Expat guide: How to keep in touch with family

expat guide how to keep in touch with family and friends

Expat life is…

when you’ve been away for so long that your mum starts to confuse you with your sister in law. 

When I first noticed that Christmas and birthday gifts seemed to be for someone else in the family, I thought it was kind of funny. Don’t get me wrong; I am grateful for my family thinking of me! But the second time round I started to ask myself questions.

I guess after 15 years of seeing family only for a few days every year or two, I should feel bad and spend more time with them. 😉 It’s just not that easy when you live abroad and want to spend the limited holidays available to get to see new places…

Here are 4 tips how expats can keep in touch with friends and family:

  1. Use technology.

    There are many options – social media, skype, email or a blog are just a few options. I got my mum a smartphone with instant messaging like Whatsapp and social networks such as Facebook preinstalled which made a huge difference in real time communication. Parents might need a bit of time to adjust and use it at their own pace. Be patient and aware that they still appreciate a postcard by regular mail.

  2. Invite your parents over and discover new places together.

    It might be more difficult to lure family if they don’t enjoy travelling anymore or you don’t have kids. Unfortunately my parents don’t seem to like to travel much these days.

  3. Spend holidays together.

    I’ve always found that a tricky one. Depending on the country in which you are residing, you may only get 15 or 22 days a year holidays, which is not much when you want to explore the world. Weekend trips together might be a great alternative. You could make special occasions count and celebrate a birthday with a weekend trip.

  4. It’s all about the planning.

    Needless to say, especially with timezone changes we have to schedule phone and skype calls. Plan ahead; attending family events will give you the chance to see everyone at once.

How do you keep in touch with family?


I have been a traveller and expat for over 15 years. So far my nomad lifestyle has allowed me to live and work in seven countries including the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Australia. Moving country, studying abroad and a passion for travel has been part of most of my adult life.

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