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Using Whatsapp to message albergues

Time of past OR future Camino
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Help! I want to message an albergue. I've been on the internet and they tell me to open the app and click on the green icon on the bottom of my screen. I don't see it - I'm on iPhone. How do I enter the phone number?
 
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I mostly put a quick msg on chat to them first - it’s in print 😁.

Btw Paul ., I don’t see anything green within the app but the WhatsApp icon itself is green. Have you added the actual app to your phone ?

Once in the app (on iPhone ) you’ll see down the bottom - Call. Chat etc.
If you message them (chat ), you’ve got a record .
 
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I'm feeling really dumb. I've succeeded, and it was extemely simple. I merely opened "chats", clicked on the pen/message icon in the top right corner. This opens up a page offering a "New Contact". Very straight forward after that.
The internet search resulted in very confusing advice!
 
I'm feeling really dumb. I've succeeded, and it was extemely simple. I merely opened "chats", clicked on the pen/message icon in the top right corner. This opens up a page offering a "New Contact". Very straight forward after that.
The internet search resulted in very confusing advice!
Dumb? C'mon! Only newborns know their way around technology! Don't beat yourself up. And isn't it great how immediately the camino (or forum) angels were hovering around to tilt you in the right direction? 😇
 
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Dumb? C'mon! Only newborns know their way around technology! Don't beat yourself up. And isn't it great how immediately the camino (or forum) angels were hovering around to tilt you in the right direction? 😇
I agree with Kirkie, not dumb. I find Whatsapp an absolute pain. I dont use it unless like now, I will need to. Ive tried lots of times O/S and never had any luck. Im hoping seeingvI added the contacts, Ill be good to go on the Camino.
 
Help! I want to message an albergue. I've been on the internet and they tell me to open the app and click on the green icon on the bottom of my screen. I don't see it - I'm on iPhone. How do I enter the phone number?
Maybe if you Enter the albergue number in your contacts. Then you can access the number when you open What’s app.
 
Thank you all for discussing the whole "experience" of the Whatsapp. I'm still on the fence about adding it to my Samsung phone. The only real benefit I have seen so far is the larger number of people that can be contacted in a group message, compared to my Messages app that came with the phone. (Which is capped at 20.) A number of the ladies I know use it, both for organization stuff and for family, but I still don't know if i'm really comfortable using it. Though I suspect my DD has installed it on my phone while we were talking about it one day!
As I don't think I'll be trying to contact people from on the trail, only maybe at the evening in places with wifi, I'm not sure how useful it would be to me while walking the Via de la Plata. Anyone who has a thought about that, feel free to reply!
 
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I would just like to offer that our extended family members convinced us to begin using WhatsApp several years ago. Only a few months ago I learned about picture status updates (huh?!) and groups (each member gets to reply or react individually to each post! and usually when you’re trying to take a nap!) and last night a new friend was trying to explain to me the very easy process to add her number. After her instructions bounced off my head for several minutes, I just slid my phone across the table to her and she did it for oldladyme! Perhaps my fellow fuddy-duddies can take comfort in the fact that these young’uns wouldn’t know how to use a rotary dial phone (where’s the camera?) and I bet a pay phone would be beyond their ken also! (where do you insert your card?) 🤣😂
 
The only real benefit I have seen so far is the larger number of people that can be contacted in a group message, compared to my Messages app that came with the phone.
I don't consider that to be a useful benefit of WhatsApp, at all. The real benefit is being able to contact many albergues by text (rather than by voice) to find if you have a place to sleep. They may not receive the messages you send from your phone's Messages app.
 
As I don't think I'll be trying to contact people from on the trail, only maybe at the evening in places with wifi, I'm not sure how useful it would be to me while walking the Via de la Plata. Anyone who has a thought about that, feel free to reply!
It may come in handy when you are sitting in the evening contemplating where you will stop the next night. Since many albergues are accessible by contacting someone to get a key, you may want to send a message the night before to arrange the bed?
 
