Many of us would prefer to avoid communication with the world when venturing on a journey in retirement. It’s nice and peaceful when you put the online distractions away. But there are times when it’s necessary to be contactable. Not all seniors are tech savvy. Here you’ll find tips on accessing free wi-fi, international roaming plans and much more.
The most obvious way to stay connected when you’re travelling is to use the free Wi-Fi that’s available throughout the world. Typically hotel rooms, cruise ships, coffee shops, airports and local libraries offer free Wi-Fi.
Although public Wi-Fi can be slow, and not great for video calls, you can use these opportunities to catch up on emails. You can also use this free service to let people back at home know that you’re ok. But remember that security is always a concern with public Wi-Fi. Don’t sign in with social media accounts, and always make sure that you have security installed on your device before using it.
When you go overseas, if you have international roaming set up with your telecommunications provider, your mobile phone will connect automatically with local networks in the country you’ve travelled to. While this is great in an emergency, it can be very expensive. The cost of the calls that you make can be high, and you may also be charged for calls you receive. By calling your provider before you leave, you can find out if international roaming is available with your plan in the destination country, and the costs associated.
One suggestion is to turn off internet services on your phone as this may incur charges too. If you need help with this your service provider should be able to talk you through it. Maybe use a tablet with no sim to connect to free Wi-Fi rather than using your mobile phone for Wi-Fi.
One of the best ways to stay connected with family and friends when you’re travelling is through video calling. There’s just something so wonderful about actually seeing each other. Especially for seniors who have young grandchildren that are making significant milestones. Seeing somebody also gives you that extra reassurance that they’re doing well.
There are several communications apps available nowadays for the tech-savvy seniors. We tend to use Facetime or Skype to video call, but if you’re messaging there are many other platforms to use. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and even Snap Chat are great to send instant messages using Wi-Fi rather than sending expensive text messages on your phone.
There’s much more to consider when you’re travelling to a more remote destination. If your travels are within Australia, a satellite telephone is a great option for communication. They’re not that expensive to hire or buy, and great to have if you’re out of mobile service range. It’s not a bad idea to have CB radios installed in the car too if you’re doing a long and remote trip around Australia. That way you can access vehicle to vehicle communication.
If you’re travelling abroad and going off-road, you’ll need to find out the best way to communicate remotely in that country before you leave. If communications are going to be limited, it’s even more important to have a solid itinerary. Share it with family and friends, and check-in with them as frequently as possible.
Finally, communicating with family and friends might not be high on your list if you’re trying to get away from the daily stresses. But keep in mind that you can keep the communications short and as inexpensive as possible. It’s good to let everybody know that you’re safe and well. It’s also a good idea for loved ones to be able to contact you if there’s an emergency. If you struggle with technology such as the use of smart phones or tablets, there are several organisations that offer inexpensive courses to help you learn. Alternatively, you could get one of your tech-savvy grandchildren or children to give you a hand to set up communications before you travel.
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