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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

International Communication: Ways to Stay in Touch


Note: This list is for informational purposes only and in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied, by the Department of State. Links to websites outside the U.S. federal government or the use of trade, firm, or corporation names are for the convenience of the user and do not constitute an official endorsement or approval of any private sector product, service, website, or privacy policy.


- Voice, video, and conference calls, and instant
- Send documents or pictures
- Free download available for cellular phones,
computers, and some televisions
- Skype to Skype calls are free. Calls to cellular
phones or land lines are available through
pay-as-you-go plans or monthly subscriptions.
- Get a U.S.-based number that rings in your home
overseas for a monthly fee
-SMS text message rates vary per country

- Social network through instant messaging,
photo sharing, status updates, and more


Google Chat
- Free voice or video chat through Gmail

Google Talk
- Free instant Messaging, Conference Voice Chat,
and File Transfers
- Only compatible with PCs

Google+ Hangouts
- Free video chat with up to 9 people


Blogger (via Google)
- Create a blog for free to share with family/friends

- Free preformatted blog templates
- Create a blog and share with family and friends
to view and comment on

- Microblog 140 characters at a time
- Subscribe to friends / family member accounts
to receive all of their updates
- Free

- Free, fully customizable
- Share posts easily with other social media


- Store and send photos and videos via email
or instant message

- Store and organize photos for friends and family
- Free but storage is limited

Google Picasa
- If you already use Gmail or have a Google account,
you already have access to Picasa
- 1GB free storage


Vonage International
- Choose from international calling plans
Vonage World ($25.99/month) and Vonage
World Plus 1000 ($54.99/month)
- Keep your existing phone number or get a new
U.S.-based phone number that rings in your home
overseas for a monthly fee

Long Distance Calling Cards
- The following sites offer long distance calling
card rate comparisons by country:

Verizon Wireless International Long Distance Plan
-Select country to view discounted per minute rates

Google Voice
- Gives you a CONUS phone number for people to
call while you are overseas
- Free US long distance, free voicemail feature

- Take the MagicJack Plus™ with you when you
travel outside of the country and you will have free
calls back to the U.S. and Canada. No matter
where you are in the world.
- All calls to the U.S. and Canada are free.

International Calling Plans Comparison
(US landline long distance plans)
- Select country and compare rates 
International Calling Plan
(World Connect - US wireless long distance plan)
-Select country to view discounted per minute rates
International Long Distance Messaging 
- $ 0.25 to send and $0.20 to receive
-The International Long Distance Messaging Plan:
Friends and family in the US can send 100 texts to
more than 200 countries for $10.00. $0.20 for each
message over 100.
- Messaging rates vary by plan.

- Free messaging with other textPlus users worldwide
   & free text to any US or Canadian mobile number
- Compatible with Apple, Android, and Windows phones

- Free calls, texts, and picture sharing using your data plan
- Compatible with Apple, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry
- Instantly integrates with your own contact list


Here’s a subscription service that makes
your IP address appear as a US IP address
when you log on. Use this service to
watch the standard networks (CBS, ABC and NBC)
plus NFL games. There are several packages to
choose from, including one that costs about $55.00.

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