Files on the Go: Mobile File Management for the Busy Traveler

Mobile File Management for the Busy Traveler Live Work Anywhere

Mobile File Management for the Busy Traveler Live Work Anywhere

About two years ago I was introduced to two file sharing services have that saved my life: Box.net and Dropbox.com (formerly GetDropbox). As a traveler, I’ve had to deal with countless number of files lost after computers hard drives simply crashed. If it wasn’t that, I had to deal with laptops being stolen, or even external hard drives going bad (or, honestly, going out of date!) Then I found Dropbox.

Dropbox is a service that allows you to store your files online.  I pay for their 50 gig service, which runs me only about $100 a year. Much better than having to replace laptops and external storage drives, and I never have to worry about anything going out of date.

Best of all, with Dropbox, you can synchronize your folders online with your local folders. It’s a seamless experience!  You use your folders like you normally would, then when you connect to the Internet everything syncs  up to the server and stored automatically.  If your laptop is stolen, as mine was, you can en-sync that computer just by going onto the website.

Why wasn’t this invented sooner? It’s breath of fresh air! You can get Dropbox here—you’ll be helping me out by giving me extra storage if you sign up using my link, and you get more than the average amount of space for accepting my invite. Another reason to love Dropbox—a great affiliate program.

Box.net is another great service I use, but it’s less suitable for the independent traveler and more so for the corporate group looking to share files.  There’s no desktop component (as of this writing).  The biggest plus to using Box.net, in my opinion, are its easily shareable links to files.  As a company, we store information both on Dropbox and Box.net. Both handle information in a way that is accessible, editable and secure. We can even share the information with others we work with outside of the company.

The shift to mobile file storage makes it possible to be working from a desktop computer in an internet cafe in Argentina, from your iPhone in NYC, or your laptop in Seattle… and stay on top of it all. It’s so important to have a virtual file system in place!

What are your favorite tools to use to manage files while traveling?

VoIP and Text for iPhone?

This article has been updated. See: https://liveworkanywhere.com/tools/can-i-text-via-sms-using-your-cell-phone-overseas-to-text

I love the iPhone and just got the latest 3Gs. Heaven! Almost…

When traveling I paid $60/month just to keep my number with AT&T and rarely used the number. As long as you can get connected with wifi, you should be able to use:

VoIP
Text

What are some of the services that exist? Let’s take a look:

VoIP –
Skype
> Does not offer service for 3G, this is disturbing to me, I hope they have a release announcement soon!
TruPhone
Fring

Text –
TextFree
> Costs $5.99 for full version and sends texts to/from email
Google Voice
> Not an app and not yet listed in Google Apps for iPhone but promising from-web texting

So, in the hopefully near future, the iPhone will be able to be used strictly with wifi connections – no more expensive phone plans and international calling plans!

Best Phone for International Travel

liveworkanywhere best phone international travel tmobile

Best Phone for International Travel

Taking your cell phone abroad historically has been a real hassle.  For all the advancements our society has managed, stepping over an international border still has rendered many of us lost, communication-wise.  That’s why I wanted to share my advice on the best phone for international travel so you can continue to travel without the hassle.

Depending on your plan, carrier, and device, you stand to face several challenges that you might not be aware of until arriving overseas. Having a nonfunctioning phone in a different country can be annoying at best and dangerous at worst. Travel is part of my life and business, so the uncertainty of cell phone functionality is something that had plagued me for years, but all that stopped when I realized something.

None of it was necessary.

All the worry and bother of messing with airplane mode and wi-fi, switching SIM cards, dead zones and insanely high cell phone bills was avoidable. All I had to do was change to my phone plan. And so I did just that.

About five years ago, I moved to T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan from the AT&T plan that I’d kept for 12 years prior. There were a couple of things that played a factor in my decision and the main points were:

  1. T-Mobile plan had no monthly contracts.
  2.  T-Mobile plan had an international plan that included traveling abroad.
  3. T-Mobile’s International plan allowed seamless access in over 150 countries.

Not too long ago, if you wanted to have cell phone connectivity in another country, you needed to purchase a phone and/or SIM card once you arrived. Due to the fact that GSM and TDMA networks often require different phones, switching out SIM cards was not as easy as it is with international phone plans.

