Having a friend or member of the family abroad can be difficult to deal with, especially if it is a son or daughter. They may be seeing the world and having an amazing time. But you may be constantly worrying. There are many ways that you can reassure yourself and be there to help in an emergency. This blog outlines how you can keep in touch via the internet and be there to help and support your friends and family abroad.
Use Social Media and the internet to keep in touch with Friends and Family Abroad
The internet can now be found all over the world. Even in some of the most remote parts, your travelling friends and family can probably find an internet cafe. Although it will sometimes be a slower connection than they are used to, it will probably be good enough to communicate.
By following your friends and family abroad on Facebook and Twitter, you can easily see their status updates. With modern technology, you will probably be able to see their photos even before they get back! If they are uploading photos as they travel, that is.
Having copies of their Itinerary and Passport
Make sure that you have a copy of your friend or family members travel itinerary. This way, you can know what to expect. There may be times when they cannot get in touch – if they are trecking in the Himalayas, for example. If you have a copy of their trip itinerary, you won’t be worried if this happens!
You can also ensure that your friends and family abroad are safe when they are travelling, if you know which areas or countries they are in. If you are worried about safety or political issues, you can encourage them to use the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. This will always be up to date with travel advice and recommend certain areas to avoid. Remember that if there is political unrest, this is often confined to certain areas such as the capital city or borders with other countries. Not all areas of a country are unsafe. So if your friends or family members have done their research, try not to worry too much!
Having a copy of their travel insurance documents and passport can be invaluable in an emergency situation. If their bag is stolen with their passport in it, scanning and emailing a copy of their passport to them may make it easier for them to get a replacement, or get home. During the event of an accident or sickness, it is helpful for you to be able to reassure them and help by phoning the insurance company.
Telephone and Communication
It’s a great idea for your friends or family abroad to get an international SIM card for their mobile. This will make it easier for them to contact you or vice versa. Remember that in poorer countries, phones can easily be stolen. So it is a good idea to get a cheap basic mobile, and leave the iPhone or Smartphone at home whilst travelling! You can easily buy a SIM card when you are travelling, just walk into the nearest phone shop and they will sell you one or tell you where to go. Mobile top ups are popular in many parts of Africa and Asia. You can often see little booths that will sell you SIMS and phone top ups.
A BT chargecard can be a good idea, especially if you have a son or daughter travelling abroad. It will allow them to make calls from anywhere, and they can be charged to your phone bill or by direct debit.
If your travelling friends or family have a landline where they are, such as a hotel, you can call them using Pocketdial UK. Our calls use a calling account number and therefore have no monthly bills. You can call abroad with Pocketdial UK from just 1p a minute. Do check with your phone provider, e.g. BT, to find out about any additional charges from them.
Bank Details and Online Banking
If you have the bank details of your travelling friends and family at the ready, it will make it easier to transfer money to them in an emergency. You can usually draw money out of a British bank from cashpoints abroad.
If there is no bank or the transfer is not working, Western Union is a good option for international bank transfers. You send money via Western Union to any receiving country, and attach a password to it. If your friend or family member goes into a Western Union branch with their ID and the password, they will be able to get it.
We hope that you have found this blog helpful is you have friends and family abroad. If you can think of more ways to be prepared for travelling friends and family, do comment on our blog.