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Whether it’s an extended vacation, gap year, or volunteering, exciting times lay ahead for anyone who’s planning a trip abroad. Yet life can be pretty unpredictable, and family and friends back home may start to worry after a while.
Or just want to know how things are going! That’s why it’s important to stay in touch with loved ones back home. Use these helpful tips to keep in touch with friends and family while traveling around in another country.
Find a Good International Plan
A mobile phone is any traveler’s best buddy. It serves as a way to stay connected to the world, a way to document the trip, and even a payment method. Getting it to work properly in another country requires some negotiation with a network carrier. Most offer international plans and will provide an upgrade. Just keep in mind that not all international options support every country, so be specific.
If the carrier doesn’t support the destination country, then consider finding one that does, or purchase a roaming sim card. It’s also possible to buy a local SIM card and swap it out for the one currently on the phone after arriving.
Use Social Media For Updates and Messaging
There are around 3.4 billion social media users worldwide. So chances are that any contacts back home are already on one of the social platforms that exist today. Social media platforms offer one of the easiest ways to connect with friends and family from anywhere. Not only does each platform have a messaging service, but they’re also great for quick updates too.
Anyone from back home can quickly see what’s going on and rest assured that things are going well via a photo or video post. A short text update should get the job done too.
Make Calls Via WhatsApp
Making international phone calls can be expensive, even with an international plan. WhatsApp has a handy phone call feature that works over WiFi. The call quality is surprisingly clear over international calls – just make sure that the call is made over a trustworthy WiFi network.
Call Them On Skype or Another Video Call App
Actually seeing loved ones with a video call is a great way to get in contact with those back home. However, this only works as long as there’s a strong internet connection. Most hotels, cafes, and airports offer free WiFi these days, so finding a connection shouldn’t be hard. Just don’t share any sensitive information over the public connection.
Skype is one of the most popular video calling apps out there, but other great options include Zoom, Google Duo, and ooVoo.
There’s Always Email
Almost everyone with access to the internet has an email address. Just make sure to collect any important ones from close family members before leaving. Email works great because the “bcc” option functions almost like a group chat, if not as elegantly.
How to Make Sure the Message Gets Through
Going through all the trouble of contacting someone back home is pointless if it falls on death ears on the other side. Use these tips to make sure the message gets through.
- Set a Schedule: Being in different time zones can make it hard to connect. Setting up a schedule beforehand makes it much easier for everyone to call at a time that’s convenient for them.
- Download a VPN: Sometimes, there’s no way to get through to friends back home at all because of a bad connection or local internet restrictions. Be it Skype being blocked or social media websites not loading. Many prepared travelers avoid getting stuck in another country without any way to contact people back home by using a VPN. What is a VPN? It’s a service that keeps an internet connection private by encrypting it.
- Consider Setting Up a Blog: Writing a travel blog can be a fun and cathartic experience. Blogging is also a fantastic way to keep track of adventures and style them in an aesthetically pleasing way. Almost like a digital scrapbook, for lack of a better reference. Plus, this way, any friends or family who’s interested in knowing how the trip is going can simply go take a look. Then they won’t constantly call or send messages, asking for updates.
The Bottom Line
Staying in touch with loved ones while traveling abroad isn’t all that hard. It just requires a bit of forethought and preparation before taking off.