Communication has changed pretty rapidly, in years gone by it would be hugely expensive to call home. You’d have to probably find yourself some kind of pay phone and buy a phone card and then hope you’ve got enough credit on your phone card for more than a sentence’s worth of conversation. Thankfully, these days, the Internet has made staying in touch easier than ever before – and more affordable too. Here are some suggestions of how to call home overseas when you’re on the road or an expat far from home.
Look into international calling services:
There are lots of different international calling services that you can use and it will depend heavily on what kind of phone you have, whether you’re traveling with a laptop or tablet and what you need it for. You might find yourself buying online phone cards, or you might just rather use an app instead. It’s all up to you – but there are a few options you need to consider.
Depending on where you’re from and where you’re traveling to, chances are roaming charges are going to be through the roof. Unless you can put it as a business expense, I wouldn’t suggest this as your first option as it tends to be outrageously expensive. This is a good option in case of an emergency, but otherwise stay away. I’ve heard of people racking up five figure bills in a matter of days overseas.
Use Your Smart Phones:
Smart phones are really changing everything; they’re essentially a small, pocket sized computer. You can download apps that you let you make free calls from Android or iPhone saving you time while still allowing you to use your phone as a phone. The only real requirement to use your for international calls with an app is that you have either a WIFI network or you pay for local data with a local sim. Either option works well, although there are numerous benefits to having a local sim card, as you’ll be able to use it all the time.
Calling collect is a good option only really in case of an emergency and it means you’re reversing the calling charges so whoever answers the phone will have to pay them. If you’re in an emergency and there’s absolutely no time for you to find another way to call, this is a good option but you’ll find it very expensive compared to using an app for a smartphone or even calling directly from computer-to-computer.
There are so many ways to call your friends and family when you’re overseas, but not all options are created equal. Personally, I prefer to buy a local sim and contact people via the Internet, through smartphone app. This saves costs and hassle, but ensures I can still be contacted at any time, especially in case of an emergency.