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I don't consider that to be a useful benefit of WhatsApp, at all. The real benefit is being able to contact many albergues by text (rather than by voice) to find if you have a place to sleep. They may not receive the messages you send from your phone's Messages app.
I don't text message anyone in Spain from my phone. Too complicated to set up foreign use of the account. I am not sure the "spain phone" has texting, either. Your point is good here.

But on the subject of the Whatsapp, as I'm not going to use it while walking--who wants to be "that pilgrim" walking down on the one-butt-wide trail under the overarching wild roses saying "I don't know where I am! I'm walking on the Camino!" to someone who they are talking to while walking. Yes, I was about two people in back of this poor fellow. So while I may be interested in the Whatsapp, I'm not thinking it's a benefit while on the path. Besides, for me, the Camino is a retreat, an escape from the busy and the day to day. The last thing I personally want is for everyone at home to be texting me about organizing whatever and dah, dah, dah. :)
YMMV
 
Whatsapp operates solely on wifi and data, so if someone doesn’t have a data plan, they won’t be one of those people using it while walking. My friends in Spain don’t reply to messenger or emails nearly as quickly as they do to whatsapp. You can use it solely for those times when you have arrived in a village and need to call or send a message to the albergue hospi to get the key - while having a drink at the bar. Of course if you have a European sim card in your phone, you won’t need Whatsapp for that purpose.

And don’t tell everyone at home you have the app; they can send the usual email.

😉

Edited to correct: wifi and data.
 
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Thank you all for discussing the whole "experience" of the Whatsapp. I'm still on the fence about adding it to my Samsung phone. The only real benefit I have seen so far is the larger number of people that can be contacted in a group message, compared to my Messages app that came with the phone. (Which is capped at 20.)
Like @C clearly, I do not see this as an advantage at all. For me the incredible advantage of WhatsApp is that it allows me to contact albergues, hotels, pensiones, and people directly. In addition, it leaves me with a written record of the conversation I have had, which is helpful in case of misunderstanding about date or price of reservation.

Before I leave for the Camino, I add as contacts every place along the way where I might be interested in staying. When I have to name the contact, I use the town‘s name and the name of the establishment. For instance, I list the Hostal Cazador in Alpera as simply Cazador Alpera. When I am a few days out and sorting out my lodging options, I just type in the name of the town where I hope to stay and all of my contacts with the name of the town in the contact will pop up for me to contact. Yes, this means I have hundreds of contacts of places in Spain, on the Torres, the Geira, the Lana, the Olvidado, the Vasco, etc. But they don’t cause any harm just sitting there out of sight on my enormous contact list. And since I always search by town name rather than name of the establishment, the fact that I have four or five establishments all called “La Perla” makes absolutely no difference and causes no confusion.

And I have to tell the story of Ray and Rosa’s private pilgrim place on the Camino de Madrid. I know of two instances of people walking the Madrid who told me that they couldn’t make any contact with them. They tried email and they tried actually calling the cell phone number. I suggested they try WhatsApp, and both reported that they got a response within a minute or two. WhatsApp is used by more than 90 or 95% of the smart phones in Spain. It is invaluable on the Camino.
 
who wants to be "that pilgrim" walking down on the one-butt-wide trail under the overarching wild roses saying "I don't know where I am! I'm walking on the Camino!" to someone who they are talking to while walking.
I find it a bit irritating to be lumped into this category, simply because I find Whatsapp to be a useful app on my phone.

I was trying to point out what I see as a benefit of the app - and it has nothing to do with mindless chatter with a group of over 20 friends and relatives.

while I may be interested in the Whatsapp, I'm not thinking it's a benefit while on the path.
It depends on what you mean by "while on the path" or "while walking". While I am "on the Camino" for a month or so, I do use it. I do not use it while I am in motion, stepping along the path, and no, it is not useful for navigation. However, I do use it for communicating with accommodation, or even (horrors!) with other pilgrim friends - perhaps to give warnings or advice if they are behind me, say about whether the arroyo is high that day and they should take the road , or even to ask about their destination for the day. I am happy to be "that pilgrim."
 
