Posted: 22 February 2018
‘Wanderlust.’ A strong longing for or impulse toward wandering.
This unique word has been trending these past few years when discussing travel.
Whether it’s for work, volunteering, a gap year or just to globetrot…more people are traveling further distances and are staying for longer periods of time.
What’s the reason? Apparently, to live in the moment!
But nearly every traveler struggles with the same problem — keeping in touch with friends and family.
Here are 12 useful tips for keeping in touch with your loved ones back home.
1. Blog or Vlog About Your Experiences
Blogging is an awesome way to, not only let your family know what you’re doing but also to share your experiences with other travelers.
Sending an individual message to each member of your family and your friends takes a lot of hard work. But when you blog, you can reach more people in one go.
If you’re confident enough, vlogging is also a great way to reach people. Videos about your traveling experiences will bring your journey to life for watchers back home.
You can share photos, funny moments, thoughts and useful tips for other like minded travelers. If you’re successful, you could even make a bit of cash from it!
2. Create a Mailing List
When you blog, literally anyone in the world can see what you’ve written. But if you create a private mailing list, you can be selective.
You can do this via email. Sending a weekly, or monthly mass message to all your friends and family is a really easy way to keep everyone in the loop.
Other options include using an email marketing app. Your family members and friends can subscribe to your mailing list, and they will receive your newsletter after you’ve written it.
Some apps are really fancy and even customize each newsletter with the receivers name, so it looks personalized! How awesome is that?
3. Stick to a Realistic Schedule
As you say your final, teary goodbyes at the airport, you may promise to be in touch with your loved ones every single day! But it’s not usually a realistic goal.
Everyone is busy, and you will be too, especially if you’re working abroad and adjusting to a new life. And on top of it all, you’ll most likely be in different time zones.
So have realistic expectations and create a practical timetable. Arrange a call time that works for both of your schedules, and time zones. And if you miss the call, offer a time to reschedule, and stick to it!
4. Snapshot Every Moment
A picture speaks a thousand words! Yes, taking photos can help your family and friends to visualize where you are in the world.
Get a camera and learn to take good quality photos. Try to capture a mixture of photos of the scenery, the food, the local culture, and don’t forget a few selfies too! Your friends and family will be missing your face after all!
And when you’re old and gray, you’ll never regret taking too many photos!
Don’t forget to share some of your photos on social media too, which leads us to our next tip for keeping in touch.
5. Make Use of Social Media
Over 97% of millennials share photos and videos of their travels using social media platforms.
Social media is a great way to reach several people with minimal effort, keeping in touch has never been easier. And it’s fun too!
For example, Instagram is a super easy way to share what’s going on in your life. Just a picture and a small comment will keep your friends and family back home knowing you’re alive and well! Your profile will become a mini photo album of your travels too.
One of the most popular services is Facebook. Facebook allows you to keep up to date with everybody’s lives, and also to send updates on yours. Facebook also features messenger, which is another way to send private messages when keeping in touch with your loved ones.
These social media platforms and others such as Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Linkedin, are all great ways to have two-way communication with those back home. They are also great for staying connected with other travelers you meet along your journey.
6. Just a Phone Call Away
Calling overseas used to cost an arm and a leg, but prices are now generally a lot more reasonable.
Make sure to get yourself a local sim card when you reach your destination. Using the local phone network provides many benefits, including using the locally provided 4G internet, if WiFi opportunities are scarce.
Buy a calling card. Telephone calling cards are a prepaid method of making international calls.
You can save a lot of money as they are much cheaper than most local phone companies. They are great for keeping in your wallet, just in case of an emergency.
7. Apps That Keep You Connected
Phone calls and sending text messages are quickly becoming a thing of the past with many apps taking their place, what’s the pull? They all use a minimal amount of internet, and can send messages and photos around the world without draining your phone credit!
Through the internet, you can sign into Google Hangouts using your Gmail address and can message anyone of your contacts who also have Hangouts. You can make free calls and video calls too.
WhatsApp and Viber are similar to Google Hangouts in that you can only connect to users that are using the same app. They are both super helpful for keeping in touch with your friends and family. The interfaces for both apps are simple and can be downloaded to both android and apple devices. Again, you can voice call, video call, send photos, videos, sound clips and more for free!
Facetime and iMessage are only available for Apple users and can be used to contact other Apple users through an iPhone, iPad or even a Macbook.
If you want to keep the mood light, a comical App available is Snapchat which frames or distorts your face in the funniest ways.
Last, but by no means least is Skype, probably the most popular way to video chat someone that is overseas. Skype offers Skype-to-Skype video and audio calls, messaging and conference calls. Skype is unique in that you can also call regular phones, for a reasonable fee. It has to be one of the easiest ways of keeping in touch with those back home.
8. Voice Clips and Videos
Most of the apps above include options to send voice clips or recorded videos. This is important as sometimes time zones clash and you can end up missing opportunities to chat with your loved ones.
Sending a short voice clip is a cute and easy way to tell someone you love them. They will be happy to hear your voice, and will be able to play it over and over again!
The same is true of a recorded video. Sometimes live video chat is impossible if your internet connection is bad. That can lead to a very frustrating video call. Sending a clear video updating your family on whats going on is a practical and easy way of keeping in touch.
9. Letters and Postcards
Yes, technology is awesome, quick, and easy! But sometimes a handwritten letter, greeting card or postcard shows a bit more thought and care.
Sending things by snail mail is especially appreciated when you miss out on certain special events, such as weddings, birthdays and more.
If you followed one of the previous tips and have taken lots of photos, you can even custom design a postcard to send to your family.
A really cool way is to send your own photo postcards online. You can upload your photos, pay by card and they will print and post it for you! A great way to avoid the hectic post offices you may encounter on your travels!
10. Send Gifts
The same goes for gifts. Obviously, sending valuable gifts from remote locations isn’t wise. But sending small souvenirs or trinkets to your loved ones back home can help to bridge the gap between you.
Many parents send care packages to their children when they go to college or when they are traveling. You could do the same thing the other direction. Send your family or close friends a small box of souvenir items from the places you’ve traveled.
11. Go Back Home
If you’re traveling for long periods of time, or you have made more of a permanent move, make sure to plan times to go home.
If you have a set date you plan to return; it’ll give you and your loved ones something to look forward too.
And once you are home, use your time wisely! Take every moment to strengthen family ties and reinforce friendships. Sit down with them and go over your photos, tell them your experiences, and they will feel connected to your new life.
12. Bring Your Loved Ones to You!
If you have work or other commitments and can’t visit home as regular as you’d like, why not arrange for your loved ones to come and visit you?
It may not be possible in all cases, but you’d be surprised at what your parents would do to show you that they care! They might like a little bit of adventure themselves too!
Keeping in Touch With Those You Love
As you can see, things have come a long way since snail mail.
You can be in contact with someone on the other side of the world with the click of a button. But sometimes sending a physical letter, or gift is practical too. There are many different ways of keeping in touch, but don’t forget to visit home once in a while.
We are sure these 12 handy tips will help you to combat any homesickness you may feel, and to deal with anyone back home that may be feeling abandoned!
Read our blog for more awesome travel hacks and other lifestyle tips.