As a young man I’ve done my fair share of traveling, down through Mexico and a hop over to Honduras. The two things I took away from these trips are: Everyone misses home, and infrastructure is not guaranteed. You see, rather than pay exorbitant fees on phone calls, I simply took a laptop and got myself setup with a Skype account. This worked well and good until the unthinkable happened. I had gone where internet had not.
Now I’m not so engrossed in the internet that I can’t find ways to entertain myself. In fact an outing to Chichen Itza easily swallowed a day, with the next spent swimming in a cenote and other touristy things. Still, I did want to call home to let people know that I was still alive and that all was well. So, I went to the hotel front desk and was told about the wonders of an international prepaid calling card. It was easy the receptionist assured me, and didn’t cost very much. What came next was neither of those things.
Trying to Stay in Touch? Plan Ahead.
Have you ever found yourself more than just a little frustrated at an automated phone tree? Hoping to find the right menu, or if the gods are merciful, a real human being? Now take that experience, and multiply it by a foreign language, a ticking clock, and a 19 digit code. For something that was meant to be so simple, it could not have been any closer to some sort of punishment found in a lesser level of hell.
I was once told that pain was made to teach you something, and if I learned anything, it was not to disregard a contingency. Just a few minutes of research would’ve turned up a slew of options for making affordable international phone calls. Instead I made an assumption that cost me time, effort, and a bit of deniro.
The moral of the story? Always have a back of plan when you’re traveling, especially when it comes to communication. So many aspects of travel rely on it, and when you’re in a pinch and need to call back home for help (or even if you’re just lonely) then you’ll be happy that you figured out a few ways to stay in touch in advance.
(Photo by EpSos)