How to Avoid International Long-Distance Charges

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I'm just back from the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition in London. I gave myself one challenge on this trip:

  • Don't spend a dime calling home to America.

This is no easy task. I began traveling abroad for work in 2002. That's ten years of multiple devices, various power adapters and extremely expensive long-distance charges.

Here is another level of complexity: I am the kind of woman who spends more money on text and data than voice. If you text like me, it will run you 5¢ to receive a message and 50¢ to send a text on most plans. If you buy a standard data plan, it's $25 for 100 MB of data on top of a global data enrollment fee.

What a rip.

Most chumps will say, "Charge the expenses to your company. And you can use Skype! It will save you money!"

Screw Skype. And screw spending good money on bad and outdated telecommunications practices. On this trip? I was all wifi, baby.

Had I been in possession of an Android phone, this might have been even easier. And it was already pretty easy.

So let's recap. How much did I spend calling home? Nothing. Zero. Nada. There is no need to travel internationally and spend money. You just need the cloud and a device. That's it. Google takes care of the rest.

And there's a lesson in this for global companies like AT&T, Verizon, O2, Vodaphone and GiffGaff:

  • You shouldn't monetize a conversation between some HR lady and her husband while she's traveling abroad. That's an old model that doesn't have much life left in it. You should think like an information company and work harder to monetize what happens after the conversation.

Now remember -- save your money, stay off Skype and enjoy your travels!

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