email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I'm going to be travelling in Europe this summer and need to be able
> to talk periodically to people in the US. I will have my portable
> computer with a wireless card. Can I load Skype softward on my
> computer and then use Skype from an internet connection in the hotel?
Where are you going to be staying? If the answer is "sometimes
hostels", then you might want to think twice about taking a laptop.
Even if you're always staying in hotels I'd leave the laptop home
unless yoh have an absolute need for it, it's just something to worry
about getting stolen/broken during your travels. If you need
safe/secure internet access just bring along a bootable Linux CD find
an internet cafe that will let you boot that on their machine (instead
of using some potentially trojan infested public Windows machine).
> What better ways might you suggest for inexpensive voice communication
> back to the US from Europe?
It might be a lot less trouble for you just to buy some of the local
pre-paid calling cards. You can find these all over the news agents
there, they are cheap, and if you make sure to read the terms closely
you can find really good rates. If you won't be making many calls
then it might make sense to just buy one of the GSM chips that work
worldwide and put that in an unlocked GSM phone (make sure it does
900/1800Mhz at least). There are also some pre-paid calling cards
that offer local access numbers throughout Europe, usually the rates
are higher than the ones you buy at the local shops, but if you use it
infrequently it could pay off in convenience.
Here are some links, the rates vary and these aren't neccessarily the
best, but good enough to give you an idea. You should look around and
compare on your own:
http://www.prepaidgsm.net/ (some global GSM chip info + comparisons)
http://www.hiayh.ekit.com/ (one example of global calling card w/local
toll free access numbers)