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,
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.
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:
These days, if my Turkish hotel has
small, cheap hotels and pensions),
I can sip tea and call home for
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
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
calls to Turkey, because then
I'll pay only the Turkish local call
(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
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).
Perhaps the oldest instant-messaging service, AOL Instant Messaging (AIM) is still going strong...and free. More...
If you have an Apple product, youprobably know that Messages and Facetime allow free instant messaging, online chat, voice and video calls with other Apple users...all free.
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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...
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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...