All of us had to leave friends or even family back home when we migrated to the USA. However we’re very fortunate to live in a high tech world that allows us to talk and even see our beloved ones at any time at no or very little cost. Think about our ancestors for a second and how they communicated with the people they left behind. Maybe they wrote a letter every couple years to their relatives, others just started a new life and never looked back.
Let’s take a look at today’s technology and some of the neat communication tools that are available to us other than a regular phone call through your landline with rates from a few cents to a couple dollars per minute depending on what country you’re calling.
Available for Windows, Mac and mobile devices, it allows Skype users to call or video chat other Skype users for free. All you need to do is download the software and sign up for a free account. Both parties need to be online in order to call each other.
If the other person doesn’t have Skype you can still use your Skype account to call or text their cell or landline for a very low rate starting at 2.3 cents per minute for an international call or even lower if you sign up for a monthly subscription. See current rates here. Just load some money to your account with your credit card and you’re good to go.
Can other people call you on Skype with their cell or landline? Absolutely! What you need is a Skype number, starting at $5 a month with a 12 month subscription. There are also shorter subscription periods like 3 months for $6/month. Once set up, people can call your Skype number and it’ll ring on all of your devices that have Skype installed. You can also have Skype be your answering machine, if you’re unavailable.
Jajah is a service that allows you to make phone calls with your regular landline or cell, taking advantage of the internet. Try it here without even having to sign up.
If you would like to use it more often, you can sign up for a free account and tell Jajah what your primary phone number is. As soon as you want to make a call, you do it through your internet browser. But here’s the clue: your own phone is going to ring, you pick up and then Jajah connects you to the person that you want to call. Both of you are going to use your own phones while talking through the internet. No special VOIP phones are necessary. Talk with the phones that you already have.
Jajah lets you make free calls if you paid only once every 6 weeks. The amount of free minutes will show up before your place a call you you’ll know how much time you have. If you need more time you can load money to your account with a credit card to take advantage of Jajah’s low international rates.
Another free audio and video chat service is Facetime from Apple. The catch is, that both parties need to have either Apple computers with MacOS 10.6.6 or newer, or another Apple device like iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch running iOS – Apple’s mobile operating system. The other person doesn’t even have to run the Facetime app in order to receive a call. Facetime calls and video chats are always free and without time constraints.
I hope you learned about one or the other new tool to call your friends and family at home and give them a call soon.
What tools are you using to call back home? Please comment below.
Find out why I personally use these services and why it's valuable to you too. | Learn More »
About This Blog
Hi, I'm Dan and I came to America in 2005 as a trailing spouse.
With this blog I share my thoughts and experience about the expat life in America. No matter if you're a new or veteran expat or just love everything USA, you'll find plenty of tips and ideas in this blog. Enjoy!