Savvy business travelers can appreciate the sheer importance of staying connected during a business trip. However, staying connected encompasses a wide range of needs and considerations, which can include making sure you use an encrypted internet connection and even just keeping your devices charged and safe.
Here we’ve put together a useful list of 7 tips and tools you can use to stay in communication while traveling for work.
1. Find your go-to free calling and messaging app
There are lots of apps you can use in lieu of expensive international calling in order to stay in touch with the folks back home. The Skype app lets you make calls – voice and video – to other users around the world for free. Some rates apply if you’re calling someone who isn’t a Skype user, but it’s usually a small price to pay compared to international rates. Google Hangouts also provides a similar service, including free group voice and video calls.
Whatsapp is a widely popular messaging app that encrypts all messages, phone calls, photos, and videos exchanged on its latest version. Similarly, China’s WeChat is a free messaging app used by over half a billion people.
2. Purchase a traveling SIM card
Using your smartphone when you’re overseas can incur some massive roaming charges when you get back home. However, replacing your phone’s SIM card can help alleviate some of that cost while giving you the full range of functions. A TravelSim is a SIM card you can purchase in advance of your trip with known rates. This means you won’t be so surprised when the bill comes after your business trip, and you won’t have to worry about staying connected on the road.
3. Manage and update your contacts
Staying connected isn’t just about making sure your phone’s charged or you have secure access: your business contacts also need to be current. In the business world, jobs and titles and positions change along with emails and phone numbers. How are you supposed to stay connected when your contact information is out-of-date?
Some of the best apps for productive business travel help keep your contact up-to-date with little to no effort on your part. Circleback, a self-updating contact information hub, is one example. My Contacts Backup is another great contact management app that backs up all your contact data in one tap. It sends contacts in an email backup that’s perfect for restoring contacts in the event that something happens to your phone.
4. Keep your devices charged
Be on the lookout for any available outlets whether you’re in your hotel room or in the lobby of the business you are visiting. Having a mobile power supply on hand would also be wise in case you aren’t near any outlets. The Tzumi Pocket Juice is a rechargeable power bank that allows for up to 10 hours of talk time. It’s compatible with iPhones, Androids, tablets, and more.
Another great way to keep your devices charged while you’re out and about is to find an airport lounge. Brent Griffith, co-founder of LoungeBuddy, explains how “LoungeBuddy helps business travelers escape the stress of the terminal into their own ‘office at the airport’, where they can relax, grab some drinks/food, enjoy faster WiFi, take a private call, recharge their devices, and get work done.”
5. Use a VPN
When you do business in another country, it’s imperative that you do it on a safe and secure connection. Approximately, $160 billion to $480 billion in trade secrets are lost each year to internet hacking. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a great way to secure your connection.
“Public WiFi hotspots, although very convenient, are nearly always unsecured or have shared passwords, leaving individuals surfing over them vulnerable to credit card and online identity theft. With a VPN, business travelers can enjoy peace of mind and browse safely, securely and anonymously with a single click,” says Karen Mesoznik, inbound marketing manager at SaferVPN.
6. Access your documents
During your business travels, you may need to keep up with documentation back home. Thankfully, there’s an app to help you stay connected and access your documents. Docs to Go gives you access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe PDF files on your mobile device. The app also has easy to use editing and formatting options, and its feature called InTact Technology preserves your formatting even when changes are made to the document.
7. Keep track of your laptop and phone
Some of the best travel gadgets help to keep the electronics you depend on for communication safe, like the DEFCON® CL Laptop Computer Cable Lock for example. This combination lock anchors your laptop with 6 feet of vinyl coated, coiled, galvanized steel cable.
Or, if your laptop is stolen or you’ve simply misplaced it, the Stick-N-Find Bluetooth® Location Tracker can help you find it quickly. Just attach it to your laptop or place it in the carrying case and you can track it using your phone. For Mac users, there’s also the Find My iPhone app to help you locate your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac computer if any of these are stolen or misplaced.
Stay connected with Upside’s Navigators
At Upside, we know staying connected with your business travel provider, in the event of an emergency or travel changes, is another important way to have a successful business trip. That’s why if you need travel assistance during your business trip, Upside offers a number of ways for you to connect with our expert business travel Navigators, including phone, email, chat, and social media.