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Last updated: 20th October, 2020

How to support friends and family abroad

While we can’t always be with our loved ones, we can still stay connected. When friends and family are overseas, there are many things that can be done to support each other even when there’s a lot of physical distance between you. This article explains and highlights different ways that you can stay connected to family and friends wherever you or they are in the world.

Keeping in touch with family

Whether you’re the one living or travelling abroad, or the one who stays home, it can get lonely. Something as simple as a text or a quick phone call can make all the difference – or a video chat could make you feel even more connected. While it might feel like nothing can beat being able to give them a hug, you can still enjoy a face-to-face conversation. Ensuring you stay in contact with the people who matter most is incredibly important; knowing your family and friends are thinking of you, no matter how many miles you may be apart, or on what distant shores.

You can also surprise family and friends with handwritten letters and post cards – this can also be a great way of helping those you miss, and in a world of social media updates or group WhatsApp messages, it offers a personal touch and showing them that they are cared about and missed.

Know how to help

Another great way to help distant friends and relatives is to know how to help – being able to respond to any crisis at short notice.

Sending money quickly and securely

Having their bank details on hand so that you can send money to them if they need it is a must. PagoFX is an international money transfer app that allows you to securely and cheaply transfer money from your accounts directly into an account overseas. Whether your recipient is living in one place or travelling around the world, you can send money directly to their bank account if they are running short of cash. The app can also be used to send money from your debit card to bank accounts of hotels, businesses and other service providers abroad. Sending money quickly and securely when it’s needed can be a lifeline.

Keeping important details and documents

Knowing where your friends and family are going to be at any given time is a great way to help them.  Having their itinerary, for example, if they are moving frequently means that in an emergency situation, you can get in touch or help amend their travel plans. By checking in with them regularly, you always know they are safe.

Having emergency contact details – such as landlords, employers and insurers – to help with situations at home, means you can get in touch with them on their behalf. Knowing how to top up your friend or family member’s phone and support them with medical care can also take the stress away from your loved ones abroad, allowing both of you peace-of-mind that should the worst happen you’re ready to take care of it.

Send care packages

Sending care packages can help in giving people who are overseas for a long period the essential items they may not be able to find, or even just let them know they’re being thought about! This is a great way to deliver essential products they love but can’t easily find in the country they are in. It could be as simple as sending their favourite chocolate bar or soap. A care package can be exciting to anticipate, enjoyable to receive and bring a reminder (and a taste) of home to someone far away.

Look after properties and pets

Another way to help friends and family overseas is by looking after any pets and property they couldn’t take with them. Many of us worry, especially about our pets, and knowing they are safe and cared for means we can focus on enjoying our overseas experience. Many pet lovers often don’t want to put their dog into a kennel, or cat into a cattery, especially if they are away for an extended period of time. Pet sitting is a great way to support the people you love; it not only reduces the expense, but also brings them peace of mind. And you can send some funny videos too!

When going away, the security of your home can be a big concern. Vacant properties are a target for burglars or vandals. By popping over to their house, it gives you a chance to put their mind at ease by making sure everything in the house is safe as well as doing jobs like watering their plants and flowers. Many people look forward to getting home and will be grateful for the reassurance that everything is exactly the way they left it.

Keep them up to date on current affairs

Often when you’re on the move or living in another country, getting access to the internet can be challenging and reliability is an issue. Keeping up to date with the latest news, government announcements and other important information from home can again put their minds at rest. It is also vital if, for example, the advice or Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs guidance changes and may impact their stay.

Make recommendations

Whether it is an experience to have, a course to take or an app to make life in different language easier, one of the first things we do is go on online to read other people’s reviews and recommendations. If you are at home, you can help. If you, or someone you know, have been to the country before you could make personal recommendations. Even if you have never been you can still help by doing some research, comparing options and helping them to narrow down their choices.

No matter how far away our friends and family may be, keeping in touch, using common sense and being prepared with PagoFX to send money to support them when needed can make all the difference when you’re far apart. Download PagoFX by Santander from the App Store or Google Play today.