When you’re living abroad, either for your career or simply to experience new cultures, calling home can often be a bit tricky. Many times expatriates want to connect with their loved ones, but the high cost of traditional international calls can be a hindrance to voice communication. For that reason, many expats settle for infrequent telephone communications with the people they love.


There is however, an option that will allow expatriates to stay in touch, without having to pay exorbitant rates to telephone companies or calling card providers.  International virtual numbers can be an ideal way to stay connected without having to spend an arm and a leg. Thanks to the rise and popularity of internet telephony, international virtual numbers are inexpensive and extremely easy to access for personal use.


What is an International Virtual Number?


A virtual telephone number, sometimes called an access number, is a type of telephone number that is not directly associated with a specific telephone line. Instead, virtual numbers utilize the internet and are programmed to forward inbound calls to any telephone number the client may choose. It can be a landline, cell phone, softphone, or VoIP line.  An international virtual number works the same way. A customer chooses a telephone number in any country, and then points that number to a telephone line in another country. The process is simple and seamless.


Virtual numbers can be purchased online, from a virtual service provider. Customers are not forced to use local telephone companies in order to purchase or use an international virtual number.  The setup is very simple – just hop online, make a number selection and go. Within a few short minutes, expats can open the lines of voice communication with their loved ones.

International Virtual Numbers for Inbound and Outbound Calls


Both expatriates and their friends and family can utilize international virtual numbers to stay in touch. Here’s how it works: the expat can set up a virtual US toll-free number that their friends and family can use to reach out. That number will then be forwarded to the landline or cell phone of the expatriate, no matter where they may travel in the world.  Because the number is virtual – that is, it is transmitted over the internet and not associated with a physical phone line – it can be directed to any phone, anywhere with a few simple clicks through an online dashboard. Taking off to travel India for a few weeks? Point the number to a mobile phone. Heading back home to Ireland afterward? Point the number back to a home landline.  When expats choose international virtual numbers to keep in touch, the call is completely free for friends and family. They dial that number the same way they dial any other US-based 1-800 number, but it is sent overseas.


Expats can use the same process to keep in touch with their family members, as well. International calling rates can be far less expensive with virtual numbers. Rather than dialing confusing country codes to reach home, all they have to do is set up a local, toll free number in the country they live. They can point that number to their family home, a cell phone, their US-based office – the service is completely customizable and far less expensive than traditional calls.


International Virtual Numbers


International virtual numbers are also a simple and convenient way for businesses to stay in touch with their key employees overseas.  By setting up virtual numbers in the US and abroad, it will be easier for teams to keep in touch.  It can give businesses a direct line to their key players in other countries, while saving money on international calling rates.


The Benefits of International Virtual Numbers for Expats


International virtual numbers are completely customizable, so expats can set them up to suit their precise needs. If, for example, an expat is waiting on her regular monthly call from grandma, but she must run out to do some errands, she won’t have to fear she will miss the call. She can simply logon to her online control center and point her virtual number to her mobile phone while she is away. Or, she can set the number to ring the landline first, and if there is no answer after three or four rings, roll it directly to the mobile. International virtual numbers can put an end to missed calls from loved ones while overseas.


Reduced calling rates are also an important benefit of an international virtual number. Big telephone companies charge a lot of money to place (and sometimes receive) international calls. Because virtual numbers use less resources, they are far less expensive than traditional calls. The billing is usually common-sense, allowing expats to properly budget for their communications needs.


Living abroad can be extremely exciting, but it can also be a bit lonely. In the past, expatriates have been forced to settle for email and social media as a way to stay in touch, because the high cost of international calls made it difficult to stay connected to friends and family. Thanks to international virtual numbers, expats can stay in touch with those they love, without breaking the bank.