postheadericon Communicating with Each Other While Serving Overseas in the Military

Staying in touch with friends, spouses, or other family members serving overseas in the military can be an expensive task. Phone bills can skyrocket from just a brief conversation, and many families can’t afford that. Fortunately, thanks to modern technology and worldwide wireless access, families today have a wider variety of affordable options to help them keep in touch with their loved ones. Here are a few possibilities to consider if you are being deployed or want to keep in touch with someone who is.

1. International Calling Plans For US Mobile Devices

Contact your cell phone provider to ask them about their international call options. Many have add-ons or special plans that will help you save money overall. These plans are typically added on to your main phone plan for a nominal fee every month. They then offer a huge per-minute discount on calling specific countries. If you plan on making a lot of phone calls overseas, paying the base fee for the international plan and then 50 cents a minute will be a lot less expensive than paying $2-3 a minute every time you call. These plans vary by provider, so make sure you find out the details before signing up, but they can make a huge difference.

2. International Calling Plans For Overseas Mobile Devices

If your provider in the United States doesn’t offer an international plan that will save you any money, maybe an international provider can. If a soldier gets a plan with an international provider, such as Ehsan Bayat Afghan Wireless in Afghanistan or Zain Iraq in Iraq, they may be able to purchase minute packages for their international calls. You and your deployed loved one may need to do a little research into this, but sometimes it can be cheaper for everyone if they get a new wireless plan overseas and call you, rather than you calling them on their roaming cell phone.

3. Prepaid International Cards

These are less common than they used to be, but they are still in use. While these can be expensive, they also have the added bonus of allowing you to more strictly budget your talk time and money. You’ll know once the money on the card is used and can decide to either refill it or wait until you can afford it again. If you easily lose track of how much time you’re spending on the phone, this is a great way to make sure you won’t suddenly have a several thousand-dollar cell phone bill the next month.

4. VoIP

VoIP stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol,” and the most common example of it is Skype. If you and your military family member both have a device with Internet access, this is the way to go. Skype is free to download, and all Skype-to-Skype calls are free no matter where in the world you are or what kind of device you’re using. You can do an audio-only chat, which works exactly the same way a phone conversation does, or you can do a video chat, where you can actually see the other person as they speak. Many people who have regular access to reliable Internet are choosing this route to keep in touch with far away loved ones. The downside is that it does require good, stable Internet access to keep up a conversation, and that’s not something all families or soldiers have access to.

These are just a few of the ways modern families can stay in touch with each other while one member is out of the country. Technology is changing all the time, letting us connect with each other in new ways. We can only guess how we will be communicating with each other ten years from now, but for now these are our best options.

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