Let’s be honest, most of us should probably call our mothers and fathers more than we actually do, I mean they did raise us and protect us at our most vulnerable (I’m a bit guilty of this one, sorry Mum & Dad!).
So of course, it’s important to ring your family and friends back home every now and then when backpacking on the road – there is nothing better to ease the worry of a parent’s heart then to touch base with them and let them know what’s up.
I assume you’ve figured this one out, or you wouldn’t be reading this post. Thanks to the Internet it’s easy to stay in touch with friends via the social media tycoons like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. They offer the perfect way for you to give friends back home a snapshot into your travelling adventures. You can also follow along with what’s going on with them back in the homeland.
What about your parents though? Most of them (bless ‘em) haven’t figured out this social media business…isn’t it just to put pictures of your food online and let everyone know you’re feeling tired after work? What’s the point?
Still, thanks to the 90’s they’re mostly all on board with sending e-mails.
What’s App is an excellent way to send ‘free’ SMS’ between (I say “free” because it does still use a tiny amount of internet bandwidth) anyone else who also has the application. It’s available on both iPhones and Android phones and it’s exceptionally popular here in Holland (and Australia too). The coolest thing about it is that you don’t need to worry about your SIM card as you can simply send messages via free WIFI found in hostels or cafes.
It can also send images and audio notes. For example, whilst we are living here in The Netherlands Trudy has an ‘audio note’ group where they all record themselves chatting about their day and life and then send it out to everyone else in the group.
You can’t really go wrong with Skype as it offers free Skype-to-Skype calls. This is awesome for ringing friends for free – and I’m sure we can all agree that free is always good.
Of course, even though Skype has been around for a while, older people who don’t mesh well with technology can struggle. Talking to Grandma Skype-to-Skype is normally an unfortunate no-go.
Luckily Skype does offer Skype-to-Landline options, and you can call these from an app on your mobile phone or tablet so it’s just like chatting normally and not sitting in front of the computer.
I probably use Skype the most just because it’s so easy and I can do free calls and landline calls from one account via my desktop PC, laptop or mobile phone.
There are an absolute tonne of options when it comes to calling cards. You can buy them from newsagents, post offices, food stands and kiosks as well as on the internet. They all aim to offer you decent rates to help you make international calls without breaking the bank.
As with anything, it’s a good idea to shop around, if you’re determined to get the best possible rate I would do a simple comparison between something like Skype and an online vendor that offers cheap international rates via landlines or mobile phones. Irrelevant of subscriptions and plans, who charges the least PER MINUTE to call home?
Sometimes it’s nice to just get away without the burden of technology weighing you down, but either way, every now and then it’s always nice to simply ‘phone home’.
“This post was brought to you in partnership with Karen at Rebtel.com”