You’d think with all the traveling we do, I’d have an International phone. But I don’t. I’m stuck in the ice age with my iPhone 4. Either that, or I’m just too cheap to pay for a new phone. It’s most likely the later. Don’t judge.
Calling home, no matter where I am, is a must. The thing I personally worry about the most when planning a trip is the communication factor. Calling home from another country can be – not only expensive – but frustrating, and partly because it’s so expensive.
Skype is a wonderful tool, but can also get annoying if the other person isn’t on. I know my parents have better things to do than sit around all day waiting for me to pop up on Skype. And, when we’re away, we don’t want to be on a schedule, where we have to be back by a certain time just to Skype. That doesn’t work. It still has to be a vacation.
So what about calling cards? Well, they’re definitely a thing of the past. I don’t want to waste time shopping for a local calling card, and the ones you buy in the US don’t work in many countries. Plus, most likely your hotel is still going to charge some sort of connection fee. I also rather not sit and count minutes.
I know a lot of people do the whole SIM card thing, but to be honest, it’s too confusing for me. We often travel to multiple countries during one trip, and I’m just not messing with those things. I’m not that tech-savvy.
My solution is much more user friendly and comes in the form of an app.
It’s called Talkatone and is the greatest thing your traveling self will ever experience. I have it on both my iPhone and iPad and swear by it. Best if all – it’s FREE to use.
Talkatone works alongside Google Voice and you can read about the logistics here. Again, it’s all free.
Here are the basics: You get a phone number assigned through Google Voice that’s yours forever. Talkatone uses that number to place and receive calls. You can even set up your own voicemail as well as text, and yes, that’s free too. I loved it so much I actually set up an account for my business.
So how does it work? Well, calls are made/received using an Internet connection, so even from places like – say my upcoming Bangkok hotel room – I can talk to my parents for free – either via the app on my cell phone or on my iPad via the speakerphone.
You will ONLY have to give a credit card if you want to add minutes, which you ONLY need to do if you plan on calling an International number. However, as long as you are calling US number to US number, you’re golden. Don’t let this confuse you. You don’t need to be in the US to call from your US number. The number you set up though Google Voice/Talkatone IS a US number, and as long as you are calling another US number, you’re good – even from abroad.
No keeping track of minutes, no worrying about a high cell phone bill. The only charge is the hotel’s internet fee. Fabulous.
Definitely a must have for anyone looking to keep in touch while abroad. Thank you Talkatone for providing this wonderful service!