When I first arrived in Japan in 2000 it was nearly impossible to keep in contact with my friends and family back home. I remember having to buy calling cards which were difficult to use and, although they were cheaper than dialing direct from my cell phone, they were still pretty damn expensive. I can’t count how many times I dropped a call because of a bad connection or expired minutes. I’d have to run back up to the convenience store, buy another card and register my phone with it before being able to dial out.
Today things are much different. Skype has changed the entire ballgame. If both parties have a Skype account and webcams you can video chat for free over the internet. Besides regular Skype which most of us already have by now, there are some other options which truly make life easier for the frequent traveler like myself.
Online numbers (SkypeIn™) are perfect if you have friends, family or business colleagues who don’t use Skype. Anyone can dial your online number from any phone or mobile and your Skype rings and you pick up the call – wherever you are in the world.
SkypeOut allows you to make outgoing calls to local and international phones and/or mobiles directly from Skype. You can either pay as you go or pay monthly.
I’ve on the road and away from home and my wife for a few months now. Fortunately for both of us we have Skype and we’re able to talk to and see each other everyday – something that wasn’t possible a few years ago.
Although it’s not the same as being there in the flesh, being able to see the person on the other end of the line is comforting. It sure beats the old calling card! And to think this wonderful service is completely free is unbelievable. I don’t know we’d do without Skype.