How do you stay in touch?

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July 3, 2009

For some of us, becoming full-time RVers means being away from children and grandkids. For others, it means we can see them more often than we would have had we stayed put. Whichever the case, staying in touch helps keep the relationship vital between visits. How do you stay in touch and keep a meaningful relationship going? Here are some ideas. Please feel free to add yours in the comment section.

Cell phones: It’s pretty hard to remember (or imagine) the ‘90s when we had to find pay phones to make phone calls and check messages. Though there are areas where you have no signal, friends and family plans and free weekend minutes make it pretty easy to stay in touch by phone. Some couples have cells with two different companies to increase the chances of at least one having a good signal.

E-mail: Aircards, satellite Internet and WiFi make it more easy to maintain regular e-mail contact. A Web-based e-mail like Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail means you can also check e-mail if you have to use a computer in a library or Internet café. It’s also easy to send digital photos as a way to let family and friends keep up with your travels.

Skype and a Web cam: A Web camera allows you to record a message or to be visible while talking. With Skype, if you both have accounts, the “call” is free and they’ll be able to see you on the screen during the call. If you both have Web cams, you can each see each other while you talk. Web cams are relatively inexpensive now. Also, with a Web cam, you can record a short wmv file and send that or upload it to YouTube, keeping it private. Send the link and then your family can view your message.

Postcards: Kids love getting their own mail. A postcard from grandparents is special if addressed to them.

Blog or Web site: Setting up a blog or online journal is an effective way to share accounts of your journeys and photos with others so you don’t have to write the same thing over and over in separate emails. You can restrict comments so they have to be approved, keeping them to family. A Web site of your own can accomplish the same thing. You can use an inexpensive hosting company like GoDaddy and get setup quickly.

Online photo albums: Picassa and other sites allow you to post and share photo albums without having your own Web site or blog. Other friends and family can share their albums too.

These are the main ways we use. Any other ideas? Which ones work for you?

Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

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  1. Jaimie, Our blog is

  2. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

    Before we met, George used Ham radio (Winlink) to receive email. Now he doesn’t need it. He’s gotten back into Ham radio recently but doesn’t do nets. It would be an excellent way to keep in touch, especially when traveling in remote places.


  3. Ham Radio

    Great ideas listed here. While the cellphone and the laptop with the wireless LAN card are always the first option, we have other (free) methods available.

    As you can tell by the screen name, we stay in touch with some folks through regular daily ham radio schedules and/or nets. It’s always fun to chat with friends and family from the middle of nowhere.

  4. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

    I just started using Skype and I love it too! I haven’t yet tried it with a web cam. I have to get the grandkids’ parents to sign up. It is free if you contact computer to computer and only $2.95 to make phone calls in the U.S. and Canada. I attended a group I belong to via Skype today. Pretty cool.


  5. Joe

    All great ideas for keeping in touch, but I got one that’s a lot better. SKPE. We and our kids have a camera with our laptops and using SKPE we can not only talk real time, but can also see them. It’s great seeing all our kids and grand kids in real life. SKPE is also FREE!! Check it out.

  6. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

    I agree, Linda – blogs are great! I am blogging about our trip to Alaska right now.

    What’s yours?


  7. I’m not a techie, but I was able to easily set up a blog so our friends and family could follow our travels. We also now have new friends that we’ve met along the way following our blog. And some of our followers have passed it on to others, so no telling who is looking! Of course we use cell phones and email too for more personal contact.

  8. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

    Yes, it is a lot easier to have a long distance relationship now and feel connected.

    With Photoshop Elements I can also send a photo right away to people. They feel like they are traveling with us. Yesterday we visited the Large Animal Research section of the University of Alaska. George got some pretty good photos of the muskox but the babies were pretty far back. We sent a couple of those out but am also sending the postcard with a closeup of a mother and baby so they can get a better idea. Plus the kids can actually hold it.


  9. David Hopkins

    It’s a far cry from the past. With an “Air Card” you can check weather ahead of you, check your email, make reservations, all while you on the road.

    Cell phones and those things that go with them let you keep in touch with actual conversations. Even so, like some others, I still send picture post cards to the grand kids.

  10. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

    That’s right! Before that we had a desktop so it meant going to a public library to check email. Obviously that didn’t happen too often!

    Also, PocketMail was a big deal for several years. Now you can hardly find a pay phone to make a call, much less check your email on a PocketMail device.

    Thanks for the comment.


  11. Isn’t technology wonderful? I still remember lugging the laptop to the campground office to log onto the internet and check our e-mail. We’ve come a long way in the 10 years we have been fulltimers!