Skype is one of the greatest inventions for travelers. If your friends have Skype too, you can use Skype to call them in other countries for FREE. You can also video chat with them as you’re swinging in a hammock!
Skype is similar to iPhone’s Facetime app, but a bit more universal since you can use it on any type of computer or smartphone, new or old. If you’re calling someone’s cell phone or home landline, you can use Skype to call them right from your iPhone or computer for just a few cents a minute. That’s amazing considering most call stores or pay phones will charge you from 50 cents to a dollar or more per minute.
We use Skype to call phones around the world about 40-80 minutes per month, which only costs us a few dollars. We just use the basic pre-paid service and pay as we go and only have to add $10 to our account every few months or so.
Quick Guide – How to use Skype to call normal phones in other countries
Fire up Skype on your computer or smartphone and your main screen should look like this:
(Computer Screen on left, iPhone Screen on right)
Make sure you have credit on your Skype account. You can do this by going into your settings and click where it says Add Skype Credit. We usually put in about $10 and this will last us about a month. Each call to another country will deduct about $0.02-$0.10 a minute depending on what country you are calling.
Click on the phone icon, or the dialpad on your iphone, to call a phone anywhere in the world.
Next, click on the flag icon, or country name on an iPhone, to choose which country you want to call. The country code shows up so you can verify it’s the same.
Lastly, type in the phone number WITHOUT the country code – Skype puts it in automatically for you. Press the call button and make sure your volume is turned up! Keep in mind that many countries have a different number of digits than you may be used to. Costa Rica, for example has 8 digits for all phones. Argentina, on the other hand has anywhere from 7 to 12 digits depending on the type of phone line.
Here’s a few more tips to help you with your life abroad:
1-800 numbers are free to call using Skype! In addition, you can call numbers in other countries starting with these prefixes for free, even if you don’t have Skype Credit. USA: +1 800, +1 866, +1 877, +1 888 France: +33 800, +33 805, +33 809 Poland: +48 800 UK: +44 500, +44 800, +44 808 Taiwan: +886 80
You can buy a Skype telephone number that is local to where you used to live (in the US, etc.). That means you can give it to your friends, families, and business contacts so they can contact you by just dialing a local number for them. Skype will ring you wherever you are around the world, and people will think you’re just across town! If you find yourself calling home a lot to a certain country or group of countries,
Skype offers discounted monthly plans that start with a few hundred minutes per month and go up to unlimited minutes. If you want to show someone else the joys of Skype and how simple it is to use, you can always buy them a gift card. Just in time for their birthday!
There’s Always Google
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Google Voice. Google has its hands in everything, so why not international calling? They offer a service similar to Skype, but it runs in your internet browser next to Gmail and all your other Google fav’s. I sometimes use it for calling free 1-800 numbers on a computer, but Skype does that too.
Google Voice has an app for smartphones, but uses a funny trick where you put in the phone number and it calls you with the connection. This is very confusing, especially in another country, and it still requires you to have a functioning US phone number.
I prefer Skype for calling other countries because it is simple to use, it’s been around long enough to get the bugs worked out, and only requires an internet connection.
Hope this guide helps you make all your connections world wide!