Skype The Holidays
When my fiance and I were first dating, he ended up taking a job teaching English as a second language in Saudi Arabia. This was a job that did not allow him to come home for the holidays. He had an international calling card that he used, but the service was hit-or-miss. And sending mail to the compound he lived on was quite an ordeal. He did, however, have a pretty reliable internet connection, and Skype quickly became our best friend. It was great to have all the time, but particularly over the holidays when my fiance was missing home.
Skype allows people to make free computer-to-computer calls for free. All you have to do is create an account on Skype and share your username with other Skype users that you want to connect with. They can search your username and find you, and you, in turn, can search other users' names and connect to them. (When creating a Skype account, make sure that you download Skype only from the official website. Downloading Skype from third-party websites can make your account more susceptible to hackers or eavesdroppers).
If you or your family members don't have an internet connection, Skype also offers calls to mobile phones or land-lines and even text messaging. These services are not free. They do offer calling cards for as low as $10, which would make a great gift for your loved ones who live far away or for loved ones who make alot of international calls.
Skype also currently has a promotion in which users can get free wifi at over 50 airports in the U.S. through Skype. According to their recent press release,
"Skype is setting out to make travel a little more pleasant this holiday season by offering a free hour of Internet access to third-party wireless hotspots within the Skype WiFi hotspot footprint in select airports across the U.S. From December 21st thru December 27th, travelers passing through or delayed in over 50 airports across the country will be able to access third-party hotspots using Skype WiFi and connect with loved ones via a Skype video or voice call for free."
Travelers simply have to sign in to their Skype ID and search to see if they're in a supported hotspot. They should make sure that they're using the most recent version of Skype. Consumers have expressed some confusion on Skype's website about the service, and it's important to note that the service is not offered at airports that already have free wifi, because it's not necessary - they already offer wifi!
Connecting with family and friends is the most important part of the holiday season. Make holiday connections easy this year with Skype!