Making the decision to travel abroad for a year is one of the most exciting choices in your life. However, as you travel, you may begin to lose touch with the people back home that matter most to you. But don’t worry! We’re here with some tips on how to keep in contact while traveling abroad so that you can stay in touch with your friends and family. This information will also make your parents feel more at ease, knowing that they can communicate with you regularly throughout your journey.
Choose the right cell phone and plan
Your mobile device is going to be your best friend while you travel. You’ll use it to document your journey through photos and videos, manage your online finances and stay in touch with mom and dad back home.
Picking the right phone plan is a great place to start. T-Mobile has a great international plan that can cover data and text messages in over 140 countries around the world. Many other carriers also have international options that could be a better option depending on which countries you’ll be visiting. Based on your specific needs and financial ability, you may also want to get a phone that is unlocked so you can add local SIM cards. You can easily purchase these when you arrive in the country you’ll be visiting. Taking advantage of WiFi is also an option when you have the chance to connect through a local vendor or your host family.
Facebook and Instagram Posts with Videos & Photos
Did you know that over 2.7 billion people use Facebook? Before heading out on your voyage, talk to your parents about getting them signed up on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube if they aren’t already. That way, while you travel, you can post photos and videos to your social media accounts and everyone will be able to follow your journey. Plus, they will know that when you share a post, this probably means you are safe and having fun too!
Skype, FaceTime or other video chatting platforms
Video chatting through different mobile apps like Skype or FaceTime are great ways to keep in touch with your friends and family back home. However, being in different time zones and living with random schedules can make it difficult to connect. We always recommend trying to schedule days and times each week to have these calls with your loved ones.
WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger
Can’t get connected to video chat? Send a text through WhatsApp or Facbeook Messenger. Both are free text messaging apps that will keep you connected. You’ll get notifications just like a regular text message plus there is free phone calling and video chatting. You can also see when people have received and read your messages which is another great way to let your parents know that you are safe.
Start a Travel Blog
Starting a travel blog is actually quite easy to do, and it’s free! It’s a great way to not only allow yourself to reflect on your travel experiences, but will also be a place where people can return for more updates from you. You can start a YouTube channel and create a weekly Vlog series to share updates of where in the world you have been or your favorite stops along the way. You can also start a free website through WordPress or Wix to blog about your adventure that way. Once you’ve posted something, share it to your Facebook and other social media channels so that others can be inspired by your story.
Send a postcard from wherever you are
Who doesn’t love getting a letter in the mail? Snail mail may be old school, but it’s a fun way to surprise someone while they sift through piles of grocery flyers and utility bills. Postcards are a fairly inexpensive way to send a loved one a momento from the different places you have traveled to. Sure, it may take extra time to get to where you want it to go, but the person receiving on other end will be ecstatic, and touched, upon receiving your handwritten note.
Keeping in touch while traveling can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. What other ways do you stay in touch with people while they travel?
“Keepin’ in touch
Get my message, give me a call.
Keepin’ in touch,
Wanna see you, wanna hear it all.
Keepin’ in touch,
The most important thing that I gotta do
Is keep in touch with you.”
Keepin’ In Touch © Up with People
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Topics: Gap Year Abroad
Up with People is a global education organization which aims to bring the world together through service and music. The unique combination of international travel, service learning, leadership development and performing arts offers young adults an unparalleled study abroad experience and a pathway to make a difference in the world, one community at a time. Click here to learn more about the internationally acclaimed program, Up with People.