9 Free Tools To Keep In Touch With Friends And Family

9 Free Tools To Keep In Touch With Friends And Family

Wouldn’t you love to be able to travel around the world while still being able to keep in touch with friends and family?

One of the biggest struggles that I’ve faced while living abroad is missing my friends and family back home. It’s only natural to feel like this, and I know that most people do from time to time.

Luckily, in today’s day and age, there is an abundance of free tools online that we can use to stay connected with our loved ones, even if we’re on the other side of the world.

With that being said, you don’t want to fall into the trap of spending all of your free time abroad talking to people back home. You should be going out, meeting new people and creating new relationships, as well as nurturing old ones.

There is a balance that you’ll need to work out but remember one of the reasons that you’re overseas in the first place is to grow and experience new parts of the world. This means that you can’t spend all of your time wishing you could see your friends from home.

How to Stay Connected With Loved Ones While Living Abroad

Video Chat

The best way to interact with your friends and family while living abroad is via video chat. This enables you to talk to your family and visually interact with them via your phone or computer. Being able to see your loved ones faces is the next best thing to actually seeing them in person.

Voice Call

Being able to talk over the phone is often times a lot simpler than video chat because your internet connection doesn’t have to be as strong. This can either be done via an internet connection or telephone network, each with their own advantages.

Generally, if you want to talk via a telephone network you will need to have a phone contract or pay per minute. It’s a lot simpler to call your family via an internet connect as the call will be free.

Online Messenger

The quickest and easiest way to interact with your family while living abroad is to send messages online. Whether you send an email which can be responded to at any time, or chat with your friends on messenger, being able to write is the easiest way to stay connected.


In the last few years, we have been extremely lucky in the fact that we are now able to share video stories showing what we’re up to on a daily basis. If you want to show your friends and family a behind the scenes look at your life on a daily basis, stories are perfect for you.

Photo Sharing

We’ve all heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, it’s true. No matter how hard you try and explain what you’ve been up to, a picture can perfectly show others what you’re seeing and the things you’re doing.

Free Tools To Keep In Touch With Friends And Family

1. Skype


I’m sure that most of you would have used skype in the past, or at least heard of it. Skype has been one of the most popular video chat options for years. It enables you to have one on one chats, as well as group chats with any of your contacts.

If you choose, you can get a skype number, much like a telephone number, whereby people can call you on any of your devices. You can also buy skype credit and call regular telephone numbers for the price of a standard phone call.

Features: Video chat, Voice Call, Online Messaging


2. Facebook


Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the world and it has many beneficial functions for travellers who want to connect with their families.

The whole idea of Facebook is to interact with friends and family from all over the world by sharing things that you’re interested in. You can do this by sharing photos and videos on your profile, or directly with your friends.

Facebook also has a messenger application which allows you to voice call, video chat or direct message any of your friends on Facebook. This is the best and easiest way to stay connected with  multiple friends online.

Features: Video chat, Voice Call, Online Messaging, Photo Sharing


3. Whatsapp


Acquired by Facebook in 2014 for over $22 billion, WhatsApp has over 400 million active users.

The main reason most people use WhatsApp is for its group chat functionality. You’re able to connect with a group of friends or family and discuss topics as a group rather than having to message each person individually.

This year WhatsApp have introduced video chat which makes it easier to connect than ever before.

Features: Video chat, Voice Call, Online Messaging, Group Chat


4. Facetime


If you have an Iphone, Ipad or Mac then you will have heard of FaceTime. This Apple application allows you to connect with other apple uses free of charge by video chatting with them.

The application is pre-installed on all apple devices and uses your apple ID to connect with other apple users. If you have an apple device, open your FaceTime application and call a friend from your contact list to see how easy it is to use.

Features: Video chat, Voice Call


5. Gmail


The great thing about Google applications such as Gmail is that they all work together. Gmail automatically shares all of your contacts with other Google applications which makes it easier to grow your network and stay connected.

Email is not going anywhere, and the best way to connect with people through written content is via email.

Gmail is extremely helpful as it connects with Google Hangouts and Google voice which are additional tools to stay in touch with family.

Features: Online Messaging


6. Google Hangouts


Google Hangouts enables users to chat to others through group video chat or one on one video chat. If your friends and family have google accounts, then it is a perfect way to chat with them when you are logged into google.

With google Hangouts, you can send instant messages, start video chats and voice call if it’s not appropriate to use video.

Features: Video chat, Voice Call, Online Messaging


7. Google Voice


It’s difficult trying to manage different phone numbers, especially when you’re travelling abroad.

Google voice allows you to get all of your calls directed to your Google Voice phone number. The settings can be applied so that you only receive calls at certain times of the day for certain devices as to not disrupt your day to day work and travel.

Furthermore, Google Voice has an exceptional voice mail whereby your messages are left in audio form, then automatically transcribed and sent to you as a text message.

Features: Voice Mail, Voice Call


8. Snapchat


Snapchat is an extremely popular social media platform amongst the younger generation. It allows you to share 10 second photos and videos with your network of friends.

Furthermore, you can add these videos and photos to your Snapchat Story, which can be viewed by your friends for 24 hours. After one day, the videos and photos in your story disappear.

Essentially this means you can get a behind the scenes look of what your friends and family or up to each day.

Features: Photo sharing, Video sharing, Stories


9. Instagram


Instagram is the biggest photo sharing platform in the world!

There are amazing built-in editing features, which means that almost anyone can post beautiful pictures. This is a great way for you to showcase all of the amazing things you’ve been up to while abroad.

In 2016, Instagram introduced a very similar application to Snapchat called ‘Instagram Stories.’ It has the same premise as Snapchat whereby you can add videos and photos that are available to be seen by your followers for up to 24 hours after being uploading.

Features: Photo sharing, Video sharing, Stories


It doesn’t matter how you keep in touch with friends and family while you’re overseas but it’s important that you do. With all of the free tools out there these days it’s so easy to check in and say hello.

Whether you prefer sharing videos and photos, talking on the phone or writing messages, there are plenty of ways to keep in touch with the people you care about.

You don’t have to use every tool to touch base with your friends and family, just choose the 1 or 2 ways that you like the most. Take advantage of the technology that you have available to you and make time to connect with your loved ones.

It’s one of the hardest things we have to go through when travelling and moving abroad, so be sure to take the time to keep in touch with the people you care about back home.

What tools do you use to keep in touch with your friends and family? How effective are they?

3 thoughts on “9 Free Tools To Keep In Touch With Friends And Family”

  1. Hi Lewis,
    You left out writing a letter and sending by post.
    Otherwise a very informative article.
    Pity I don’t really want to interact with anyone.
    How about an article on how to archive your experiences whilst overseas so that you can instantly record and then review many years later.

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