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Like @C clearly, I do not see this as an advantage at all. For me the incredible advantage of WhatsApp is that it allows me to contact albergues, hotels, pensiones, and people directly. In addition, it leaves me with a written record of the conversation I have had, which is helpful in case of misunderstanding about date or price of reservation.
I agree that the written record aspect of Whatsapp is very useful.

BUT

On one occasion last November I had booked some accommodation using Whatsapp, with a host on the Cammino Materano, and when I came to the day, I found the record had gone from my phone. There is a relatively new feature called 'disappearing messages' on Whatsapp, and the people at the accommodation had invoked it - whether by accident or design I never found out. But I was able to contact them again, and they were still expecting me. I remembered I HAD seen the note saying the message would self destruct, but I had not paid any attention to it.

And I have to tell the story of Ray and Rosa’s private pilgrim place on the Camino de Madrid. I know of two instances of people walking the Madrid who told me that they couldn’t make any contact with them. They tried email and they tried actually calling the cell phone number. I suggested they try WhatsApp, and both reported that they got a response within a minute or two. WhatsApp is used by more than 90 or 95% of the smart phones in Spain. It is invaluable on the Camino.
The mere mention of Ray and Rosa always brings a smile to my face. :) Wonderful hosts.

But more generally I would say that Whatsapp is also pretty well the default most reliable method for contacting hosts in Italy. Much better, in my experience, than email. You can of course use Whatsapp for a phonecall too if you are happy with the language. For contacting hosts to let you into a property I found it virtually universal in Italy last year. Likewise in Albania, Northern Macedonia, Greece on the Via Egnatia.
 
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This has turned out to be a very interesting discussion, so I no longer feel “dumb” about having posted the question - that’s the forum for you. And thanks to @OzAnnie ans @SabsP whi immediately jumped in at the beginning and I now notice I had not acknowledged with a “thumbs-up”.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
This has turned out to be a very interesting discussion, so I no longer feel “dumb” about having posted the question - that’s the forum for you.
One of the things I love about this forum Paul. Queries like yours bring out input from ‘many heads’. .
I’m thankful to you for later finding out myself , that you can open new WhatsApp contact from ‘within’ the app / 👍
Thanks for asking the question -
 
Help! I want to message an albergue. I've been on the internet and they tell me to open the app and click on the green icon on the bottom of my screen. I don't see it - I'm on iPhone. How do I enter the phone number?
The Wise Pilgrim guide has a free app which provides whats app links to albergues, as well as phone numbers and reviews. Michael works very hard to update the information by village/city on a regular basis. The maps and route planning feature is very helpful and most routes are included. Bon Camino.
 
yes to whatsApp for a few reasons

Albergues are run often by people who speak a different language to you or me and the ability for them to be able to translate your text a lot easier than ( often ) our bad attempts at the local language

Easy to be able to keep in touch with our loved ones / friends who will be worried about us

Easy to be able to keep in touch with those you meet along the way and who you get along with

The last 1 has been mentioned already... good to have it in writing that you have a bed sorted
 
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WhatsApp is used by more than 90 or 95% of the smart phones in Spain. It is invaluable on the Camino.
Laurie, I was always reluctant to add WhatsApp to my phone, however, because of your positive input on past forum posts I added it approximately a year ago. It has been a good thing as it's been easy to connect with a few overseas friends, AND most recently on the Via Francigena I was contacted by a few guest house type properties asking my arrival time for that day. At first I was surprised as I had not given any of them my phone number. All reservations I'd made through booking.com and of course they had my number from when I'd signed up years ago, which apparently gave access to the places we were staying. I ended up liking it because the translation process was very simple on both ends. I never added any of the info/phone numbers to my contact list; I only replied back to their question.
 
