You've just arrived to the United States and you want to tell your parents that you are here. Or maybe you've been emailing your best friend from back home but you are missing the sound of their voice. You want to call but international phone charges are too expensive. What are your options?
VoIP (Voice-over Internet Protocol) is currently the most popular way for visitors to communicate internationally, and Skype is one of the best-known VoIP services. Skype will allow you to communicate for free with anyone in the world with a Skype account and a computer microphone. Video chat is available now as well.
You can also make calls to telephones overseas for a small fee. These fees are generally much lower than a traditional telephone long distance call.
Google is a recent entrant to the VoIP business. They offer a voice over Internet service similar to Skype and integrate their voice features with their email service, video chat and SMS. Google voice calls to telephones also carry fees that are comparable to Skype and can be cheaper depending on where you are calling.
Both Skype and Google make applications for smart phones, including Android-based phones and iPhones. A smart phone app will allow you to use these services without having to sit in front of your computer.
VoIP is the preferred option for most international visitors but it is not the only one available to you. Phone Cards are still popular for some visitors. They are a quick and easy way to make affordable calls overseas. You can buy a phone card online or at a local store. You can usually buy them in $5, $10 or $20 denominations. If for some reason you do not have access to a dependable Internet connection, phone cards are a good way to make reasonably priced international calls. Be sure to find a card with a low connection fee or no fee at all in order to maximize the minutes on your card.
Finally, cell phones or landline phones with long distance services are still available for visitors who intend to make frequent calls overseas. Paying a flat rate for unlimited international calls can prove cost effective over time for some. Contact InterExchange Career Training USA to request information about receiving signing up for a discounted international cell phone plan through Fonepool.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.