Sunday, May 14, 2006

It's Time for Summer Travel Cards

Summer vacation time is almost here. Where will you be going this year? Car trip for sight seeing? Camping the state or national parks? Enjoying the culture overseas? Sounds good. Now, do you have your handy travel card available?

Travel card? What travel card? Why your travel calling card, of course. Oh, I know. In this age of cell phones the calling card is supposed to be passe. No so. At least not if you want to be sure you can call who you want, when you want, at the best possible rates.

If you have a U.S. cell phone and are staying in the country, then by all means take your cell phone with you. Those who have unlimited roaming plans can make all the calls they want for free, right? Sure. Unless you happen to be in an area that doesn't have cellular coverage. Many of the most scenic places have spotty service at best. Then you're relegated to use a hotel phone and pay through the nose. Or find a pay phone and pay through the nose.

How about overseas? Most cell phones don't automatically work on the other side of the world from where you bought them. In some cases it's a matter of network compatibility. Even if you bought a quad band GSM phone, you may find that your carrier has it locked for their service only. You may or may not be able to get them to unlock it for overseas use. Usually you need to demonstrate some months of paying your bills on time before they'll even consider unlocking the phone. So, don't get the idea you can rush into a store and pick one up the day before you leave.

Of course you can rent a new cell phone wherever you happen to be visiting, but that can get pretty expensive. Especially if you plan on traveling far and wide, or making a lot of calls back home.

This is where that travel calling card becomes your friend. It will save you a fortune when you find yourself having to make long distance calls from a hotel, campground, public phone, or a friend or relative's house. You don't want to run up your friend or relative's phone bill, do you? The cards I am going to recommend don't even cost you to have them available. You only pay when you need to make calls and then the calling rate is just a fraction of what you'd otherwise pay.

They type of calling cards I'm talking about are called "post paid" or "billable." They differ from the ones you buy in convenience stores in that you don't pay for your minutes up front with these cards. Instead, the cost of your calls are charged to your credit card. This avoids a couple of ugly problems that plague prepaid calling cards. With billable cards you never run out of minutes at an inopportune time. You also never have the problem of your minutes expiring when you don't use them.

In fact, a billable calling card makes a great insurance policy against getting stuck with a big long distance bill. It will sit there quietly in your wallet, not costing you anything until you need it. Then you'll get excellent rates to destinations anywhere in the world.

The AccuGlobe International Origination Calling Card charges just 5.9 cents per minute to make domestic calls anywhere in the U.S. 48 states. Billing is in six second increments to save you the most on short calls. Plus, this card works in over 45 countries. Check the rates from places you'll visit to where you want to call and you'll see what a deal this is. Get an AccuGlobe calling card and keep it handy. You won't get charged until you make a call. Then you pay just $1 a month in those months that you make calls, plus the low per minute rates.

If you happen to be spending time in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, you pay just 3.9 cents a minute for your domestic long distance calls with the AccuChat Calling Card. A rate of 4.9 cents a minute is available from 2,500 select cities. In all other areas in the US 48 states, the calling rate is 6.9 cents per minute. Like AccuGlobe, there is a $1 billing fee that applies only in months that you make calls.

The CogniCall International Calling Card is a little different in that it is a "virtual" calling card. In other words, you don't get a piece of plastic. Instead, after you place your order, you'll be emailed your account and PIN numbers. You need to then call a special customer service number to activate your account. This can often be done in one business day to accommodate last minute travel needs. No need to wait, though. CogniCall has no monthly charges at all. You pay just for the calls you make, with rates as low as 6.9 cents a minute in the U.S. and very low rates from over 50 countries.

Sound good? Why not order the travel calling card you want right now while you are thinking about it. Then you can travel with peace of mind, knowing that you'll never be gouged for high long distance rates while you are on your vacation or business trip.

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