When traveling internationally, it really is quite nice to unplug, but you still need to occasionally check in with friends and family to let them know that you’re safe while also making them insanely jealous of all of your adventures.
It is widely popular for Millennials to be a bit wanderlust and seek travel over a menial 8-5 job. The one downfall of my generation is the constant need to post (read: brag) on social media. Because of this, you’d think that social media apps are through the roof, but apparently messaging apps have now taken the lead.
No one wants to get those pesky and expensive international roaming fees, so the best way to stay in touch with your loved ones is to use a wifi-based messaging app. Even if you stay local, using a wifi-based messaging app can be a great alternative from the regular texting plans from your provider. Tom’s Guide created a full list of the 10 best messaging apps that I’ve listed below:
- Free to download and just $0.99/year, which was news to me
- Easily syncs with your phone’s contact list
- Send text, photos, videos, or voice messages
- Can see when the last time someone was online and if a message has been sent, received, and read
- My personal favorite
- Does not yet allow voice calls
- Syncs with your phone contact list just like WhatsApp
- Send text, photos, videos, voice messages or use Viber’s own stickers and emojis
- Can call non-Viber users or landlines for a fee, as an in-app purchase
- Group chats available for up to 15 people
- This re-launched app has everything you could ever need, including social media features
- Cloud-based photo sharing, GIF search, and an offline mode that allows you to compose messages that will send automatically when you get a signal
- Stay in touch with your contacts from your PlayStation easily from your phone
- Can send text or voice messages to individuals or groups
- Can see who is online and what games they’re playing
- For the security-conscious
- All chats are encrypted through the server, but there is a secure chat mode that allows you to encrypt messages yourself so only you and the recipient can decode them
- Can share videos, documents, or host a group chat for up to 200 users
- Can set messages to “self-destruct” if you wish
- From the company that created RedPhone and TextSecure, all of those features are now combined into this one app that uses military-grade encryption
- Can send text, voice, media and attachments
- Edward Snowden approved
Blackberry Messenger (BBM)
- Capable of text, voice, photo, file and location sharing
- You can share your PIN rather than your cell phone number
- Has a two-way opt-in so not just anyone can send you a message
- Connects to your Facebook friends and automatically populates ongoing chats from online
- Send chats or voice messages
- Android only: “Chat Heads” feature brings your contact outside of the app and allows you to chat even when other apps are open
- Can purchase “Skype Credits” to make calls to other cell phones or even landlines
- Excellent for video and voice call
- Send text, video, or photos to other Skype users, even if they’re not online
- Huge in China
- While you can chat with your contacts, there are also features that allow you to search for “People Nearby” if you’re just looking to talk.
Like I said before, Tom’s Guide may have more information about these apps. The messaging app market is overflowing with options, so another site where I found very helpful information about numerous wi-fi based texting apps was from AboutTech. Whichever app you choose, you really can’t go wrong. They are all so affordable and can do much more than you should ever need to while traveling.
Now put your phone down and go explore!