Aug 12

I think I can, I think I can – I almost could

My wife and I recently were on a Baltic Cruise. In preparation for being out of the country I tried to see if I could stay connected without having to give AT&T Wireless tons of money for ounces of international service. I loaded my phone with Viber (http://is.gd/BoShkH) – a really cool voice and text app that works on any platform via WiFi so I could talk and text to folks that also had Viber. In fact, I had my family add it to their phones to insure that I would be able to talk to them.

I had Skype with video and voice for those folks that I needed to reach out to that didn’t have Viber. And I had all my usual apps on my Macbook, iPhone and iPad that kept me connected. I forwarded all my incoming calls to a Google Voice number so that I would get an email transcription of any messages, and could call back those that were important.

Most importantly, because our cruise was a chartered cruise by a company I do work for, WiFi was free instead of the usual $14,000 per minute (only kidding) for dial up speeds. So theoretically, I had everything I needed to not pay AT&T any extra money.

But, as we all know what works in theory oftentimes doesn’t work in real life. Oh, I was able to do everything, but because of the slow speed of Satellite internet service while on the ship, voice calls using both Viber and Skype were sketchy at best. They often cut in and out.

Then, WiFi on the ship had a 1 hour connect limit. After that you were disconnected. So, unless someone hit it just right, they weren’t able to call me since I had to have my phone on WiFi, not my iPad or Macbook. Texting with both iMessage and Viber worked well, and internet browsing, while slower than molasses, did work as well.

But I did have to pony up and pay AT&T for some international minutes so that I could take care of some important things.

I suspect that had we been on land, where WiFi was a bit faster and readily available, I would have had much more success and probably not needed to add those minutes.

So, if you travel internationally, and don’t want to pay the high rates on your phone package there are options that could work, depending on where you’re going to be and the prevalence of WiFi.

Be sure to share, and if you have any questions, just add them in the comments section!

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