Cheap Overseas Phone Calls During Vacation

When travelling overseas, you many want/need to call families or friends.  However, calls from overseas can quickly add up.  That is unless you know a few rules and tips to help make cheap overseas phone calls while on vacation.

How to Make Cheap Overseas Phone Calls

  1. Don’t use your at home cell service.  If you have a North American cell plan, you will likely pay huge amounts of money to use that phone overseas.  Call your cell phone company and confirm their rates before leaving.
  2. Purchase a cell phone with a SIM card slot.  Many countries overseas use SIM cards in their phones.  By buying a phone that has a SIM card slot, you can just buy a new SIM card any time you travel to a new country.  Most airports will have a place to by SIM cards when you arrive.  Do research before leaving home so you know who offers the best rates according to your needs.
  3. Never, Never make a phone call from a hotel room.  This is by far one of the most expensive ways to keep in touch while overseas.  It is not unusual to pay double digit dollars per minute calling from a hotel room overseas to North America. 
  4. Avoid using a credit card to make calls on a pay phone.  This is another form of calling where you will pay double digits per minute.  Using a credit card is the exact opposite of making cheap overseas phone calls.
  5. Always carry an international calling card.  When traveling, you never know when you’re going to have a flight change or other emergency.  If you don’t have a cell phone, you will need a calling card.  Many times when you travel to multiple countries, buying a SIM card in each country is not feasible.  When buying your calling card, look for something with a long expiration period so you can just keep the unused card for upcoming vacations and travels.
  6. Skype.  Skype is by far the cheapest way to keep in touch with friends and family while overseas.  However, it also has limitations and restrictions.  You must have internet access and a computer (or access to a computer) to Skype.  The obvious solution is to be sure to travel with your laptop.

Skype is the best option for cheap overseas phone calls

Make cheap international calls with Skype

Computer to Computer

If you call from Skype on your computer to another Skype customer, you pay nothing.  This is true regardless of their location anywhere in the world. 

Downside: You will need to arrange a time with someone to Skype.  This way you will be able to catch them online at the right time. 

Single Call

Skype call costs are almost non-existent.  In most cases, you’ll pay around 2-3 cents per minute for calls to landlines in the United States and Canada. 

Down side: One gripe I have with Skype is that to make a call you need to buy units, but they start selling their units around $15.00.  The nice thing is that they have a long 6 month expiration, so the calling card can cover several trips if you travel often. 

Monthly Calling Plans

Unlimited calling to the United States and Canada costs just shy of $2.50 per month.  This includes calls to both landlines and mobile phones.

For about $12.00 per month, we can get unlimited calling worldwide (includes about 40 countries). 

Down side: Only ideal for frequent travelers or people who plan to use the service at home as well as while traveling.

What have you found is the best way to make cheap overseas phone calls?


  1. Art Ford says

    I can vouch for credit cards not being the way to go. From a pay phone I was charged $25 per call for two calls of about a minute each. I understand from other guests that they paid about a dollar or two from the seam phone using coins.
    As to sim cards, my provider requires that you go to them before leaving and have a software change made to the phone so it can accept other sim cards when you travel. Always a good idea to talk with your provider before you travel.

  2. says

    Skype calls are expensive and the fees that they charge are ridiculous. There are free ways to call home using your actual cell phone, and ways to totally obliterate roaming charges.

    • Craig says

      I use Skype and it cost me about $16 every 5-6 months. That is for overseas calls. I’d hardly call that ridiculous.

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