Low Cost Calls and Other Ways to Stay in Touch with Loved Ones in the USA

Oct 12

Low Cost Calls and Other Ways to Stay in Touch with Loved Ones in the USA

When you’re feeling a bit lost half way around the world nothing can make you feel more at home than a chat with a loved one back in the States. The truth is, however, that whether you are working abroad, travelling internationally or studying overseas, staying in touch with the folks back home can be difficult.

To kick things off there is that old bugbear of the international time difference that means you may be fresh and full of life but those you call are groggy and bleary eyed. What really makes things hard, though, is the cost. Wherever you roam there are those roaming charges that make keeping in touch just so expensive.

For all those homesick travellers, here are a few cheap and easy ways to stay in touch with your friends and family whilst abroad.

Social networking

http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcbel/5260279819/

Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are great for letting people know what you have been up to and share photos, videos and thoughts. They are free to use but can provide priceless smiles as you share what you are doing and keep up with what they are up to.

Instant messaging (IM)

IM is now available through Facebook but there are countless other possibilities such as Windows Live Messenger. An IM exchange is like a phone call with typos and a great way to keep in touch and really feel the presence of loved ones.

Skype

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gbsk/4157046107/

If access to broadband is not an issue the online VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services offered by Skype are probably one of your best bets. In addition to IM to other Skype users, there are long distance phone calls and video calls to your loved ones back in the States. The best thing is that they are available at no cost to you whatsoever. You can really get a taste of life back home when you Skype your family before you retire at night and see your sister half made-up with the mad morning rush going on behind her.

Other VoIP services

Project 365 #25: 250109 It's Good to Talk!

Services like those to be found on the Vonage site can harness the low cost of VoIP calls but enable you to make cheap calls to America from any telephone that has an accessible broadband router nearby.

As an example of the savings that are available let’s take an American studying at an English university. With the VoIP service offered by companies like Vonage they could talk as often as they wished to family and friends in the States and know that it will not cost the earth for those back home to call them. Unlimited call packages to landlines and mobiles in the States are available for just £7.99 a month and these allow you to take an American ‘virtual phone number’which means the folks back home can get in touch for just the price of a local call.

It need not cost the earth

If you think smart it really need not cost to the earth to keep in touch wherever you happen to be on the earth. With the internet, an instant response from home is never very far away.