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It’s said that with all of our technological advancements, the world is getting smaller and smaller, but it sure doesn’t feel like that when you have to travel for business frequently. It’s difficult to be away from home for long periods of time, but fortunately those aforementioned technological advancements are pretty helpful for staying in touch with your loved ones, even when you’re hundreds of miles and many time zones away.
Frequent business travelers probably already know the classic tips, like using a calling card to save cash or getting an international SIM card to cut down on the wireless bill, but there are several other things you can do to keep in touch while far from home.
Calling: In addition to a calling card or international SIM card there are other options that make calling home a bit easier on the wallet. Consider setting up a Google Voice number which will ring right through to your phone and is generally significantly cheaper than a standard long-distance call on your cell.
Video Chat: While most smartphones these days have a video chat feature, the calls themselves could set you back a pretty penny unless they run over Wi-Fi. Consider using Skype instead; it comes as a mobile or desktop app so it can be used on either your computer (only requiring internet access) or your phone. If you use the mobile app, keep your phone in airplane mode to avoid international roaming charges, even while on the ground.
Blog: Many people already have a social networking profile or personal blog set up; indeed, there are a variety of options including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr as well as more traditional platforms like WordPress and Blogger. Share your trip with your loved ones by posting photos to Instagram or Tumblr, videos to YouTube, or blogging about the experience on your own blog. Friends and family can follow your trip as you blog it, making them feel like they’re right there with you.
Games: If you’ve got your laptop or tablet, you can also keep in touch in a fun ways like playing games with friends and family while far away. Sure, you may be on the other side of the country, but as long as you have access to WiFi you can still play Words with Friends with your spouse, coworkers, or kids. Likewise, if you’re a dedicated gamer, consider using a service like Steam that can connect you to other players.
Fun for Kids: There are many creative ways to keep in touch with your kids while you’re traveling, such as making an audio or video recording of you reading a favorite bedtime story with a good night message that can be played back for kids as they go to sleep. Or, take a favorite toy or stuffed animal with you on your travels (“Flat Stanley” is a popular example). Pose for photos with Stanley at notable landmarks during your trip and post them online so that your kids can see where you and Stanley have been. Another option is having kids send faxes to the hotel, and sending some back, so that you can exchange messages and artwork. They might get a kick out of the antiquated technology.
Airport image via ShutterStock