Expat Life

Expats, stay connected with Facebook Messenger

In August 2012, I wrote about three tools to help expats stay in touch with family and friends abroad: Skype, the magicJack, and Viber. Here’s an update starring Facebook Messenger.

 As it turned out, I rarely use Skype. My family never caught on to it and I don’t keep it open to see if friends are online. I never caught on to Viber either. The magicJack is my most used device for talking to family and friends in the US. Facebook Messenger comes in at a close second.
Instant messaging was missing from my communications with family and friends overseas. When I lived in the US, my sister and I texted each other all the time. Long distance texting would result in outrageous costs. 
Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging application for Android, iPhone, and Windows phones. It’s a standalone app. You don’t have to open your Facebook app to access the chat.  It’s free on Wi-Fi and uses your existing data plan otherwise. Next month, Facebook is introducing video calls in Facebook Messenger. You’ll be able to call and see your family and friends back home using your mobile device.

Do you use Facebook Messenger? Have you used it for texting abroad? What other tools do you use to stay connected?



  • What about WhatsApp? I’ve never used it myself but I think it’s the same concept–free text messaging for smartphones? I had a couple of friends use it while I was abroad.

    • Cosette Paneque

      I haven’t used that one. I’ll check it out. Thanks for the tip.