Everyone experiences travel differently. Some people refuse to think about home, while others get homesick and don’t enjoy their trip. Really, travel should include a healthy mix of both!
Let’s face it, though: It’s hard to strike a balance between enjoying your trip and missing home. My family and I have always traveled frequently, so over the years I’ve picked up some tips for communicating when traveling. (This advice come from both my own travels as well as my experience being the one stuck at home ignoring Instagram!) Here’s how to keep In touch when traveling.
By far the easiest way to check in with friends in family, a text message here and there goes a long way. We all know this. But if you’re overseas, it gets more difficult. I never pay for extra data or roaming when I’m abroad, so I rely on other apps to communicate whenever I’m on Wi-Fi. What’s App, Viber and Tango are all great ways to stay in touch. (Just make sure your friends and family download the app too!)
From here, I use a mixture of What’s App, iMessage and Google Hangouts to keep up with my overseas family.
When I get a moment of Wi-Fi, video chat is amazing. Sometimes, I still can’t believe what technology can do. Plan some time to talk face-to-face on Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts. You can use your smartphone, tablet or computer. Sometimes, finding a good connection is tricky. When that happens, turn off the video and the call will act just like a regular phone call — audio-only but the connection might be better.
Of course, if you’re traveling domestically, talking on the phone is obvious. But when you’re overseas or wanting to talk to someone who is, it’s trickier.
So, buy a phone card! I know it’s not 1999 anymore, but phone cards are still totally a thing. I use one to call my family in Africa all the time! Shop around for lower rates, and remember that calling a landline is often cheaper than calling a mobile phone. Vonage and PennyTalk have lots of plans to choose from.
You can also pay to use Skype to call phone numbers from the Skype app on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. This is a great option if you don’t want to buy a phone card or just need to make a one-time call.
As much as it sucks to spend time online when you could be out exploring, a little note to let your family know you’re alive. They will appreciate it when you do reach out, even if it’s just a short note with a couple photos to show them what a great time you’re having.
There’s nothing like receiving mail from a friend on vacation. I collect stamps, so I love receiving letters from other countries. Plus, it’s just a nice and somewhat unexpected way to let people know you’re thinking of them from afar. If all digital means aren’t working, at the very least send your loved ones a postcard or package to let them know you’re doing okay. (Or just do it because your BFF back home collects stamps. She’ll love you forever, I promise.) // susannah