International travel can be both exhilarating and stressful. But it can be more of the latter when you come home to a thousand dollar phone bill.
Yes, international calls can take a serious dent off your finances if you’re not careful. Luckily, there are ways of using your phone abroad without going broke. Even luckier, we’ll be teaching you how to do it. Read on to find out.
Calls Over Wifi
The internet has been the greatest innovation of the 20th century. One of its most awesome contribution to mankind is connectivity. Calling anyone around the world is a lot easier and cheaper over wifi or mobile data. In fact, it can even be free.
If you go to Google’s Playstore or Apple’s Appstore, you will see an assortment of apps that offer free calls to anyone. That is as long as they have an account in their platform and are connected to the internet. Here are some of the most popular free call apps:
This is a free call and conferencing app that offers free calls to anyone with a Skype account. Apart from the regular voice calls, you can also do video calls. If the person you’re calling doesn’t have Skype, you can always call their mobile or landline. It’s not free though and rates can be a little steep than most calling apps.
If you have a Facebook account, you don’t have to create another one for Messenger. Just download the app, log-in with your account and you can start calling people. Provided they have a Facebook account and are on wifi or mobile data.
Another free calling app that you can check out is Viber. Like Skype, it offers free voice and video calls. Unlike the previous two, you won’t need an email app to create an account but you’ll need a mobile number. This is what you will use to call and receive calls within the app. You can call mobile and landline numbers too like Skype but it can be pretty costly.
If you are using iPhone, iPad or Mac devices, you can use Facetime to call friends abroad. This app is designed and distributed by Apple so naturally, it only works on iOS devices. Voice and video calls are free but you won’t be able to call non-iOS users and mobile or landline numbers.
Calls Without Internet
No matter how mighty the internet is, it still has its setbacks. For instance, its not available in all corners of the world. Figuratively and literally.
For illustration purposes, let’s say you are scaling the Himalayan summits or exploring the Amazon jungles. Obtaining wifi or mobile data in those places can be like expecting rain in Gobi dessert – next to impossible. So how are you going to call abroad? Why, there’s still the ever trusty GSM phone. But an international call from a mobile phone can be terribly expensive.
Or what if while you’re on holiday, your card got blocked or cancelled. So you have to call your bank. Unfortunately, the only way to call them is through a landline number. Long distance calls, as you well know, can singe a hole through your wallet. So it’s not an option if you want to make cheap international calls. View MyLine’s International calling rates here.
Fret not. Here are other cheap ways of calling abroad that doesn’t involve being connected to the internet.
This is probably the oldest trick in the book, or method rather. Roaming, in technical terms, is when you use your local sim card to make and receive calls while abroad.
Most network providers offer roaming services. But to be sure that yours does, check their websites first. Strictly speaking, it’s not cheap. You are at the mercy of your network provider so of course it won’t be cheap. Plus they have to pay the cellular services provider in the country that you are in.
Some offer per-minute roaming call rates while others will tempt you with unlimited plans and bundles. Work out the math on where you can save more.
International Prepaid Calling Cards
Prepaid international calling cards are, in essence, debit accounts on phone calls. It’s a card which usually has a pre-loaded call minutes in different denominations. You can use it to call abroad from your mobile or landline device.
When you buy a prepaid card, you will be receive a PIN. It’s a combination of numbers that serves as a password. You need to dial it along with the access number and the destination phone number.
Nowadays, instead of buying an actual card, you can buy call credits online. You set-up an account, top it up then you will receive the PIN via email or SMS. The calling process remains the same.
Skype, Viber, Messenger and Facetime are apps that use the internet to transfer calls. There are, however, apps that don’t require an internet connection to function. With it, you can call abroad without relying on wifi or incurring data charges. They are also more convenient than using prepaid call cards or roaming plans. Not to mention that it’s a lot cheaper.
A widely-used calling app is MyLine. It’s available for both android and iOS devices. Not only that, they also have a WebRTC app that works on a Windows PC.
MyLine uses a pay-as-you-go model with no connection or activation fees. You only have to pay for the minutes you consumed. Unlike most calling service providers, it doesn’t bind you in a contract. Plus, the minutes you bought are valid for 180 days. You can also use your credit card to top up your account if it goes below the limit you set. It even offers free SMS to any international cellphone number.
With these tips on how to make cheap international calls, there’s one less thing to worry about during your holiday abroad.