Droid 2 Global, Droid 3, Droid Pro and iphone 4s among others).
Using local SIMs really saves: UK example: Calls to US 10c per minute, Verizon rate 99c with monthly charge, $1.29 per min without. Data: 25MB for 15 cents, Verizon rate, 100MB for $25 (compared to 60c).