I’ve recently been thinking about keeping in touch with friends when you are abroad or when they are off on their own adventures. One of my best friends is headed off to Japan in about a month, and as I head back to Europe in a few months, it can be hard to keep in contact with one another. The good thing? As Generation Y travelers, we have the skills to use technology to our full advantage—which makes it so much easier to talk to friends and family far away. Here are some tips I’ve found work for me:
Have a Facebook
Honestly, I am not a big fan of Facebook, but it does make chatting with people I care about a lot easier. It also helps keep me posted on what is going on with their lives. I can still feel like I am there, or I can at least get an idea of what has been important to them while I have been away. The chat feature has also been a lifesaver for me since I don’t have access to texting and I’m not able to call. I downloaded the app to my iPhone so when I have Wi-Fi I can do a quick check-up on the people who matter the most.
That’s why you bought your fancy smartphone, right? With apps like Whatsapp and Viber, you can make phone calls to cell phones in the States for a cheap price (I think Viber is 5 cents a minute). You can also text for free anytime you have a Wi-Fi connection, so it’s almost like having cell phone service for a lot cheaper and you can use it pretty much anywhere now that most restaurants or coffee shops have a connection you can often join.
Another benefit to your brand new phone: you can buy SIM cards which allow you to have cell service internationally—oftentimes for a cheaper price than what you pay with a cell phone service provider. You might have to pay a fee to unlock your phone and to be able to use a certain kind of SIM card that you want, but it’s often worth it if you want to have the ability to call. Another great thing about a SIM card is that you can buy ones with certain packages, so if you need to use Google Maps or another application that requires data you’re able to. They’re also pretty cheap—some international SIMs price-check at around 30 USD.
Do you use technology to stay in touch while you are away? Any apps you would recommend?
Image courtesy of liz west.