This is the situation that many of us experience as we approach and enter our 60s. You want to stay in the working world, but also want to travel. You’re in good health and want to experience life and those bucket list experiences before it’s too late. However, you’re not ready to retire and you don’t want to reduce your work or your workload and become marginalized. What are your options?
We have some tips for traveling internationally that can help you stay connected with your business world. You may have to juggle time zones (that 2 a.m. conference call in Australia was a killer), but in the end, you can now travel to exotic and far off locations (such as Antarctica, Australia and China) and still be connected to your work.
Tips to stay connected:
1. Become an App Guru
You don’t want to use a new rented international phone or change your SIM card. Too much trouble and it involves a new phone number. You can use a number of apps to connect with your office and clients without paying those exorbitant roaming charges. Some apps allow you to call a specific phone number, others allow you to call another app.
There are specific apps that allow you to call, text, and send videos or recordings to others that have the same app without SMS —Whats App, Viber, Skype, WeChat, TextNow. These are unlimited and free. If you need to make an urgent conference call when you’re abroad, consider using Skype. It even allows screen sharing and file sharing. A good app to try is Rebtel, which allows you to make free international calls to any mobile device or landline via the app, without the assistance of WiFi. ViberOut also provides users the option to call mobile and landline numbers to people that don’t have the Viber out. The others require you to ask your family members, friends and business associates to download the apps before you go.
Google Voice is great for those travelling in the United States, but if you are travelling internationally, you need to use a “Hangout,” an app that must be downloaded on your phone – and it gets a little complicated. First, you have to set up Google Voice in Google account and then you have to forward your Google Voice account to Google Chat. Your app has to be linked to the Google Voice settings. Lots of steps. But if you do it right, you will receive calls from your U.S. phone number and be able to call when you are abroad. There are a number of tutorials on line that you can follow. This is all done by WiFi so you need to be connected to the internet to dial and receive calls.
2. Use MiFi
We all know that to truly stay connected we also need an internet connection. We know that there are hot spots now in many cities, restaurants and shops, and many hotels offer connectivity without charging. But, sometimes we need to be connected at other locales.
I always travel with a Mifi device that transforms a cellular connection into a Wifi connection. Not only does this allow you to make free internet calls, but it allows you to download cellular data without exorbitant charges from your cellular phone provider. You can rent a device (TEP Wireless and Cello Wireless are two you can rent – cost is about $15 per day for the time used – or you can purchase your own device from SkyRoam. The cost of the device is currently $99.99 on Amazon and you can get 5 global 24 hour passes for $40. I use the device only when internet service is otherwise not available. I can respond to emails when others are napping on a tour bus. Plus, up to five devices can connect. I make great friends…
3. Travel by Cruise Ship
I am amazed at how cruise ships have evolved. They now work hard to accommodate their passengers so they can keep connected to the outside world. There is now Cellular At Sea service on most ships. Although there is a cost per minute, depending on the contract your service provider has with the cruise line, I still would suggest using one of the other options for cell service and text, if possible, since even the AT&T package on its designated cruise ships is $120 for only 50 minutes of talk, 100 texts, and 100MB of data with steep charges for overages.
Plus, there is generally WiFi connectivity throughout the ship and a functioning business center, with a printer. I have often been able to work easily on a ship and, when pressed, have had them print off documents when needed and bring them to my room. So, this type of service and accommodation is always a good option. I even did this successfully in Antarctica, the Arctic, Greenland, Vietnam, China and other remote locations. So, you can travel to places where you otherwise would not expect to have access. I will admit that sometimes the internet connectivity can be spotty or slow. But, it is no different than a bad day at the office.
4. Be Selective About Your Service Provider
I know some people who just bite the bullet and pay the freight to have access when traveling from their service provider. AT&T is now offering a $10 international day pass for talk, text and data to over 100 countries. This is much better than the former World Traveler Plan and current AT&T Passport, which have a monthly rate and data charges if you don’t use the WiFi global app. There is a catch, though. If you have apps running in the background that use data, you will be charged the daily fee. T-Mobile has always had very progressive international travel plans. They are now offering unlimited 4G LTE data and texting in 140 countries at no extra cost for $100 per month. But, again, you need to check if there are additional data charges for using apps.
There are options for all and tips for traveling internationally. You need to consider those choices, given your needs for connectivity and the costs associated with the connectivity. I, for one, have found ways to travel where I can stay connected without spending a fortune. To me it is a win/win. Travel is fun, as long as I know I can stay in touch, meet my client’s needs, and not break the bank.
Now that you can remain connected, learn how to get a deal on luxury cruises.