At some point during your trip you're going to want to contact home, whether it's to tell your friends what a great time you're having, talk to your bank in case of any problems with money, or simply to wish a family member a happy birthday. There are multiple ways to do that, but since you’re probably on a budget, you’ll want to know the cheapest way.
The first way to call home doesn’t require a laptop. It is a phone card. In some countries you can purchase a phone card that has 500 minutes for only five euro. It won’t cost the person you're calling anything so it’s a great way to contact home.
|Example of what a MajicJack|
looks like [Credit]
The next couple of ways to contact home require a laptop. Some of you might have seen the infomercial for MajicJack, a device that you hook up to the jack in a corded phone and the USB port in your computer. MajicJack costs 40 USD for one year of unlimited calling. With MajicJack you can call any number in the United States just as if you were right at home. I have found this most useful for calling home and letting home call me due to the fact that I didn't have to worry about the time limit of the conversations. The only downside to the MajicJack is the fact that it requires a steady internet connection. Without a stable connection, your will be unable to hear the person on the other line.
If you’re more into face time, I would suggest using Skype, a free software that you can download to your computer and make video calls as well as three way calls with a webcam and microphone. You can also call overseas fairly inexpensively. This mode of communication also relies on a reliable internet connection, so while it may not work in some cases, it’s a great way to see your friends and family’s faces back home.
|Once you are in your Facebook account, go to the top right|
corner and choose account settings. From there follow the
instructions to forward Facebook to your mobile [Credit]
Lastly, you might want to consider buying a European cell phone. For 10£ a month (and more importantly without a contract), you can get around 200 minutes of talk and unlimited texts. Often times you can text regardless of the country you're in. Now, you're probably thinking right about now, how does that benefit me if I don't know anyone in Europe? Something that people rarely realize is that you can route Facebook messages and wall posts to your phone via a SMS text. That way whenever someone messages you on Facebook you have the ability to message them right back, almost as if it were a text. This is great in keeping in constant contact with people, in that it doesn't rely on internet, and is a flat fee so you don't have to worry about breaking the bank.
To those readers who have been abroad, what do you find is the best way to contact home? Remember you can always e-mail me with any questions you have about traveling abroad at email@example.com.