Keep Your Active Family Connected for Less

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shutterstock_70660873According to the remote technical support company iYogi, 63 percent of those surveyed said they would rather stay connected than warm. The findings aren’t too surprising in an age where hyper-connectivity is the norm and families and friends can get in touch instantly, regardless of the distance between them. But finding communication options that are cost-effective isn’t always easy. Enjoy your active retirement and still keep in touch with your family without breaking the bank. Here’s how to keep tabs on your loved ones:

Start Video Chatting

Stay connected with your family in real time by video chatting while you’re on the go. They can see what you’re up to and appreciate your adventure without being there in person. There are multiple video chat providers, including Skype and Facetime. Or if you want to simplify the process, take advantage of Google’s video chat service to start a conversation online. Download Google’s Hangouts plugin and sign into your Gmail, Google + or Chrome OS device. With this tool, even if someone in your family doesn’t have a webcam, they can still hear you and chat right through Google.

Leverage Your Smartphone

Chatting on your smartphone isn’t always a cost-effective option. Consider switching the entire family to the same mobile network provider to save a significant amount of money. For example, T-Mobile offers family plans and plenty of smartphones to choose from whether you want a simple interface, oversized screen or extra durable option for the kids. And with everyone on the same network, you don’t have to worry about extra costs for texting and calling each other day and night.

Use Apps

There’s an app for everything, including staying in touch. When traveling overseas, connect to an app like Skype over your hotel’s Wi-Fi to call back home. You can even video chat with your kids from Venice while they’re back in the U.S. waiting to hear about your latest adventure. Or, download a Voice-Over-Internet Protocol (VOIP) app to make an inexpensive call directly over the Internet by using a Wi-Fi hotspot. For just pennies, check in on the grandkids after school or show your family the amazing view from your hotel room.

Plan a Reunion

Trying to visit multiple family members can create a logistical nightmare and cost a bundle. Instead, get the kids and grandkids together in one place by renting out an entire house through a company like HomeAway. Choose an inexpensive location that’s roughly an equal distance from everyone attending. Opt for a home with an ample kitchen to save money on cooking and a big backyard to have enough room to play and make the most of your time together. Remember to take plenty of photos to share and bond over until your next reunion.

Start a Blog

Launching a free blog is a fun way to stay connected and share videos and photos with loved ones. Share updates from your latest cruise, new hobby or volunteer project. Get started with a platform like Blogger or Tumblr to set up your free blog in minutes. You don’t need to have any special skills or much technical ability to get up and running. If you’re concerned about online security, choose a password so only the people you choose can access your blog.

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