Maintaining Family Ties Over Long Distances

By: Elisha Burberry

In the past many families used to be very close knit, practically living on each other's doorsteps. But times have changed and with the advent of cheaper travel and more job opportunities worldwide, many people now choose to take advantage of visiting other countries and living abroad for extended periods of time - sometimes even emigrating for good.

But even though families tend to be more spread out now than ever before, that doesn't mean they don't like to keep in touch. It may not be as easy as simply walking five minutes down the road to pop in for a quick coffee, but the modern way of living has thankfully provided us with lots of other ways to keep in touch - without it costing us a fortune in the process.

The internet is one of the most popular ways to contact family members in other countries. Email is quicker and easier than writing a letter - and it's received instantly by the recipient. Instant messaging is even better as it allows you to chat online at any time of the day or night.

But nothing is quite the same as hearing the voices of your loved ones on the other end of a phone line. Calls to other countries used to be prohibitively expensive - it was hard to chat without keeping one eye on how long you'd been on the phone for.

But it's now possible to make cheap calls over a long distance, enabling you to stay in touch for a fraction of what you used to be charged. You can now pick up the phone and call someone on the other side of the world without even thinking about the dreaded phone bill when it arrives. You simply don't need to worry about that side of things any more. All that matters is the ability to stay in touch.

If you have relatives who have just moved abroad, it's a good idea to make a note of what the time difference is and whether they are ahead or behind your own time zone. This makes staying in touch much easier, as you can pre-arrange a suitable time to call each other. Some families call each other at the same time each week, to catch up on all the latest news.

Of course it's still worthwhile to go the old fashioned route and send a letter every now and again, especially if you have gifts for birthdays and Christmas. But a regular phone call is still the best way to keep the lines of communication open between different members of the family - no matter how many thousands of miles there may be between you.

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