15 of the best international calling & texting apps

Calling from abroad? These 15 apps have you covered.

by Briana Seftel

When traveling abroad, making international calls and sending texts from your mobile device can be ridiculously expensive – even in Canada. So in an effort to put your sanity (and wallet) at ease, we’ve searched far and wide to provide a definitive list of the best calling and texting apps on the market for iPhone and Android. Rest assured, you won’t be coming home to a $500 phone bill. Phew.

For the best secure messaging, navigation apps, and more, check out 10 travel apps fit for James Bond.

The world’s most popular communication app

With a user base of one billion as of February 2016, WhatsApp nabs the top spot on this list just for sheer volume. The app, allowing users to send texts, videos and audio recordings without SMS, has spawned a multitude of followers (see below) and was acquired by Facebook for a record $19 billion in 2014. App Store

China’s #1 chat app

Second only to WhatsApp, WeChat has the second highest user base of any texting app on the market and is the preferred app of China, where it was started. It was the first to popularize putting brands in chat and integrating third-party services - two trends WhatsApp quickly jumped on. App Store

For the business person on the go

Need to make an urgent conference call when you’re abroad? This app will do it. Skype’s app works seamlessly to make video calls, group video calls, voice calls, instant messaging, screen sharing and file sharing. App Store

WiFi free international calling

This recently re-launched app from Sweden allows users to make free unlimited international calls to any mobile device or landline via its app, without the assistance of WiFi. Its re-branding, with the help from a little company called Vice, has certainly garnered favor from the millennial crowd (and drawn comparisons to a certain hip clothing brand). App Store

For emoji fiends

Tutted as the “world’s largest avatar network,” LINE lets you send texts, images and video with accompanying “stickers”, which is basically like one huge emoji network. You can shop for stickers. Other features of the app include games and a payment platform. App Store

Make calls to landlines

Operating much like WhatsApp, Viber lets you call, text and send photos to any other Viber user, totally free. It was initially launched as direct competition to Skype. Viber Out provides users the option to call mobile and landline numbers; thus Viber users can call people not using a Viber app. App Store

Google Voice
For traveling in the U.S.

This one works great for Google users (and who isn’t one these days). Make and pick up calls, send and get texts, and read and listen to voicemails on your phone, tablet, or computer. However, Google Voice is only available in the U.S. Users outside the U.S. can make phone calls using Hangouts on a computer, Android device, or iOS device. App Store

Google Voice
No fuss international calls

Inexpensive and easy-to-use, Voxofon enables users to make payable and Free calls as well send text messages to any destination. The rates start from 1 cent per minute and depends on the destination, calling method and the recipient's provider. App Store

Great for people who make video calls

Make group video calls easily. Fring lets users enjoy free mobile Group Video chat with any friend wherever they are. Users can also make free 2-way video chat, voice only calls and text chat. App Store

Use on a variety of devices

Does anyone still have a landline? If you do, Vonage might be for you. It’s the leading provider of cloud communications which allows users to use up to 5 devices. Make calls and send texts and video messages to anyone in your network for free. App Store


Bonus: 5 More Apps To Try Out...

Fuze: Cloud PBX replacement that unifies global voice, conferencing and contacts

Whistle: Send and receive unlimited texts to anyone in the U.S.

Nimbuzz: Messaging app with a fun sticker shop

netTalk: Free home phone service with local and long distance calls VoIP

Tango: Available in 15 languages in more than 224 countries 

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