I have to travel for my company a lot and I love it, as long as I can get a WiFi connection wherever I am going.
You wonder why I say that well, let me show you.
Once I find out, I am going abroad I bone up on the city and country. Take Guangzhou for example. (Yep my company is one of those multinationals).
I get my cell phone changed over to work in the country. Luckily, China is running 3G networks which means it’s easy for me to take my cell phone and get a new SIM card for a local network. Next, I make sure my computer’s WiFi is playing nicely. I plug in to my network at home for faster speeds, so a quick trip to my local McDonald’s is a great place to test it a few weeks out from the trip.
I test it again the airport when I arrive for my flight, and to get a bit more work done while I wait to board. Most airports have a number of areas with power to charge your laptops and cells and they also have WiFi throughout the Airport. I contact my hosts in my destination via the Internet, to remind them that I am on my way. I don’t use my cell until I hit China and that is for local calls. Roaming Charges will kill you.
I have installed QQ International. It is one of the largest person-to-person communication software packages on the planet. I also have WeChat and Line – two new apps that are rapidly taking over from all other forms of personal communication. Even Facebook is in danger of being superseded. I also have Facebook loaded on my Laptop. Like I said before my cell is only for local use once I get there.
Another couple of things I have on my laptop are a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Because many countries now limit access to the Internet. China is one of them, the same holds true for many countries in The Middle-East too. I hear even Australia is looking to put up a countrywide firewall similar to China’s Great Firewall. I am also carrying a token fob from my bank, which lets me do online banking safely. I also have a Paypal account set up to transfer money, as it is universal all over the world.
When I arrive in Guangzhou I retrieve my luggage and change some my currency over to RMB. (Hint only change a little at the airport, the exchange rates are much higher). I could do it at LAX, but last time I did they gave me counterfeit RMB notes which left me out of pocket. In China everywhere are currency scanners so you can check your cash and see if it is legit. I next fire up my laptop, and hunt for the WIFI in the Airport. It too is free. But, in China you have to have a cell phone number. I switch my cell over to my second SIM chip. Either which I have bought in Chinatown in the states or I buy at the Airport. I use its number to get me into the WIFI network.
I can connect to my Facebook and bank via VPN. I let my boss Know I have arrived and my hosts that I am there as well. Their cell phones have QQ installed though now most are switching to WeChat and Line. I am now just waiting to get picked up. So I wander over to the McDonald’s and have breakfast. The world is so small now!