Telephone Canada Direct allows you to talk toll free to a Canadian operator from most countries. You can then make collect calls or use your calling card. Many countries have a similar service to Canada Direct. Carrying a cell phone is a good alternative if you do not mind the hassle of recharging and bringing a valuable item with you. And then there is also the advantage or disadvantage depending on your point of view of being always available for contact.
Email, Chat, and SMS
There is hardly a youth hostel or backpacker's without Internet access, and even in the smallest towns one can find an Internet cafe or two. Hotmail and Yahoo Mail have all but replaced costly phone calls home. Feel free to contact us. Free WebSMS services may also come in handy.