How to Stay in Touch While Traveling the World

Posted May 23, 2013 by Matthew Barby in Blog

Staying in touch with family and friends has become easier and easier in modern times. Gone are the days when you traveled across the border and forfeited the ability to speak with anyone in other than written form. Thanks to advancements in communication technologies, we’re now able to keep our loved ones up to date with what we’re up to – more importantly, without having to spend a fortune on doing so!

After trying out a whole host of different ways to stay in touch while I’ve been on my travels, I’ve decided to share a few tips. Some of them you may be familiar with already and some you may not, but hopefully you’ll take something away that will save you some cash while you’re on the move.

Don’t Make International Calls on Your Cellphone – Seriously!

If there’s one thing that will drain through your travel funds quicker than you can ever imagine, it’s using your cellphone to make calls back home. Many of you are well aware of this but I see it from backpackers all too often where they are feeling the effects from those ‘quick calls back home’.

Videocall With the Skype or Google+ App on Your Smartphone

Both the Skype app and Google+ app offer some fantastic video conferencing features that can be used through WiFi connections to drop your friends and family a line. Google+ Hangouts are particularly fun to use, with the ability to have lots of people within the same video-chat at one time and overlay comedy moustaches, hats and wigs on each other.

The Skype App

Send Your Photos on Real Postcards With the Postagram App

This app is pure genius. I’m a fan of popping a nice postcard in the post home to my family but it’s always a nightmare trying to get it sent. Plus, with the postal times it can often get there by the time you’re back home!

The Postagram app has an amazing and really unique solution to this. Using photos that you have taken on your smartphone or from your Facebook/Instagram account, you are able to create a send a real postcard from anywhere in the world. The ability to have your own personal photos on the postcard is a particularly nice touch, and something that I’m sure many of your moms will love!


The Postagram App


Set Up a Shared Dropbox Folder

Having a chat over Skype is great but if you have a lot of people to get in touch with, it can be a lot easier to set up a shared Dropbox folder to upload your travel pics and videos to.

Once you’ve set up your Dropbox folder you can simply send a link to your family and friends so that they can stay up to date with what you’re doing. When you get a chance to plug into some WiFi then just set a load of your photos/videos to upload and away you go.

The Dropbox App


Instant Messaging Over Whatsapp

If you aren’t able to hook up to a strong WiFi connection then video-calling through Skype or Google+ can be a bit tricky. A great alternative is to use the Whatsapp instant messaging app.

I use Whatsapp all the time when I’m travelling round because most smartphones are now able to download it, it doesn’t need huge amounts of bandwidth and is really easy to use. You only need someone’s phone number in your address book to message them on Whatsapp, so no extra setup is required.

Although you can’t hear each other’s voices, a quick message through Whatsapp to let people know you’re safe can be just what you need. Bearing in mind that it’s completely free to send messages, you’re going to save a fortune compared to sending a quick SMS.

How do you stay in touched with loved ones when you’re on the other side of the world? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

Matthew Barby

Matthew Barby is a technology-loving travel junkie from the UK. Matt shares his adventures, writes travel reviews, backpacker tips and features travel photos from around the world on his travel blog, Melted Stories. He's always looking to hear from fellow backpackers so get in touch with him on Twitter or Google+..

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