Remember when expensive international calls were the only way to phone home? Thankfully that is no longer the case, but with so many new options it can be confusing to know how best to keep in touch while travelling.
Having lived overseas for 18 months now, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject. Here’s what I’ve learned about keeping in contact while overseas:
While Skype may be the common choice, I don’t find it to be the most user-friendly or best quality call service. If you and the person you’re calling have an iPhone that allows FaceTime, this is a simple, good-quality option – particular as it allows for both audio and video calls. Like Skype, you will still require internet for calls, which can only be made between Apple devices – you can’t call landlines the way you can with Skype. Facebook has recently introduced a calling function through Messenger, allowing you to phone friends who also have the app downloaded on their phone. I wouldn’t recommend Whatsapp for calls as the quality of the line is, quite frankly, rubbish.
Whatsapp is still king when it comes to sending international messages. As long as you have an internet connection it works exactly the same as SMS – all you need is the other person’s phone number. The only downside is if the other person doesn’t have their notifications switched on, or doesn’t regularly use the app, they may not get your message. Facebook Messenger is another great option. If they don’t have either of these, good old email will do the trick.
Facebook reigns supreme, allowing you to create albums quickly and easily to share with your family and friends. If you only want certain people to see what you’re sharing, you can alter the privacy settings on individual posts. Instagram is handy for uploading single photos, but Facebook allows you to create and post albums. For friends and family not on social media, email is still the easiest way to send snaps and stories about your travels.
If you find yourself without internet, there’s still nothing quite like receiving a postcard. Now that’s something to write home about!