Whether you’re a mother worried about her kids back home, a freelancer finally taking a vacation, or a hard-working professional traveling for pleasure, it’s very important to be able to stay in touch with those back home.
A client may need to call you with an important update, your kids may need to contact you with the latest emergencies, or your home office will have to inform you of changes in your plans. Staying in touch while traveling can be hard, but here are some ways to stay connected.
Purchase or Rent a Satellite Phone
Did you know that you can rent a satellite phone to take with you on your trip for about $50? You’ll find that renting a satellite phone is actually quite easy and you’ll be able to call from — quite literally — anywhere in the world. You can also invest a few hundred dollars into purchasing a phone, though it’s only necessary to buy one if you plan to travel a lot. With a sat phone, you will never be incommunicado. It’s the best option when you are visiting a remote location.
Find Internet Cafes
The beauty of the modern world is that more and more people are upgrading their technology, and it’s almost impossible to stay offline for more than a day or two — unless you’re deep in the jungles of Africa or South America. You’ll find that almost every little town and village has an internet cafe, and most cities will have these cafes on nearly every city block. If you can’t find a Starbucks, a McDonald’s or another chain restaurant that offers you Wi-Fi, you can just get online at an internet cafe.
Pay Hotel Rates for Internet
You might be surprised at how much some hotels will charge you for Internet. Some hotels will charge you $10 to $20 per day for Internet; however, if you have to work in your hotel, it may be worth it to bite the bullet and pay for the added Wi-Fi charge. If you know you’re going to need an Internet connection, look into hotel prices before making your reservation. While one hotel might be cheaper, you may end up paying an additional fee for Wi-Fi. You might find a more expensive (and nicer) hotel with free Wi-Fi, so the price will be the same, you’ll get everything you need and you’ll have a more comfortable stay.
Use Your Own Phone
Your phone may have been bought back home, but you can always purchase a SIM card to insert into your phone and make it functional in another country. The SIM cards will cost you between $15 and $30 — depending on the country — and you’ll be able to use your phone as a local number. It will be all prepaid calling, so you may have to add credit every few days. You will only want to do this if you’re going to be making quite a few local calls, as it can be quite expensive to make international calls using a local number. Therefore, a renting a satellite phone may be a better option.
VoIP Apps for Smart Phones
One very nifty way to get online is to download and install a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Provider) app for your phone. You will pay very low rates — similar to what you’d find on Skype — and you can call directly from your cell phone. If this appeals to you, you can just pay for a local internet package, or even connect via any Wi-Fi hotspot in the country. The calls will cost you just a few cents per minute, and you’ll be able to make calls from anywhere you can connect to the Internet.
Calling Phone Cards
If you really want to go old school, you can buy phone cards that will allow you to make international calls from land lines. There are many countries where you can find public phones on every street corner, and there will always be international calling cards that you can buy to use from any public phone. All you’ll have to do is dial the number on the back to connect to the service, dial the number you want to call, and talk until your credit expires. It’s a great way to stay in touch if you want to carry as few gadgets around with you as possible!