Four Fab Ways To Keep In Touch

One of the questions I get asked about the most, as a long-term-ish expat here in Korea, and as a traveller, is how I keep in touch with my family and friends when I’m abroad. There are lots of great ways to stay in contact with loved ones, like a SIMSmart Pre Paid card so that you can make a call internationally without spending through the roof, the Internet, and good old-fashioned letters.

 

Gil Dong and I will be travelling together for the USA portion of my round-the-world trip, but after a couple of days in San Francisco, he’ll be hopping on an Asiana flight bound for Incheon, and I’ll be heading south to Bogota via Fort Lauderdale, and probably panicking because I’ll have under two hours for my connection (I usually like to leave a lot longer). Gil Dong and I aren’t breaking up any time soon (unless there’s something he’s not telling me), so naturally I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to keep in touch with him on the road. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far, and what I’d advise others to try.

 

Facebook

The classic. Sure, the video chat function sucks – I live in South Korea, the country with the highest internet speed in the world, and everything is still super slow and delayed – but there’s more to the world’s favourite social networking site than that. Facebook is the main method which I’ve used to stay in touch with my family since moving to Korea, with everyone from my little brother to my Nana June (yes that’s right, my nana uses Facebook) having a profile. Most recently, Harry and I had a slanging match using quotes from the most recent season of RuPaul’s Drag Race – something that wouldn’t have been possible without Zuckerberg and company.

 

To avoid any confusion, I’m Beverley Pills, and Harry is Polly Whirl. If anyone steals those drag names, I’m hunting them down.

 

Pair

One mainly designed for couples with smart phones, Pair is a super cute app that’s designed for lovebirds who want something a little bit more private than Facebook and their own snuggly slice of bandwith. I think bandwith is the right word, but I’m not tecchy enough to verify that information. You can work on shared tasks, draw pictures for each other, or simply send a little, “thinking of you” message. Gil Dong and I both have it downloaded on our phones and have tested it here in Korea, and it’s won us over with its general air of warm fuzziness.

 

See! You can send each other cutesy drawings of puppies, like this masterpiece that I created.

 

Skype

I’m a bit of a weird one when it comes to Skype. The only person I’ve ever used it to talk to is Gil Dong. Not my family, not my friends. Just Gil Dong. Don’t ask me why, because I have absolutely no idea. However, when it comes to video chatting, Skype is no doubt the best way to go by far. Sure, connections can be spotty sometimes, but it’s much better than any of the video chat alternatives offered by the likes of Facebook and MSN Messenger.

 

You can also use Skype to take sexy self-portraits with your webcam. OK so that’s not the case here, but I think we can all agree that I look hot.

 

Kakao Talk

The free messaging app that has taken Korea by storm, I now use Kakao as a verb in the same way that many people use Google and Youtube. “I’ll Kakao you later!” “Someone just Kakao-d me!” “He didn’t Kakao me back. What a slag.” If you have it downloaded on your smartphone, you can message other users for free, send them voice messages, and utilise some of the free emoticon packs for when you just can’t be bothered to write words. You can also voice chat, and even alter your voice so with the ‘monster’ and ‘alien’ options.

 

You can also use Kakao to annoy your students.

 

So there you have it, folks! Now, I want to hear from you! How do you keep in touch with your loved ones while you’re on the road? Have you used any of the apps of websites here? Let us know in the comments below, or shout out on Facebook or Twitter.

21 Responses to Four Fab Ways To Keep In Touch

  1. Scarlett says:

    I want a personalized Skype-wig shot please x
    Scarlett just posted Sloth Obsessed…My Profile

  2. lola says:

    i LOVE this post. first of all, i learned some new things like this app called PAIR. i think i need it just to play with it. maybe i’ll have use for it with someone else down the line.

    OMG LOVE the caricature of MOI. everyone should be jelly of me now ;)
    lola just posted One Day Stay: Zurich, SwitzerlandMy Profile

  3. Blue really looks good on you. Especially on your hair. :P
    Kenneth | Echoserang Lakwatsera just posted The Echosera List: Filipino Travel Bloggers You Wished Were Your BoyfriendMy Profile

  4. Adam says:

    I’ve never heard of Pair but it seems like a sweet app. I briefly used that Draw with Friends app last year when it was all the craze. It was fun to draw pictures and share them.

    I wrote a similar post about ways to keep in touch recently, too! It’s here: http://travelsofadam.com/2013/01/how-to-stay-in-touch-when-traveling-abroad/

    I think Facebook must be the universal way for people to stay in touch – regardless of income, demographics, or maybe even location (despite it being banned in places).
    Adam just posted Why I visit casinos despite a penchant for wanting to save my moneyMy Profile

  5. Ed Rex says:

    How about Whatsapp messaging service!
    Ed Rex just posted Brussels cardMy Profile

  6. Karla says:

    I love KaKaoTalk and was addicted to it when I was in Seoul. I still communicate with Korean my friends but now I only use Skype.

    Ever tried Viber? It allows you to make free phone calls to other users who have the app. It works well with my people in the U.S ;)
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  7. Kakao, huh? It sounds oddly dirty to me (I totally want to kakao him?). Or maybe it’s just that everything sounds that way to me…either way, it sounds like a good app.
    Katie (@wandertooth) just posted Bolivian Hospital Nightmare: Worst Case of Diarrhea Ever!My Profile

  8. Chris says:

    I’ve never heard of pair before but looks like a great idea! I’ve found vibe, whats app and iMessage the best ways to keep in touch – the Touchnote app is great too – lets me turn my pics into postcards for some old school style!
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  9. omg is Kakao kind of like Line in Japan?
    Love the crazy stickers you can add. Love.
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  10. Enjoyed reading the Rupaul’s Drag Race throw quotes on FB :))
    Micamyx|Senyorita just posted Subic Homes – That Nostalgic FeelingMy Profile

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