How to stay connected to your family and friends when travelling
October 6, 2016
Below are some tips to stay in contact with your friends and family during long-term travel.
Once upon a time, going travelling meant being cut off from your loved ones for long chunks of time. In our modern world, with constant social media access, it’s easy to check-in and stay up to date with all the coming and goings online.
I remember being worried my friends would forget I exist and my mother definitely thought I would die without her advice but even before there was free Wi-Fi on every corner, keeping in touch was seldom a problem. We rely so heavily on social media nowadays, we often don’t realise that we haven’t seen someone in the flesh for a while.
There are tonnes of ways to keep in touch but I have discovered after years of travel that the secret isn’t so much how you communicate but when you do so. For example, when I left home Mum wanted a once a week check-in and if I couldn’t get reception for a few days, became instantly worried. It took time to work out a schedule of contact and an ability to predict being out of contact that worked for us.
It’s about communication style, if you have someone you want to stay in contact with, examine how you currently communicate with them. For instance, you might only call your folks twice a month but text you bestie every day. Try and plan it so that you have a similar level of contact and it will feel like you’re in the next suburb, rather than the other side of the world.
The other thing to think about is a type of communication that multiple people can see, so you don’t end up repeating the same stories again and again. There are lots of different ways to approach this, you could blog, use a specialised travel platform like Trip Journal but blanket communication I prefer Facebook.
Most of your friends will already have accounts. You can chat, post photos, write notes, blog and video chat all in one platform. I can post a note and a few photos every week and then just answer any comments my friends write. My folks can see the same stories plus get a video chat once a month, while my boyfriend and I chat every evening from my phone when possible.
My other favourite, for people I talk to a lot, is an internet based chat app called WhatsApp. An easy way to avoid roaming charges, it uses Wi-Fi so you just have to make sure the person you are talking to also has the app.
The other thing I like to do is occasionally send a round of postcards. You don’t have to think up much to say but people are delighted to get a postcard in this age of email. Just keep a list of contacts in your phone and it’s a great way to make people feel special.
It is easy to slip in and out of modern travels with no special technology past your smart phone and a Wi-Fi connection. It sounds like a lot of planning but you will quickly fall into a rhythm of contact that works for you and keeps all those connections open.