The Best Apps for Keeping in Touch

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Having now spent a significant amount of time away from my family – 4 years in college (3 months of which were abroad in Barcelona), and 2.5 years across the country, I’ve gotten pretty good at finding ways to keep in touch.  Not to mention, as I get older (my birthday’s in a month…cough…cough), I’ve accumulated great friendships that also span across the country and around the world.

It really wasn’t too long ago when traveling and living abroad was deemed somewhat of a lonely hobby.  This was simply because of the limited number of ways that we could stay in contact with our loved ones without getting charged a hefty amount for international texts and calls. Thankfully, technology has broken the communication barriers between you and your loved ones as you travel abroad, and Opposing Views indicate, “Instead of taking the time to write and mail a letter, you can touch base with a simple Facebook comment.”

Facebook has numerous perks and gives you the ability to reach out to people far and wide – or even just keep in touch with your friends in another borough.  Let’s be honest, if you live outside of Mahattan, I’m not sure we’ll see each other that much 😉

But anyways, one of the success stories of the social network was shared recently through Bingo Port, when online bingo buddies discovered they were long lost sisters adopted into different families and found each other through Facebook. But with the site being blocked by the Great Firewall of China, there are plenty of other apps out there that will keep you connected to your loved ones, no matter where you are in the world.

Text Free by Pinger
Forget buying a temporary SIM card when you’re on long-term travels, as Pinger lets you choose a phone number that people back at home can call for free. Free texting is available to more than 30 countries, including the US. If you’re not on WiFi or a data plan, an additional perk is that you get 10 free minutes to the US and Canada and cheap rates for additional minutes.

Whatsapp
Every region has their preferred mobile messaging app, with LINE and Viber being the most popular in Asia. But the most widely used texting app would probably have to be Whatsapp, which is available on various operating systems and platforms. Here, you can send and receive an unlimited number of calls, texts, photos, and audio/video messages as long as you’ve got a WiFi connection or using your data. While this wasn’t around when I was abroad, my family and I did use it a lot when my sister was studying in Denmark last winter and spring.

Google Voice
Despite Google also being blocked in China, this is a good tool to have on hand, having the most diverse range of features in comparison to the free voice and texting messaging apps in the market today. Extras of Google Voice include voicemail transcription, conference calls, and the ability to screen and block callers.

Now of course nothing can truly replace the in-person and face-to-face conversations but in a world full of hustle and bustle and friends and families often separated by thousands of miles, thank goodness for technology 🙂

How do you keep in touch?

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6 thoughts on “The Best Apps for Keeping in Touch

  1. WhatsApp has been a life saver for me. When my best friend was abroad, we used that, and now I text my friend in Mexico through that whenever he’s not on wifi. Plus it makes phone calls so much easier. I do use Facebook for a lot of communication with faraway friends/family though! There’s a reason it’s as popular as it is 🙂

  2. WhatsApp is probably my favorite texting app! Some of my friends don’t have iPhones so they like this much better for the group text feature. I haven’t heard about the 2 other apps though. Thanks for sharing these!

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