What’s the Cheapest Way to Make Long Distance International Calls?

June 14, 2008


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Beachwedding

One of my wife’s good friends is having a destination wedding on a Carribean beach this summer.  We’re leaving our son behind with the grandparents for the trip, it’ll be the longest we’ve both been away from him since he was born.

Long Distance Parenting
Although it will be nice to relax a little without constant parenting duties on the brain, we’ll certainly miss being around the little.  My wife is planning on calling every day to check up on him and I’m looking for the cheapest way to make international calls so we don’t spend as much on our phone bill as we did on our plane tickets.

International Roaming is Expensive
I talked to our cell phone company and our phone supports CDMA Voice, GPRS Data, and GSM Voice so we’ll have coverage in the Dominican Republic.  I added the international call feature so if we have to we can call right from our cell, the downside is it costs $1.99 a minute. We could send text messages at 20 cents a piece but neither my wife’s parents nor our 2 year old son are familiar with the technology.

Do you know of any cheaper options for making interntional calls?  I thought about taking our laptop and using Skype but again there is a technology barrier with the grandparents, plus I don’t know what speed of connection we’ll have on the island.

Can You Save Me Some Money?
I’m not crazy about spending $1.99 a minute, I’m picturing the scene from National Lampoon’s European Vacation where Audrey runs up a huge phone bill while her boyfriend puts her on hold. I don’t imagine the rate calling out directly from our hotel room will be any better.

Do you know of any cheaper options for long distance international calls?


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Ben

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Ben

Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn’t like the other kids… His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he’s helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.


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Comments

14 Responses to What’s the Cheapest Way to Make Long Distance International Calls?

  • Cheap calls

    In UK there are Many companies/websites offering cheap international calling. we can make international calls using calling cards are Access number.

  • A Burnett

    If u want call Pakistan with very cheap call rate for only 7p/min try briing.com

  • kitty

    Ditto on local phone cards. Not sure about the Caribbean, but this is what I normally do in Europe. This way I end up paying pennies for calls to the US.

  • Ben

    Thanks for the tips everyone!

    I was thinking I couldn’t use Skype because our babysitters don’t have it setup on their computer but I forgot you can call regular phones with Skype. I wouldn’t need a subscription, I can just use the pay as you go feature. Cool, I’ll have to look into it.

    Betsy, thanks for the offer but I don’t want to take away your card 🙂

    Nancy and another reader alerted me to Magic Jack, which looks pretty cool. I do most of our long distance calling in the us on my cell phone but I do call Canada pretty frequently so it could save me some money.

  • Nancy

    It’s been a few years, but I used to travel a lot in Europe, Scandanavia, the Baltic States and the Caribbean. I always found it easiest to just buy local phone cards and use them at a pay phone. It was also relatively inexpensive. If you do this, be sure you go to the bank and exchange for local currency first. If you pay in U.S. dollars, it’s more costly. At the present, I only have a cell phone. I was prepared to go with Skype, but am now checking out the Magic Jack first to call my overseas friends.

  • Luke @ Money & Fitness Blog

    I agree with The Shark Investor. I think Skype is the way to go, or at least look into.

  • FW

    I don’t know if it’s the case in the Dominican Republic, but in Europe you can buy cheap prepaid cell phones or just the sim card with preloaded minutes. You can use those in your phone if they’re a compatible technology.

  • Jay

    I think Stanacard may help for international calls @ cheaper price, I use it and the quality is good.

  • No Debt Plan

    I’m with The Shark Investor — Skype all the way. I have friends who talk with missionaries overseas on a weekly basis thanks to the service.

  • Betsy

    I think I have some old phone card lying around from my oversees trip back in 2002. Let me know if you’re interested…

  • The Shark Investor

    Umm what about Skype? Seems much cheaper to me? Calling from here to USA is just 3 cents per min and slightly more to mobiles

  • Potato

    I usually take a phone card with me on trips for making cheap calls back home. I was really pissed off recently to find that even though I was calling a local number to access the phone card, the hotel was charging a connection fee to call from my room that was more than the long distance paid for the call with the card! In some countries, it’s possible to call toll free numbers free from payphones, so when I’m in hotels that charge to call from the room, I sometimes access a calling card from a payphone.

    The card I use most often is offered by ISIC/Travel Cuts and has fairly decent rates world-wide, but there are definitely better cards out there for just Canada/USA, or other country-specific cards. Even though I know I can get better rates by shopping around, I stick with it because I know how it works now and it’s easy to top my card up over the internet with a credit card (though unfortunately the smallest top-up is $20).

    http://www.travelcuts.com/isiconnect

    Checking it, looks like you can call from the Dominican to the US (I think you’re in the US) for $0.34/minute, but you’ll have to be able to reach the toll-free number from the hotel phone (as I said, you may face a charge there), and there’s a 9 cent connection fee.

  • john

    Very Great list. Useful information to ably help people, thanks for sharing

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