One of the best things about living in the mobile age is that ease with which we can all stay in touch with friends and family across a distance. But which re truly the best apps for giving a quick shout home? Here are some of our favourites, from classics to the cutting edge.
One of the most popular applications for international catch-ups, this application will allow you to text or call another phone user free of charge anywhere in the world providing they have the same application installed.
You simply need to ensure you have that person’s contact details and both be Skype ‘friends’ for the application to work (and of course you will both need access to the internet).
The great feature about Skype is that the user can also call a land-line or mobile phone through it for a small fee, well below the average cost of most phone carriers. For more information click here.
WhatsApp is primarily a free text and image service, and is extremely popular for mobile phone users who are not too bothered about voice calls. WhatsApp is available for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Nokia.
WhatsApp developers are hot on the heels of Skype, and it has recently been reported the company is keen to roll out free calls between WhatsApp users in a similar fashion to Skype.
Privacy-minded users will appreciate that WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption of messages, so that your personal data is better protected than on many other massage services. To download WhatsApp visit here.
This is a great on for making free calls and sending messages, provided you have a 3G connection or Wi-Fi. Viber is extremely easy to install and use, which makes it attractive to people who may not be hugely tech-savvy – unlike many apps, you don’t need to register with Viber to start using it, and it syncs automatically with your contact list.
While Viber to Viber calls are always free, there is the option to use Viber Out to make cheap international and domestic calls at competitive rates. The desktop client also has a lot of great features, including more stickers, a favourite user feature that allows you to jazz up your messages. To try Viber visit here.
For Apple users, FaceTime is definitely worth checking out. It is possible to make free video calls between Apple devices, and is especially useful if you want to use your laptop to communicate as it’s compatible with Mac OS X v10.6.6 or above.
Apple devices now come with FaceTime installed, there’s no setting up user names and passwords. Many people prefer to use FaceTime over other apps, since it tends to load quickly and suffers fewer buffering issues over bad connections than many other similar programmes. Calls between Apple users are free when connected to Wi-fi. For more information on FaceTime see here.
VoIP app Vyke is a free smartphone app, which is suitable for making low cost calls to landlines or mobiles over wi-fi, alternatively you can use a mobile 3G/4G connection. The app can be installed and used across most mobile phones, iPads, tablets and even PCs, iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Blackberrys and tablets.
Vyke transfers users to a network provider then transfers you to the number dialed which means you can make calls to a land-line or mobile globally via the web or by using a normal phone signal (Be warned: using a phone signal could be an expensive option).
A few other apps you may wish to consider for international calls from a mobile:
Did we miss any? What are your tips for staying in touch with your loved ones while you’re travelling? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!