Timely thread…

Okay, so I have Whatsapp on my phone and from Canada, to send a message to Spain, I need to ‘dial’ + Country Code and the nine digit phone number. Once I am in Spain, from a wifi hotspot since I won’t have a local SIM card with data, do I still need to dial the + and Country Code?
 
Timely thread…

Okay, so I have Whatsapp on my phone and from Canada, to send a message to Spain, I need to ‘dial’ + Country Code and the nine digit phone number. Once I am in Spain, from a wifi hotspot since I won’t have a local SIM card with data, do I still need to dial the + and Country Code?
Probably.
 
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Timely thread…

Okay, so I have Whatsapp on my phone and from Canada, to send a message to Spain, I need to ‘dial’ + Country Code and the nine digit phone number. Once I am in Spain, from a wifi hotspot since I won’t have a local SIM card with data, do I still need to dial the + and Country Code?
It’s much simpler!
Once you have whatsapp installed and it has been linked to your SIM, it works thereafter on either Wi-Fi or data. You don’t put in the phone numbers you are using for yourself again. But for someone you are *adding* as a contact you will need international code in _their_ number.

Contraintuitively Whatsapp will continue to work on your phone if you take out the SIM or put in smoother local one. You don’t *need* to change it to a local SIM if you get one.
 
Timely thread…

Okay, so I have Whatsapp on my phone and from Canada, to send a message to Spain, I need to ‘dial’ + Country Code and the nine digit phone number. Once I am in Spain, from a wifi hotspot since I won’t have a local SIM card with data, do I still need to dial the + and Country Code?
This is one of the reasons that I input all of the contacts into my phone ahead of time. Then when I am in Spain, I just pull up the contact and click either message or call. That way I don’t have to worry about country codes.

BUT.. to answer your question, I think you will always have to use the country code and phone number to contact a number that is not in your contacts list.
 
I think you will always have to use the country code and phone number to contact a number that is not in your contacts list.
Since I almost exclusively use booking.com, they always provide a message and an email option to contact the property, so I usually only need to use that feature.
I never add any lodging contact phone info on my phone. I don't need to bother as I only "reply" to an occasional question asked to me on Whatsapp by a property, in which case I do not need their phone number.
 
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Thank you all for discussing the whole "experience" of the Whatsapp. I'm still on the fence about adding it to my Samsung phone. The only real benefit I have seen so far is the larger number of people that can be contacted in a group message, compared to my Messages app that came with the phone. (Which is capped at 20.) A number of the ladies I know use it, both for organization stuff and for family, but I still don't know if i'm really comfortable using it. Though I suspect my DD has installed it on my phone while we were talking about it one day!
As I don't think I'll be trying to contact people from on the trail, only maybe at the evening in places with wifi, I'm not sure how useful it would be to me while walking the Via de la Plata. Anyone who has a thought about that, feel free to reply!
WhatsApp is the most popular texting app in the world. The only place it is not is the US where Facebook messenger is the most popular messaging. They are both owned by the same company but WhatsApp is extremely secure as it is based on Signal’s end to end encryption platform. So if you meet anyone on the Camino who is not American they will have WhatsApp installed and will readily trade numbers with you. I can’t tell you how many useful tips I have gotten from others via WhatsApp from chance meetings even weeks after meeting them only momentarily. It’s also a great way to trade photos and videos: you can batch send pretty substantial sized media easily. Plus nearly all businesses and ‘some’ albergues use it as a primary form of contact in Europe. As an example on the Camino Portuguese Camino route I set up water taxi transport across the Minho river via WhatsApp where they answered immediately. I had also sent them a message on FB messenger and they responded to that the next day! Finally you are also not considering that people use WhatsApp for secure video and voice calls just like a telephone including albergues and other businesses you may need to interact with on your trip. Any place outside of America is an essential app that is quite secure.
 
