Cheapest ways to keep in touch while overseas

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Planning on heading overseas? You might be wondering how you are going to keep in touch with family back home or the new friends you meet on your adventure. We all know that international roaming charges are hard on the hip pocket, so here’s some ways to get around having to deal with that shock bill at the end of the month.

TravelSIM

A TravelSIM card is a top idea if you intend to call home while you are away and it certainly comes in handy when there are no WI-FI hotspots. This nifty little card allows you to make calls to over 160 countries at a discounted rate. It’s completely pre-paid, which means you can stay on top of your usage and costs. A TravelSIM is convenient for those who still want to use their own handset and once you purchase one, you can continue to use it every time you travel. What’s even better, is that you don’t have to pay for incoming calls as you normally would if you were to use global roaming on your Australian mobile phone. It’s also super easy to top up, and you can do so over the phone or online. Visit this site to view TravelSIMs options.

Skype

These days, a large majority of hotels, cafes and restaurants have a free Wi-Fi connections that their patrons can use. This makes using online applications like Skype all the more easier to use. Skype is a free download that enables you to make free calls to any other computer or smart phone in the world. If you want more convenience, you can sign up for Skype Calls, which allows you to make phone calls to other mobiles and landlines anywhere in the world for a measly few cents a minute.

Get a temporary phone with a local SIM card

If you are planning on staying in one country for an extended period of time, it may be in your best interest to invest in a temporary phone. I would recommend picking up a cheap unlocked phone from your nearest department store like Kmart or Target. They are normally no more than $60 and it saves you from having to trawl around shops looking for the best deal when you arrive. Once you’re at your destination, purchase a local SIM card and use it to make national calls while you are there. This way, you can still use your own phone if needed.

For the WI-FI free, try a phone card

These are an oldie, but a goldie. Phone cards like Say G’day or Go Talk allow users to choose the destination they intend to call and the number of minutes that they require. While some people feel that using a phone card is a hassle, it’s actually quite simple. Each card has a local access number and a PIN or account number associated with it. All you have to do is dial the access number, enter your account PIN, and then punch in the number you want to dial. See, easy peasy.

Global Gig

If you can’t survive without data access, and you don’t mind that it’s a tad on the slow side, a Global Gig is possibly your new best friend. This is a portable mobile broadband modem with Wi-Fi hotpot capability, meaning you can connect up to five devices at once. While it works on the Optus network in Australia, when you travel to countries like the UK, Hong Kong or USA, it roams to find compatible networks. The Global Gig comes in handy when you are checking emails and making Skype calls.

Have you ever received a shock bill from international roaming charges? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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