My husband is a long distance truck driver. This fact helps me work all hours when he’s not home, but mostly it means for expensive phone costs.  We like to speak to each other at least once a day (and sometimes more) to check in.  But it does cost a fortune.  Driving every week in the U.S. and calling Canada isn’t cheap.  People in the U.S. get plans whereby they can across the country for the same amount per minute, while a phone call to a town twenty minutes away from us is long distance.

Before we knew better, we were paying about $500 a month long distance for a plan with one carrier.  Then we switched to another and it was a bit less. But we finally found a solution.  A bit complicated one, but a solution nonetheless.

I heard from a friend who goes to Florida each winter that she buys something called a Magic  Jack.  You plug it into your computer’s usb, plug a phone into the magic jack and you can make long distance calls to anywhere in North America for the cost of the yearly plan. (which is $39.99)  That sounded good and within a couple of months I would save the cost of the extra calls I make to the phone in Newcastle.  So I bought that.  However, I was still calling his work cell phone and they weren’t so happy about the time that added up for a month’s worth of calls.

Another client also goes to Florida and had told me about the cell phones that they buy when they are in the States that are really reasonable.  They are called a TracFone.  You can buy a phone for $9.99 and then buy minutes that are very reasonable.  You can also buy a plan that doubles the minutes for the cards that you purchase.  And you can call anywhere in the States and Canada (you have to dial a 800 number first, but that can be programmed in) for those minutes.

So now I can call my husband with my Magic Jack phone from my computer (which has a New York telephone number) for unlimited time and he can call me on my Magic Jack phone or our regular phone using his TracFone.  Altogether the two plans cost us approx. $150, but the minutes from his new phone and my year of calls will end up a lot cheaper than anything that Canada so far has.

Just to note, you can get a Canadian phone number from Magic Jack, but it costs more and it may not be in your own area.  Another service we tried called Net10 promised a local number, but the number was in Toronto, meaning it was still long distance for me to call.

So you can get around the costs of long distance in Canada, but it is pretty complicated!