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Whether you travel for business or leisure, staying in touch with the office, friends and family can often mean having to make long distance telephone calls. In some countries this may not be overly expensive but in others it can be prohibitively expensive, and even if reasonably priced the total bill of making long distance calls quickly adds up.

Thankfully, more and more hotels around the world are offering free or very reasonably priced broadband internet access. Many of the best hotels even offer free wireless broadband access in most public areas of the hotel. If you choose a hotel which offers such a service then you can say goodbye to long distance telephone charges for good, thanks to a free service which is becoming more and more popular - Skype.

Skype offers two types of service. One is completely free and as long as the people you want to talk to have Skype downloaded and installed on their computer then you can chat for as long as you want completely free of charge. This service could not be simpler to use, you can see when your 'contacts' are online and simply call them. The person you are calling then has the option of picking up the call or refusing it. Once connected the sound clarity is, 95% of the time, excellent, perhaps even better than a good quality IDD line.

The other service Skype offers, SkypeOut, allows anyone with Skype installed on their computer to call any regular telephone anywhere in the world at very reasonable rates. The sound quality when using this service is not as consistently good as when using the free service outlined above but is more than acceptable. Skype have said that they are constantly working on this technology in an aim to making it as good and reliable as the free version.

If the idea of free long distance calls is not enough to persuade you to sign up, Skype has a whole load of new innovations to entice you. One such innovation allows you to buy a telephone number in a country you do not live. This will allow non Skype users to call a local number in that country and you can receive the call anywhere in the world.

If you are a frequent traveller, then Skype should be a must have when it comes to connecting to friends, family and the office without the expense and worry of a staggeringly high long distance telephone bill.

There are many other country specific tips in the column to the left and other general tips below:

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