We all have friends and family members located in some far-flung corner of the globe.
Whether it’s your teenager on a horizon broadening gap year in Asia or a former colleague who’s upped sticks to start a new life down under, it seems barely a day goes by without someone you know jetting off on a foreign adventure.
In some ways, it’s easy to feel like you’ve been deserted, with the excitement of novel experiences on distant shores certain to make them forget about you and the “boring” life they had at home – but the reality is often very different.
Typically, moving abroad, whether permanently or on a working holiday, is an emotional rollercoaster, as their support network of family and friends is thousands of miles away, making the grass in their native land seem decidedly greener.
But there are several inexpensive ways to reach out and help homesick loved ones muddle through.
Send a Care Package
If your son or daughter is cooped up in a Nanjing hostel, for instance, making the effort to send a parcel to China containing some home comforts is likely to be met with a smile as wide as the Yangtze River and a grateful phone call home.
Despite the distance, it’s relatively wallet-friendly to send a package abroad, with the competition between delivery companies combining to offer a seasoned bargain hunter like yourself the best deals this side of the Forbidden City.
Skype Them Up
In the good old days, chatting with a friend or family member abroad meant a stuttering telephone conversation and an eye-watering bill landing on your doormat at the end of the month. However, thanks to services like Skype, you can now communicate with loved ones for free. Nada. Zilch.
Best of all, if you both have a webcam installed on your laptop or tablet, you can even see each other thanks to the video call feature. Importantly, be sure to make a note of the time difference, as your heavy-eyed teenager is unlikely to fancy a catch up at 5am after a night on the tiles.
If you use the internet, it’s a real possibility you also use a social media site – Facebook, for example, has over 1.23 billion users worldwide – to communicate with friends, family and work colleagues around the globe.
For those without a Facebook or Twitter account, it’s worthwhile signing up, as you can not only message your nearest and dearest, you can keep abreast of what they’re up to (without hassling them on a daily basis) by way of the pictures or videos they upload.
Now it’s over to you …
Do you have any other inexpensive ways our readers can keep up-to-date with loved ones around the world? Please let us know by leaving a comment below – we’d love to read your thoughts.