Thank you all for discussing the whole "experience" of the Whatsapp. I'm still on the fence about adding it to my Samsung phone. The only real benefit I have seen so far is the larger number of people that can be contacted in a group message, compared to my Messages app that came with the phone. (Which is capped at 20.) A number of the ladies I know use it, both for organization stuff and for family, but I still don't know if i'm really comfortable using it. Though I suspect my DD has installed it on my phone while we were talking about it one day!
As I don't think I'll be trying to contact people from on the trail, only maybe at the evening in places with wifi, I'm not sure how useful it would be to me while walking the Via de la Plata. Anyone who has a thought about that, feel free to reply!

The other HUGE benefit of using WhatsApp is that your number stays the same for others no matter what sim you are actually using. So if you are going through multiple counties, say France, Spain and Portugal, you can buy a local sim anywhere use it as your primary data source and keep receiving messages via WhatsApp no matter what the actual number tied to your phone is. If using an iPhone iMessage will sometimes give you the option of continuing to receive iMessages at your home sim tied number but that only works if messages are sent from other iPhone users. So WhatsApp gives you a secure cross platform messaging ability tied to whatever number you choose that follows you no matter what SIM card you have in it. As I have had multiple sims walking the Camino Frances and Portuguese back to back, I am able to keep a U.S. number esim, swap back and forth on my secondary sim from my UK and EU SIM cards all the while never missing a single message from anyone via WhatsApp. To not use it in Europe is crazy….just saying.
 
Timely thread…

Okay, so I have Whatsapp on my phone and from Canada, to send a message to Spain, I need to ‘dial’ + Country Code and the nine digit phone number. Once I am in Spain, from a wifi hotspot since I won’t have a local SIM card with data, do I still need to dial the + and Country Code?
All numbers on/for WhatsApp are saved with the country code there is no other way to save numbers so you never need to use the country code again
 
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I was comparing messaging apps—until recently FB messenger was the most popular messaging app in the USA but WhatsApp is gaining and is the most popular download apparently now. But comparing sms to a messaging app is like comparing the telegraph to the telephone. SMS is not secure often charges for sending anything not a text etc, but it’s apples and oranges really as a comparison. PS—I am American but live abroad. Even though I can text someone in America with my US number I just wouldn’t as rarely are messages these days limited to only text with no images. But whereas everyone in Europe has WhatsApp which makes things easy when messaging American friends I toggle back and forth between iMessage, messenger, WhatsApp, Google chat etc depending on what they use which gets admittedly, annoying.
 
I was comparing messaging apps—until recently FB messenger was the most popular messaging app in the USA but WhatsApp is gaining and is the most popular download apparently now. But comparing sms to a messaging app is like comparing the telegraph to the telephone. SMS is not secure often charges for sending anything not a text etc, but it’s apples and oranges really as a comparison. PS—I am American but live abroad. Even though I can text someone in America with my US number I just wouldn’t as rarely are messages these days limited to only text with no images. But whereas everyone in Europe has WhatsApp which makes things easy when messaging American friends I toggle back and forth between iMessage, messenger, WhatsApp, Google chat etc depending on what they use which gets admittedly, annoying.

And for those who feel uncomfortable with Whatsapp and FB ( Meta ) there is always Signal though not very practical for booking places on a Camino.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
@merenptah, I appreciate all four of your posts which has helped me learn and understand more about Whatsapp.🙂
And for those who feel uncomfortable with Whatsapp and FB ( Meta ) there is always Signal though not very practical for booking places on a Camino.
I use SMS messaging for most of my texts in the US, and mostly use Signal with my family. I can understand why it is not a practical option for booking lodgings.
 
