The beauty of modern technology is that it is advancing by the minute. By the time you read this, there may be an even more convenient, cooler invention for keeping up with friends and family around the world. However, for the time being, here are some great programs and apps to keep in mind while you’re abroad, or for keeping in contact with friends that you make while you’re abroad once you get home.
- Viber: If you’re an iPhone user and you want to talk with another iPhone user anywhere in the world, you can use Viber to make calls and send texts for free. It uses your data or Wi-Fi, so you don’t have to worry about expensive roaming charges.
- FaceTime: Even better than Viber, FaceTime allows you to video chat for free! It only works when both parties are on Wi-Fi, so make sure that you’re connected before dialing.
For BlackBerry users:
- Blackberry Messenger: Though Blackberries are becoming slightly less common in the United States, they are still fairly popular in many other parts of the world. If you are a Blackberry user, be sure to collect Blackberry PINs from friends and family that are Blackberry users as well. You can then Blackberry Message (BBM) friends from anywhere, and to anywhere in the world!
- WhatsApp: If you own any kind of smartphone (iPhone, Blackberry, Droid, etc.), WhatsApp is a definite must. It costs $1 on iPhones, and is free on all other smartphones. It allows you to text message over your data and/or Wi-Fi to anywhere in the world, totally free. You can even picture message!
- Skype: I’m sure most of you have heard of Skype, but if you haven’t you definitely need to check it out! It can be used on Smartphones and computers, allowing for easy video or voice calling around the world. Also, you can load money on your Skype account to call international phones directly. Prices can be found at: http://skype.com/intl/en-us/prices/payg-rates/
- Google Chat: Whether you use Google for your email provider or not, Google Chat is definitely something to invest some time in. You can instant message, video chat, and also load money onto your account to call landlines and mobile phones directly. Prices can be found at: https://www.google.com/voice/rates
Of course, don’t forget to disconnect from technology and enjoy your local surroundings while you’re abroad!!!! But keeping in contact with family and friends is important, so be sure to utilize the many options that are available to you! Find the one (or two, or three) that work best for you… and be sure to keep in touch!