This post will go over some tips that will help you keep in touch with your contacts and loved ones in Mexico and the United States. Without a doubt, this a great time to travel abroad for extended periods because there is much more technology that makes communicating easier and cheaper. A person once told me that when she studied abroad for a year in France in the 60s she felt like she “jumped off the edge of the earth.” She stated that she phoned her parents rarely because it was so expensive, and she never saw them until she returned because flights were prohibitive. Sending letters by post was cheaper, but took weeks.
Luckily, things have changed and advancements in technology make it easier and almost free to communicate with family.
The most important thing you are going to want for an extended trip in Mexico is a cellphone. If you use a GSM (SIM card) cellphone in the US, it is possible to have it unlocked for use in Mexico. Contact your wireless service provider for more information, if your account and phone are in good standing, unlocking the device should be free. Once you are in Mexico you essentially have three choices for service:
The company and plan you chose depends on your needs. I would suggest a prepaid plan because its quick and easy to set up and does not require much paperwork. You can buy a SIM card at various stores, pay for airtime, slip the SIM in your phone and be ready to roll. I tend to choose plans that have little or no text options and give more internet bandwidth because I use Whatsapp messenger.
Whatsapp works on IOS, Android, Windows, and Nokia (symbian) devices. Instead of using airtime, you use megabytes (which are cheaper), and if you are on wifi, you don’t consume any of your phone plan’s resources. You can use Whatsapp to communicate with anyone in the world irrespective of phone company, location, and mobile platform. Whatsapp is very popular in most parts of Mexico. In fact I was first introduced to the messaging app by a friend from Zacatecas. Many restaurants and businesses in Mexico offer Whatsapp as a method of communication and ordering food or other items.
Skype is a well known method to communicate with loved ones irrespective of location. You can see their faces, and you don’t have to worry about international charges and things of the like. Simply install Skype on your computer log in to your account (or create one) and call your friends or family. The great thing about Skype is that most people know about it, and already have an account.
You can obviously also send letters via snail-mail and e-mail. If you have any other apps or suggestions that work well please post them in the comments.