Most business owners or executives need to travel for business at one time or another. You can stay connected and productive during your trip, but only if your bring the technology you’ll need to achieve that. Here’s what you should include on your packing list:
1. Power adapters: Canada and the U.S. are on a 120-volt system, but most other countries are not. Before you travel, check Wikipedia’s article on electricity systems by country and make sure you get an adapter for the country(ies) you’ll be visiting. Most kits come with multiple adapters, so you can buy one kit and use it for future trips.
2. 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.
3. A roaming and data package: Most mobile providers charge hugely for roaming and data when you travel outside Canada. I have seen people come back with cell bills of more than $1,000. Call ahead and get a travel plan to save money.
4. An 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, 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.
5. WiFi or hardwire: Don’t take it for granted that every hotel has WiFi or internet service. Find out when you book a room 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’ll need to ensure that you have an ethernet port on your laptop to connect.
6. A list of censored websites: Some countries block access to certain websites. Before you travel, determine what you can and can’t access. One of the most prevalent places for online censorship is China. The “Great Firewall of China” blocks more than 2,500 websites, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Before you travel, you can check at Great Firewall of China to see whether sites you’ll want to access in China will work. Other countries also block some sites or censor certain types of content. Check the rules before you travel at Wikipedia’s article on Internet censorship by country.
7. A foreign exchange calculator: XE, a provider of online foreign exchange tools, 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 that use historical exchange rates and account for hidden foreign exchange charges.
9. 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.
10. Two other recommended apps: City Maps 2Go (provided by Ulmon) for iPhone/iPad and Android, which are maps that work offline without incurring data charges; and Tripit.com, a travel itinerary planner and organizer.
This column is reposted with the permission of Business in Vancouver, which posted it originally on biv.com.
Cybele Negris is president and co-founder of Vancouver-based Webnames.ca Inc., Canada’s original .ca registrar and one of the country’s leading providers of web hosting and other internet solutions. She has been on the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs for the past nine years.
More columns by Cybele Negris