Skype is one of my favourite tools. While on your computer, and connected to wi-fi, you can video call your contacts for free. Face-to-face conversations are always better than just audio conversations. The person you are calling or who is calling you, needs to have a Skype account and be at their computer at the same time, so it is not as convenient as some some of the mobile apps we will cover below. Telephone calls without video can be made through Skype for free in North America and low rates elsewhere in the world. The other party does not need to have a Skype account or be at their computer to receive these calls, and I use this tool often because of this.
Google Call is a service available to anyone who has a Google Account, which is most of us. The easiest way to access it is through GMail. Just as with Skype, you can make free video calls to anyone with a Google Account (who has set up video calling on their account) or free telephone calls to any phone number in North America.
Buy a disposable phone.
This is an option for those that use their phones mostly to make calls and don't depend as much on the apps and other features on their smartphones. For just making and receiving calls, this is a simple and inexpensive way to accomplish this. You can buy these basic phones just about anywhere including gas stations and grocery stores, with a pay-as-you-go plan.
A video calling program that come installed with iPhones. Only works between iPhones and for most iPhones, wi-fi service is required. Each service provider charges your data plan differently, so ask your service provider how you will be charged, if at all, to use Facetime. Some providers even support Facetime on the cellular network with the newest phones, so be sure to ask. Is usually best to use with contacts you already Facetime with. You can receive Facetime calls as well as make them, which is a nice bonus.
Magic Jack App for Mobile Calling
Magic Jack is a free app that allow you to make free outgoing calls, when you are on wi-fi. This is a great option when you are staying a hotel or residence that has solid wi-fi, however, not all wi-fi's are created equal. It is a great tool to have in your quiver, but I would not depend on it as your sole communication option, as there is some patchy wi-fi service that makes your calls patchy.
For Magic Jack, incoming calls can be received as well, as long as the caller knows the number to call and your specific code to enter afterwards. It is great for your collegues, office or partner to have this info, but a bit onerous to expect your clients to remember you have a new number and new process of calling you, while you are out of town.
Install Skype for Mobile Calling
Skype for mobile calling is a great way to make free calls voice or video calls. It does not allow you to receive calls. Wi-fi is required or a minimum of 3G cell service, which is helpful when you are not in a wi-fi area. This is great for staying in touch for business, but there are many other ways people use this type of service.
For example, I have a friend that was staying with us for a couple of days earlier in our trip. He often travels, and likes to video call his wife and 3 year old daughter. He mentioned it was a way for him to be present at home even while traveling. He would take his iPAD to the restaurant where he was eating dinner and his wife would have the computer on the dinner table and they would have dinner together. The uses of today's technology are limited only by your personal needs and imagination.
Copyright 2012 Jessica Stoner