Apps that make staying connected between countries easier

It has never been easier to stay in touch with people in different countries. Messaging apps have made it possible for us to stay in constant contact, not just through texts but videos and voice messages. Here are some of the most reliable messaging apps.

whatsapp-promo
whatsapp.com

Whatsapp is currently the leading messaging app in the world for android phones. It is perfect for texting, sharing images, voice messages.and most recently video calling! We tried the video calling function and the quality of the call was very impressive! Our favorite feature about the app is it’s affordable storage needs and minimal use of internet data.

kakaotalk
kakao.com

Kakaotalk is dominant mostly in South Korea but we use it as a family group chat in the US. It offers fun emojis and is easy to use. The service works a little better on iPhones than on androids.

skype
Skype.com

Skype was a leader in video calling across media and still rocks in many ways. But it’s significant need for phone memory and bulky updates make it a better option for iPads, netbooks and laptops and perhaps phones with remarkable memory capacity. Skype emojis are the best and it offers more than just emojis – the video clips and awesome GIFs make it one of the most entertaining ways to chat!

appear-in
appear.in

Appear.in needs no downloads or installations and it’s an efficient group video calling option. All you need to go is create a room, send the room link to your contacts and you can invite upto 8 people to join the conversation. The video and audio quality are great too.

groupme
groupme.com

GroupMe is another pretty low maintenance group messaging app. It offers free images and GIFs that are free for sharing and expressing yourself beyond emojis. You could also just ‘heart’ a message, when words are not needed. You can create a new event for your email calendar and send invites to your group.

We used Viber for a while but struggled with privacy issues. We would receive calls and friends requests from strangers so we uninstalled it. Facebook messenger is great too but battery and storage usage is a real strain on the phone, and we use messenger only on laptops. Tell us about your favorite messenger apps in the comments below.


 

Oh that Jet Lag!

After 15 hours of air travel, I still had a long way to go. Coming up was a five hour layover followed by a five hour flight home. This journey could not have felt longer. If some one had told me that the effects of the journey would actually take ten days to wear off, I would not have believed them. By the time we landed, I was feeling great. It was a work morning so I went to work. I had no problem getting through the day, which surprised some of my co-workers. Jet lag is for the weak, I thought to myself. After a great day at work, I made it home. Somehow my body must have used all its reserve energy because when I got home that evening, I could not keep my eyes open at all. I passed out around 7 pm. The best part though was that I was up bright and early, a little before 4 am. This went on for the next ten days.

Travelers say that jet lag is usually worse when you travel east but traveling west can be hard too. The last time I traveled west, it took me almost two weeks to recover, which was more than the time it took me to recover when I flew east. It might have to do with the travel route or the fact that you end up just sitting and eating for however long the flight takes. As your body mass is transferred over several time zones, it loses its ability to prepare for reality when you finally land. Maybe it’s from all the adrenaline rush when you pray for that turbulence to stop and pray against plane crashes. Or maybe it’s the many pressure changes that clog your ears. I think there are too many reasons to justify jet lag but sometimes knowing the cause does not quite help with the cure.

When I couldn’t fight the uncontrolled sleep schedule anymore, I decided to give in and planned my days around it. Just as I was getting used to this schedule, it was the eleventh morning. I felt as though the jet lag was part of a completely different life – I was back and it was hard to wake up early again.

I’ve had a few more episodes of lengthy travel and jet lags. Each of those were slightly different from the other. It taught me to blame a lot of my goof ups on this sleep disorder so after a while I didn’t mind it as much.

I guess you never really get used to it the more you travel but it is possible to develop coping strategies.

Using my early mornings to swim and workout was a great start to the day. It energized me for the mornings. Jet lag usually started working its magic by the afternoon so I started using my lunch breaks to go on short walks. Typically frequent boosts of energy helps get through jet lagged days. Sugar and caffeine in the afternoon significantly helped contain my drooling brain.

Some claim that eating and drinking healthy helps, taking short afternoon naps is energizing, and taking another vacation to recover helps too. All great ideas but I doubt that it applies to people with normal work schedules.

So here are some words of advice to new travelers: Jet lag is not just for amateurs. It gets us all. Accept the fact that it takes a few days to recover and plan around it. For when it is done teasing you, it will find another victim and you will live to tell the tale.