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Home » Backpacking Tips

Best tips to make internet calls when abroad

Photo from Flickr by Elvert Barnes

Making international calls can be hugely expensive. However, advances in technology are bringing the cost of international calls down considerably. One of the most significant advances in this area is that of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. VoIP is essentially internet calling. It means you can use your broadband connection to make calls through the internet rather than using traditional telephone lines.

For VoIP, you need a broadband connection, a phone adaptor (which the VoIP service provider will supply), and of course, a telephone handset. Although you’re calling through the internet, you don’t need a computer at all. Aside from convenience, the major draw card of internet calling is obviously cost. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of using internet calls when abroad.


Call plans


Choosing the right call plan for your needs is definitely step one. As with any telecoms provider, VoIP providers also offer call plans. With some VoIP providers you can get a regular call plan and choose ‘add-ons’ for specific countries or regions, or you can choose a call plan specific to the country you call most often. If you usually call Pakistan, for example, you can choose a plan that gives you cheaper rates for Pakistan than a general plan would.

Another key advantage of setting up a call plan when abroad is that you know exactly how much you’re spending. The flat rates associated with call plans make monthly budgeting far easier.



It’s a simple tip but it can certainly save you money – if you’re using internet calling when abroad, consider activating mobile voicemail diverts. If you’re voicemail isn’t reachable, then you won’t be charged when people leave a voicemail message. This is especially useful if you’re abroad and don’t always have access to internet calls. You can divert your voicemail and wait to listen to your voice messages once you’re back at your hotel, for example, and have VoIP enabled.


Get your friends onboard


Unsurprisingly, one of the savviest ways to work internet calling when abroad is to have the people you’re contacting using it too. Whether it’s business associates or friends and family you’re contacting, if they’re using the same VoIP provider, such as Vonage (, you can both enjoy cheaper internet calling rates.

Friend-get-friend schemes are hugely popular in the business world and internet calling is no exception. When choosing your internet calling company, look out for ones that offer benefits if you refer a friend to their service, such as the first month free.


Aaron Bradford has written 156 articles. Aaron is the leader, mentor and chief geek of the Happytime team. He put together this crack team of travel writers known by codename “The Firm“. Twitter: @b4ubackpack | Google profile |

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