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Tips for Staying in Touch While Abroad

As I travel more and more I’ve managed to find numerous ways to stay in contact with my loved ones! I’ve also managed to find multiple ways to manage this on a budget, unlike my first abroad trip where I blew the bank on my international drunk dials.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to talk with my family and friends at home or others that are abroad as well! :) Also use this handy little guide to assess how to dial internationally.

Me using a pay phone to make a local call in Barcelona...not hip and very expensive!

Me using a pay phone to make a local call in Barcelona...not hip and very expensive!


Obviously most of us know about the joys of Skype! It’s free and easy to sign up for a new account and download the software.  Free Skype-to-Skype calls, free chat, and reasonable rates to call land lines and cell phones all over the world.  I also love the fact that there is video chat available so I can see the family and my dogs that I miss so much while away from home. If you don’t bring your own computer along, many internet cafes have Skype installed and have headsets to allow you to chat right there in the cafe.

My babies...Valentino on the left and Giorgio on the right!

My babies...Valentino on the left and Giorgio on the right! And yes Giorgio is missing a leg!

Magic Jack

Magic Jack is my new discovery that proved to be very useful last summer in Europe.  It is a small USB device that you plug into your computer and is only valid for us Americans.  When setting up an account you are given a local US number that anyone can call you on for free.  Although you can only receive calls if your computer is on and Magic Jack is running,  people are able to leave voice mails at any time, in which you receive an email notification for.  From your computer, and with an internet connection, you can call any US or Canadian number for free.  I found this most useful when my friends weren’t online at the time I wanted to speak with them or also when I was drunk and just wanted to hear a familiar voice.  The cost is $40 which includes your first year of service and I believe $20 to renew it after. You can order it online or buy it at stores like a Radio Shack.

International Cell Phone

This is obviously the most convenient way, but can be quite pricey if you’re not smart about it.  Check out my previous post Some Quick Budget Tips: Ballin’ On a Budget for specifics on how I’ve changed my habits with my international cell phone.  Unlike in the US, most international cell phone companies thankfully accept free incoming calls.  Therefore if you have someone at home that has a cheap international calling plan they can call you and it won’t cost you a dime.  This can be expensive for those at home because rates to call cell phones are usually much higher than landlines, but is a good option if they need to get a hold of you ASAP or miss you so much money is not an issue!

Your Cell Phone Abroad

This can be a good idea but only if it’s for a back up or if you are only abroad for a short amount of time.  Make sure to call your provider ahead of time and set up an international calling plan to save some money.  Most companies will still charge you over $1/minute for all incoming calls and to call most places, so this can definitely add up.  Also if you have an iPhone make sure you pay for a data package if you plan on using your phone to check email or using the internet.


Email is obviously super convenient while abroad since you can find internet cafes or WiFi connections in nearly every city.  Also if you miss me once I go away to Australia check my blog for what I’m doing with my life and please comment and show me some love! <3

Hope this was helpful and will safe you some money while trying to keep in contact with those stuck at home while you’re living it up abroad! 😉

1 Comment

  1. On November 28, 2013 @ 7:37 pm maria said

    don’t forget about international sim cards, they are the best solution. i am using mine from in every trip. you can try!

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