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How to Stay Connected While Traveling

Country Walkers guests have a variety of connectivity options while traveling, which can vary depending on how connected you’d like to be and which destination you’re visiting.

It’s a common refrain that the world is more connected than ever. Keeping in touch with friends and family while traveling abroad is certainly easier than it once was, but that doesn’t mean there might not be a couple of hoops to jump through.

Country Walkers guests have a variety of connectivity options while traveling, which can vary depending on how connected you’d like to be and which destination you’re visiting. For those traveling internationally, it’s a good idea to have a smartphone with some kind of international calling plan to help you find your way and stay connected.

International Calling Plans

International calling plans allow you to make phone calls back to the United States at lower rates and often without standard fees. They’re offered by all major cell phone service providers. These plans are a great way to stay connected and reachable while traveling internationally.

Most international calling plans offer lower per-minute rates to specific countries and regions, including the US. Some plans give callers a monthly allowance of time to use for international calls, while others offer customers prepaid options.

Check with your mobile service provider before your departure to see what they offer in terms of plans — they may even offer country-specific plans in the destination you’re traveling to.

eSIM Cards

An eSIM card, or embedded SIM, is a digital code that allows callers to activate an international calling plan from their compatible cell phone without having to alter the physical SIM card that’s in their phone. Depending on your destination, using an eSIM card might help reduce any roaming charges that might otherwise be incurred—even on an international calling plan.

eSIM cards allow travelers to have both a local calling plan and an international calling plan on the same phone without having to go through the trouble of swapping out SIM cards. Many cell phone service providers worldwide offer a variety of eSIM options that clients can use while traveling. Activating an eSIM card before you depart can help you avoid expensive roaming charges. Some eSIM cards are available through vendors at kiosks throughout most US airports.


WhatsApp is a free mobile phone application that allows users to send text, voice messages, and video messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, and user locations via the Internet. It’s very popular in international circles—so if your travels take you somewhere outside of the United States, WhatsApp is an excellent way to stay connected with the people you’ll meet on your trip—including your local Country Walkers guides.

As you’re planning for your upcoming international trip, it’s a great idea to download and explore WhatsApp before leaving home—that gives you time to familiarize yourself with it in the comfort of familiar surroundings. The app is quite intuitive, and, despite its breadth of features, it’s similar to conventional text messaging.

WhatsApp is a great way to reach many WhatsApp subscribers—but its limitation is that you can only use it to reach other subscribers to the app. Additionally, WhatsApp is only as functional as the Internet connection you’re using. As such, features like voice calling, and video messaging can be difficult on low-speed and low-quality Internet connections which are prevalent in many rural locations. All this by way of saying that WhatsApp is an important tool to have with you while traveling internationally—but it likely won’t solve all your connectivity needs by itself.

WiFi Calling

Some locations allow you to access a free WiFi network—for example, hotels, airports, and some cafés offer this service. If your cell phone is WiFi enabled, you can use the WiFi network to make phone calls—typically without being charged a roaming fee. While WiFi-based calling may be handy when you’re on an active WiFi network, it’s important to remember that the availability of WiFi networks may be limited—and WiFi will almost certainly not be available while walking. If you’re looking for a way to stay connected while on the trail, it’s wise to consider other options.


Similar to WhatsApp, Zoom is a video calling app that utilizes the Internet connection your cell phone or laptop computer is using. While it’s a great way to chat face to face with friends and family back home, its usage is also prevalent on a steady, stable, and somewhat high-powered Internet connection. While strong Internet connections are common in highly populated urban areas, in some rural destinations they are less reliable and less powerful than in the main urban centers.

Self-Guided Adventures with Ride with GPS

Through the Ride with GPS app, guests on Country Walkers self-guided adventures can utilize route planning, navigation, and community features while they walk. Ride with GPS is a comprehensive mobile software platform designed for route planning and navigation on a smartphone. Ride with GPS offers turn-by-turn audio navigation, elevation profiles, and surface type info—as well as a host of detailed notes developed by Country Walkers to help you find the best spot to pause for a scenic photo, the studio of a local artisan that just has to been seen to be believed, or the ideal place to pause for a much-needed gelato.

Unlike Internet and network-dependent programs, the app’s “Offline Maps” feature allows pre-programmed maps to work regardless of your phone’s data connection or network capability, meaning you’re never lost — even when Internet and cellphone service aren’t available.

With these tools in place, you’ll have every opportunity to stay connected to loved ones while traveling. Best of all, Country Walkers will stay connected with you throughout your trip—leaving you free to enjoy the vacation of a lifetime.

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