Breaking Barriers to Travel Communication

Embracing social media platforms to help make travel communication easy.

I was diagnosed with a serious case of the travel bug back in 2006. Over the years it progressed into a full blown virus taking control of my mind, body and soul. It was a time when I wasn’t satiated with the number of followers I had, and used to contact The Marketing Heaven frequently to contrive of ways to reach bigger audiences. The cure was not one that could easily be obtained over night. In fact, until this day, there is still no known antidote for this bug. Although its constant itch can be soothed by gallivanting about in new and unfamiliar territory, this is only a temporary solution to a life long problem (and one you may have a hard time obtaining a doctors certificate for).

I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have caught the travel bug prior to 2006 for two reasons:

  1. I have become so heavily dependent on current social media platforms to stay connected and communicate with my family and friends while abroad
  2. Back in 2006 if I dared add my mother to my MySpace account, I would be forced to kiss any signs of a social reputation good bye

Problem two went on to further raise the concerns that:

.a).. If I reject her request will she reject me as a daughter?
.b).. If I accept her request will she expect to make my top friends list?

Fast forward four years to this present day. Having recently moved back to Australia after a 14 month stint in the USA, I have learnt to fully appreciate the whole new dimension that social media platforms bring to the table. Here’s how…

Whether abroad or back home, twitter is a great way to cut back on those hefty international SMS and MMS texts. At anywhere from 50cents to $1.50 per international text, why not just send a tweet or direct message to your friends to prevent your phone bill from accumulating? Since being home, twitter has saved me a fortune in international SMS.

Like twitter, Skype takes the cost out of international phone calls with the added bonus of video calling. I found that being able to see my family and friends in real time while talking to them helped eliminate, or at least tone down any element of home sickness. When I was on my best behaviour, my mother would even reward me by letting me Skype with my cat – it was purrrr-fect <rim shot>.

Seen something incredibly breath taking while on your travels that a photo simply can’t do justice? Solution – take a video, upload it to YouTube and within minutes, share it with family and friends on the other side of the world. This is awesomeness that just can’t be controlled. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve used YouTube to help make friends that little bit more jealous of my travels; works a treat.

In 2008 just on the eve of my big European adventure, I set up this blog to document my travels and learnings along the way. This was one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only do I now have a log I can go back and read to re-live all my precious travel memories, but it was convenient for my family and friends back home to keep track of where I was and what I was doing. It goes with the whole, kill two birds with one stone saying and is a nice way of avoiding those long awkward phone conversations to your grandma in which she wants to know every single little detail of your trip… “Boys? What ever do you mean, nan!…” Even my grandma could read and navigate my blog – if she can, then you can!

This one may have to be my favourite of all platforms. Having made so many friends while abroad, Facebook has made it almost too easy to keep in touch with them all. Facebook combines email, video hosting, chatting and photo sharing all in one for the ultimate keep-in-touch experience. If Facebook wasn’t around, I’m quite confident I wouldn’t be emailing my friends in the US on a daily basis whereas with Facebook, we are constantly interacting with one another whether it is a wall post, photo comment or a simple status liking. Plus, it isn’t social reputation suicide to have your mum as a friend on Facebook – actually, it’s kind of becoming a new trend!

What social media platforms do you use while travelling?
Got one that’s not mentioned above? – Share it with me.