Staying In Touch For the Holidays...the Fun and Easy Way!

By: Chris Waldal

The holiday season beginning around Thanksgiving through New Year's has got to be one of the most exciting times to be alive. Along with the excitement it can be one of the most stressful and expensive times of the year as well. An important part of the holidays is spending time with friends and family. It is inevitable though that someone won't be able to make it home for the holidays. It happens every year. Getting everyone together under the same room can darn well be impossible.

But that doesn't mean that it has to be hard to stay in close touch with loved ones. With some of today's technology it is easier than ever. Don't make the common mistake of thinking that technology equals big bucks.

Here are some ideas that you can use to technology to make the keeping in touch easier and more affordable:

Setup a Personal Toll-free 800 number

Making a call to a toll-free number is nothing new. You probably do it everyday. Toll-free numbers are popular with businesses because it is an easy way for their customers to reach them. Toll free numbers can do the same thing for you and keeping in touch with loved ones.

The personal toll-free number I have used for the last three years only charges me $2.00/month for the number and it is only 2.5 cents per minute for the call. My loved ones can always reach me, even from a payphone.

You can even get a stand alone toll-free service that will allow you to forward the toll-free number to a cell phone, home phone, work phone, or any other number. You can even change the forwarding on the fly. The best part about a stand-alone provider is that you don't have to switch carriers.

Try a BIG family conference call

Conference calling is very convenient especially when you need to speak with lots of people from two or more locations.

The way it works is you call to setup your account and you are given a toll-free 800 number and a unique PIN code to your account. Then you invite everyone to the conference call by giving them the time, toll-free number, and PIN code to your conference.

These work really great in my family for Thanksgiving day. Everyone gets to hop on the phone and talk to everyone else at the same time.

That way you don't have to take the time to call each person seperately. It really saves time.

Give VoIP a try!

VoIP is a phone service that works over your broadband internet connection. The reason that I recommend trying VoIP is because it saves customers so much money. VoIP eliminates the middle man in the phone game. Almost all long distance companies nowadays route all of their calls over the Internet.

I bet you are wondering how much we are talking about. My favorite VoIP provider only charges $19.99 per month for unlimited calling to anywhere in the USA and Canada.

You get all the standard calling features like like voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, three-way calling, call forwarding, 7 digit local dialing, etc.

Add video to your calls

One of the really cool 'Jetson' style gadgets out right now is video conferencing. Imagine talking face to face with people who can't make it home for the holidays. Their service for unlimited video calling is the same $19.99/month. All you need is a broadband internet connection and a special phone with the camera built-in.

The special phone is really cool and affordable. You can usually get one for around $100 depending on their promo. Who knew that video calls could be so affordable? If you are comfortable using the computer you can also use software to have group video conferences. Programs like Skype and most instant messengers from Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL support video.

There are a lot of ways to stay connected out there. Like anything in life if you take a little bit of time to plan and look around you will find something easy that will make life more enjoyable. Hopefully I gave you some ideas that will give you a great starting place for your holiday planning.

Top Searches on
Gadgets
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Gadgets