Friday Five: 5 Best Travel Apps to Keep You In Touch While Overseas
I know it's still early in the year to be thinking about vacation, but hopefully you've got a relaxing getaway planned in the near future. Although some people prefer to distance themselves from being in contact with others while on vacation, establishing a communication method can give your friends and family a sense of security knowing that you can be reached in case of an emergency. Plus, through means of communication, we can send and upload photos, share status updates, and even give our exact location if needed. Since preparation is the key to enjoying a relaxing vacation, I wanted to share my thoughts on the 5 best travel apps to keep you in touch while overseas:
Most of us are probably already familiar with this app or at least heard it's name once or twice. That's because Skype is the granddaddy of staying in touch apps and it works well. Instead of exchanging a phone number or email, people often ask for a Skype name to stay in touch when traveling to other countries. Skype is free to download and you can make free calls to anyone else with a Skype account no matter where you are in the world. You can also make calls to cell phones or land lines (if you know anyone with a land line that is) for a fee. Luckily, Skype's greatest advantage is that so many people are already registered in their system, which makes it easy to find exactly who you're looking for and likely that they're already on Skype!
I had the pleasure of spending two months in Europe last summer visiting my family back home on the island of Malta, and although I was happily enjoying the Mediterranean waters, I still felt the need to keep in touch with my friends and family back home in the US. After a friend's recommendation, I downloaded Viber and immediately I was able to send and receive text messages through wi-fi (not to mention voice and video calls as well). The best part is that the app is free and super easy to use. Plus, it doesn't drain your battery or use up your device's memory which is a definite thumbs up in my book.
Built for business meetings or group video chats - although leisure travelers can use it as well - Fuze is the app that allows you to connect with friends, colleagues, and more on instant messaging services including MSN, Google Talk, and AIM. With Fuze, you can join a video “meeting” with friends and chat or share photos and texts - I mean “sales data” - in the middle of conversations. The app is free, and a month of trial is also free – after that, the service costs money.
What on earth would we do without wireless internet? This day and age, it's practically embedded into our day to day lives. The only way to top the fact that you've been in an amazingly beautiful foreign country for the past week is to locate the nearest wi-fi vicinity, so you can share that fact with everyone (on Facebook - admit it!). Mobile carriers in the US charge an arm and a leg for international data packages, which is why so many people solely rely on accessing free wi-fi during their travels abroad. Boingo Wi-Finder helps find thousands of free wifi and Boingo hotspots worldwide. The app will also automatically notify and connect you to free hotspots, so getting online is a breeze.
Okay, so this isn’t actually an app that will help keep you in touch with those back home, but it will help you "keep in touch" with locals! SayHi Translate helps you familiarize yourself with the local language without sounding like such a noob. At $2.99, this app is well worth the money spent. Simply tap your language button, speak into the microphone, and your voice will be instantly translated. Have a conversation with anyone without needing to switch languages. With over 40 languages to choose from, the app combines language and dialect in order to return the best translation, helping you break down barriers in countries all over the world.
Hope these apps come in handy! Happy travels everyone (:
Post by Kathleen Borg