If you're planning an international travel adventure, one thing you might not think through ahead of time is how you'll communicate with people digitally, especially if you don't want to get an international data plan. Luckily, there are messaging apps you can download if you're going abroad, including some that let you message without using cellular data or wi-fi. Seriously, this really exists, and if you're traveling on a budget, these apps can help keep you connected to family back home, and new friends abroad, without worrying about returning home to a crazy expensive cellphone bill.
Because I worked for a a global organization for five years, I already have some of these apps — like WhatsApp and Skype — on my phone. I used these regularly to call and message my overseas colleagues. Now, the first thing I ask when I meet a new person while abroad is, "do you have WhatsApp?" While WhatsApp does use wi-fi or data, a lot of places are light years ahead of the U.S. when it comes to offering free city-wide Wi-Fi. However, because the networks are public you'll also want to make sure to set up a VPN to keep your personal information safe.
Some other apps, like FireChat, let you message for free without a cellular network or wi-fi. Just make sure to turn your cellular network off before you start chatting. If you're going on an epic trip, check out these seven messaging apps to make your life easier.