I’ve been in Vietnam for the last ten days or so, visiting our Lift9 team and taking in the beautiful beach at Hoi An. That’s why I haven’t posted in awhile – yeah right. I’ve posted a few photo albums on Posterous, one of the fabulous Thi Nhan restaurant in Hoi An that was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and another one of a fantastic seafood dinner that the Lift9 team had in Ho Chi Minh City. I’ll be posting another big one of Hoi An when I get home.
Anyhow, I figured out a few good travel tips on this trip, although they will probably go further in describing my ignorance rather than sharing anything that seasoned travelers don’t know. Traveling overseas can be difficult on communications based on distance, time zones, and costs. I learned a few things about improving communications that I wanted to share.
Tip 1 – In my effort to avoid the usurious international data roaming rates that At&T charges ($20/MB), I typically keep my iPhone on airplane mode rather than than changing all of the push settings. Whenever I used the wifi, I would turn airplane mode off and go wifi. Of course, in the past this created a couple of mishaps when the wifi didn’t really kick in, but the international data roaming did. Last trip to Vietnam was an expensive 2 minute charge on a layover in Tokyo, for example. So imagine my surprise when I tried the wifi with the phone still in airplane mode…and it worked! From now on, airplane mode is always on, with wi-fi.
Tip 2 – I use Skype to communicate back home, making PC to PC calls (or with the iPhone app). It’s a great service and free. This trip I had to participate on a conference call, so figured I’d try Skype’s paid VOIP service for calling land lines. Of course, the process of purchasing Skype credit was arduous with Skype’s agent, Moneybookers. It seemed like they would throw up any security road blocks they could to inhibit my ability to purchase. After finally setting up my account, Skype worked like a charm. I called home and elsewhere for peanuts! And no more 30 minute setup times at home while my family would get things ready. I know my wife prefers it this way. I even got a Skype online number!
These tips have certainly made keeping in touch and communicating from overseas so much easier. What tools and tips do you use when you’re traveling internationally to ease your communications?