Great (and Mostly Free) Ways to Stay In Touch Abroad

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Not too long ago, it would have cost an arm and a leg to make international calls back to the US while traveling abroad. With the many free options of VOIP/mobile apps available, roaming charges and having to pay international calling fees are a thing of the past. In the last couple of years, companies have been coming up with apps to make communication across borders easier and mostly free just as long as there is a wireless signal around. I use the apps when I’m traveling or even when I’m home to keep in touch with friends and family that are overseas. This includes video chatting, texting, phone calls and walkie-talkie style. Here’s a list of my favorite apps that are all compatible with iPhones, iPads, Kindles and Droids.

WiFi Finder: WiFi Finder is possibly the most essential app anyone could have especially when traveling. It works both online and offline. It locates wifi hotspots both free or pay for use, tracks the strength of the signals, then stores it within the app so you can easily access it later.

WhatsApp: WhatsApp is my favorite texting service. It is super easy to use and as long as you have wifi or a cell phone connection you can text anyone in the world for free. It is great for sending pictures, and even has a group chat option as well as emoticons.

Fring: If you want facetime with a few people back home, but don’t have the time for separate calls, Fring is an app that lets you video call with up to four friends at the same time. It allows you text and make regular phone calls as well, so it’s really an all inclusive app package.  

Viber: Viber is a calling, texting, photo sharing and locater application. As long as the parties both have Viber, you can make free unlimited phone calls anywhere in the world. I do like using this app locally as well because some of my contacts don’t have unlimited minutes.

Skype: Anyone who frequently travels abroad knows that Skype is great. You get unlimited facetime with your friends and can even show them around while you’re sightseeing. The downside is that if you’re making a call to someone who doesn’t have the app, then you do get charged per minute.

Babelingo: Babelingo is a great app if you’re traveling and aren’t fluent in the local lingo. Babelingo phonetically translates phrases you need help with in a text version. The language options are English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Russian, Czech, Hindi, Japanese, and Chinese.

Voxer: Voxer is a fun-to-use walkie talkie app that automatically updates your contacts as your friends download the app. It’s a useful app if you want to send a quick voice message back and forth, if you don’t have time for a steady conversation or just want to send a quick memo. Look at it as a free instant voice mail sender.


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About The Author

Rand Shoaf

Rand Shoaf

Introduced to traveling at a young age, Rand has since traveled to over 45 countries. Learning how to maximize credit card sign-up bonuses in college has allowed him to earn millions of travel miles and points. Using the same tips and tricks he writes about here has ultimately allowed him to explore the word for pennies on the dollar.

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