Get 5% of discount using the code
Buy my eSIM
EUR - €
United States (US) dollar
USD - $
Pound sterling
GBP - £
Australian dollar
AUD - $
Canadian dollar
CAD - $

How to make international calls: Handy tips for travelers 

Discover the art of making international calls without any extra charges or nasty surprises on your bill. Get ready to dial up with no boundaries!

Leoneska Ruiz

July 17, 2024

4.6 /5 Trustpilot star
Highly rated Based on +39.000 customer reviews on Trustpilot
Reviews avatar Reviews avatar Reviews avatar +1M
Trusted worldwide Over 1 million travelers across the globe have trusted Holafly
Unlimited data Unlimited data Limitless data plans in more than 170 destinations
Save money

Holafly saves you +30% compared to other roaming fees

Buy my eSIM

Break those geographical barriers and stay connected with your loved ones worldwide! Today, we’ll explain how to make international calls like a pro—easy and cheap. Whether you’re planning an epic adventure, relocating to another country, or want to keep in touch with friends and family abroad, we’ll give you all the details.

Learn to make international calls without paying the high rates. We’ll explain your options, from roaming to trendy eSIMs with unlimited data to call with VoIP Apps.

travel sim card unlimited data
Buy an International eSIM and get unlimited data and VoIP calls! Save 5%. Code: MYESIMNOW5

What are international calls?

Calling internationally consists of contacting a person outside our country. Unlike local phone calls, these special services cross borders and use international telecommunications networks. As an additional service, being able to call abroad is usually associated with additional rates or international calling plans. 

It is important to realize that international calls are usually more expensive than local calls if we use calling plans. The rates vary depending on your cell phone service provider and the country you’re dialing. So, check out those international rates or roaming and compare before you hit that call button.

Every problem has a solution, and there are affordable alternatives to avoid high international call rates. One of the most famous is using your data plan to call through Apps like WhatsApp or Telegram. We will see all these options later. 

International area codes

Before we discuss calling alternatives, you need to know one thing: area codes. Whether you are calling using roaming, data, or another alternative, you will need the specific area code of the country you are calling from, as well as the phone number of the contact. 

These are placed before the mobile or landline number. Here is a list of some international area codes. 

  • Spain: +34
  • Italy: +39
  • France: +33
  • Germany: +49
  • Greece: +30
  • Portugal: +351
  • The Netherlands: +31
  • Austria: +43
  • Sweden: +46
  • Ireland: +353
  • Poland: +48

Keep this list or a similar list with other country codes handy, as you will use them for the step-by-step instructions we give you. Now that we know the area codes let’s move on to the alternatives for calling internationally.

International calls with roaming service

This feature lets you use your mobile device with networks in other countries to make and receive international calls. It’s the perfect choice for those who want the comfort of using their local phone number and sticking with their trusted service provider. 

Not everything is good; the truth is that roaming services are expensive for both minutes and data. This means that you can end up paying high bills for just a few minutes of calls. If you are a frequent traveler, some operators offer an international calling plan, which is a little more efficient but still expensive. 

International roaming. Source:

How to make international calls using a roaming service

As mentioned, this is the most practical and direct way to call abroad. You only need your mobile phone and don’t have to change your SIM card or number. Here are some steps and recommendations to follow. 

  • Check your roaming Plan: Understand roaming policies and charges for international calls from your phone carrier. Some carriers offer specific international roaming plans or add-ons.
  • Dial the number: To make an international call, you’ll typically dial the country code, area code, and phone number. For example, to call the United States from Canada, dial +1 (country code), followed by the area code and phone number.
  • Be aware of charges: Roaming charges vary widely depending on your carrier and destination. It’s essential to monitor your usage to avoid unexpected bills.

Here is also a practical example when we want to call a number in France from the USA: 

Country code: +33 for France.

French number: 9 digits of the phone number.

Example: +33 6 12 34 56 78.

*It is essential to know that the number of digits in the international phone number varies between countries. 

How does international roaming work?

Once you switch on that roaming service, your cellphone provider contracts with foreign network operators. This great collaboration allows your phone to make and receive calls, send text messages, and use cellular data abroad.

However, roaming does not only work when we are outside our country. International calls count as roaming services. When communicating with foreign networks, the same conditions apply to using our mobile phones abroad. 

This means that whether you call home while traveling or make calls abroad while at home, you may pay high rates. We will tell you about other alternatives for calling abroad.

International calls with prepaid calling card

One of the first and oldest alternatives is to use a prepaid calling card. These are credit cards for long-distance calls, as the name indicates. The advantage is that you pay in advance, so if you use up the credit, you can no longer call. 

