WhatsApp: Stay in Touch When Volunteering Abroad

Staying in touch with family when you’re volunteering abroad has come a long way.

My cousin who traveled to India in the 1980’s stayed in touch with family and friends back home via handwritten letters, postcards and the occasional (and exorbitant!) landline phone call.

Even on my first trip abroad in 2000, I did not have a cell phone. I relied entirely on email and phone calls at the local Internet cafe (which was a 30 minute bicycle ride away).

How things have changed for the better.

These days most volunteers take a smart phone abroad of course.

There are many smart phone apps that let you message and talk easily with family and friends back home — and for free.

Our favorite communication app is WhatsApp Messenger.

WhatsApp Messenger is a FREE messaging app available for Android and IOS. WhatsApp uses your phone’s Internet connection (data or WIFI) to let you send and receive messages, calls, photos, videos, documents, and voice messages. 

WhatsApp works with your phone number, just like SMS, and integrates seamlessly with your phone’s existing address book. 

With WhatsApp, you’re always logged in. You never have to remember a login name or password.

Even if you turn off your phone or have no connection, WhatsApp will save your messages until the next time you use the app. This is especially useful when volunteering abroad because WIFI and data connections can be spotty.

WhatsApp is also preparing to introduce payments to its messaging app, making it the latest service to let users transfer money to one another with a text. 

The only catch is that the people you want to communicate with also have to install WhatsApp on their smart phone.

Oh — and WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, in case that bothers you.

Hopper Travel App

Lisa Marie Segarra wrote recently about some apps to help you cut your travel costs.

Segarra on the app Hopper: 

Hopper shows the best time to buy a ticket and whether a flight you’re interested in might change in price. Users can select their destination, and Hopper will show airline schedules months in the future. Each day is color coded by price, with green dates showing cheaper prices and red dates indicating more expensive flights. You can also ask Hopper to “watch” your trip and alert you of any price changes.

Hopper has been around for a little while. Hopper was named one of Apple’s Best Apps of 2015.

Conde Naste Traveler wrote:

How it works is fairly simple: Input your destination and travel dates, and Hopper will search the web to determine the lowest price possible for your journey. Hopper is watching prices, and the trends surrounding them, constantly. That means when you input the destination, you’ll not only get the lowest price right now, but you’ll also get the app’s educated prediction on what that price is likely to do in the future.

From Hopper’s page at Google Play Store:

Save up to 40% on your next flight! Hopper predicts the future of airfare. Watch your next flight in the app and get a notification as soon as the price drops to its lowest point. Never miss a deal!

Users save on average $50 per flight by following the bunny’s advice. Know if you should book now or wait for a better price using the price prediction feature.

Hopper is like a super-fast, all-knowing travel agent that analyzes up to 15 billion flights prices every day and predicts the future cheapest price with 95% accuracy!

PREDICT the best time to fly and buy so you’ll score the cheapest fares.

WATCH a trip to receive price alerts via push notifications the instant prices drop.

BUY cheap flights in 60 seconds or less with just a few taps and a swipe.

FLY with confidence knowing you’ve found the best plane tickets on the airlines you like.

Hopper is an award-winning travel app. No spam. No ads. No popups. No time wasted. Just the confidence you’re booking the best flight and saving money.