Worried about neverending "Sorry, your call cannot be completed" responses when you try to phone home while abroad? Can you imagine yourself repeatedly saying, "Hello Mom, are you there?!" (maybe with a few more exclamation points too). Concerned you will lose touch with the people you hold near and dear to your heart while you are off gallivanting around the world? Let go of your worries and concerns, this is the 21st century, after all. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways to keep your loved ones up-to-date during your travels, or maybe just let them know that you are alive.
Here are five of the most common (and simple) ways to stay connected with home while you are traveling abroad:
Skype is probably the most widely used form of international communication to date. Skype offers free international calls to other Skype users (free program download and username creation), and all that is necessary of each user is an Internet connection. The very user-friendly program also offers free messaging, and for an additional fee, you have the freedom of calling international land lines and adding a personal voice mailbox. Additionally, you can download a mobile version of Skype on many smartphones, for which mobile providers charge a small fee per minute. In addition to regular calls, Skype has a video feature for those with Internet connection that is fast enough.
2. National Cell Phone (Country Specific)
If you will be away for a semester or more, you will most likely be purchasing a local phone (prepay or contract) to stay in touch with people you meet, your host family, or your classmates. You can make international calls from this type of phone, but it will be costly.
3. International Cell Phone
International cell phones are expensive but a great option for those who frequently travel to different countries where a country-specific phone wouldn’t do much good. International cell phones operate in more than one country by way of a removable SIM card. In each country, you will need to buy a local SIM card and you can then make your calls.
4. Snail Mail
Handwritten letters are old fashioned but oh so romantic and nostalgic! Despite this slow method of communication, you will have these letters to look back on forever. Everyone appreciates a foreign postcard, too.
5. Facebook Messenger
This messenger service could be a potential way to communicate with your loved ones at home due to its recently released video plug-in. Each user will need to download this plug-in and be online at the same time in order to video chat. Oh, and you may need to walk your Mom through the app on her smartphone if you want to be sure things go smoothly.
Now that you've nailed down ways to stay connected while traveling abroad, why not begin saving and comparing programs?