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Staying Connected While Traveling Globally




 

Traveling internationally is an incredible experience, but staying connected with loved ones and managing logistics from afar can be challenging. When I plan Pack Light Global trips for groups, women, couples, and families, I am often asked about the best way to stay connected while traveling globally. I typically suggest several solutions to help travelers to stay in touch while traveling internationally. 

 

It's always best to start with your mobile carrier and understand their international talk and data plans and where and how they work before exploring other options.  Many travelers who didn’t choose the right international plan or chose a plan that didn't work in their destination returned home to unexpectedly high cell phone bills. If you plan to use your US phone carrier, the default plan will work, but it is a higher-priced pay-as-you-go option.

 

Here’s how to use SIM cards, Skype, WhatsApp, and FaceTime to stay connected globally.

 

Typically, when I land at an airport anywhere in the world, the first thing I look for in the airport is a travel SIM card vendor.  Travel SIM cards are specifically created for international use, providing a convenient way to access data services without the steep costs of roaming. These SIMs offer a more affordable and practical alternative to traditional mobile carriers by connecting to local networks.  SIM cards are my preferred way to stay connected locally and with folks at home while traveling.  ESIM cards can also be purchased ahead. I like Airalo; in Europe Orange Travel ESim or Vodacom

 

Here’s why SIM Cards are beneficial:


Cost-Effective: Purchasing a local SIM card can significantly reduce your phone bills compared to using international roaming. Local rates for calls, texts, and data are often much cheaper. Depending on the country, the typical sim card price is $30-$50, usually lasting about 5-10 days. 

Ease of Access: Local SIM cards are readily available at airports, convenience stores, and mobile shops. They often come with various data packages tailored to different needs.  Many ESIM cards can also be purchased online.

 

Local Number: Having a local number can be convenient for making reservations, booking transport, and staying in touch with new friends or contacts in the country. Ride-share companies and other excursion organizers will not call your international mobile number. 

 

Compatibility: Ensure your phone is unlocked before you travel. If not, you can either unlock it or purchase a budget-friendly unlocked phone for your trip.


WhatsApp

WhatsApp is truly a must-have for global travel, and it's one of the most popular messaging apps worldwide for good reasons.

 

Widely Used: chances are high that your contacts already use WhatsApp. This widespread global adoption makes it easy to stay in touch.

 

Internet-Based: WhatsApp uses the internet for messaging, voice calls, and video calls, which means you won’t incur additional charges if you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

 

Group Chats: Stay connected with multiple friends or family members through group chats, which can be particularly useful for coordinating plans and sharing updates.

 

Multimedia Sharing: Share photos, videos, voice messages, and documents seamlessly. This feature helps you share your travel experiences in real-time.

 

FaceTime

For Apple users, FaceTime is an excellent option for staying in touch:

 

High-Quality Video and Audio: FaceTime is known for its superior video and audio quality, making conversations feel more personal and connected.

 

Integration with Apple Devices: FaceTime is built into iPhones, iPads, and Macs, making it easy to use without installing a separate app.

 

Group FaceTime: You can add multiple people to a FaceTime call, allowing for virtual family gatherings or meetings with friends.

 

 

Skype

I know most people think SYPE is an old-school app, however, Skype remains a reliable choice for making international calls and video chats.  Skype is a good secondary option to use with a SIM card, WhatsApp or other communication methods.

 

Versatility: Skype works on various devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers. This flexibility means you can use it wherever you are, as long as you have an internet connection.

 

Free Calls: You can make voice and video calls to other Skype users. This is ideal for keeping in touch with friends and family using Skype.

 

Low-Cost Calls to Phones: Skype offers competitive rates for international calling if you need to call a landline or mobile number.

 

Messaging and Sharing: Beyond calls, Skype allows you to send instant messages, photos, and files, making it a comprehensive communication tool.

 



Tips for Staying Connected while Abroad


  • Check Data Plans: Check your home carrier’s international data plans before traveling. Sometimes, they offer packages that are convenient and cost-effective.


  • Be clear about roaming; many plans are great in major cities, but your calls may constantly roam once you travel outside that area.


  • Wi-Fi Hotspots: Use free Wi-Fi in cafes, hotels, and public spaces. Apps like WiFi Map can help you locate nearby hotspots.


  • Carry a portable Wi-Fi hotspot device. It can be a lifesaver in places with limited connectivity. Try Solis Global Hotspots, which work in most countries and offer great plans for connectivity. https://soliswifi.co/

 

Staying connected while traveling doesn’t have to be a hassle. Utilizing local SIM cards, Skype, WhatsApp, and FaceTime ensures you’re always just a call or message away from home.


Travel Fearless!



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1 Comment


biagee
17 hours ago

Love all of your information inspiration🌍

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