When you’re not busy eating exotic treats, exploring or mixing it up with the locals, it’s always a good idea to keep in touch with your friends and family back home. And if you’re on a shoestring budget, you’ve got to pinch those pennies harder than you pinched those nipples on that ladyboy in Thailand. (Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.)
Google Voice has really made it easier for us all to keep in touch for free – if you live in the US. The ability to call American or Canadian landlines and mobile phones for FREE from our computers is really great when you’ve only got a limited window of time to talk and don’t want to rely on the other party being at their computer to receive an PC to PC call.
Unfortunately, there’s a catch – You need to be in the US to use it. But don’t worry, I’ve figured out how to get around that little hitch.
If you’re American, and you haven’t left the country yet.
1. Sign up for a Google Voice account and use your phone number as the “To Call” phone.
2. Sign up for a free VPN (Virtual Private Network) service, such as ProXPN.
3. Then while you’re traveling, connect to the internet through your VPN (which give you a US IP address – in turn making websites think you’re in the US), log into your Google Voice account and call away!
If you’re not American, or have already left the country.
1. Sign up for that free ProXPN account. Every traveller should have one anyway, especially if you’re in a country that tends to block a lot of websites. Passwords and banking are secure, and it’s a great peace of mind.
2. Next you’ll need a “To Call” phone number to connect to your soon-to-be-created Google Voice account. WITH YOUR VPN TURNED OFF (Skype, Paypal and eBay will all lock your account if you log into their site with a VPN) Hop over to www.skype.com/welcomeback (Just going towww.skype.com may redirect you to an international partner, depending where you are currently located) and sign up for a Skype-In number. This is an American phone number that your friends and family can call, which will then be forwarded to your computer (isn’t technology grand?). It costs $20 for 3 months or $60 for a year.
3. Turn on your VPN, and sign up for a Google Voice account, using your new Skype-In number as the “To Call” phone number.
4. Now you’re all set. Wherever you are and whenever you want, just turn on your VPN, fire up Google Voice and call away!
And there you have it. Everything you need to keep in contact with loved ones for free, regardless of where you are in the world. If you’ve got any questions or comments, or tips, feel free to leave them at www.themisadventurer.com