Phone Home !
Having the ability to communicate 24 hours a day, no matter where you are in the world, is crucial to your safety.
This will be easier at some destinations rather than others, but with enough planning there is no reason why it cannot be achieved.
Most cities and large towns have public internet access and its a good way to stay online cheaply without the added burden of carrying and looking after a laptop.
Cyber Cafes www.cybercafes.com lists 4,208 internet cafes in 141 countries. If it does not list any internet cafes near you, a quality guide book will.
Ensure that you know how to access your email addresses via webmail. Most service providers offer this service.
Its a great way to keep up to date with what's going on around you through google news.
Accessing the internet with your laptop
If your laptop is suitably equipped and you can find a local hotspot, you can take advantage of wireless Internet access.
If not, your choices are:
- Using your existing ISP's local call number in the country you're visiting (provided your ISP has a local number)
- Making a long-distance telephone call to your regular dial-up number back home
- Signing up with a local ISP
There are a number of companies (ie: Mobility Pass - www.mobilitypass.com) that offer international internet services that enable access through mobile broadband, wireless and dial up networks as well as internet telephony.
These services may save you a significant amount if you are a heavy internet user.
Ensure that your laptop is able to handle the 240V AC power that is common in many countries. If not you may need a step down or step up transformer.
There are 39 different telephone jacks in the world. If your destination has a different telephone jack than your laptop connection you may need to purchase a telephone jack adaptor or as k the hotel for an appropriate connection.
There may be problems connecting your laptop to a digital phone line (it can destroy your modem).
If this may be the case for you, consider purchasing a digital signal tester is available to test the line to make certain you are trying to connect to a phone line that will handle analog signals you computer's modem can handle.
Your laptop may have a modem that is designed to only recognise certain dial tones - and may not recognise a different dial tone in another country. If this is the case for you, you will need to modify the modem commands to allow you to access dial up.
Internet telephony (sometimes called IP telephony, Voice Over the Internet (VOI) or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP)) is essentially a means of using the internet to make telephone calls anywhere in the world for free or dramatically reduced call costs.
To do so, software will be required as well as a headset. Some IP providers offer a feature that allow you to call internationally without dialing the exit code.
Working out international dialing prefixes can be confusing and frustrating.
You cannot dial the numbers as they appear in your address book - you will have to add and subtract some digits.
To make local calls within the country you are in just dial the numbers they dial without adding any international codes.
Exit / Country Codes
- Exit codes are used for dialing out of the country you are in.
- Country codes are used when dialing an international phone number
- If you calling a number that starts with zero (ie: 02,03 etc) you must drop this zero.
- Italy is an exception to this rule as geographic area codes start with zero
- For most countries mobile phone numbers are not allocated an area code, except for Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, USA and some Caribbean nations.
Mobile phone carriers have roaming agreements with mobile phone networks in other countries that will allow you to use their network - called International / Global Roaming.
To activate global roaming on your phone you will generally need to call your phone carrier directly.
Once you have activated global / international roaming on your phone, when you arrive at your destination you should see another carrier's name on your phone and your phone is connected and OK to use.
Its important that you research if you are able to implement global roaming with your phone carrier and what the costs are.
Consider purchasing a basic mobile phone and sim card in your destination country which will give you a local number and possibly reduce your calling costs.
There are also a number of companies that offer international mobiles and sim cards for travelers on reduced plans.
If you use a PDA / i-phone, international roaming data downloads can result in unpleasant bills. Consider turning off the data download function and your re-directs (ie: to message bank) before you leave to avoid a nasty bill when you get home.
Generally, when you receive a call from home, you pay the bill!
Calling from a mobile phone
You make a call from a mobile phone internationally the same way that you dial from a landline.
The major difference when calling on a mobile phone is that the exit code is replaced with the plus (+) sign. You can dial + by pressing the * button twice on some phones.
If the mobile number you are calling internationally starts with a zero, do not include it.
People calling you
People from your home can dial your number as they would normally and be connected straight through.
Remember, you will be paying for the call!
Toll Free Numbers
Calling a toll free number from overseas may not work, as the receiver will not accept the call charges and you, the caller, will be charged
As the call is no longer free, most toll free numbers block international calls.
If the call does go through, the vcharges to you are likely to be even higher than ringing a "normal" phone number.
Universal International Freephone Numbers
An exception to blocked toll free numbers are International Freephone Numbers which are assigned a separate country code of 800.
Calls to these numbers are free from certain countries.
The text message function works the same way from a mobile phone as dialing a voice call.