Go ahead and toss out those old calling cards. Skype makes expensive phone calls to friends and family back home a thing of the past. Actually, it makes paying for phone calls at all out of the question.
If you have ever found yourself in an internet cafe listening to someone with a headset talking to the computer screen, you have more than likely already encountered a Skype call in action, but the real benefit is making one yourself. All it takes is an internet connection and a free Skype account to take advantage of the no-cost Skype-to-Skype calls.
With that being the case, why is it that so many Furnished Property tenants have not yet tried it out? Nearly half of the tenants polled had said they never used Skype and typically relied on email and phone calls to keep in touch.
One Furnished Property tenant from Ireland stated, "I mostly use email, and I ring them once a week. I sometimes use MSN Messenger."
Skype has been loved by backpackers since 2003, the year it was released, because it helped the budget traveller keep in touch with less impact on their travel funds. Seems like anyone concerned with a few extra dollars here and there, such as working holiday visa holders and international students, should jump at the opportunity to cut out extra costs. However, that does not appear to be happening.
And, it is not the case that they had never heard of Skype before. Of those same tenants polled, all of them knew what Skype was, but half had just not gotten around to trying it out.
"No, I'm a bad backpacker," a Swedish tenant replied when she was asked if she had ever used Skype before. "I think about Skype, but mostly stay with calls and some emails."
Here’s how it works:
Install the Skype software on your computer by visiting the website. Create a user name and search for friends already online. When this process has been completed, Skype can be used as an instant messaging program, much like MSN Chat or Yahoo Messenger.
Attach a headset to the computer, or just use your computer's built-in microphone and speakers, and the program can now be used to make internet phone calls to other Skype users that are also logged on. What this means is if your family and friends back home also install the program and sign on, you can talk as long as you want – FOR FREE!
To take Skype to the next level, you can add in a webcam. That's right, not only can you talk for free, but you can also see each other in the process. The world won't feel so small to loved ones on the other side of the world anymore when you can both sit down and have face-to-face chats.