This post couldn’t come at a better time. I’m sure you all heard that in July – after an impressive 160 years – India officially suspended their telegram service. Due to the enormous outcry of devoted fans, we’re here to provide you with some alternatives to stay in touch while on the road.
As nomads we have a certain problem, or should I say responsibility. We must report back to base. It’s only natural that we feel the impulse to update our loved ones back at home. And for them it’s natural to worry about our safety and wonder about our adventures.
Not so long ago when traveling abroad, you would be limited to only a few choices if you wanted to stay in touch with your family and friends. Sending letters & postcards ‘per avion’ and short phone calls limited by sky-high costs were the most popular ones.
Modern-day nomads have mobile apps galore to choose from, so I thought I would give you a guide to all the best Free Travel Apps to stay in touch while on the road.
Important: While many of these apps provide a free service, it is important to note that data transfer charges may apply, especially when using them overseas. But I’ll include a little trick for you at the end of this post.
To share with the special someone – Couple.me
Couple is created as a private space for you and your loved one to chat, share and store memories in a Timeline that only the two of you will see. Not only does it help you share and store memories, it recommends interesting date ideas and things to do for you if you ever run out of ideas. Some of the features include adding photos of you and your significant other, writing notes and a private space for both of you to chat, as well as a customizable timeline to make the experience unique and expressive. And the cherry on the cake – Thumb Kiss. When you both tap the screen at the same place the phone will wibrate. Adorable?
To simply text – WhatsApp Messenger
Simple and hugely popular – that’s what makes it my communicator of choice. It doesn’t do anything spectacular. But if you’re looking for a simple free text app which allows you to share your location on Google Maps, attach an image, video, audio clip, or contact info to a message – this is it. It also tells you when the other person received your text and when they were last seen on-line. And hey, if you have a large family you want to keep in the loop – why not make a chat conference.
To share your pictures the creative way – Postagram Postcards App
When it comes to staying in touch we mostly rely on words, but a picture can also do the trick. Just like postcards did in the pre-digital era. With Postagram you can capture any given moment using photos from Instagram, Facebook or your camera roll and create a great Postagram. And with a click of a button you can send it off to anywhere in the World. Each Postagram costs only 99 cents to send and the first three are for free.
To simply stay in touch – Skype
No surprises here. We can safely say Skype is the most traditional app when it comes to keeping in touch. Now Skype is accessible on smartphones as well, with some enhanced options. Skype works on video chats with utmost clarity, when connected to Wi-Fi. Communicating with other users on Skype is free of cost. The advantage of Skype over the other smartphone messaging apps is that, like with WhatsApp, it’s widely adopted so finding people is very easy.
To send voice messages – HeyTell App
For those who either hate texting or just think it’s more personal to actually hear the voice of a another person HeyTell is a smartphone app for both iOS and Android which gives you “push-to-talk” capability. It’s great if you want to focus on something else than your mobile screen, but still want to get the message across. Think of it as an extreme range Walkie-Talkie that records the message.
To chat in groups – Fring App
There are several apps that allow you to make voice over internet (VoIP) calls from a WiFi hotspot but once I found Fring I looked no further. This app allows you to use other VoIP providers — including Google Talk — on your smartphone. What’s more, Fring allows group video chat for up to four callers, with live visual feeds for all parties on the call. Simply put, Fring is amongst the best options for making face-to-face video calls from your smartphone.
To make it all free & possible – Wi-Fi Finder App (aka the little trick)
This app is not designed to stay in touch – it is designed to make it all happen. After all, those great apps do not make that much sense if you have to pay a lot for the Internet abroad. Wi-Fi Finder is a free app that has an online and offline directory of more than 500,000 different hotspot locations in 144 different countries. Chances are most of the countries you want to visit are included. The app relies on users submitting their local hotspot locations to a central Wi-Fi Finder server, it then stores and relays all its Wi-Fi information to all of its app users. You argue that your iPhone or Android phone has a built-in WiFi scanner, but with this app you will get more – it charts the locations, strengths, and availability of the signals, instead of just listing them.
I think travel is made far more fun when you can share information about your adventures. Technology makes it now relatively simple, but in my opinion nothing beats the face to face closeness. But when we travel anything that makes it possible to share with care is worth trying. Whether you want to tell the story of how you made new friends or share that magnificent view you’ve just taken a picture of with one of your great apps you will try to look for ways to do so. So go on and try those apps and they may prove invaluable on your next trip.
Are there any other Apps you recommend?