Top Tech Tools for Travelers to Keep in Touch with Loved Ones while Abroad
Advancements in technology have presented opportunities for travelers to stay connected with their loved ones while in another country. Since the introduction of smartphones and internet connectivity, communications have since expanded from voice to video calls, which can be done through a variety of smart devices. With more smartphones and gadgets expected to flood the global market in the coming years, more software and apps that would facilitate connectivity with loved ones and business colleagues will be developed in response to the demand. In fact, according to a study from industry expert IHS technology, global growth in smart device usage is predicted to increase from 15.4 billion in 2015 to 30.7 billion devices in 2020, and 75.4 billion in 2025.
But for those who are constantly traveling, there are reliable tools that are available now to ensure sustained connectivity with loved ones. Below are just some examples.
Use Digital Calling Services – Not your Phone Carrier
To avoid exorbitant roaming charges, download a reliable calling and messaging software such as Skype or Facetime. Even messaging has become more advanced with a combination of multimedia posting capabilities that adds a layer of expression and meaning to a simple text. Aside from an emoji or two, users can post their photos or videos along with the message.
Photo Sharing Mobile Apps like Instagram
Sometimes showing is better than telling. Allowing your family and friends to follow along your journey digitally with photos of your adventure is a much more engaging way to tell a story and reach everyone all at once. Among the different photo sharing platforms, Instagram has captured a following among different age groups. For travelers, this is a perfect tool to instantly share and connect with family members. Just recently, Instagram introduced a photo album option which allows multiple videos or pictures in one post. This allows travelers to curate their photos for quick sharing among family members.
According to a Pew Research study, as of November 2016, around 77 percent of online adults have utilized a social networking platform. The same study indicated that majority of those surveyed, at approximately 79 percent use Facebook. Social media platforms offer group networking functions where travelers can easily post messages and pictures for family members.
Family Focused Social Network Apps
One app that I use to stay in touch with my family while traveling is Life360, which connects families through an interface that allows location sharing among members of a group. While marketed as a family locator tool, Life360 has individual and group messaging and even emergency assistance capabilities. Users of the app can create smaller circles of family members or friends with private group features. The tool can be installed as a web and smartphone based application.
Collaborative Document and Photo Sharing
Staying productive while traveling can be tough, especially if you’re constantly emailing documents and spreadsheets for work or for your personal finances. From spreadsheets to word documents, the Google family of editing tools offers the most expansive cloud-based option for travelers with the ease of letting multiple people access and edit without the need for managing multiple versions. Creating folders for travel pictures and documents is easy with its drag and drop function. Moreover, it only requires a free Gmail account to have access. There are a host of powerful free tools that you can use to collaborate, whether for business or for personal work, in real time for things like Documents, Spreadsheets, File Sharing, and Powerpoints.
More people are traveling beyond their geographical borders. According to the latest World Tourism Barometer report released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), 1.184 billion people traveled out of their country in 2015. From these numbers, one can assume that a percentage have access to different types of smart devices. With everything from photo sharing apps to online poker games taking place in the digital realm, it’s more important now than ever before to stay connected at all times while traveling! While global barriers are becoming more open, and with more people exploring other countries, staying connected with family members has become a priority despite the distance.