Posts Tagged ‘Internet access’

Staying connected on vacation

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Well, the vacation season is right around the bend. As we know, the purpose of a vacation is to relax and put the minutiae of your work life on the back burner. Sometimes the latter is not possible. Perhaps there is a client emergency that only you can handle or an important proposal that needs finishing.

Travel to most parts of the US would not pose a problem when attempting to connect to office, cloud or home.

Wifi is widely available so use of your laptop, tablet or cell phone makes contact with the outside world a breeze.

In a 2012 hotel.com survey, hotel guests would prefer Wi-Fi access over all other high end amenities by a wide margin. More than a third of those survey said free Wi-Fi is a must.

And hotels are offering it in increasingly higher numbers.

The InterContinental Hotel chain (Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and others) will be providing free Wi-Fi in all their hotels starting in 2014.

English: Out of season beach of São Vicente, S...

This decision was the result of a survey they conducted about Internet access in March, 2013.  The survey found that 43% of adults surveyed said that they would choose not to stay in a hotel that charged for Internet and 23% of respondents said that free Internet in rooms is the most important amenity a hotel can offer especially for business travel. Paying for Wi-Fi was just behind noisy guests as the most annoying thing when staying at a hotel.

All this is well and good for mostUS travel, but satisfactory connectivity may not be the norm in the paradise you have chosen for your R&R. In fact, a nearby popular vacation destination, Martha’s Vineyard is notorious for its poor cell phone reception. So bad in fact that temporary cell towers had to be erected to guarantee suitable coverage for the presidential entourage during President Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard vacation.

Here are some hints to stay connected:

  1. Find a public internet access point or cybercafé – websites like www.cybercafes.com and www.wififreespot.com can help you pinpoint a location. Of course, you will have to do your homework ahead of time by jotting down sites of public Wi-Fi near your vacation destination. Please Note: Not all public Wi-Fi is free. You can expect to pay up to a few dollars per hour at many of these sites.

 

  1. If you can’t access your existing email account remotely, sign up for a web based email account like Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail. You can set up a ‘rule’ to forward your Outlook email to one of these accounts. http://www.howcast.com/videos/395621-How-to-Redirect-Email-From-Outlook-to-Gmail-or-Hotmail

 

  1. If you wish to use a cell phone on your overseas vacation, there are a few things you should check into before you leave.
    1. Contact your service provider to find out whether you will be able to use your  current devices at your vacation target. For example, my provider, Verizon Wireless has a handy trip planner http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/tripplanner/tripplannercontroller that allows you to enter your destination(s), how you wish to communicate (web, voice, etc) and your device then you are given options for voice rates, global plans, text rates and more. I’m sure Verizon’s major competitors have a similar feature on their websites.
    2. If your device is not compatible with international travel, look into renting a phone. Verizon and AT&T both offer this service for their customers. There are other websites that offer rentals including: cellularabroad.com and travelcell.com. Rates vary according to the device and your destination.
    3. Whether using your own phone or a rental, take time to type frequently called numbers into the memory. These may include emergency contacts, hotels and airlines. Be sure the telephone numbers conform to the international dialing format. Calls to the U.S. should be entered with the prefix “001” followed by the area code and telephone number. Phone calls made abroad will initiate from the local cell provider. For specific information on how to dial to/from any country, check this website: www.howtocallabroad.com .
    4. If you are using a smartphone, turn off the automatic updating and checking email features in order to reduce roaming charges. Instead, update manually when connect to free Wi-fi hotspots.
    5. Be sure to have a power converter if necessary. Not being able to charge your device would be a disappointment.
    6. Stay in touch with Skype. Unlimited North America plans cost only 7.99/month and a Skype Unlimited World subscription costs only 13.99/month and allows unlimited calling to over 60 countries.

 

  1. 4.       Most cruise ships are well-appointed with Internet cafes and Wi-Fi hotspots. But be aware that not all cruise lines are similarly wired. For specifics re: your cruise line visit: www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=45

Be aware that the speed of Internet connections on cruise ships cannot compete with those on land. Also, Internet speeds can vary significantly subject to factors like location and weather conditions. Connection fees can be pricey – from 35 cents and up per minute however most cruise lines offer bulk rate packages for those who need it.

However you decide to stay in touch, make sure you take some time for yourself. Put down or turn off your devices so you can enjoy your vacation, relax and recharge.  That way you come back happier and ready to face the working world head on again! 

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