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Communicating with friends you make while travelling

Published On July 5, 2015 | By Matt | Uncategorized

I like to make friends with locals when I travel, even though I know that many of these friendships are likely to be short term. We’ve all done it – you have a drink or a meal with people, have a great time and gladly take the experience for what it was – a brief encounter of the friendship kind. Note that I do not mean hookups! I’m not that type of person, and to be honest I’m quite conservative and shy in that department :)

Other times the friends you make while travelling are people you definitely want to stay in touch with. This is especially the case when you plan to return to a particular country on a regular basis, such as once a year or once every two years. It really makes those return visits special when you can meet back up with people and continue those friendships where you left off. However there are a few considerations to think about.


Cell phone numbers change. The connection option people are least likely to change is probably Facebook. Therefore make sure you Facebook friend the people you want to stay in touch with.

What’s popular locally

In some countries, there is a particular app that everyone seems to use. “What’s App” seems to be very popular in Mexico as an example. You can’t completely rely on an app though as not everyone will want to download the particular app you favor.

Your local cell

You likely won’t be keeping the same local cell number the next time you’re visiting a country, so make sure you inform your new friends that you won’t be reachable on any local SIM card you’ve been using after you fly out.


If you’re wanting to stay in touch with people by phone and they’re in developing countries then be aware of the cost to them and that even international txt messaging may be too expensive and a burden for them . There are a few things you can do to get around this. Look for a internet phone service (VoIP) that provides an international texting option where you can elect to pay for the recipient’s return txt message.

Even when you’re in the country, be aware that unlimited txting plans may or may not be common there. Find out if your friend has txting included prior to engaging in a conversation of 20 back and forth txt messages.

Skype alternatives.

Skype is awesome when it works well but I have increasingly been plagued by sound problems with it. Increasingly I am having issues with needing to restart my computer to overcome issues with people not being able to hear me at all when I Skype them. There also seem to be issues with their service if you’re logged in on both a mobile device and a laptop. I would’ve thought these would be fixed by now as they’ve been a problem for years. Their customer service is also awful.

Video calling

For video calling, I’m increasingly using Facetime as most of my family have now switched to Macs. Ironically my Mum was the first person in the family to be a Mac user. She is way cooler than us :)

I’ve also been exploring some apps that allow for free video messaging, so that I can do little video tours when I’m travelling and what to show close family or friends what I’m seeing.

Photo Credit: Gary Denham under Creative Commons License

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