Over the past years, I’ve learned that some measures of communication just aren’t feasible and cost effective when you’re travelling (halfway across the world). When I travelled with the family to Asia, we made a call back home from the hotel only to realize that the 20 minute call became a $500 phone bill at the end of the trip.
Texting is a great option, but most phone plans do not give a very generous offer on the number of International texts you can send each month.
Since most airports, hotels and major attractions have free Wi-Fi access, the best way to connect to your loved ones while you’re travelling are used through Internet access. There are four applications I would highly recommend:
I have been using this application for years and I still love it. Its video call is the greatest function as you can talk unlimited hours to your loved ones at home while being able to see their faces and surroundings. While being on exchange in Singapore, I was able to sit through my cousin’s wedding back in Canada with much appreciation from Skype.
This is an application I learned about while I was in Asia. It’s almost like talking through text, except the fact that you need to be connected to the Internet for it to work. A button at the bottom of the screen can allow you to have voice conversations to the person on the other side. This is great when it is inconvenient to text.
Its name says it all. Snap a picture or send a short video clip to your friends and family. You can add a caption or edit it however you would like before you click the send button. This application is great when you need to capture a moment on the spot or send a silly picture to your loved ones as the pictures and video disappears seconds after you have watched it. You can set a time limit for others to view your picture or place it in “Snapchat Stories” to view for 24 hours.
Back in the day, we had MSN messenger. Now we have Facebook messenger. The concept is exactly the same: you can chat with one person, or you can chat with multiple people. You can create a chat room, send pictures and files with just a simple click. This application is great for chatting with the whole family and catching up with them all at once.
There are many applications which may tailor to your travelling needs. I’ve recently started to use Instagram consistently as you can edit the pictures as well as Adobe Lightroom would. Being away from home isn’t easy, there are many applications which can help us stay connected as well as capture memories of our travel to share with our loved ones back home.