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How to Keep in Touch with Friends or Family

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 9 Dec 2013 | comments*Discuss
Friends Family Contact Career Break

Checking back home on a regular basis with friends and family when you're on a career break is important. A weekly or bi-weekly contact is vital to ensuring your own personal safety, and it can also help smooth the transition when you finally do return home.

If you've never been away for any length of time, you may find it difficult to eventually readjust to your previous workaday existence. Keeping those close to you updated with regular phone calls, e-mails or postcards while you're away will help everyone feel that they've shared in your adventures, and will make them feel closer to you when you get back.

If you have children, they'll doubtless find that keeping in contact with their friends is even more important. Little ones have short memories, and making sure your kids are gone but not forgotten will be of immeasurable help when they start adjusting to life back home.

Go Electronic

E-mail is almost always the best way of keeping in touch. It's easy, cheap and virtually instant, and you don't even have to lug a laptop along with you. These days most places have Internet cafes, or you can always pop into an international hotel and ask to use their computer facilities. Set up an account before you go and include copies of all your friends' and family members' e-mail addresses. Joint emails are great if you're short of time, or to ensure that everyone is kept abreast of your activities.

Access to e-mail should also enable you to easily send photos, as well as check on-line for travel advisories and other useful bits of information (MyOnlineSafe is a great way to keep travel documents safe, and have them at the touch of a button when you need them). If you anticipate having free time think of setting up your own travel blog, although be advised to practice with the logistical aspects of this before you go.

Dial H for Hello...

Hearing a loved one's voice when you're far away from home is an amazing feeling. In the old days many countries, especially in the former Soviet bloc, made foreigners stand in a queue for hours before they were allowed to dial overseas. These days, anyone with cash - or a prepaid phonecard - can make calls from almost anywhere. Card4anywhere is an international phone card that lets you phone cheaply from almost any country in the world. Look on-line for details. Avoid the temptation to make calls from your hotel room as the prices are almost always astronomical, especially for calls overseas.

Mobile Madness

Check with your mobile phone provider to in which countries it can be used, and what the costs are. If you plan to be away for a considerable period of time, it probably makes more sense to purchase - or lease - a local mobile phone abroad.

Lovely Letters

Letter-writing may seem an outdated art for many of us, but if you're located in a remote or backwater area, this may be the only form of communication available to you. And some people prefer it! If you think you won't have access to a computer, plan on sharpening up your writing skills and look into buying aerogrammes or other prepaid missives. Postcards are always fun to receive - small children in particular love getting them - and don't forget to take with you pre-addressed cards to friends and family members whose birthdays you can't afford to miss.

Packages and Parcels

Sending packages can be costly but is worth it, especially if you've bought something special for that special someone and don't want to carry it around in your backpack for the next eight months. Be aware that not all postal services are reliable, with items getting lost or stolen, so check before you post.

If you're on a short-term holiday often the temptation is to stay out of touch, to keep yourself as removed and distant from the rest of the world as possible. But for any extended career break, keeping up contact with friends and family is important and, often, necessary. With technology as advanced as it is today, communication has never been easier. There's just no excuse for not staying in touch anymore, so buy a prepaid phonecard, set up your e-mail account and get going!

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