This is how you can keep in touch with family and friends while traveling the world.
If there’s any downside to travel, it’s that it can disconnect you from people who are more rooted to their location. It might be that we only gain sparing contact with our family, our friends, or perhaps those that we wish to speak to. For this reason, you might find yourself feeling a little isolated when traveling, even with a companion. For some, this is exceedingly freeing, and part of the benefit of travel. For others, they might find themselves wishing for more methods of contacting those they love.
No matter if you hope to simply report that you’re okay, especially if in proximity to natural disasters or worrying events, or perhaps you wish to catalogue your journey from start to finish with those whose opinion you respect, we wish to help you out with this. After all, in the modern world, there’s no reason why traveling around the globe should leave you completely apart from those you know, or, of course, connecting with even more people.
With this in mind, we would warmly suggest you consider the following advice:
Keep Two Phones With You
It might seem like overkill, but keeping two phones with you can be essential to staying in contact with those you’re traveling with, and those at home. Your first might be your daily driver, a smartphone that you enjoy using for various purposes. Purchasing an unlimited data plan and being aware of charges abroad can be essential. Opt for a provider that offers zero to minimal fees for heading abroad. We are not in the same area as we were twenty years ago, where making a call from abroad could cost both parties an ungodly sum of money for the privilege of connecting you.
The second phone should be a burner. Preferably hidden somewhere, such as in a pouch you might be carrying, in an inline pocket of your jacket, or somewhere accessible within your rucksack or luggage. This phone should be a much cheaper version, perhaps a Nokia or a model known to withstand much punishment. Again, placing a SIM card here signed onto a certain plan or preferably a contract-less top-up allowance. This can help you if you lose your first phone, and placing it in a secure area can help you avoid it being stolen. This can be essential if mugged in a country you’re not familiar with. It’s a harsh possibility to consider, but to ignore that potential could you leave you stranded with little in the way of possible communication. And of course, that’s no good for anyone.
Consider Alternative Options
It’s important to know how to operate in a bind, or perhaps, to transmit information that might be prescient. It could be that sending fax online is the best means of helping you quickly and easily scan and transfer documentation if needed, or to provide yourself with an email of a certain scan. Also, looking for internet cafes could be a great way to find yourself online and able to send a message. Remember to practice safe internet policy and log out of all of your profiles after you are done with them.
Social media can be an effective means of communicating with a mass of people at one time while traveling abroad. With an effective data plan and limiting yourself to an hour a day of use, you could potentially update your friends and family with photographs, checking into destinations, and posting a little about your progress. This can serve as a form of photo diary, and might help you stay connected to those back home as you travel. On top of this, services like Facebook offer features to help people know you are safe in the event of an accident. For example, if a tsunami occurs in your host country, it might be worth ‘checking in’ to show that you’re safe. This way you can help people at home relax.
If you’re not a fan of social media, perhaps running a blog could be a great idea for you. Small posts can help you write down aphorisms or other forms of insights you have found abroad, and perhaps this can help you grow your audience over time. After all, there are many different purposes for staying communicative. Some might be for safety, others might be to relay the purpose of your travel, such as volunteerism, a deep dive into culture, or potentially just seeing the world for the first time. Social media can be a great platform for this.
To finish this point, consider how your unique traveling position might lend you some credence. For example, you might have a job as a cruise crew member. You’ll likely visit country after country as you see the world and try to expand your mind to its potential. Running an Instagram account, fairly anonymous, with pictures of your visits, your crew life, and the things you’ve learned (the ‘stories’ feature can be fantastic for this,) could help you amass quite the following. Who knows? They might even help you gain more insight about your movements.
The Old Fashioned Routes
Even with no cell phone service, no internet access, and no connectivity at all, there’s likely some form of postal service where you are. It can be nice to publish something on a blog or social media page, but it might be that using postcards and letters to write your thoughts and send your family or friends some comforting messages can be a wonderful way to communicate. Just be aware that if you’re moving often, you’ll likely not find a reply, and it’s best to inform your family of this.
It’s quite exceptional how we have to consider these kinds of communicative platforms ‘old fashioned’ in 2019, but just because something isn’t the modern norm doesn’t mean it’s inferior. In fact, this can be a much more reliable way of updating your contacts about your progress, and the time it takes to write is much more personal and therapeutic than simply jumping online. On top of that, it can cost next-to-nothing if your data plan is expired, or if you simply want to spend more time outlining your thoughts. After all, travel is great for the mind, and can sometimes help you see a situation from back home much more clearly.
Stick To A Communication Schedule
It could be that being regular and consistent with your communication routine can help you both settle those at home, and also perhaps give them some indication that something is wrong if you fail to ‘report back.’ For example, it might be that at 11pm every other day (which could be much earlier for those you are contacting depending on your time zone,) you call home. Perhaps you would like it to be more frequent, or less frequent. Depending on the intent of your stay, you might change it.
For example, if you’re backpacking around the United States or Europe, it could be that you call every Friday evening. Or, if you’re simply headed abroad for a business trip, you could call every night from the hotel. What’s important is that you keep up this practice. People will miss you just as you miss them, and it can be healthy for your loved ones (particularly children) to know that you’re doing okay. They will also be interested in your trip and how you are enjoying it, so this entire affair can be quite healthy for that reason alone.
Video apps such as Facetime or Skype can offer you the best means of speaking directly to your loved ones or friends, showing them things you have picked up, perhaps showing them a little of your accommodation, and giving you a much more personal touch. This can be exceptionally useful if you’re away for a long period of time, and wish to stay in connection with your loved ones or friends in a much more intimate manner. For example, allowing your child to see you on their home computer screen for an hour every other day could be a great way of staying active in your home family life, to the extent that you can, while also across to the other side of the world.
Video calls are often quite cheap to utilize (although some apps such as Skype might require credit to contact certain video conferencing systems,) but for the most part, they are completely free.
Memorize Contact Information
Just in case your phone or contact book is stolen, it’s best to commit addresses, telephone numbers and social media usernames to memory. If you can memorize contact information, you will be much more likely to contact those you need to in an emergency. On top of that, simply losing a certain item should not deter you from getting back in contact.
With all this in mind, we hope you are better able to enjoy your travels while staying communicative, on top of things, and connected to those you love. We hope it helps.