Consumer Alert: Can’t travel for Thanksgiving? Here are the best ways to connect

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – This consumer alert is all about connection. Thanksgiving is two days away, and many of you may be separated from loved ones.  So I’ve been researching ways you can best connect from a distance.

But if anything good has come from the pandemic, it’s that we all have become accustomed to video calls. Many of us had to work from home, so we all had to learn how to zoom. And inflation has sidelined holiday travel plans for many. According to a recent survey by Deloitte, only 31 percent of us plan to travel between Thanksgiving and Christmas. While nothing beats my cousin’s sweet potato pie, a video call is the next best thing to being there.

You don’t have to be right next to somebody to connect with them,” said Jason Komenski, an AT&T sales manager.  “You don’t have to be in the same room. You don’t even have to be in the same state. Thanksgiving time, that’s the time when we all want to be with each other, video calls is a fantastic way. They’re easy. They’re free. There’s tons of platforms like Skype and Zoom and FaceTime.”

So let’s take a look at those three platforms. FaceTime is easy, but it’s not available on Android devices. So first let’s look at Zoom. Even if Grandma doesn’t have the Zoom app, there’s an option for her to use her browser to connect. With Zoom your free call is limited to 40 minutes. And the default setting for you video quality is 720p, which is good but 1080p is better and you have to enable it.

Now let’s look at Skype. Grandma doesn’t need Skype software or the app.  She can connect with a new feature called Meet Now.  You just need to send her the link.

With Skype you can chat for free for four hours. And the default setting is 1080p which is better video quality than Zoom’s default setting.

Both options are great; it depends on your needs.  My family likes to chat and play games for hours, so Skype is the better option for us. If you’ve never zoomed or skyped before, no worries.  Click here for step by step instructions for Zoom and here for instructions for Skype.