For many travellers away from home for extended periods of time, the challenge of staying in touch with friends and family has been eased substantially by the availability of wireless connectivity to the Internet. I'm amazed by how many web applications have been developed since the mid-1990s; things like instant messaging, social networking, and so on.
We were having a snack at a fast food restaurant at the Vancouver airport recently and this woman was having a lengthy conversation with someone through her computer. Free Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services enable users to talk to people anywhere in the world. Add a camera, and it's like being in the same room.