We are able to start thinking about holidays at last and for many that means heading for sunspots abroad.
One benefit of being in the EU was being able to use mobiles across the EU at no extra charge. So we could tweet from the beach for free. Now we are not part of the EU what has changed?
The networks don’t have to give you ‘free’ roaming any more but a check of the major mobile providers (EE, Vodafone, O2 and 3) suggests nothing has changed. If it does, the UK Government has said it will cap charges at £49 a month unless you agree to more. Of course how much £49 would get you is anyone’s guess!
So before venturing away pop to your phone providers site and:
- check the country you are going to is actually in the EU. Norway isn’t and the Canary Islands are sort of, while Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean are French overseas departments and therefore part of the EU! Luckily my provider EE gives me free roaming in all of these.
- look for any lower call or data allowances whilst abroad. It’s usually called ‘fair use’.
- lastly, as things might change, check out the roaming charges.
On my mind at the moment as I’ve just come back. What’s the best way to manage your business while away on holiday.
My first thing is to remember that I’m on holiday! There is no need to be at immediate availability or there is no mental relaxation. Time zones might be another consideration. So I let all my customers know that I’m away and how things are covered in the meantime.
But I don’t want to come back to a crisis and lose all the benefits of the time off. I’ve negotiated that I will spend up to half-an-hour a day, so I need to manage my communications.
These days, phone calls around the EU (which includes some Caribbean islands!) and a few other countries are part of your package and don’t cost a fortune. So you can leave your phone on all the time – but do you really want all those marketing calls when you are by the pool? I divert all my calls direct to voicemail and keep my phone in flight mode to minimise data charges.
I travel light with a phone and a tablet, so have my email accounts set-up on these. Then I find some free or cheap wifi (If you are on a cruise, look for where the crew are all huddled in the terminal!). Free wifi is much more prevalent and in the strangest places. These connections are most often unsecured (especially if you logon via a web page to get the internet), so Virtual Private Networks will keep you safe. So that’s emails covered.
My office and mobile voicemails come to a single account via wifi using an app on my tablet and phone. That means I don’t have to use the phone to listen to my messages and incur charges. I then respond via email or, if urgent, using something like Skype if I’m outside the EU.
So that’s how I keep tabs on things and still have a holiday. Cheers!
We've covered this before but with the holiday season approaching…. Data roaming abroad is expensive, Continue reading Roaming abroad →