Three Things — International Communication Apps

Three Things, my post series, inspired by my love for bite-sized, tiny but mighty pieces of information. This week’s list focuses on all things chat, video, and everything in between.

One. Messaging —

Today is a nuts and bolts kind of day. Because hey! Communication is king and it’s always interesting to know what tools others are using.

For audio and written messaging, from phone calls to short videos and pictures, I’m all in on WhatsApp. It’s free and it’s international. I can easily and without charge message with friends who have a London number, reside in Germany, or have a local Bali cell phone number. Powered by data, it’s equal opportunity.

But above all, it’s super easy to see if your message was delivered and read. No lost messages in international outer space. Also, the audio option is super convenient. I have an iphone and I’m not a fan of their messaging app. It’s buggy, especially internationally. I now use Whatsapp almost exclusively for all messaging whether I’m in the States or in Italy.

Two. Video calls for work + otherwise

For video calls Skype used to be king. And even at its height I didn’t heart it. You have to have an account and download the app, there were all kinds of dropped calls, blah blah. No more. Actually no more for awhile. Sayonara Skype and hello The people at call it claiming your room. I call it genius, so I did just that. It’s free for up to four people. You can share screen, send chats with links, etc and there’s nothing to download or walk anyone through.


For quick video messaging with no fuss and no muss I use Marco Polo. It operates like a walkie talkie and I use this mostly with my coaching clients. It’s simple and again freeeeee.

Three. Phone calls.

I could switch over to an Italian number, but Whatsapp and a few other tools let me do everything I need to when I’m here.

The real reason I keep my U.S. plan is because it’s killer plain and simple. I’m in an old grandfathered plan that when I call into T-mobile for assistance with something the customer service rep inevitably says, “Whoa. Don’t ever give this up.” No problem.

Also, write this down — While in the States, T-mobile seems small and without great coverage outside of major cities, it has by FAR the most friendly International plan of all the major carriers in the U.S. To get the best of worlds I just deal when I’m in the States. There’s nothing better than landing in a country powering on my phone and it works. Just automatically works. Yessss.

Not just because of my grandfathered plan, but their international offerings are free with a domestic plan which includes unlimited data and messaging (which I use for my parents). It does not include phone calls, but I use Skype for all my regular calls.

Through Skype for $6 a month, I have unlimited U.S. calling, for any number. I use this for banks, credit cards, airlines, etc. Or for the random voice mail I may receive.

I know many others that get a local number and that works for them. I’m happy for them and maybe in the future I’ll make a change, but for the past few years this is what has been working well for me and I thought I would share.