Family Vacation Tips

Texting for Free on Vacation

[fa icon="calendar"] Oct 29, 2016 8:48:38 PM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

People Together-12.jpg Whether you're trying to keep in touch with travel partners or loved ones back at home, communication is KEY while you're on vacation. This is especially true when traveling internationally.

Just think about how many times a day you whip out your phone and send a text.  Most cell phone plans do not cover international texts. So how do you stay connected by on vacation?


Good news - if you have WiFi, you can still text without using any of your data,


You'll need to download one of these apps.

Before your next trip, consider downloading one of these apps.

Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger probably the most popular since your contacts are all based on your Facebook friends. It’s easier because majority of the people you already know can be found easily through the app. 

The Facebook Messenger system works just like a regular text messages. Once you drop your friends a note, they’ll get a push notification on their phone even if they’re not actively using Facebook. The text message app can also be used for both iPhone and Android.

KakaoTalk has been around since 2010 and is the most popular text-messaging apps. The app has 170 million users worldwide and can be found in 15 different languages. 

Kakao lets you share videos and photos, create group texts and send an SMS to anyone in the world who also has also downloaded this free app. Once downloaded, the app will synchronize with your phone’s existing contacts to locate other users of the app. If you want to send a message to someone whose phone number you don’t have, you can also search for it through the app.

Line has more than 480 million users worldwide in 280 countries. Line allows users to send free text messages and make international voice and video calls. Like KakaoTalk, the person you’re messaging must also be a Line user.

Viber is another great option for clients looking to text and chat for free. Unlike other apps, Viber uses your phone number as a way to identify you and will automatically identify people in your contacts list that are also Viber users. It works for both iPhone and Android users and can make calls and send messages to users of both.


WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps worldwide and is supported by most mobile systems, including iPhone, Android and Windows. Best news is that it's now free between users. Like the other apps mentioned, it offers group messaging as well as audio and video messaging.

REMEMBER - Using these apps will use up your cellular data unless you’re connected to Wi-Fi .  Be sure to turn data roaming off in your phone settings to prevent this costly mistake.

The other option for staying in touch while on vacation would be to add an international plan.  Every carrier has different rules for this service. It can be costly but if you're visiting an area with limited WiFi availabilty or need a reliable connection then one of these plans may make sense for you.  Verizon, for instance, charges $40 a month per device, while AT&T charges $30 a month and still charges if you choose to talk instead of text.  Make sure you understand the fine print and monitor your ongoing data use to prevent overages.

Topics: Affordable Family Vacations

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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