19 June 2009

Skype is good for travellers

I can't begin to explain in how many ways Skype is keeping us connected right now and how much we are going to rely on it on the trip. We have had an account with Skype for years, although we had a bumpy start when they ate some credit of mine a few years back. But lately it has got more and more handy.

To start with we use SkypeIn, which gives us three local numbers in different countries. We have a landline number in Germany my family can call, one in the UK for Stuart's family and our friends, and one in Wellington for Merryl's gang and everyone we keep in touch with there. This means that people in those countries only have to call a landline in their country, not the expensive South African number. As a result people actually call us, which makes us feel more wanted ;-)

The money we spent on a Skype phone that doubles as a landline (it's hands-free and the base station connects to the router. Looks just like a normal phone) has been so worth it. All our international calls go through SkypeOut, where we pay a monthly fee for free calls to lots of countries. Stuart can make his conference calls, I can chat with my mum - brilliant. The phone displays all the Skype contacts which sync with Addressbook on the Mac, so we don't have to type in numbers. It also displays voicemails and any missed calls we receive via Skype. This alone has made it so much easier to use Skype to make calls. Before I was never logged in on the computer at the right time, and the sound quality is just like a normal landline call without having to dig out the headphones.

When we are on the road, we will have a satellite phone for emergencies, but people will still be able to leave us messages on voicemail, and since we get an email notification we can actually respond when anyone pings us. I am also hoping that we will be able to make use of Skype on the iPhone when we are at a hotel or other place with wifi.

I know this all sounds like a sales pitch, but after years of not really seeing the point (we had 2 hour long international calls for NZ$5 from New Zealand and pretty cheap rates from Dubai to most of Europe, so weren't too bothered so far) I am now a total convert. The only problem is that calls to Dubai are still really expensive, so it's not been an option to call anyone there.

No comments:

Post a Comment