Tuesday, December 9, 2008

5 Tips for Using a Calling Card Overseas

For anyone who's traveled abroad for a significant period of time, the challenge of maintaining cost-effective communications back home is well-known. Despite the growth of global communications over the last decade, cellular networks are still nationally-based, resulting in high roaming surcharges when using cell phones abroad. While Voice-over-IP options are available, it can be difficult to get a wireless connection on demand. As a result, a growing number of global travelers are turning to international calling cards in order to lower their costs of inter-continental communications.

  • Understand the Cost Implications of International Calls from Your Hotel Room
    While it may seem like placing a calling card call from one's hotel room is a good option, there may be surcharges and connection fees which make it an excessive expensive way to make an international call. Check with the concierge at your hotel in regards to outbound international call rates before dialing up with your calling card.
  • Look for a Card with a Toll-Free Access Number
    In order to connect with a pre-paid card service, you, generally, have to call an intermediary number. Seek out a card that allows a toll-free access number to limit your initial, access costs on the call.
  • Check the Reach of the Card Before Buying Once Domestically
    All too often, global travelers will buy an international calling card at home, only to later realize that out-bound calls can only be made from their country of origin. Check into the restrictions and limits on any card before you make a final purchase decision.
  • Find a Solution for In-Bound Calls
    Calling cards generally only provide a means to make out-bound calls, while not allowing for incoming calls at a discounted rate. As a result, make sure that anyone who needs to contact you from abroad has an e-mail address or hotel phone number through which they can contact you directly.
  • Compare Fees on International Calling Cards
    Resist the temptation to make your purchasing decisions on the basis of the stated “per minute” fee alone, as most cards have different gradients of fees and expenses outside of the standard call rate. In particular, compare the bottom line price of calling after factoring in base cost, access fees and “maintenance” fees that may issuers levy on callers.

    Maya Richard is a content writer, primarily blogging about Comcast deals.

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