Subject: Re: Phoning Home
Hi Dave and Ziners,

Our travels usually have a business component, so we have to keep in touch with the US while traveling. We have had very good results using pre-paid phone services. We use a credit card to put money in our account, then use access numbers to call the US (or wherever we need to call) from another country. I have even used the system from an airport in the US when my cellphone was defunct. The rates are very inexpensive when compared to using other methods. We've used hotel telephones and payphones, and occasionally a cellphone set up for international calls. Each call you make begins with an automated message telling you exactly how much money is in your account and how many minutes (hours, etc) you would be able to talk from your current location with the balance you have. You can set your account to replenish from your credit card when your balance reaches a low level. There are no fees on the account, and you just use it as needed. I get emails from the company regularly reminding me of the account balance.

I have had interesting experiences using this system, including a late night when we had been stuck in the airport at Heathrow all day while trying to get to Glasgow. All air traffic was shut down due to a computer failure. When traffic finally started moving I asked the gate agent if there was any flight going north that we could take rather than spend the night at the airport. She put us on a flight to Newcastle that was leaving within minutes. We landed at Newcastle just before midnight with no hotel and no car. I could see a Novotel from the airport window. Using a payphone and my phone card, I called the hotel (via the US, as all the phone card calls are bounced back), got rooms and we got a lift to the Novotel from a kindly car-rental agent who was leaving to go home. This sweet man also made sure we had a car for the next morning. We continued on the next day in our rented car, made it to our destination a day late, but with adventures to recount.

Happy travels, Jeanne in Nebraska