Most business owners or executives need to travel for business at one time or another. You can stay connected and productive during your trip.
Power adapters: Canada and the U.S. are on a 120-volt system, but most other countries are not. Before you travel, check en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country and make sure you get an adapter for the country you are going to. Most kits come with multiple adapters, so you can buy one kit and use it for future trips.
Multiple devices: When you travel, you run the risk of a device being lost, stolen or damaged. Bring your phone, laptop and tablet and a backup if possible. Don’t forget power cords and chargers for all your devices. Remember a power bar, particularly if you have only one adapter, and your headset or ear buds.
Roaming and data package: Most mobile providers charge hugely for roaming and data when you travel outside of your country. I have seen people come back with cell bills over $1,000. Call ahead and get a travel plan to save money.
Alternative to text messaging: Most mobile providers will charge you for SMS (short message service) or text messaging. Even with a travel plan, you may be limited to a set number of text messages. I recommend downloading WhatsApp Messenger (www.whatsapp.com), which allows you to exchange messages across iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows phone and Nokia without having to pay for SMS. It uses the same Internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing.
WiFi or hardwire: Don’t take it for granted that every hotel has WiFi or Internet. Find out when you book if the cost of Internet is included or how much the extra charge is. If the cost is astronomical, you might want to choose other accommodations or ask Siri on your iPhone where the nearest Internet hotspot is. WeFi.com helps locate and manage WiFi for Android or PC/netbook. Some hotels might not have WiFi at all, so you will need to ensure you have an ethernet port on your laptop to connect.
Beware of censorship: Some countries block access to certain websites. Before you travel, determine what you can and can’t access. One of the most prevalent places of Internet censorship is China. The “Great Firewall of China” blocks more than 2,500 websites, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You can check at www.GreatFireWallofChina.org before you travel to see if the site you want to access will work. Other countries also block some sites or censor certain types of content. Check the rules before you travel at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_by_country.
Foreign exchange calculator: XE offers a suite of tools for calculating currency conversion for 85 of the world’s top currencies. It also has tools to calculate travel expenses by using historical exchange rates and accounting for hidden foreign exchange charges: www.xe.com/tools.php.
Easy tracking of travel expenses: Numerous tools like JustTheBill.com (a Canadian company) and Expensify allow you to record receipts with a camera phone and later export to an expense report.
Backups and hard copies: As great as technology is today, it can still fail. If you have an important meeting or presentation, always bring a copy on a USB flash drive and a hard copy.
Other recommended apps:
- Citymaps2go.com for iPhone/iPad and Android: maps that work offline without incurring data charges; and
- Tripit.com: travel itinerary planner and organizer. •