Keeping in touch when out of the country can be easy and free with the right app.

By Deb Gulbrandson, PT, DPT

Planning on leaving the country for business, pleasure, or volunteer work? We recently fulfilled one of my husband’s “bucket list” goals, which was to visit the beaches of Normandy in France. This was where the United States, Britain, and Canada heroically took control of France from the Germans during World War II.

In our instant communication society, the idea of being electronically out of touch for nearly two weeks seemed overwhelming. And yet, the cost of purchasing a plan and paying for unwanted calls or texts seemed wasteful.

A patient told me about WhatsApp, a communication app that allows texting to and from foreign countries for free. Her daughter had used it while on a semester abroad program in Europe. I was able to put my cell phone in airplane mode while still being connected to Wi-Fi without incurring roaming charges. My clinic, as well as my adult kids, could contact me if necessary. To communicate, both the sender and receiver need to have downloaded the application.

Although the idea of getting away is actually “to get away,” as business owners (and parents) it’s nice to know there’s a free way to stay in touch if necessary. 

Deb Gulbrandson, PT, DPT, is a PPS and editorial board member and owner of Cary Physical Therapy in the Chicago area. She can be reached at deb@caryphysicaltherapy.com

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