Al
Timely thread…

Okay, so I have Whatsapp on my phone and from Canada, to send a message to Spain, I need to ‘dial’ + Country Code and the nine digit phone number. Once I am in Spain, from a wifi hotspot since I won’t have a local SIM card with data, do I still need to dial the + and Country Code?
Also if you are using an iPhone and only want to call the albergue in question, you can do that via WhatsApp without inputting the country code and number. So say you see a number on webpage if you hold down and long press the phone number a drop-down menu pops up allowing you to call them using WhatsApp. See pic example on an actual number example from wisepilgrim.com and see the menu choices. If you then go down to the WhatsApp choice you can call the albergue without dealing with adding the number as a contact. Once you call them you can then save their number from your call history list. This also works with other apps like telegram or Facebook messenger but whether you can use that with the albergue depends if they use it themselves. Again the benefit with WhatsApp is that nearly everyone does use it in Europe and it is compatible with both android and iOS so it is a good bet to call them and that they will answer. This works best with numbers that have + and the country code before it as WhatsApp does need to know what country code the number you are calling is. See pic.

46494F0B-7E6B-487F-9DDF-C8C70ACC5546.png
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Timely thread…

Okay, so I have Whatsapp on my phone and from Canada, to send a message to Spain, I need to ‘dial’ + Country Code and the nine digit phone number. Once I am in Spain, from a wifi hotspot since I won’t have a local SIM card with data, do I still need to dial the + and Country Code?
This (+99) is an international standard and it will always work regardless of what country you are currently in.

When you use it you are being very specific about which number you are calling by supplying the country code as well as the number versus when you exclude +99 you are not being specific and you are relying on the exchange that you connect through to assume the (usually local) country code.
 
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Just one more WhatsApp tip, which I was reminded of by a friend currently walking who was having a bit of WhatsApp mix-up.

WhatsApp only works with mobile numbers, and all mobile numbers in Spain either begin with a 6 (more common) or 7 (more recently introduced). Land lines begin with a 9 (more common) or an 8 (more recently introduced).

That means there’s no point in inputting (is that a word?) a number that’s a land line. If you put in a mobile number, WhatsApp will tell you whether it uses WhatsApp or not. If they don’t, WhatsApp gives you the opportunity to ask send them a message and ask them if they would like to use it. But in the case of Spanish numbers, I think that in the case of any Spanish mobile phone that doesn’t use WhatsApp, it’s is because the owner very consciously has decided that he or she doesn’t want to use WhatsApp. So then the option is to call.
 
Just one more WhatsApp tip, which I was reminded of by a friend currently walking who was having a bit of WhatsApp mix-up.

WhatsApp only works with mobile numbers, and all mobile numbers in Spain either begin with a 6 (more common) or 7 (more recently introduced). Land lines begin with a 9 (more common) or an 8 (more recently introduced).

That means there’s no point in inputting (is that a word?) a number that’s a land line. If you put in a mobile number, WhatsApp will tell you whether it uses WhatsApp or not. If they don’t, WhatsApp gives you the opportunity to ask send them a message and ask them if they would like to use it. But in the case of Spanish numbers, I think that in the case of any Spanish mobile phone that doesn’t use WhatsApp, it’s is because the owner very consciously has decided that he or she doesn’t want to use WhatsApp. So then the option is to call.
This is not the case universally, though generally it does ring true. There are business accounts that work with landline numbers starting with 9.
 
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Oh, wow, I never knew that. That suggests that it is in fact worth it to check to see whether a landline does in fact use WhatsApp. Thanks so much for the correction.
It was a surprise to me too when I started contacting albergues for their WhatsApp preferences.

I imagine as we all start to embrace WhatsApp more and more albergues will find that WA business accounts are very helpful. There are some albergues tha even have a “menu” of room types and prices built into their profile. Very clever and handy for guests.
 
I learned a lot from this discussion. Tried contacting Casa Fernanda a few weeks ago to make a reservation. Could not get WhatsApp to dial. I continually tried to send a text. I finally went to Airplane mode and made the call using WIFI and booked a reservation. The next day I decided to switch to an esim to free up the slot for a sim in Portugal. Tried using WIFI with the esim and could not make a call. I guess that changed a lot of things and had to get AT&T to make changes to my account to get it to work. Made another call to a different place in Spain a few days later and now it is working. Goes to show if you make a change you should test before you travel.
 
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