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You’re on vacation to get away from it all, but sometimes you just need the reassurance you can get connected if you need too. Here are a few tips to stay in touch while traveling.

Know Before You Go

Before you go overseas, check online or at the local retail center for your mobile phone service provider as to what your options are for an international plan. They usually bundle data, call, and text packages for a period of time, say one month. We sometimes purchase these if we are concerned about keeping connected.

It’s important to remember that the data allowed on these plans is usually pretty limited, so use it judiciously. You can monitor your usage on the phone or add on apps.

Many hotels, restaurants, and airports now have free Wi-Fi. Increasingly I am taking advantage of this. I’ll give you a clue, a couple of bucks at a Mc Donald’s anywhere in the world will get you a cup of coffee, a seat, and free Wi-Fi. While you’re there, it’s fun to check out the menu and price variations around the world. For example, in the Netherlands you can get a Stroopwafel Mcflurry, In Italy you can get Tiramisu Mcflurry. In Switzerland, just cash in your life savings for a value meal.

Messaging and Calling Alternatives

In lieu of calling or texting and paying international charges, we like to use a couple of different apps. An app called WhatsApp is a handy way to text your friends and family when connected to Wi-Fi, and it is totally free. Another App, called Skype, does have a charge, but putting $10 on my account lasts me years. With Skype you can make extremely low cost international calls and you can even make video calls. We use it every Sunday night to video call our son in Maryland. For those of you Apple users, it’s a lot like FaceTime. There are many other great apps so check them out.

Pre-Paid Phone Cards

Some people swear by them. We typically don’t use them, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t learn from you. They seem to being going the way of the pay-phone. See many of them anymore?

Country Codes

To make international calls you’ll need to enter the country code. For the U.S. it +011 followed by the area code and number.

We are all over 50 so somewhat technology challenged. We do travel a lot, so hopefully were learning a few things. We find we are regularly asked for Facebook coaching too. If you have questions before your next Extra Touch trip, give us a call and we’ll try to get you headed in the right direction. Usually the first step starts with a stop at your local cell service provider.

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