It’s a way to control your spending because you know how much you pay. It’s handy for people who make frequent international calls or travelers looking to save on roaming charges. However, unlike roaming, you need to activate it before using it, which may confuse some users. 

Beyond the steps before being able to call, it is a cheaper alternative to roaming and also allows us to call international numbers without using data. 

How prepaid calling card  works:

  1. Purchase a calling card: These are available at many retail stores or online.
  2. Check the instructions: Each card has specific dialing instructions and rate information.
  3. Dial the access number: This is the number you dial to connect to the calling card service.
  4. Enter your PIN: This is a personal identification number provided with the card.
  5. Dial the international number: Usually, dial the country, area, and phone codes. In the same way, as we explained with roaming calls

The process is a bit cumbersome and may require more or fewer steps depending on the prepaid card. But don’t worry. We will give you one last practical and convenient alternative for international calls. 

International calls with data through VoIP service 

Finally, we come to international calls using mobile data. Besides prepaid cards or roaming, there are voice-over IP (VoIP) services, which use an internet connection to allow unlimited calling. Thanks to VoIP, mobile applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram, or Skype will enable us to call anywhere in the world using data. 

You and the person you are calling must have the same application to talk and a stable connection. As you can see, you need the internet to call using VoIP Apps, and the more you call, the more data you need. Some plans offer unlimited data, so in the same way, you will have unrestricted calls.

International calls in Europe. Source:

These unlimited data plans can be found with your local carrier. In case you are traveling, we recommend using an eSIM like the ones Holafly offers. Remember that using data abroad with your local provider will also make you pay roaming charges, which is why Holafly is a better alternative abroad. 

Holafly’s eSIM with unlimited data plans

In case you don’t know them, eSIMs are virtual versions of traditional SIM cards. They perform the same function on your phone with the advantage that they are pre-installed. To activate them, you only need to scan a QR code and have a compatible phone

This new product is all about innovation and technology, and the best part is that it’s way cheaper than roaming. Holafly is one of the most widely used providers worldwide, offering unlimited data packages for tourists that are easy to purchase and activate. You can also make unlimited calls through VoIP Apps.

Holafly home website

Getting your hands on the eSIM is easy! Head to Holafly’s website, pick one of the destinations listed above, choose the eSIM duration that matches your trip, and add it to your shopping cart. Once you purchase, the eSIM will be sent to your email. To activate it, scan a QR code. Smooth!

How to make calls with unlimited data eSIM

Once you have activated the Holafly eSIM, you can make calls thanks to unlimited data. For this, we will use applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype, Google Voice, or your favorite. 

These platforms enable voice calls and support video communication. In both cases, you need to have a stable data connection. If you need help using them, here is a simple explanation. 

  • Install your favorite application, such as WhatsApp.
  • Add the contact number to your phone, including the area codes and explanation we gave you in the roaming calls section. 
  • If already added, go directly to the application. 
  • Search for the contact in the application and select voice or video calls.
  • Press the button to call, usually an icon in the shape of a telephone. 

International calls with data vs. calls with roaming

To summarize what we have discussed, our options are to use data or to use roaming to be able to call. Whether you are a local customer or a traveler looking to call will determine which alternative to use. If you still do not decide which option to take, we will compare the international calling options to see a better picture. 

FeaturesInternational calls with dataInternational calls with roaming
Cost There are no additional fees, as long as you have data, you can call. Includes special per-minute rates, some of which are expensive. 
Limit If you have unlimited data, you will not have call limits. International calling plans may have a limit of minutes per month.
RestrictionsThere are no zone restrictions. You can call anywhere in the world if you have data. Each operator may have specific destinations where international calling service is not included. 
Table N°1. Comparative table between international calls with data and roaming.

In conclusion, data calls allow you greater flexibility, coverage, and minutes. Of course, you need data; if you are abroad, you must purchase a prepaid mobile plan. 

On the other hand, roaming calls allow you to use your mobile number and trusted mobile operator. The main disadvantages are the high cost and the restrictions on service. 

FAQs about making international calls

What’s the most budget-friendly way to make international calls?

The cheapest option is to use mobile instant messaging apps, but you’ll need a web or data connection in your country. The best and most cost-effective choice is to go with a Holafly eSIM. With eSIM, you can make calls through VoIP without any extra charges.

How can I get internet for making worldwide calls?

You’ve got a few options: roaming service, Holafly eSIMs, and prepaid cards in the country you’re visiting.

How do I get internet in Europe to make calls?

Several apps are designed for this purpose. Before you embark on your journey to Europe, make sure to explore the best apps for having internet in Europe.