I didn’t originally really want to make this its own section, but I think with all the choices out there for ways to keep in touch with those back home that it deserves its own section.
For us, we’re staying pretty simple. This blog, e-mail, and Skype (on the laptop) are all we’re using. There are other options too, like unlocking a cell phone that takes SIM cards and buying SIM cards in different countries as you go. You can apparently get some phones (like the Blackberry World) unlocked for free if you call your service provider and tell them you’re going to be traveling internationally and want to take your phone. There are also a lot of websites that will send you an unlock code for about $20 or so. Phone cards (we have a couple of free ones we got with our International Youth Cards) are another option.
For those of you who would like to be reachable at the same number all the time and, like us, aren’t lucky enough to be able to use Google Voice yet (darn you, Google and your cool software!), the Frugal Traveler from the New York Times wrote this excellent article about how to do so, on the (relative) cheap. It’s some combination of Skype and SIM cards and the iPhone, but basically I think the way it works is people call your Skype number, which you have automatically forwarded to the number of your local SIM card.
[Update 8.19.2009: The Frugal Traveler just posted a new article recommending Voxox.]
Blogging is a really good way of letting your family and friends know about all the fun you’re having, but you avoid having to send out those mass e-mails, and people can check in whenever they feel like it. For us, it’ll be a really great way to help us remember all the cool experiences we’ll have on the trip.