Your plane ticket is booked and your bags are packed. Then it hits you. How am I going to keep in touch overseas if my phone doesn’t work? Luckily, free wifi is just about everywhere. Take your smartphone or tablet with you and you won’t have to spend money at internet cafes or payphones. Yes, they still exist.
Let your family know the communication expectations prior to your travel. Will you touch base with them two times per day or once a week? Tell them your methods of communication. If you plan to email, make sure they are checking their email frequently. If you’ll be using a communication app on your smartphone, make sure they download it prior to your travel. My brother and I did a couple test calls and messages via Viber before I hopped on the plane. My dad is familiar with Tango, and since old people are resistant to change (especially change involving technology,) I used that app to give him a call whenever I had access to dependable wifi. Both of these apps are free to download and also free to place calls and send messages. Depending on where you are, you may only find free wifi access for a few minutes at a random time. Use this time to send a mass message to your family members.
Even a simple subject line, “I’m checked into XYZ Hostel in Paris!” is enough to ease worried minds.
Or, “I’m alive! Say hi to the dog for me.”
Without having to say it.
If you don’t mind spending money, you can easily purchase an international sim card from your cell phone carrier or rent an international cell phone. Be mindful of your data plan and international texting fees.
It’s important to take a little time to check in with family and friends, but keep your tech time short. There’s a whole new world to explore, make that your priority.