Christy and Aaron Tracker

Follow Christy and Aaron on their backpacking trip around the world

Skype

Posted by Aaron in Planning on 05 9th, 2010

We signed up for our Skype subscription today. Our subscription will allow us unlimited pc to phone calls to the United States. We are hoping that this will be enough for us to talk to our friends and family back home without the cost of international phone calls. As long as we can find a wifi connection we will be able to call back to the United States! The subscription is only $2.99 per month. If we find we want to be able to call to other countries we can upgrade to a $13.99 a month plan.

One other option we thought about was was to get an international cell phone. After talking with a couple of couch surfers who were traveling the world for a year, we decided not to get an international cell phone. Jerome and Morgane bought SIM cards in the first 3 countries they visited, but they ended up using very few minutes. In the fourth country, they decided to skip the cell phone to see how they would adjust. They found they did not miss the cell phone at all and had not purchased SIM cards again. They felt they wasted a lot of money early on for a service they did not use. Based on their experience, we are going to try to travel without an international phone. The good news is we can always buy a phone if we feel the need for one.

Hopefully with our Skype account we will be able to stay connected and we will not need the extra expense of a cell phone. It is going to be weird to not have a cell phone for the first time in 10 years.



Skype

Posted by Aaron in Planning, Posts on 09 20th, 2009

It looks like Skype is going to be the way to go for our phone needs.

The price is great, $2.95 a month for unlimited computer to phone calling to the United States, or $12.95 a month for unlimited computer to phone calling to over 40 countries. Other benefits include:

  • Unlimited computer to computer calling
  • Unlimited computer to computer video calls
  • Free voicemail
  • For $30 a year we can get a phone number that will allow people to call our Skype account.
  • In some countries we can get a free Skype access number that will allow us to call people internationally on our skype plan using a phone at local rates. This could be a big money saver when we are in the countries that support this. Unfortunately, it does not look like the list of countries is very extensive.

It looks like the final billing possibilities for for a year of using Skype are:

International Unlimited United States Unlimited
With online number $185.40 $65.40
Without online number $155.40 $35.40

Not so bad! I would think the international plan would be better since we could call local places, such as hostels and new friends anywhere we have wi-fi without worrying about the cost.

My only concern is the call quality might not be great internationally. I am also concerned about the availability of wi-fi internationally. We do not plan on being in Western Europe for very long. However, $185.40 for the entire year with no contract commitments makes Skype look like a great way for budget minded backpackers to stay connected to friends and family while they are travelling abroad.