I lived overseas for 3 years as a Naval Officers wife. Our main way of commuting with friends and family back home was Skype. They offer video chatting for free and other ways of communication for a fair price. I loved seeing my loved ones' faces from afar.
I switched from Android to iPhone about 4 years ago and it was a great decision. I had my 4s for 3 years and NEVER had an issue with it. I then upgraded to the 5 and love it. Faster, and still no issues.