international cellEveryone has a feeling of dread when trying to discover how to communicate when they travel internationally abroad. Here are some international travel and communication tips from The University of Texas San Antonio on how communication when abroad. Enjoy these international travel communication tips!

If you’re considering traveling abroad or even studying abroad, no doubt it has occurred to you that you might occasionally (or often) talk with the people you know and love back home. Communicating across continents can be challenging.

International phone calls can be expensive. As global infrastructure improves and technology advances, the number of cost-effective phone options continues to increase.

Phone cards

Probably the easiest way to get in touch with folks back home is through phone cards. These will be plentifully available in your host country or you may be able to find cost-effective options online before you leave.

Phone cards enable you to make calls, usually for a set fee-per-minute based on the country you are calling.

If you’re only going abroad short-term, phone cards allow you to get back in touch and complete some necessary communications.

There are often fees for calling from public phones and for time elapsed after you activate the card. These fees can add up quickly and cut into the minutes you thought you’d have available for calling home. A great alternative to phone cards is Rebtel. You don’t have to remember to buy them before you leave home, since they are online. Since you actually get all the minutes promised unlike some phone cards, it makes for a much cheaper and easier deal.

It’s important to investigate your options and determine what you’re going to be charged for, and how your calling needs relate to your available options. If you’re interested in exploring the costs and benefits of phone cards further, is one provider that offers helpful information and some tips in this area.

Cell phones

Cell phones are an increasingly effective way of communicating overseas. While short-term rentals can be expensive, they are becoming more common and affordable. Renting an international cell phone with a pre-paid value of calls can keep you in touch on short-term ventures abroad or longer-term studies depending on the options you purchase. Some providers offer cell phones as well as SIM cards. You may just be able to swap out your SIM card for an international version and be able to make calls from your existing phone. While this may still result in slightly high per-minute fees for international calls, it will allow you to have a phone that can be used for local calls in your host country, which may be very helpful.There are companies where you can purchase a short-term contract for cell-phone usage. These plans often have free incoming calls. You pay for outgoing calls and text messages.

Internet Communications

The cheapest and easiest way to communicate is through the various online options. While needing to find an Internet café or other form of access may be more difficult on short-term trips and probably won’t meet your local calling needs, students staying abroad long-term typically find it vital to their continued close contact with those back home. There are several different means to communicate using the internet nowadays; there are instant messengers, e-mail, blogs, and the usual online social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter which are all great options for overseas communication.  The social media networks make it easier for travelers to communicate with family, friends and colleagues.  With so many social media networks available, users can easily lose track of login information, which is why MyLife is a problem solving website for users with multiple social media networks. Travelers and students are encouraged to invest in a blog on a social site if they do not already have one. Blogging avoids the need to send out mass e-mails to relate adventures to a large group of people and cuts the time spent updating people.  It also allows travelers to check in with their peers, friends and family by being able to post up to date comments contributing to the experiences.   It’s amazing how social media networks and blogging helps travelers enjoy their trips while at the same staying in communication with their love ones.

Another great innovation of recent years has been the increasingly excellent communication available through Voice Over Internet Protocol. If you and the people you wish to communicate with sign up for Skype or another similar service, you can do video or voice phone calls through the Internet. Skype offers very affordable rates for “Skype-out” that will allow you to call regular land-lines or cell phones. Vonage and other providers also allow you to connect regular phones to the Internet.

I hope you enjoyed these international travel communication tips!