I considered the dual SIM feature available on some phones, but stumbling across T-Mobile’s international plan made it to where I did not need to invest in this.

Plan Details

While I started out with T-Mobile’s Simple Choice month-to-month plan, I was eventually grandfathered into the newer T-Mobile One plan, which includes these features:

  • $70 for one line, $80 for one line on ONE Plus
  • Unlimited 3G hotspot, 10GB of 4G LTE on ONE Plus
  • Both have unlimited text and talk to Canada/Mexico
  • Standard definition video quality, High definition video quality on ONE Plus
  • Unlimited text/talk/data in the US, Mexico, and Canada
  • Free Netflix service and streaming capabilities
  • In-flight texting and 1 hour of data on GoGo-enabled flights
  • Mobile hotspot data

Why It’s the Best Phone for International Travel 

T-Mobile offers the best features for abroad travelers being that this plan has automatic coverage in more than 150 countries around the globe. It comes with unlimited international data coverage and texting, and the prepaid plan has call options as low as $0.25 per minute. T-Mobile plans are compatible with most phones, either GSM or TDMA and customers don’t have to switch out SIM cards or buy a new phone every time they visit a new country.

All of these features are available with no monthly contract, overage fees, termination fees, or hidden charges. Customers can keep their original mobile numbers as an added convenience (can you even imagine the hassle of changing a cell phone number these days?).
Comparing Other Carriers
T-Mobile was compared with several other carriers in 280 major markets, with emphasis on its map coverage and reliability scores. It earned a whopping 95.1% coverage and reliability score with very dependable coverage in urban areas around the world.

Though there are not many, the weak points should be noted. Rural area coverage is slightly less dependable than urban coverage and data can be throttled after 26GB.

AT&T

AT&T has two international plans available, Unlimited Choice and Unlimited Choice Plus which have received a 96.3% coverage and reliability rating. Unlimited Choice starts at $60 for one line and includes standard definition video quality, no mobile hotspot data, and unlimited text/talk to Canada and Mexico.

Unlimited Choice Plus is slightly more pricey at $90 for one line, but it includes high definition video quality, 10GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot, and unlimited text/talk to Canada and Mexico.

Verizon

Verizon Wireless also has two international plan options, Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited which have received a 97.5% coverage and reliability score. Go Unlimited starts at $75 for one line and includes standard definition video quality. It also includes 600 Gbps mobile hotspot and does not include free text/talk to Canada and Mexico.

Beyond Unlimited starts at $85 for one line, comes with high definition video quality and 15GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot. Beyond Unlimited also includes free text/talk to Canada and Mexico.

Sprint

Sprint has one international plan, the Unlimited Freedom plan which has received a coverage and reliability score of 93.9%. The plan starts at $60 for one line, includes high definition video quality, 10GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot and unlimited text/talk to Canada and Mexico.

Considering the features available through T-Mobile in and out of the United States, I would personally rank the plan’s value for the price at 9/10 and 9.5/10 when it comes to coverage and speed.

In addition to the features and savings available with T-Mobile’s international plan, customers do not have to call their provider before traveling, and these services are priced with no credit check necessary. Should you incur any issues during your travels, T-Mobile staff provides excellent customer service and tech support.

Conclusion

We are moving toward a borderless world in which we can communicate using our cell phones.  Just hopping off the plane our phone carriers now switch automatically over to partner networks.  For local service in the US, there are many options that offer international calling plans but in my opinion T-Mobile is the best phone for international travel.

Skype versus Google Voice International Calling

Skype vs. Google Voice International Calling

One of the benefits, to me – now living back in the US, is Google Voice. US numbers only, I can call from my cell phone or landline and get low international rates:

https://www.google.com/support/voice/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=141925

If I’m international, I can call my Skype using my Skype to Go number, then dial my Google Voice for 2 cents/minute and make international calls also for as low as 2 cents/minute. So calling London might now cost 4 cents/min versus 20-40 cents/min.

I haven’t tried this yet and I’m guessing the VoIP quality is not great, but in theory, it works!

Google Voice also announces the cost of the call before it makes it, sweet!