I know a few people that are either recently new to the expat life or they are about to embark on their adventure. One of the first things a future expat and their family and friends ask is "How will we stay in touch?" I thought I would share all of the methods Luke and I use to communicate with our family and friends back in the States. Warning: These are written as if I am teaching you how to communicate with me because it is easier to explain it that way :-)
1.) iMessage (iDevices only) - If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iTouch, you can "text" message me. Under message settings, be sure to have the iMessage capibilities turned on. When you go to message my UK mobile number (my email address works as well), our two iDevices connect and the send button turns BLUE meaning you will send an iMessage, and it is free other than data charges. If the send button is GREEN, you will get charged for an international text message. This is one of the best ways to message with me.
The blue bubbles above show iMessage. The green bubbles above show text messages.
|Facebook Messenger App icon|
1.) FaceTime (iDevices only) - Whether you want to see me my face or just talk to me, FaceTime is the best way to hear my voice. I have my FaceTime set so that I can use it on data as well as WiFi. The only problem is that I feel silly FaceTiming when I am in public, so generally I don't answer. But if it is really important, then just send me an iMessage letting me know that you need me right away and I will call you back. The awesome thing about FaceTime is it available 24 hours a day just like a regular phone is (unless service is terrible of course).
|FaceTime App icon|
|MagicJack App icon|
|Skype App icon|
iDevice users: iMessage and FaceTime are the best methods for communication
Non-iDevice Users: Facebook Messaging and MagicJack are the best methods for communication
There are many other apps available for similar communication methods, but I feel these are the best options and I believe everyone has some way to get in touch with me. I don't think anyone is left out of the communication circle... but it does take some instruction and remembering for some folks. It takes both parties time to get used to these new methods, but they are all pretty darn close to the exact same as a regular phone call.
Note: These methods can also be used while traveling out of the country... as long as you have WiFi!
Expats & Travelers: How do you communicate for free with your family and friends back home?