Tips for traveling with digital devices

Susan Bradley

Taking a multi-week trip out of the country takes careful planning. Making sure you can use the technology you take with you, even more.

Gone are the days when we vacationed without our phones and portable PCs. Now they’re as essential as shorts and sandals.

Planning for overseas communications

I do a fair amount of traveling within the U.S. — for business, personal pleasure, and visiting friends. I take it for granted that my digital technology always goes with me. Wherever I am, I can be relatively assured that my smartphone will find a local cell tower and my notebook will find Wi-Fi somewhere nearby.

But this summer, I’m taking an extended trip overseas. I’ll be in places where my phone might not work — a problem that must be solved before I leave. My office and my aging father must be able to contact me in an emergency.

A few years ago, it was almost guaranteed that a U.S.-based cellphone wouldn’t work overseas. However, newer phones, such as my iPhone, work internationally. In my case, I just need to call my service provider at least one day before travel begins and have an international plan added to my cellphone plan.

Because international calls can be expensive, I’m also adding a personal Skype phone number. At U.S. $18 for three months or $60 for a year, it will ensure that, no matter where I am, as long as I can get to Skype on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, my father can reach me relatively inexpensively. And Skype will give me a local number so he doesn’t even have to call long-distance.

Of course, Skype-to-Skype calls are a free call, even overseas. So our first mode of regular communication will be at a set time, Skype to Skype, over the Internet.

Make adjustments to your phone before departure

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2013-05-23:

Susan Bradley

About Susan Bradley

Susan Bradley is a Small Business Server and Security MVP, a title awarded by Microsoft to independent experts who do not work for the company. She's also a partner in a California CPA firm.