iPad and Skype - The ulitimate European Traveling Companions?

Alan Percy : The SIP Invite
Alan Percy
| Observations by Alan D. Percy on VoIP enabling technology, industry and our personal reach for success.

iPad and Skype - The ulitimate European Traveling Companions?

ipad.jpgThis last month, my wife, son,  sister-in-law and her husband joined me to visit my older college-age son in Spain during his "semester abroad".  While in Spain we took the opportunity to sight see in Madrid, Valencia and Cuenca on a break-neck pace.

Before heading off to Spain, I gave my wife an early Mother's day gift of an Apple iPad, allowing her to download books for reading on the plane and down time in the hotel. 

Needless to say, anytime we pulled the iPad out in public, someone would invariably stop to take a look and start to ask questions.  It almost became comical in a Starbucks in Madrid, with half a dozen people surrounding my wife.

What we didn't realize is how useful the iPad and Skype would be while in Spain.

It seems that my brother-in-law's bank didn't understand that when he notified them that he was going to travel to Spain, he actually would be traveling to Spain.  Once we arrived, his credit cards and ATM cards were denied putting him in a real bind.  Time to call the bank.

In the past you would have to expect a whopper of a phone bill to call the bank back in the US, but with my wife's iPad, WiFi in the hotel and Skype with Skype-out service, he was able to make the hour-long call to work through their layers of agents and IVR menus to attempt to get his problem solved.  Total cost for the calls?  Less than $1.

Being able to pass along messages with our travel updates via Facebook also helped us provide status updates to our older son in Valencia, making sure we didn't have any troubles finding our hotel and each other.

Meanwhile, an overly expensive pre-paid GSM phone sat in my pocket collecting dust.

I will say, I now understand the portable tablet revolution and next time you travel abroad, skip the GSM phone and the iPad is going in my briefcase.  

Sorry honey, I think your Mother's day gift may get "borrowed".

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