Before starting the summer 2012 adventure of working as a checkpoint worker with The Great Race I worked on a plan on how I would communicate with friends, family and especially my kids once I went into Canada. Our adventure started in Traverse City, MI and went around the Great Lakes in Canada and back into the US in New York before ending in Dearborn, MI. After looking at a plan for my Verizon iPhone 4 as well as some prepaid phones (as the sales rep at Verizon suggested) I decided I would try downloading the Skype app for the iPhone and try it.
I also added $10 worth of credit to my account
Once into Canada and settled into the hotels I would connect to the hotel wi-fi to make a phone call. Majority of the time the phone calls went through and were clear. There were a few times the calls were dropped which skype would say it was due to a weak wi-fi signal. Usually I would have at least three bars and still received that message. Sometimes there was a delay during the conversations but overall, I was very, very pleased and in fact thankful I was able to talk to my loved ones back in the U.S. for a very reasonable price.
There is a drawback though when you do call someone: your phone number does not show up on their caller ID. So, if you know you are going to use Skype, let your family and friends know ahead of time that an odd number may call them.
After spending nearly four days in Canada and making about 15 phone calls I ended up with approximately a $4.90 credit.
If you know you will be going out of the country, have an iPhone or another smartphone and you know you will have access to wi-fi I highly recommend using skype. While it is not perfect, it is the best thing to use when you want to talk to those who are important in your life.