How to make cheap international calls

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The world is getting smaller. When you go to university or move to a new city, you cross paths with people from all over the globe. Sadly, however, it’s not easy to keep in contact without spending a small fortune on phone bills.

But you’ll be pleased to know there are ways to beat the expensive system and hidden fees. Read ahead for our guide on how to make cheap international calls and discover the best options.

Call online

This is probably the most popular way to chat internationally. Skype is a great option for those who have internet access and don’t want to spend extra cash, as it is completely free. You can download it on your phone, laptop or tablet. It also allows you to video call. The one downside is that it restricts you to the internet. However, you can buy Skype credit, which converts to cheap mobile calls as well.

Other options like WhatsApp and Viber also work in the same way. This Money Saving Expert article outlines all the best options for online calls.

Research phone companies

Phone plan providers are well equipped to handle international communication needs. O2, for example, offers international calling cards for a small extra monthly fee, depending on specific countries. Similarly, EE offers an outside the UK add on, giving you more flexibility as you can choose whether you need it each month.

Then there is Vodafone, which has an International Savers service, providing 100 minutes to 100 destinations.

It’s best to visit a store and talk about what you want in person. This way, they can find the best deal for your specific situation. Do you often call one country? Maybe you can get a cheap plan for a single destination. Or if you have family in a certain area of the world, you can get coverage for a specific continent.

Check out comparison articles like this one from Cable, which narrows down the many options and reveals the top add on deals.

Get a separate SIM card

Alternatively, you can ditch the phone plans altogether and buy a separate SIM card for international calls. This is a good option because it avoids any hidden charges or misunderstood deals.
By using pay-as-you-go, you know for certain when your money is up and don’t risk having lump sums taken from your account. Keep your actual phone and get a cheap SIM designed for international calls. Just change them around whenever you need to call abroad.

Consider EU rates

Finally, think about where exactly you usually call. There are often cheaper EU deals than full international plans. It’s a lot less expensive to call Western Europe than it is the call the Middle East, for example.

If most of the people that you call are in Europe, then don’t bother spending more for the luxury of calling the entire world. But rather, get an EU calling card or phone package.

For more information, check out Student Money Saver’s ultimate guide for student mobiles, which include tips for low mobile rates. International friendships can be the most interesting ones - don’t let money get in the way of connecting you with people from different countries.