Last Updated on October 15, 2022 by Christine Kaaloa
So you’re traveling and you have internet access but you don’t want to plunker down extra money to make phone calls to your local friends, hotel, a tour operator. Which mobile messaging app should you use when traveling?
As an American, my first assumption was that I could connect with local friends via Facebook. That was until I realized my Japanese and Korean friends don’t visit Facebook often and China has banned it entirely.
Traveling, I found some mobile messaging apps more popular than others. It changes by country. In some cases, it is essential when you want to connect and make calls to local numbers. Here’s a breakdown of
6 Top Mobile Messaging Apps for Travelers
Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time socializing on Facebook, which makes the Facebook Messenger app a no-brainer as a way to message friends. The Facebook Messenger app allows users to send free text messages, make free phone calls, participate in group chats, and share photos and videos. I’ve shared Word documents and messages with other bloggers from forums on occasion. Unlike other social mobile apps, I get instant access to all of my foreign friends when I’m abroad.
This is not a social mobile app, but Apple’s FaceTime service happens to be popular with iPhone users and is great for connecting with iPhone family members abroad. As I’ve noted in my videos, I’ve Facetime’d my mom from fun places like Cappadocia, Pushkar, Bako National Park and on epic Indian road trips! There’s nothing like bringing your family and friends along with you virtually.
Con: Only for iPhone users
WeChat is China’s version of Facebook, but it’s also a whole lot more. WeChat is an essential travel tool for China, with a wide range of features. You may use this program to send free text, multimedia, group chat, push-to-talk voice message, and video messaging, and if you reside in China, you can also use it to buy groceries, apply for jobs, pay rent, and so on.
Con: Only used in China
4. Line App
A Korean Internet company developed the Line app mobile chat service, however, it is primarily popular in Japan and ideal if you want to connect with your Japanese friends when in Japan. With Line app you can make calls, video message, and play games.
Although it has some users in South Korea, there are four primary countries that use it : Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and Indonesia.
5. Kakaao Talk
In Korea, Kakaao Talk is the most popular mobile chatting app. Especially since, due to call rates, most Koreans avoid leaving a voicemail when they call. Kakaao Talk allows you to make calls, text and video message, play games and share files.
Con: Only used in Korea or by Koreans.
Read: Renting a phone in Korea
WhatsApp is the most widely used messaging app in the world. It is used by over 300 million people each month. You can make calls, send photos, videos, and voice chats can all be sent. You can also send and receive money. A one-year subscription to the service costs $0.99.
I’ve used WhatsApp to connect with businesses in Japan, Thailand, Italy, Sri Lanka and the U.S..
Mobile Tip: If you don’t want to burden your mobile data plan when you send photos or video to friends, use this app!
Whatsapp is widely used in India, Brazil, United States, Mexico, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, Mexico, Germany, Turkey, Pakistan, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, U.K and in some European, Asian, South American, African, and Oceanian countries.
Countries that have banned WhatsApp:China, North Korea, Syria, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates
Source: Business Insider
Mobile savings tip:
My U.S. mobile service plan got worlds cheaper, broader and faster by switching to Mint Mobile. You get 4GB – 15GB/unlimited plans at 5G-4G speeds nationwide. Cost? $15-$30 a month! You get the option to buy the plan in 3-6-12 months. It is discounted *even more* when you go with the annual plan! There is an e-Sim version if your mobile phone can take it. I’ve been using Mint Mobile for months and love it. If you’re on social media a lot like me, you’ll want the 15GB plan. Sign up to refer friends & family for $25 off ! Or get it here on Amazon.