Staying in Touch
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In this age of instaqnt communication, we all have an expectation that we can keep in touch with friends on a regular basis. The only limit to your contact with home will be the cost involved.
 
E-mail
This is possibly the lowest cost method. There are many different email methods available. You will need your own small Laptop or Netbook computer, web enabled mobile/cell phone or similar or access to an Internet Café or hotel computer.
 
- Web Mail – use you current Internet Service Provider. Look up their webpage and there you will find instructions on setting up a webmail account which you can access worldwide and use in much the same way as your current email account
 
- Gmail – Google provides this web based email system, again accessible worldwide. Go to the following Google page for instructions on opening and using a Gmail account. Just Google 'Gmail'.
 
- Hotmail or Yahoo mail – Easy to open and use. Again visit Hotmail or Yahoo websites for easy setup and use instructions.
 
Do not forget that if you are using an unsecure internet connection such as Internet Café, hotel or the like, do not access your online banking details.
 
Mobile/ Cell Phone
Most mobile/ cell phones can be used whilst in another country via ‘global roaming’. Enquire of your phone provider. They will be able to register your phone for this service and advise you of the costs you will incur.
 
If you have a web enabled ‘smart phone’ check what costs will accrue with email and web usage – the cost of this type of data transmission on global roaming can be totally prohibitive and you may choose to either use this function sparingly or disable it whilst you are in the UK.
 
To keep costs down, we suggest using ‘text’ messaging on mobile/ cell phones.
 
If you intend to stay in the UK for in excess of two to three weeks and make a number of local calls (eg booking B&B accommodation on a daily basis), then a local UK SIM card can help.
 
As an alternative, you could  purchase a pre-paid mobile/ cell phone, SIM card and phone time should you prefer to keep your own mobile with global roaming for international calls and the UK pre-paid mobile for local calls. In effect the best of both worlds.
 
There are many phone stores in London which are agents for the networks. These stores are well signed and normally are located in the local High Street. Large department stores also sell these phones.
 
You can purchase a standalone SIM card to which you add the amount of credit you feel you require. Just make certain that the card you purchase has cover for the areas you intend visiting.
 
Hotel Phones
Treat hotel phones as you would the contents of a hotel room fridge. A no go area unless you can afford to pay the excess charges you will accrue.
 
So our recommendation really is sensible use of global roaming on your mobile/ cell phone.
 
Pingo
We have found Pingo telephone calling system excellent and cheap as long as you have access to either a landline or mobile/cell phone. For details  Go to Web: Pingo weblink   
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