Perry Como called it: there's no place like home for the holidays, and with a whole slew of said holidays coming up for the end of the year—Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and so on—that's going to mean a whole lot of holiday travel, and a whole lot of travelers.
These travelers want to stay connected even at this time of year, and more than a few are already begrudging what the device bills that help users keep connected will look like after all that travel and fun has finished.
Even frugal travelers can keep costs down and stay connected during holiday travel - even when making trips overseas. Several methods exist for keeping bills down, starting with something as simple as a calling card. While not necessarily the most economical approach, a calling card does allow for simple budgeting regardless of location by providing a certain set amount of time, though using a calling card can be a bit difficult thanks to the decline of payphones and the like.
But many choose to keep a mobile device on hand, and this can also be an effective strategy, though it requires a little study and advance planning first. In order to go abroad, two things have to be in place for a mobile device: one, it needs to be a GSM device, and two, it needs to be able to operate on the correct frequency in the country in which said device will be traveling. For those going to the United States, GSM is on the 850 MHz and 1.9 GHz bands, while Europe uses 900 MHz and 850 MHz. Not many phones can accommodate all of these, so be sure to check each phone carefully.
There are other options, too, like renting a temporary SIM card or a temporary phone for the trip, but this can present other issues. The phone still needs GSM ready to use the SIM card, and neither case will allow users to bring contacts along, if the contacts are stored on the SIM card. Plus, users may need to hand out a completely different phone number for the duration.
However, the use of voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)—both mobile VoIP as well as more conventional VoIP—service can be just the saving grace that many travelers need at this time of year. Taking advantage of Wi-Fi connectivity where available—and there are plenty of places in which it is, from hotels to airports and beyond—represents a great way to not only stay in touch while traveling, but to do so without breaking the bank. Mobile VoIP and regular VoIP alike can help users take advantage of a network that's much larger than conventional phone service, and better keep in touch no matter where holiday travel takes users.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi