In this age of mobile technology and smart pads staying connected is something that most of us just take for granted. Have a look into the backpack of any traveller and you realise that a mobile phone is now a standard travel accessory. Modern smartphones can be used to browse the Internet, look for hotel accommodation, you can use it to navigate around unfamiliar cities and last but not least, your smartphone can keep you connected to your friends and family at home.
Unfortunately, I’ve been quite far behind this curve. It’s actually only relatively recently that I’ve replaced my old Nokia brick with a sleek shiny smartphone. Still, once I had a smartphone it didn’t take me long to find the apps that would be most useful for me as a traveller. The first app I downloaded in fact was a free calling app. If I have to spell out why an app that allows you to make free calls would be so useful then you probably are a bigger technophobe than me! Suffice is to say that an app that allows you to use your phone without having to spend any money is what I’ve always wanted.
Now I could talk for a while about all of the benefits of using a phone app instead of your credit to connect with people (as if free messaging and free phone calls just wasn’t enough). Instead of focusing on this however, let me go over some of the most common worries that people have about using these kinds of apps.
One of the biggest worries that most people, especially travellers, will have about using mobile applications to make phone calls instead of the standard land-line is the call quality. I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised that international calling quality using the app is actually just as good as it would be using the normal land-line. In fact, as improved broadband is rolled out all over the world, the quality of these services can only increase.
Being able to make free international calls is also resulting in changes in my behavior. One of the results of using these apps is that when I actually keep in touch and update my family on what is going on in my life a lot more than I used to. I’ve also found that instead of just calling up my family for a short three minute call that ends with the line going dead because I’ve run out of credit, I’m now making longer calls home. In fact, I normally find myself running out of things to say long before I have run out of credit. The other change that I have noticed is that I’m better at keeping up with my good friends. I regularly find myself having long chats with old mates over the weekend or even on week days.
The last and perhaps most obvious thing that I realised after owning a smart phone for a month is that the free calling app was saving me loads of money. The app was not only saving me money by allowing me to make free international calls home, but it was also saving me a lot of money on local calls. Of course the people that I was calling had to own a smartphone, but as that list included everyone that I know, the app has proved to be pretty useful.