How can I stay in touch with my family cheaply?

Communication tools - Two mobile phones, a landline phone and a laptopThis week we have a guest blog post provided by Dean Reilly, Deputy Editor of Ofcom-accredited comparison site, suggesting ways of staying in touch with friends and family cheaply while you are in the UK:

Keeping in touch with your friends and family while you study in the UK is essential for your general wellbeing. Luckily there are lots of great ways for you to stay connected to your loved ones that are fast, simple and cheap.

Not all communication needs to be conducted over the phone, but if you want to keep your handset, or have a landline, there are a number of ways to save on your telephone bill. Many landline providers have packages that offer cheaper rates for international calls, and mobile phone providers usually offer additional international packages, SIMs or bolt-ons that reduce the cost of international charges or give free international minutes.

If you’re considering purchasing an international call plan for either a landline or your mobile, you can find more information and prices from’s guide to making cheap international calls.

Another way to cut the cost of calling home is with an international calling card. These are pre-paid phone cards that can be topped up with credit and, in general, offer cheaper rates to international numbers than a standard landline or mobile. Calling cards are available in most phone shops and even some newsagents, especially those in communities with a large student population.

If you have a good broadband connection, making calls over the internet might be a cheaper method. Using a VoIP service, such as Skype or Rebtel, is free if the person you’re calling is using the same service. Skype can also be topped up with credit and used to make international mobile and landline calls. Another great feature of VoIP services is the ability to make video calls, so you can have face-to-face chats.

Staying in touch doesn’t have to cost a lot, especially if the majority of your conversations can be conducted over a VoIP service, or you find a cheap international calls package.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

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