4 Tricks To Call Your Overseas Family and Friends For Free

Frederique Bros
on 10 March 2014

Staying in touch with overseas family or friends can be difficult, time consuming and of course very costly. My whole family and long-term friends live in the four corners of the planet. Why? Simply because I am born in France, I live in Sydney, Australia, and I grew up in the French Caribbean. Regardless the distance and time difference, I call my family and friends almost everyday for free! Plus we share and exchange photos, jokes and music all the time. You don’t want to know how many baby or renovated house photos I have in my phone. So how do I keep in touch with my beloved without spending a dollar? Here 4 tricks to call your overseas family and friends for free.

Surely social media and technology help massively people to be in touch and to communicate on a regular basis. But let’s be honest not everyone has a Facebook or a Twitter account (for example my dear grand-father). This is why I LOVE so much my iPhone and those little free apps. You’ve probably know few but do you really know how to use them? Let’s start with:

Viber – Free

Viber is one of my favourite app. I use this app since the beginning and converted lots of my friends to do the same. More than 200 million Viber users text, call, and send photo and video messages worldwide over Wifi or 3G – for free. Viber is available for many smartphones and platforms.

How Does It Work

– You need a smartphone, and to upload the free app (click on the icon).

– The app syncs with your mobile contact list, automatically detecting which of your contacts have Viber. More than 200 millions people use Viber.

– To use Viber, you will need to be connected to a Wi-Fi connection.

– Text with your friends & make free calls.

– Share photos, videos, voice messages, locations, stickers and emoticons.

– Groups with up to 100 participants.

– Download stickers from the Sticker Market, making messaging fun!

– Push notifications guarantee that you never miss a call or message, even when Viber is off.

– Support for the Viber Desktop application on Windows and Mac.

Pro’s & Con’s

– You can record a short voice message of maximum 30 seconds (hold the microphone icon).

– If your Internet connection is poor you will have what I call a ‘Robocop conversation’ – metallic and unpleasant – to fix it, you need to hang up and to recall. It doesn’t work all the times, but what the heck – its’ free. When it’s work I have to say the sound is very clear and you don’t feel like you are calling from the other side of the World.

WhatsApp Messenger – First year FREE! ($0.99 USD/year after)

WhatsApp is a great app I use it everyday and Facebook loves it so much that they bought it for the modest amount of $19 billion!

How Does It Work

– You will need to be connected to a Wi-Fi connection.

– Once you and your friends download the application, you can use it to chat as much as you want. Send a million messages a day to your friends for free!

– Send Video, Images, and Voice notes to your friends and contacts.

– SMS illimited and free.

– Even if you miss your push notifications or turn off your iPhone, WhatsApp will save your messages offline until you retrieve them during the next application use.

– It’s very easy to use.

Pro’s & Con’s

– You can’t call with WhatsApp.

– You can send a serie of photos or mini videos with only few clicks.

Skype for iPhone – Free

We all used Skype on our computers – but sometimes your microphone doesn’t work properly or your contact is not online – so you send a prior email (waste of time) or you missed a call. With Skype app, it follows you everywhere because it’s on your iPhone – when it’s bed time don’t forget to switch off your phone.

True story: Friend: “Hello Freddie how are you?” Me: “hmmm…. I don’t know… I am sleeping… it’s 3am in Australia!!!”

How Does It Work

– Enjoy free voice and video calls to anyone else who is on Skype and make HD quality video calls from your iPhone 5.

– Instant message your friends in a flash plus send emoticons.

– Stay in touch with friends and family even when they’re busy or offline with unlimited, free video messages.

– Send photos on your iPhone directly to friends or family via Skype. There’s no limit on the size of the photo you can send, so you can share a moment without reaching email size limits or paying expensive MMS charges.

– No WiFi? No problem Skype works on 3G* and WiFi – so you can stay in touch, even if you’re out and about.

– Chat with anyone, anywhere . Skype’s available on smartphones, tablets, PCs, Macs and even TVs. Whatever device your friend or family uses, Skype just works. Simple.

Pro’s & Con’s

– Skype for iPhone works only with people with an iPhone. But you can have Skype app for Android too.

– If you’ve drank and danced all night long and your mum calls you on video at 7am!

 FaceTime – Apple

I’ve been using FaceTime only few months ago and I love it. It’s not an app to upload, it’s already in your Apple phone and computer – also call a root app, it’s part of your hard drive apps like Calendar or Camera.

How Does It Work

– Very simple, when you are about to call someone from your Contacts you can see the option: Facetime, just click on it.

– From FaceTime app – click on Contacts – do a search, select the person and call.

–  iPhone, iPad and iPod touch each have two built-in cameras, one on the front above the display and one on the back. The front camera has been tuned for FaceTime. It has just the right field of view and focal length to focus on your face at arm’s length. So it always presents you in the best possible light.

– It’s a great way to show the apartment you’ve just moved in or to show off your shoe collection.

– A great connection quality – I mostly use FaceTime with my best friend Valerie who lives in the Caribbean – and living so far from each other FaceTime help us to share our lives with instant video conference.

Pro’s & Con’s

– You need to have an Apple computer or one of the latest iPhone and same for the people who you want to contact.

– You can show to your best friend the giant pimple on your nose before going to a blind date (true story).

One last tip, despite the amazing improvements of technology, we still have to endure the time difference between countries and continents – PLEASE check the time before calling – to do so, click on your Clock icon on your iPhone – in World Clock, set up the cities where your love ones live – no more excuse to wake up your friend (or me) at 3 am 🙂

If you know other great apps to call for free or to send photos, please leave a comment. Thanks.

Featured Image: DeposiPhotos

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