You have a journey ahead, a route is chosen, the tickets are bought, and suitcases are packed. It seems that nothing was forgotten and everything was taken into account. What about keeping in touch with family and friends? After all, they will worry about you, but you, in turn, will want to hear dear voices and share joyful impressions.
So, how do you stay connected while traveling around the world? There will be no problems with this in our time because apart from phones, there are many ways to “stay on the wire”. Here we have listed a few tips that you may find helpful in keeping in touch with friends and loved ones while abroad.
Many people prefer video chats on Skype to contact their family, but sometimes, it is more convenient to send text messages or make calls with an app to call international and even local friends. Also, messengers like WhatsApp, Viber, or Facebook Messenger will come in handy. They consume much less traffic and are less demanding on the quality of the internet. If you have access to a reasonably strong Wi-Fi signal, you can use the Google Hangouts app to call home. It is much more reliable than the Skype app.
The difference in time zones can become a problem not only for your body but also interfere with communication with relatives. You are eager to chat and share what you have seen, and they are still sleeping, or vice versa — your mother cheerfully greets you via Skype, and you cannot open your eyes because it is a deep night.
To solve this problem, set a consistent schedule, such as calling in the evenings before you go to bed, or early in the morning over coffee and before going out. Everything becomes much easier for all of you. And don’t forget to account for time differences when scheduling your calls.
These are special SIM cards for travelers. The most common options are:
They can be bought online or in major mobile phone stores. Usually, there is already a certain amount on the balance of such a SIM card, and the cost of a travel SIM card depends on its size. These cards have both their pros and cons. The first include free incoming calls from countries, a list of which can be found on the operators’ websites (from 50 to 150 countries). But for those who call you, this will cost a lot, and this is already a drawback.
To be independent on the Wi-Fi internet in the hotel or not to look for a free connection throughout the city, take care of buying a local SIM card. Even if you are not going to call, it will come in handy. For instance, it will allow you to get inexpensive mobile internet, and at any time, you can write a message on a messenger, call on Skype, or send a picture.
Experienced travelers accumulate dozens of local SIM cards, but do not rush to throw away such a SIM card when you return home. What if you return to this country again? In this case, it is better to store local SIM cards in separate envelopes or boxes along with notes with the names of operators and tariff plans.
If you are not ready to pay for mobile internet, then there is always an alternative to free Wi-Fi. It can be found in airports, hotels, cafés, and various tourist spots. In many European cities, there are free hotspots even on the streets in the city center. You can use applications such as Wiffinity and Wi-Fi Map — on them, users mark access points and regularly update passwords to enter the network. But remember about security: to access confidential data (internet banking, mail, etc.), use only your own devices, and when connecting to open Wi-Fi points, use a VPN.
There will always be friends or relatives who are not actively using social media. In this case, it is worth remembering to send a bulk email to a group of contacts. For instance, once a week you make such a newsletter and thereby keep in touch, tell the news, and reassure your relatives that everything is fine with you. If your Wi-Fi is fast enough, attach pictures or short videos to your email for clarity.
This method is especially good for communicating with grandparents or parents who have not mastered modern instant messengers and social networks but have completely figured out an email service.
If you enjoy not only traveling but also sharing your experiences, then you might consider creating a personal blog to document your travels. In it, you can upload pictures, save useful information, and tell about your travel experience. There are many free blogging platforms for this.
Not only can you share your site with friends and family, but you can also link to your blog on social media and preview your posts. By the way, you can consider a blog as a travel diary, which you can always look through and remember how great it was on this trip.