5 Things You Don’t Know About International Travel

International Travel

As the CEO and founder of a worldwide transportation network, I spend roughly half of my waking day speaking with airport car service clients and corporate travel planners.  As a byproduct of this hectic schedule, I’ve learned a few savvy tips and tricks  for making your travel experiences easier. From watching the entire last season of “Breaking Bad” to learning how to call outside of a foreign country for free!  Here’s five guarded travel tips gathered from discerning and seasoned business travellers, that I’ve put together just for you

You Can access your Netflix Account While Traveling Abroad.

Additionally you should be able to view Hulu and HBO Go, browse Pandora Radio or checkout your Facebook status in China. You’ll need one thing- a VPN. This is also known as a “Virtual Private Network,” and what it accomplishes is simple and amazing!  It allows you to route your Internet traffic through a network with a distinct IP address, mirroring your network back home in The USA, while you’re browsing away in a train in Berlin.

Hide My Ass! (Yes that’s really the name) and Strong VPN are two reputable and cost effective VPN options, they start at $6.55 per monthly use.

Once you’re logged in, you’ll have a fair access to numerous global servers. Getting set up is a cinch and both VPN services have top notch 24-hour customer service hotlines. Any of the aforementioned VPNs are compatible with a tablet, smartphone or laptop.

You Can Call the States for Free

T-Mobile has one of the best coverage options for international travellers; it’s a closely guarded secret they’d rather you not know about.  You can bet that they won’t publicize that all international calls made over a Wi-Fi connection are free. Like, totally free. You can forget about data or roaming charges altogether.

Calls are made using Wi-Fi connect with a UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) network.-this kind of works in the same way as the VPN.  What a UMA does is give the caller using the Wi-Fi a separate and standalone IP access to T-Mobile’s core network.  This essentially mirrors the same type of wireless connection made in the United States.

As a matter of plain stated fact-Mobile, hands down, has one of the best overseas data plan. Unlimited email access can be had for a monthly fee of $19.99-not bad!   Unfortunately the use of Twitter and Facebook is not included in this plan.  But honestly once you get the hang of the Wi-Fi and UMA network you can freely surf the web browser and log into any and all social media apps.

Electronic Pick-Pocketing is On the Rise

Tech savvy thieves are now using what’s known as RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) “skimming”.  RFIDs are really just the condensed radio frequency chips that hold all the data contained in your passports, credit cards and other personal identification cards that have a magnetic stripe.  Snatching that data is easy as pie for some of these thieves. The majority of them stroll around with a portable card reader and briskly walk by or ‘bump’ you in a crowded place.

I have heard a personal story of one  executive whose data was snatched while travelling,  only to find his bank accounts drained, within hours. Pickpocket hotspots include shopping malls, train stations and busy hubs like airports.

The best defense is a personal offense: Think about shopping around for a RFID-Anti Theft wallet or personal carrying case. Some travel specialists recommend PacSafe’s anti-theft RFIDtec 150 RFID blocking passport case.

Forget About the Power Converter.

I can’t tell you how many times I get asked about adaptor plugs for different countries, and if one needs to invest in a converter. Here’s the bottom line. Today, almost all up to date electronic gadgets come with a built in power charger as part of the adapter.  Yes that includes iPhones, tablets and cameras as well as almost all smartphone models.

What you will need however is what’s called a travel plug adapter. Different countries use different kinds of plugs. In Eastern Europe, there’s these distinct looking round two headed prongs. In England there’s those square shaped three-pronged plugs. Just remember to do some homework before you travel overseas, and find out what kind of travel plug adapter you’ll need. I personally recommend Kensington International travel plug adapter.

The only instance when you will you need a power converter is when using appliances that use an inordinate amount of wattage; hair curling irons, blow dryers or Norelco type shavers.  Honestly, you’ll thank me later for purchasing these items abroad; You can save yourself a whole lot of headaches and possible socket meltdowns!

Download the App for That

Need some useful sentences in Japanese? Personal travel recommendations from a local guide   Underground subway schedules?  There’s probably an app for that. Seriously

It’s a wise choice to by contextually specific travel apps for your destination city  before you travel abroad. Some of my favorites include: mapswithme (for offline downloadable navigation), currency (for up to date exchange rates) and worldmate (for everything from flight updates to travel itineraries)

Smart Apps  don’t hog up too much memory and many are free. The paid apps are often the best investment you can make when you find yourself in a jam in a foreign land.