My parents work for an exchange program placing students in our lovely town each year. Over the years I have acquired friends in Germany, Austria, Mexico, Brazil, China, and various other countries all over the world that I have kept in contact with over the past 10 years. The internet has made this much easier to do via instant messenger programs and email, however sometimes I like to talk to them on the phone, which can be very costly.
I have found a great website where I can get great phone cards for nearly every country on the planet. Not only do they carry the most phone cards of any website I have seen around but they carry a very large selection of cards so you can find the one that best suits your calling needs. I am talking about Phone Cards Avenue, a great site with pre-paid calling cards. (www.phonecardsavenue.com)
The reason I enjoy this site more than any other I have found is not only their great selection, they also have great customer support, incase you run into problems using one of their cards. I have had to call them very few times, but when it was necessary they were very helpful and courteous.
The site is fairly easy to navigate and simple to use. It took me a bit to sift through all the information and learn what did what on the site but once I got it all figured out it has been very simple to use. The easiest way to get the card you want is to simply do a Country search on the page and have it display the calling cards that are available. Select the one you want and then pay and they instantly send you to a page with the calling card numbers and access number.
The downfall of this site is you must register first with a valid email address and call them to verify all the information, which made me very skeptical. I figured it was like all other sites that wanted my information so they can exploit it for gain, and I thought the process would take forever. I went ahead and did it and it was painless and I have never received any junk from them to date.
The process is simple enough; you register with your email and phone number, trust me its ok to give them this information. You also specify a time they can call and verify the information, I did this at about 9:30 central standard time and they called me within 15 minutes and got me setup in about 5 minutes. The personnel they have are great and very efficient; no long winded sales pitches just verify all your information and then let you get to using your phone cards.
I suggest this site to anyone with friends in foreign countries, I have checked phone rates and these phone cards seem to be the best deal. One thing to keep in mind is that the many of the phone cards lose time if you call and then hang up. For instance I buy a phone card that has 20 hours of talk time to Mexico, if I hang up before my 20 hours I lose about 30 minutes of talk time. All the cards vary but just keep that in mind.
I hope this assists you in keeping in touch with friends and family abroad. Also check out my article on using free internet services to keep in touch with people in other countries, they can save you a lot of money. (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/14125/talk_to_your_distant_friends_with_skype.html)