Goodbye Cell Phone Roaming Charges

If you’re traveling abroad, chances are you still want people to be able to get a hold of you.  With a few steps, you can set up Skype to make it so that your home phone (or cell phone) goes right to your cell phone in your pocket without any roaming costs.  By forwarding your home number to a Skype number and then forwarding Skype to your international cell phone, anybody can call your normal home phone (or phones!) and be redirected directly to your international phone.


Cost: about $6 / month + the standard Skype cost per phone call.  You’ll also need a globally-unlocked GSM phone and a prepaid SIM card in each country you visit (usually about $5/week or s0, but if you’re staying abroad for any period of time you probably want these two things anyway so you have a local number).


  1. If you don’t already have Skype, sign up and put a few dollars in your account.
  2. Get a SkypeIn phone number ($18 per 3 months)
  3. Set up your home phone to forward to your SkypeIn number.  The process for doing this depends on the phone you have.  For example, on the iPhone, just open the Settings application and choose Phone->Call Forwarding
  4. In the Skype application, open the Preferences and choose to “Forward Incoming Calls” if you do not pick them up (see screenshot below).  Don’t forget to insert the country code of your international cell phone (eg., +1 for USA or +33 for France).




This works because (almost) all mobile carriers do not charge for received calls.  You pay the Skype fee for the SkypeIn number and the cost of the phone call itself, which are both pretty minimal, but no charge for receiving the call on your cell phone.  Obviously this doesn’t work for making outbound calls back to your home country, but you can always jump on Skype for that.  At least you’ll always be able to pick up that important call, even if you’re overseas.

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  • OM

    I dislike Skype. It’s proprietary, suffers services and isn’t flexible. I found services using the open SIP protocol helpful. Companies often offer free incoming phone number (e.g.,, and the service to forward incoming calls. You can also connect more as one phone/client to it and are not platform/gadget depended.

    What to should be aware of, but most people (in US) don’t know: while in most countries incoming calls are free, the rate to call a cell phone is usually much higher. This affects also call forwarding.

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