Keeping in Touch for CHEAP!

The number one bummer about traveling is leaving family, friends, and other loved ones behind. Well that no longer has to be a problem, especially for the modern traveler. I remember I spent a considerable amount of money just trying to keep in touch with my mom and sister when I traveled to Hong Kong back in 2009, needless to say it was rather expensive. When I traveled to Mainland China back in 2010, I did not spend as much because I began figuring out ways of saving money.

Ignore the Facebook app because unfortunately Facebook is blocked most of the time in Mainland China. 😦 I know you can use proxies to get around that kind of stuff, but I am not sure how to do it on a mobile device. But lets look at the other apps like Qingwen. I have actually recommended this app before on my blog, its an amazing dictionary that can even look up a Chinese word by writing the Chinese word! So if you cannot pronounce the word, this is an excellent app for those studying Chinese or traveling to China.

The last apps are the most important and what this blog entry is really all about. My mom is the least bit techie, but she is definitely getting more sophisticated. She still has some trouble, so with the Google Voice app, I will be able to send FREE text messages and she will not even noticed the difference. I have a friend in Guatemala who is currently using GV, so I am pretty sure it should work in China. Plus the other benefit is my friends can continue to text my number and not have to pay the International SMS fee. For those of my friends who are outside the USA that I keep in touch with, I have Kakaotalk which is my new favorite SMS app. The only downside is that your friend needs to have this app on their phone also. iMessages and Line are also very nice, but I rarely use them anymore since most of my friends I can use either GV or KakaoTalk.

I also want to say the Skype app is absolutely a life saver! I am going to put a $10 credit on my account and use it to contact my family and friends. Internet is somewhat iffy in China, especially ones that are OPEN networks. A lot of these networks are set up explicitly to store your private information, so please use some good judgement. The last thing I would like to add is that I am not bringing my iPod this trip, I am trying to minimize what I bring and I will just be bringing my Android phone (Nexus One) which has all of these apps except iMessages and the Qingwen dictionary. Instead of Qingwen I use a program called Han Dictionary which is not as good, but still useful. So utilize these tips and you can save a butt load of money on your next trip to China/ Hong Kong or where ever your path leads you!

P.S.- For my readers outside the US, unfortunately GV is only available to US numbers. Sorry 😦

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~ by branhow on May 4, 2012.

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