TRAVEL with pat and lew

Skype: call anywhere for 2.1 cents a minute

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 22, 2007

“Grand, I can’t see you!”

The video takes a few seconds longer, and 4 year olds are impatient.

Pat and I share 6 children and 4 grandchildren (so far), and being able to communicate with them and share in their lives as best we can from a distance is extremely important to us, as well as to them.

When we talk with other seniors about how we travel, the issue of staying in touch with friends, children and grandchildren is always of paramount important. For us, the answer has been Skype.

Skype is one of several internet-based phone systems. You go to http://www.skype.com and download the software – which is free – and follow the straightforward instructions.

Once installed, you can call other Skype users, anywhere in the world, for free. You can talk and listen on the microphone and speaker built into your laptop, or you can order an ear piece/microphone from Skype.

In addition to free computer-to-computer calls with other Skype users, you can also call just about any landline in the world for roughly 2 cents per minute. Last year, all year, we used about $25.00 of SkypeOut time, and we made a lot of calls. 

Next, there is SkypeIn. You can buy a phone number in just about any U.S. area code for about $30.00 per year. We bought a number in the area code where four of our children and several grandchildren live. So for them, calling us is a local call, no matter where we are in the world. The phone rings on our computer and a small voice says, “Hi Grand. Hi Pop-up.”

This year we added web cams. We bought Skype web cameras ($40.00) for each of our children. Now we can see each other when we talk.

From France, or anywhere else in the world, we will see our grandchildren grow, and they will see us so we won’t be strangers when we get together.

LEW 

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