The creators of this infographic describe it by way of this little blurb:

“Ensuring that you stay in contact with family and friends while traveling abroad requires careful planning. The infographic provides a step-by-step guide on how to research phone compatibility with international servers as well as selecting a mobile operator that will help you save money in the long-run. Interesting international phone call statistics are used to highlight the growing importance of cross-continent telephone usage.”

The infographic has pleasing colors and appealing graphics – the stick figures at the top with their cans with strings attaching them made me smile right away.  I always wondered why anybody would ever think that would work – that you could talk into cans attached by string?  Turns out, according to some science blog, that it DOES work over short distances because talking into the cup creates vibrations that travel along the string, causing the same vibrations to happen in the second cup, thus making it possible for the person to hear what the other person said into the other cup.  The string has to be tight for this to work.  And, obviously, phones work better, especially for international calls.  Anyway, I digress….

Underneath the cute cartoon stick people with their cans and string (a string that is not tight, mind you) is a question from an (I assume) imaginary person named Sally Cavill who is asking about the least expensive way to keep in touch with her daughter, who is going to be in the U.S. for a month.  The infographic is branded by the company that created it, and that company happens to be a U.K. company.  The answer to “Sally’s” question comes from the company, who set up the rest of the infographic by stating that they’ve summarized the best ways to keep in touch inexpensively.  They finish up with “Sally” by giving some tips on what her daughter should do before leaving the country.

Phone Bill Savings Methods

This section gives an overview of the best mobile networks for U.K.-based people to stay in touch from all over the world.  They include the O2, Vodafone, Orange, T Mobile, and Three mobile operators, and give you a summary of the plans available for international calling.  They then go into the PC-based ways to stay in touch, mentioning Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, Jajah, and Fring, discussing the offerings of each.  Finally, they give two options for calling cards and SIM cards – Story and IDT, and give you the scoop on those. They use the company logos, which helps the would-be shopper and researcher become familiar with the brand they are referencing, but with so many competing colors, even though the infographic is generously spaced, it still seems a bit busy.

Cheapest to Most Expensive Methods for Staying in Touch

The next section rates the methods mentioned in the previous sections from least expensive to most expensive.  The typeface used throughout the infographic is pleasant and easy-to-ready, but again I find myself distracted by the colors.  The background of the whole thing is shades of blue honeycomb pattern, so the use of red, lime green, orange, and yellow, while easy to see, is a little off-putting.  This section, however is very informative, and presents the information in the last section in a more condensed way, showing the viewer, from cheapest to most expensive, the options for staying in touch while overseas.

Interesting Facts

This is where it gets busier, but also very interesting.  The honeycomb changes colors (to a disturbing bruise color, really) and informs the reader that the first TransAtlantic call took place on March 7, 1926 from London to New York.  I wish it said who made that phone call, but that’s OK.  The infographic then shows the top five fixed line call destinations from the UK – the use of red is still bugging me here – and the top 5 are…well,  look up there. It’s all right there on the image.  Then there are statistics from 2009 showing the number of UK households that use VoIP and the percent of people in  the UK who are VoIP subscribers, and then there is a little section about Skype.  Even though they use the blue color for that section because it’s the Skype color, I would have like to have seen blues throughout.  It would have been easier on the eyes, I think.

Design:  B-

The colors were distracting, and the thing was a little too spread out for my taste, though I liked the cartoon people and the typeface used.

Information:  A-

A handy guide for someone in the U.K. who is looking to travel and stay in touch with family members without spending a fortune.

Source:  Avoiding A Large Phone Bill When Travelling Infographic from