Staying local while abroad might sound like a contradiction in terms, but it’s not. Thanks to the internet, you can now connect with local things from international destinations. For the globetrotter that likes to keep a piece of their heart at home, this is fantastic news.
Basically, you can be out of town but still in town at the same time using nothing more than your smartphone and the internet. Perhaps the most useful app for anyone wanting to connect with those at home while they’re away is Skype. The long-standing VOIP service is an easy way to make voice and video calls to anywhere in the world.
However, thanks to the never-ending evolution of modern technology, Skype is no longer the only player in town. Today, WhatsApp is one of the largest messaging platforms in the world. Owned by Facebook and used by one billion users, the app allows people to text, talk and stream videos with ease. Beyond WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Google.com’s Hangout also allow you to stream live images back-and-forth from your mobile.
Away from pure communication, the power of the internet has also removed physical borders when it comes to news and entertainment. For example, if you want to check out local news reports, you can simply visit the websites of media outlets from your area.
Better yet, mobile TV apps can connect you to live news sources. Fox News, BBC and CNN can all be accessed online. In fact, Apple made the streaming process even easier in 2018 with iOS update 11.2.5. Using deep linking, the Apple TV app can now tap into daily news broadcasts. What’s more, you can even ask Siri to call up the latest streams for you.
In addition to the news, you can also enjoy local events from almost anywhere in the world. By reworking traditional concepts, lottery sites have opened up the industry to an international audience. To put it another way, an American in the UK can use Lotto.net to play the Powerball and vice versa. This was previously impossible as players had to be in the local area to buy a game ticket. However, by taking bets on draws rather than selling tickets, operators have made it possible to play national draws from foreign lands.
The final few ways to stay in touch with home are the simplest but also the most effective. As enjoyable as it is to visit a new country, an extended stay can often leave you feeling slightly disconnected from the things you’re most familiar with. According to Dr. Caroline Schuster, feeling homesick can mimic the symptoms of depression and lead to problems concentration and socializing. When you’re looking to explore a new city and immerse yourself in a different culture, feeling withdrawn is the last thing you want.
To stop this from becoming a major issue, small things like marking things on your calendar and watching the weather can help. Whether you use the free calendar app from Google or pay for something like Fantastical 2, a planner can help keep you in touch with what’s going on at home. Even if it’s a fairly insignificant event, putting it in your diary and receiving an automatic reminder can help you feel as though you’re still in touch with what’s happening at home.
Similarly, using your mobile to check the local weather reports is a great way to feel as though you’re still in the know. In reality, these are small things but they can be a big help, especially when you combine them with the other resources at your disposal.
In short, today’s traveler can leave home without completely leaving it. This ability to maintain ties with the local environment while you’re in a different city or country is fantastic and a testament to the power of modern technology.