The world is a big place, but with the help of a smart device in our pocket, home is only a few short words away. The popularity of the smart phone has given long term travellers an easily accessible way to contact loved ones and friends back at home. We can now reach into our pockets and within seconds text, call, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook our way back home. This has made it easier doing long term travel as you never feel too alone, you will always have someone at hand to share the experience with.
When I first started travelling, less than a decade ago it was more common place to send an email rather than a quick facebook post. This enabled me to share more than a one line highlight from my travels instead of the 140 characters to describe the amazing things I was seeing. Since that time there have been a boom of apps, websites and so many other forms of communications accessible to us.
What I would call the king of easy communication to reach back home. This year video calls have been added to phones, making it even easier to see people back far away. The ease of use of this app is fantastic, you can create your own groups to share everything you want with more than just one person. It also has the added security of end-to-end encryption, making it one of the safer ways to share private information. I am not saying it is fool-proof, as there is no such thing as a system that cannot be broken but the added measure means it does make it more difficult.
I find the quality of calls, voice or video are fantastic. It also has the added benefit if you do not have internet access, you can still type a message and it will send it when you reach a connection again.
There is no bloat to this app, it does exactly what it needs to, and does it very well. If there is one app I use consistently over any other for talking to people back home it would be this one and I would recommend it to anyone else.
The grand daddy of the online calls. The first mainstream VOIP(voice over internet protocol) platform that took over the world for a while. I no longer use Skype. Purely because everything it is doing, others have now done it better. That is not to say it doesn’t work. I do find call quality can be hit and miss unless you have a high speed connection.
I also find that the phone app is limited, and travelling with my phone as my primary form of tech does limit me. As most travellers will say good internet connections are hard to come by.
I have a love hate relationship with FB Messenger, the fact you already have access to all of your friends on Facebook at your fingertips to message is a huge bonus. On the other hand the app is so stupidly bloated it can’t get in its own way. I don’t need stickers to express how I feel, or give access to it to be my singular source of text messaging on my phone.
I find the privacy issues attached to Facebook are also a concern, I would never discuss any finance or private details over Facebook. This is also because Facebook does want to have access to a scary amount of personal information, even though it has already taken over many hours of our day as we will scroll, click and share most everything through it with our friends.
But for the ease of access and the easiest way to connect with old friends who you may not have in your phone, FB Messenger is a decidedly useful connection app.
There are many more forms of communication out there and it would take a book to cover them all but I feel that the the three listed here are the ones you will most likely run into on your travels. Always make sure you let your love ones into your adventures and pass along the travel bug to them.
Stay Safe and Travel Far…