Staying in touch while cruising, for anyone interested
Recently someone posted asking about cost effective ways to stay in contact while travelling, specifically cruising. Well I wanted to share a little more info about skype, perhaps this will help others. Skype is a service you can subscribe to for a nominal fee, you can make phone calls over the internet (VOIP) for next to nothing. I have a USB phone that plugs into my laptop. So anywhere I can find a conventional wifi connection I can make very cheap phone calls home.
With steep fees and penalties being imposed for extra bags I am reluctant to continue to bring my laptop on trips simply because I need to use my carry on for all the stuff that won't fit into my checked bags. Plus I just don't want to lug it around, I have enough stuff to carry.
So if I don't have my laptop, I really can't use my skype USB wifi phone, so what to do? and how do I check email and conduct business while I am away without my laptop?
I do have a handheld device Nokia 770 which will allow me to check my email, but only the newer version Nokia 810 will run skype. So I was not going to spend several hundred dollars to buy that. I looked at the Netgear wifi phone for use with Skype which I would have loved and almost bought until I realized it will only work at wifi hotspots that run the same protocol as T-Mobile wireless hotspots and then I would have ended up with two devices, which would have been OK since they are both small and compact, but I just didn't know how many TMobile hotspots I would find in foreign countries, so I gave that idea a pass.
I have two little kids aged almost 6 and 8 and one big kid (d/h) who love to play video/computer games. I intended to purchase a Sony PSP or Nintendo DS to appease them sometime in the next month or so. Imagine my surprise when I found out this small little handheld device will allow me to connect to wifi and log into my web based email, and also will allow me to make Skype phone calls to just about anywhere on the planet for next to nothing. I pre-ordered the new 3000 version which is set to be shipped mid-October for $199. Which is much less than some of the cell phone bills people came home to, who decided to use their cell phones at sea.
Just an FYI, this is not a panacea, but if you don't mind waiting to make calls and check email until you are in port and can find a wifi connection, it can save you a small fortune. I have never been able to use Skype using the ship's wifi connection, I assume that is because of the latency of their satellite uplink. But when we cruise in November I will try it again and report back.
I know there are fortunate folks out there who have no need or desire to contact home or work while on vacation (since at least one of them always enjoys rubbing it in whenever there is a post about staying in touch while cruising) :evil: , and I could not be happier for them . But some of us are self employed or the nature of our jobs requires us to stay in touch or perhaps we have personal issues at home we need to know about. I know if we don't take working vacations, we would miss out on a lot of business and have some very unhappy clients. There is simply no one to cover for us while we are gone, plus my parents are getting up in years so it is important we check in from time to time.
Hope this info proves helpful to some of you who don't want to lug a laptop or pay huge cell bills while cruising or travelling to foreign countries.