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Manager & Procurement Series

For anyone who has to travel, staying in the loop and knowing what’s going down has now become the number one skill for any executive assistant, CFO or procurement manager.

On one hand, it’s a lot easier these days: that’s why smart phones were invented. It’s a real asset for anyone who needs to check their emails every 20 minutes, popping into Facebook and Twitter or Instagram.

But taking a smartphone on an international business trip gets complicated and expensive, particularly if you don't have a company phone set up for international travel.

So what are the best ways to manage it?

Here are 6 tips to help you when you travel next.

Go local

Depending on the country and provider, a new local SIM card costs next to nothing. It’s also a good idea to check what kind of plan you’re on. With SIM cards, there are plans and there are plans. You can get pre-paid plans for voice, for text, for data or a combination of all three. So if you only want to be online to check out Facebook, Twitter, Instagram a few pictures or chat with people on WhatsApp, then just go for a data plan for a few GB. On the other hand, if you need to check your email, and talk to people back home, go for the full package. And remember, different phones take different-sized SIM cards. You need to know which size your phone takes.

International plans

Most carriers these days have packages for international travellers costing about $10 per day for calls, SMS and data. All that’s required is a call to your carrier and they’re setup on the spot. No fuss at your end as it’s all taken care of at the carriers exchange.

Messages

To save money on texting, connect with people on WhatsApp or Google Hangouts

Research

Before you travel anywhere, research the carriers in the countries you’re visiting. Talk to people who have been there for any period of time. They’ll have a better idea of things like prices and service levels. Make sure you pick the ones that suit you. They can also give you advice on the best SIM cards.

Mobile routers

These are boxes that do the same thing as your ADSL broadband modem/router at home, but they are compact and can be connected to the hotel’s Internet service. And It’s secure. 

Security

If you’re travelling, it’s a good idea to password protect your laptop, tablet and smartphone. Free Wi-Fi networks do attract hackers.

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