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Keeping in Touch With Home While Traveling Abroad With Seven Ways

Due to the progress of techonology, internet has brought us many advantages and become simpler to communicate inexpensively with anyone in any part of the world. Certainly, it is lucky and useful for travelers and expats living abroad. This article will share you seven main ways of keeping in touch with family and friends at home while traveling abroad.

 

In the 1970s my only method of reaching my wife in Florida from India was by telephone. Just getting the connections set up between the two countries could take hours. By the early 1990s it was easier to make international connections but still slow and inconvenient. I still use landlines and cell phones but making international calls with either is not the best use of your time and money. So how do I communicate with home while abroad?

 

Cards and letters. This is the only method I presently use that does not in some way depend on the internet. I still find that friends and relatives get a kick out of receiving a picture postcard from overseas. The underdeveloped nature of the postal system or even the lack of one in some countries limits this method.

Email. Ten years ago having email was less common. Today it is rare to find anyone without email. Almost everyone today not only has email but checks it at least once a day. If your message does not require an immediate response, email is a good means of communication.

Internet VOIP Services. VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol is most commonly known as internet telephone service. I know of at least a dozen providers. My favorites in the last few years have been MagicJack and Vonage. Both provide a “back home” telephone number which allows you to make internet calls to family members as if the calls were local calls. Skype in some cases is cheaper, but only when making calls to other Skype members.

AIM, Yahoo, & MSN Online Instant Messaging. Each of these can be used when your established friends and relatives are online. The messages are instantaneous but has the limitation of only having the capability of messaging while both parties are online. These message systems are particularly appealing to the youth of today, and many adults are being converted to their use.

Facebook & Other Social Network Sites. You can also instant message with Facebook and some people do. But Facebook’s advantage over Yahoo & similar sites is that you can leave comments or messages that can be responded to at a later time. Posting regularly on Facebook can give your friends a running account of your activities at any frequency you desire.

Online Diaries Or Blogs. The terms are not mutually exclusive. Any blog can be used as an online diary. There are however specific online diary services designed specifically for the traveler. By simply giving your friends the URLS of these diaries or blogs, they can keep up with your activities.

Family Websites. The free Google Apps, for example is designed for families or organizations and provides a customized gmail account specific to your domain name. However, unless you get the paid premier edition (still a bargain at $ 50/year), you are limited to only 50 user accounts. I have one, but have to admit that I have only used it very infrequently.

 

Keeping in touch with home once meant writing a diary or letter and having it sent by ship or air in a process that could take weeks or even months. Today, instantaneous communication is not only possible but with the internet, has become the norm. Being able to communicate with family and friends daily if desired makes traveling or even living abroad much more enjoyable.

 

Dr. Lamar Ross, a cultural anthropologist by training, has a special interest in training individuals for expatriate living and providing information on unique travel destinations. He is an author, educator, photographer, internet entrepreneur, and international traveler. He has lived in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and India and has traveled extensively in 29 different countries. His pensionado visa for Panama has been approved and he will be spending more time in Panama in the near future. For more information on expatriate living, check out the blog Expatriate Traveler Notes. Check out also his Everything Travel Blog.

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Seven Safety Tips When Traveling With Children

There is a big difference between traveling with an adult and traveling with children. Even if you have toddlers or an infant with you, it is a special specification that adults accompanying their children must observe safety first when traveling. There are numerous ways to make traveling for you and your child safer. Here are seven:

1. Maintain seatbelts or restraints at all times. Naughtiness can become one reason for your child to get hurt and cause one to another. Your child can move all he want as long as his seatbelt or restraint are firmly attached to their bodies. Furthermore, turbulence can go without warning.

2. Keep your child’s essentials inside your hand carry bag. You can survive every ounce of tantrums when you keep in your bag a handful of useful merchandise like diapers, food and medicine. If you have an infant, you can bring in two bottles of milk.

3. Position you child away from the aisle. It would be more appropriate to sit him in between two adults. If you don’t like being seated along the aisle, for your child’s sake, sacrifice. Children love exploring and reaching out things. They can get hurt unknowingly when their little arms and hands get bumped by walking people or by the serving cart. You can also sit him at one corner beside the windows.

4. Bring toys. Make sure these are not deadly ones. Toys can serve as perfect modalities to catch your child’s attention and refrain him or her from making unnecessary noises and activities. Never bring toys that can hurt, easily break or is heavy. Electronic games can only be used while the plane is cruising.

5. Control your child. It is your responsibility to control your child’s behavior while inside the plane. The flight attendant is never responsible for the supervision of your child. You don’t pay them to become baby sitters. As much as possible, don’t fall asleep during the flight. Children take this opportunity to wander around the plane and eventually get lost. You also have to be careful when walking around the plane with your child for he might reach hot cups of coffee or silverware.

6. Upon the deployment of oxygen masks, put yours first. Contrary to what most parents would think, it is much advisable to put an adult’s mask first before their child. Why? for practical reasons. There would be a greater chance of saving both your lives than just your child’s. If the adult puts the oxygen mask on their children first, it will take only few seconds for hypoxia to come over wherein episodes of confusion or passing out will happen. A child, especially smaller ones, will be of no help once you pass out. This is one very good reason why you must put on the mask first.

7. Always be prepared for the possibility of emergencies. Be aware of the procedures that can be appropriate for your child. First, ask the flight attendant if they have emergency equipments that are designed especially for children. Next, be familiar with the preflight briefing. Lastly, if your child has a condition that can be an issue, inform the attendant.

Generally, you have to plan ahead. Ask yourself what are the things that can help you and your child to be safe through hours of being suspended on air. It is your sole responsibility to take good care of your child by practicing these safety first tips when traveling.

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