Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tech Checklist When Traveling Overseas

[Yi Chen wrote this guest post on behalf of MNUI, a travel insurance company. I invited Yi to share her experiences on my blog, mainly because she has traveled a lot around Asia. Since she comes from a pure technology background, I asked her to provide a comprehensive tech checklist of what to do before traveling overseas. For example, backing up documents in Dropbox, sussing out Wi-Fi hotspots, and insuring your devices. You might also want to check out her blog, "My Several Worlds".]

Organizing travel plans can be a stressful experience, especially when it comes to what to pack. No matter how many times we do a mock pack run-through, we always tend to accidentally leave something behind. When it comes to the technology side of things, it's probably something we least care about. Hopefully this list provides helpful hints for your future travels. 

Online Travel Registration

This one is always overlooked but probably an important aspect if you're traveling to a country that's on high security alert. Register your travel itinerary and details with the government to receive information updates from the embassy in an emergency situation. There's Smartraveller (Australian citizens), LOCATE (British citizens), and Travel Registration (U.S. citizens).

Highlight Expensive Gadgets in Your Travel Insurance

Thoroughly check your travel insurance policy and see what's covered under your plan. Chances are, you probably need to pay extra to insure items like your laptop, camera equipment, smartphone, and other pricey gadgets.

Back Up Important Documents

With important documents like your travel itinerary, insurance policies, and scanned copies of your passport, you might like to have a virtual copy of everything. I ensure that these documents are password protected and have them on Dropbox. That way, I can access them whenever and wherever there's a computer and Internet. If you're going to a more remote destination, you might want to keep these documents on a USB storage drive.

Fully Charge Your Devices

Make sure all your devices are fully charged before you leave for the airport. A lot of public locations don't offer power points. There's nothing worse than needing to access your phone, camera, or laptop after a long flight to have it depleted of battery life.

Check Voltage and Plugs

It's highly unlikely that your current plug would be compatible with the power outlet overseas. If you are traveling to various locations (or if you are a frequent flyer), it's probably worth paying the extra and getting yourself a travel power adapter and converter.

Set up a Skype account

Calling home from overseas isn't cheap if you're using a prepaid card or on roaming. If you're expecting to make a lot of calls, set up a Skype account and add value to it. This is great if you have a smartphone where you can download the Skype application. That way, anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection, you can make cheap calls straight from your phone.

Research on Wi-Fi Hotspots

If you're heading to a big city, chances are that there will be a few Wi-Fi hotspots you can utilize. Do a quick search on sites like wififreespot.com, openwifispots.com, and wi-fihotspotlist.com. Also take a look at local telecom services that might offer inexpensive once-off or short-term Wi-Fi access. If you're traveling to the U.S., you might like to check out Boingo. For a small amount, you can have unlimited Wi-Fi access at major restaurants, hotels, cafes, and airports.

1 comment:

Cherrye at My Bella Vita said...

Hi Yi! This is such a useful post. I think so many of us focus on the non-tech items we need to pack, like socks, shoes, sweaters ... and kinda think about our technology needs at the last second.

I think #1 on your list is VITAL! My husband is Italian and to enter the US, I think he has to register once every two years?!? I'm thinking ... . Anyway, we keep a printout of his registration in the front zipper of our carry on so we ALWAYS have it with us. It is one of those ever-so-important things that you could easily forget!