I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way: The current situation due to the coronavirus is heartbreaking to anyone who loves to travel. But there are a lot more challenges than just sitting at home…
As you may know, I decided to stay in Brazil instead of going home to Europe. But with this decision, there came lots of „organizational tasks“. And with „organizational tasks“, I mainly mean phone calls. Phone calls to hotlines in Austria and Brazil to reschedule flights, phone calls in Brazil to figure out the visa situation, calls to the embassy… the list goes on.
I think, in the last few weeks I spent at least six hours waiting in all kinds of different hotlines. So this could be expensive. But – good news – it‘s not!
International phone calls are expensive – aren‘t they?
Since I am currently traveling all over the world, I quickly gave up on the „get a Simcard in every country you go to“ game. That doesn‘t help much with phone calls to other countries anyways, and chances are very little that I would need to call someone within that country.
Besides, I have a fantastic international prepaid Simcard for data that I can use anywhere in the world. And apart from that, I travel with my phone with my Austrian number. Usually, this setup works extremely well, since most „phone calls“ can be held over What‘s App or other tools.
Unfortunately, as soon as you have to call landlines (as hotlines usually are), things can get tricky – and super expensive. A call from my phone to a hotline back home in Austria costs 1.5€ per minute. Ugh.
How I use Skype-to-Phone to call landlines all over the world
Most people know Skype as a tool for video chats. But did you know that you can use it to call phone numbers all over the world, at very affordable rates? This service is called „Skype to Phone“. And the best thing is, that it doesn‘t use your minutes from your phone, it just uses the internet.
I am very happy with my worldwide data Simcard, so I am in the fortunate situation that I always have access to the internet. But even if not, you rarely end up somewhere where you can‘t access free wifi.
So making phone calls from Skype is a great solution when you can access the internet. You can use it on your phone, iPad or computer. The minimum download/upload speed for calls is 30kbps, but they recommend 100kbps.
How much does it cost?
As an example, a phone call to the Lufthansa hotline from Brazil to Austria which lasted 18 minutes costs 1,25 Reais, which is about 0,22 €. As a comparison, if I would have made that call from my phone, it would have cost me 27 €. That‘s quite a difference.
Likewise, a 27-minute phone call to a Brazilian hotline cost me 2,20 Reais (0,39€).
You can either get some credit for Skype-to-Phone and use it up as you go, or a package for calls to a specific country. You can find their rates here.
Another feature I like is that they show me exactly how much they are going to charge per minute before I make the phone call, so that makes it very transparent.
The only other cost you may have to consider is the data you used. I received the information, that a call to landlines uses around 1 mb per minute, I can’t guarantee the correctness of that information though.
I am truly grateful that services like Skype-to-Phone exist, not just in the current times. This tool has saved me so much money! And together with my international data sim, it‘s a very powerful combination.
Did you already use Skype-to-Phone? How are your experiences with it?