International travel is more accessible than it’s ever been before, and if you’re planning a big trip abroad in the near future, or one of your loved ones is getting ready for their own adventure, you’ll obviously want to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible. With cell phone usage varying from country to country, you may be a little concerned about being able to stay in touch with all the folks at home. Here, we’ll look at some of the most practical communications apps for when you’re travelling.
You knew that this was going to pop up, right? All over the world, WhatsApp is touted as one of the most dependable apps for communicating with people overseas. The only real catch, of course, is that the people you want to contact will need it, so be sure to bring this up to them before you leave! WhatsApp allows you to text, make calls and video calls, and send media from anywhere with available WiFi. Furthermore, it has great privacy and security settings, which can be a load off your mind if you have to talk someone at home through an overseas money transfer or something equally sensitive. The app also has a handy voice record function, which can add a little more life to your text threads if you’re somewhere where you can’t make a call.
This is more one for the concerned parents who are staying at home rather than the adventurous students trekking through Thailand. If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter franchise, you might remember that the Weasley family had a magic clock in their house that showed where each member of the family was at any time. Pretty handy, right? Life 360 does pretty much the same thing. After getting approval from the people in question, you’ll be able to track the SIM cards of your whole family, whenever you want. As this app has been especially designed for families, there are a number of handy icons that will show you where nearby hospitals are, where crimes have been reported in the area, among other things. There’s also a group chat function, so you don’t have to fight your partner for the phone every time you want to talk to someone!
Of all the communication apps you could use to stay in touch with your loved ones abroad, Skype is the best for conducting group chats. If you’ve got one kid in Hong Kong and another one in Toronto, and one of them doesn’t mind getting up in the middle of the night to catch up, then Skype can accommodate up to 25 callers in an audio or video call at once (although that would probably get a little chaotic!) Aside from the group chat function, using Skype for simple one-on-one calls is free, so just like with WhatsApp, you’ll be able to forget about any expensive international phone calls.
Get set up with any of these apps, and talking to your loved ones overseas will be a piece of cake!