Free international calls with MagicJackIt’s healthy to stay connected to our loved ones while traveling, especially when traveling for a month abroad. My once-in-a-lifetime trip to Vietnam required a lot of preparation, including figuring out what apps I could use to stay in touch with my family and covert the local currency so I would know how much I was spending–like the $6.62 I spent for a 60-minute hot stone massage.

International Calling App

Because I was going to be out of the country for more than a month, I had to have an app that would allow me to stay in touch with my family without breaking our travel budget paying international charges. The answer: the magicJack app and it’s FREE.

I learned of magicJack from my sister-in-law, who lives in Vietnam and frequently uses it to call her family friends.

MagicJack assigns you a personal phone number after you register. While in Vietnam for more than a month, magic Jack allowed me to call home for FREE to any number.

Just a caution, be sure to read the fine print and reviews if you decide to download this app; as with any apps, terms and conditions change daily. According to some reviews, the magicJack app phone number that you are assigned to remains permanently registered  to your mobile phone; although, I am not certain how accurate that is.

Currency Converter App

Currency Converter appThe other big challenge to traveling abroad is figuring out how much you’re spending. Unless you are a math whiz and can convert the Vietnamese dong or the Euro to the dollar, you will want to download the Currency Converter app.

When I got to Vietnam, one of the first things I did was go to a local spa to get a nice massage to help relieve some of the neck pain from the 20+ hours I spent on airplanes traveling from Chicago to Ho Chi Minh City . Getting a massage is not only a luxury but includes a variety of health benefits. Sometimes long flights with layovers can be stressful on the body and mind. When the cashier rang up my bill, it came to 140,000 dong.

Before panicking about how much I had just spent, I put the total into my Currency Convertor. A second later, the app converted my 140,000 dong to $6.62. I will admit, I thought it was an error at first. But yes, my one-hour hot stone massage cost less than $7! No mistake. The Currency Convertor was spot on.

What are your must-have apps when traveling abroad?

duong sheehanDuong Sheahan writes about Lifestyle, health and new media. Her roots began in Vietnam until her family escaped to America during the “Fall of Saigon.” Her love for traveling began shortly after arriving during summer vacations with family. She has since studied abroad in Paris. Her love for traveling and adventure continues and is thrilled to share her discoveries. You can find Duong on her blog at and LIVE co-hosting ChicagonistaLive.