If you carry a laptop or tablet computer, a smartphone, or even a simple flipphone when you travel abroad, you can call home for free using applications (apps) such as Skype, Apple Messages, Facetime, Google Voice, WhatsApp, Viber, or any of several other free (or very low-priced) Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication and messaging services.
Here’s What I Do
When it’s evening in Istanbul, it’s morning in Concord, Massachusetts, and my wife Jane is usually sitting at her desk working on her computer. In Istanbul, I connect my MacBook Air laptop, or iPad Mini, or iPhone, to my hotel’s free Wifi network. I click on Jane’s name in Apple Messages, and bingo! In seconds we’re talking with digital-quality sound or even video.
The cost? $0. TL0. €0. £0. ¥0. Zero! Yok! Sıfır! Bedava!
And I’m the guy who used to have to spend US$6 per minute to call home from Turkey on a traditional landline phone. (10-minute call: US$60!)
These days, if my Turkish hotel has Wifi (as most do—even small, cheap hotels and pensions), I can sip tea and call home for free.
But what about people who aren’t on their computers? How can I call them?
No problem! Some of these Wifi Voice and Messaging apps offer low-priced plans which allow me to call any regular landline or mobile telephone in the world. The cost? Usually a few pennies per minute.
Call to Turkey For Free
I use these apps from my office at home to make calls to Turkey, because then I’ll pay only the Turkish local call rate (pennies per minute) instead of those often-fearsome international landline or mobile telephone rates. And if I’m calling a Turkish friend who’s at a computer, and if that friend is using the same app, I pay nothing—and neither does my Turkish friend.
No Computer? No Problem!
What if you don’t take a computer with you when you travel? Some of these apps allow you to use a public computer or regular telephone in Turkey to call a local Turkish number to connect with your loved one(s) or business associates via their computers anywhere in the world. The cost? Just that of a local call.
Voice, Video & Messaging Apps
Some of these apps require that all parties to the communication use the same app or service. Some, however, allow you to communicate with anyone who has a phone or Internet-connected computing device (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone).
Facebook’s billions of users enjoy online messaging and chat—but you probably already know that—and it’s free. More…
Google, the company that gives you a new learning curve every month, has an elaborate, labyrinthine, geek-pleasing voice-email-messaging-chat service. Formerly called Google Talk, by the time you learn how to use it, the rules, and probably the name, will have changed again! But it includes powerful international calling and messaging features. More…
No matter what sort of smartphone or computer you use, you can enjoy voice calls and messaging with other WhatsApp users anywhere on the planet using any brand of device. Start by downloading the WhatsApp app for your smartphone or tablet computer, or by using WhatsApp Web. More…
The grand-daddy of free or low-cost VoIP telephony programs, Skype is still an international favorite. Voice and video calls and messages to computers, smartphones, flipphones and plain old landline telephones are free, or very cheap. More…
“Free calls, messaging and picture-sharing to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country.” That says it, and Viber does it. More…
|Mobile Wifi Hotspots