“What’s the best way to keep in touch with family members when I travel” is a question I get frequently. I use a combination of Facebook Messenger, Skype, Twitter, WhatsApp and my T-Mobile phone service. It depends on the service my friends have and use.
So I’ve listed a few ways below for you. Please feel free to leave a comment below and let me know which ones you use when you travel.
AT&T – https://www.att.com/esupport/article.html#!/wireless/KM1008877 – They have a program called AT&T PassportSM called which has differing rates based on what you intend to consume.
Facebook Messenger – https://www.messenger.com/ – Android, iOS, Desktop computer. You can use the messenger feature to text, communicate live, make a phone and send images to another person who is on Facebook. You can also read your text messages in Messenger,, which means that you
Facetime – This is available on all Apple devices; the program comes built in.
Glide – http://www.glide.me/ – Android, iOS, and Microsoft platform that allows you to do video chat from your device which also include the Apple Watch.
Google Hangouts – https://hangouts.google.com/ – Android, iOS and desktop. This is integrated into your Gmail account and allow you to text, call and send images to anyone who is also using the App.
join.me – https://www.join.me/ – This service allows you to have meetings and also share your screen. Calls are made either via your phone or over your computer. It’s free for the following features: 10 meeting participants, five video feeds, Screen sharing and you can make calls over the Internet.
Line – https://line.me/en-US/download – Android, iOS. It also works on desktop in any browser. Allows you to make free calls as well as text messages. Mostly used in Asia.
Majic Jack – http://www.magicjack.com/ – With this service you can use it as your home phone service and also as a service when you travel. It works with your home Internet service. They do have a few different plans so check the details and choose the one that suits you.
Skype – http://www.skype.com – Android, iOS and Desktop computers. Everyone knows Skype. Most people don’t realize that you can actually purchase a number which will allow you to call a land line at deeply discounted rates. Otherwise, you can only call another Skype customer. You can also do Group calling depending on the options you’ve chosen. And toll free numbers are free when you call them. This has helped countless times.
T-Mobile – http://www.t-mobile.com – Allows you to use your phones in select international countries. You use your same data plan when you travel. Calls are 20 cents per minute and text messages are free.
Talkatone – http://www.talkatone.com/ – Android, iOS. The service allows you to make calls and text as long as you have Wifi available.
Tango – http://www.tango.me/ – Android, IOS. Does video call within Canada, India, Mexico and the U.S. with low rates for other countries. You may also send text messages, photos and stickers.
Telegram – https://telegram.org/ – Android, iOS, Windows Phone and your desktop computer. It allows you to text to any of your friends and family that has signed up for the service. It does use your phone number to make the verification, so a valid phone number is required to join. It is free and there are no ads and is a growing community. You can create Groups on the service so you can plan trips, etc.
Textfree from Pinger – http://pinger.com/#apps – Android, iOS. Does exactly that; it allows you text without having a phone line.
twitter – http://www.twitter.com – Twitter has a Direct Message feature so if someone is following you on Twitter, you can send them a Direct Message that only you and they can see.
Verizon – https://www.verizonwireless.com/solutions-and-services/international-travel/ – They have a program called TravelPassSM. Here is what their Web site says: “Now your wireless plan travels just like you do. For just $2 a day per line in Mexico and Canada and $10 a day per line in more than 100 countries you can take your domestic talk, text and data allowances with you. You’re only charged on the days you use your device abroad. It’s an economical way to stay connected while you travel.”
Viber – http://www.viber.com/en/ – Android, iOS, Windows Phone and your desktop. Allows you to send messages and make phone calls to others who are on the service. All for free.
Vonage – https://www.vonage.com/ – Allows you to make international calls so a long as you have a number where you family/friends are staying you can call them. It also doubles as your home phone.
Voxer – http://www.voxer.com/ – Android, iOS and your desktop computer. Make calls, send text and photos.
WhatsApp – https://www.whatsapp.com/ – Android, iOS, Mac, Windows PC and Windows Phone. Perhaps one of the better Apps out there as you can call an actual phone number since to sign up you must have a valid phone number. Simply download the App and follow the instructions. It will ask you to access your contacts on your phone. If you say yes, then you can always search for someone in your contacts and voila, you can call them, text them and send them photos as well as long as they have WhatsApp of course.
Zoom.us – http://zoom.us – Android, Blackberry, iOS and desktop computers. This app is more for business, but it allows you to have Group conversations and you can also share your screens. The free version allows you to have conversations for up to 40 minutes at a time.