By: Susan Gerle

It is always a concern to try and stay in touch with family and friends while traveling to different parts of the globe. Here are a few ways to communicate when you are out of the country.

1.Local Phone Cards

I always carry a phone card with me when I travel in the US or Canada. The one I have used for 3 years now is Liberty/ Premier Plus combo card, which I purchase at London Drugs in Canada. It can be used for short or long calls. The only thing to be aware of is it expires 6 months from the first use. That’s better than other cards that often expire in 30 days.

2.International Phone Cards

Pretty well every country sells phone cards to make calls overseas. The hardest part is to find one that has an English voice option to follow instructions. Check before you leave an English speaking country to see if they have a card available that can be used throughout Europe for instance. Otherwise, if you drop into an international hostel, there is a good chance they will sell phone cards.

3.Disposable Cell Phones

Many countries sell disposable cell phones now. If you plan to be in the same region of Mexico for a few months, you can go into a local convenience store and buy a throw-away phone for approximately $20 that you can buy international minutes for. It may be expensive for local calls (but cheap to text) but there are great plans for calling the US or Canada through the local phone company. You will need someone to help you translate the instructions though.


Of course, email is a very common way to stay in touch. Many countries offer Internet cafes for travelers. In some places, Internet may be quite expensive. If you can find a facility that caters to the locals, it will be a lot cheaper. It may take a few minutes to get used to the keyboard and figure out how to put in your password if you have a # sign or underscore, for instance. Remember, the keyboards are set up for that country. It’s a good idea to set up an easy password before you leave home.


Skyping is one of the easiest ways of communicating from anywhere in the world. There is no charge if you have it downloaded on your own laptop but you may have difficulty convincing an Internet café to download the program. They will often have MSN or Yahoo though. Set up accounts for each before you leave home for your holiday. The great thing about skype is how easy it is to do conference calls with your whole family, no matter where you live.

6.Video Cam

There’s nothing nicer than having eye to eye contact, especially if you’ve been away from home for a few weeks or months. The easiest way to video cam is through your own computer, of course, but some of the Internet cafes now have it set up on their computers. I have a portable video cam with the installation CD that I take with me in case I can talk the manager of the Internet café into installing the video cam.

I use video cam even when I am home. My first grandchild, who is 8 months old, lives a 6-hour drive away. Because I work fulltime when I am home, it is difficult to visit her as much as I would like. I decided to get her a video cam so I could talk to her on a regular basis. I have it connected to skype, so there is no charge to talk to her. She is also visiting with her relatives in England now on a regular basis.

There are many ways to communicate with people all over the world. With ipods and ipads becoming so popular it is even easier. Do some research before you leave to find out what is going to be the best way to stay in contact. You are never too far out of touch!

About the author:

Susan Gerle loves traveling and writing about her travels! Also check out her blog