How To Stay In Touch With Friends And Family While You Travel
In the olden days, a postcard or a telephone was the only way to stay in touch with friends and family when travelling. Today, technology offers multiple channels, most of them much superior and much cheaper than the yesteryear alternatives.
VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is the technology for making telephone calls over the Internet. The obvious advantage of choosing this method is the drastic reduction in costs, making it the best way to make cheap international phone calls. Normal international phone calls, even with discounted rates, are expensive, as the charge is per pulse or time-based. With VoIP, the only cost is that of the Internet connection, so you literally have free calling from anywhere in the world. Various VoIP based applications such as Skype, Google Talk, Viber and others facilitate voice calls among computers or smart phones, or even between a computer or smart phone to a conventional phone.
Another popular alternative to VoIP and other cheap international phone calls is E-mail. The biggest advantage of email over voice mail is the ability to communicate without disturbances such as low voice quality, the ability to send pictures as attachments, and the ability to maintain a record of the conversation. Moreover, the recipient need not be present at the time of sending the email, something underestimated when communicating from distant places with significant time zone differences. Thanks to Internet becoming all-pervasive, even the most remote corner of the world has Internet connectivity. Most hotels have wi-fi enabled that allow sending emails through the mobile phone or laptop, but even when this is not an option, most tourist centres or the town centres have cyber cafes.
The social media is fast soaring in popularity and is one of the best ways to remain in touch with friends and family, even when not on the move. Posting in popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or PinInterest is a good way to share travel updates and other news and exchange pleasantries. As far as alternatives to cheap international phone calls go, e-mail works best for personal messages. When wanting to reach out to many friends or family members simultaneously, social media is the way to go. A single social post reaches all friends simultaneously, and interactive discussions are easy and seamless.
An alternative way to stay in touch with friends and family when on the road is by blogging the travel experience. In many ways, blogging is similar to social media, but blogs provide more freedom than the social media. Twitter, for instance, restricts the number of characters per post. Many friends may not have subscribed to the social media channel. Conversely, countries such as China have blocked social media channels such as Facebook, making it difficult to post. Simply posting the blog makes it available to everyone or to all people who have rights to view the blog, without the hassle of trying email addresses or dialing numbers for cheap international phone calls. Moreover, it is possible to embed images and videos as part of the narrative, something difficult to do so in emails and social media. Blogger.com and many other Website allow people to set up their blogs free. What’s more, it is possible to monetise such blogs using Google AdSense or some other ad program and actually make money rather than spend money when communicating with friends and relatives when on the road.
The technological innovations brought about by Internet and VoIP notwithstanding, the old postcard still has its place. There are still places in the world that does not have reliable telephone coverage, leave alone Internet. In such places, a postcard may be the only option to stay in touch with friends and family back home. In any case, a postcard beats the price of cheap international phone calls and is the best suited among all other mediums to send across a personal message that is easier to preserve, would last more than a lifetime and is instantly accessible without depending on any gadget.