Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Thoughts from abroad

I've just returned from a 5-week working holiday meeting new and prospective asbestos customers and partners in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

It is the longest time I've worked abroad and I learnt a lot - here are some tips which may be useful for you too:

  • before I went, I bought a 3 PAYG SIM and put £15 of credit on it.  With the new 3 "Feel at Home" deal (see http://www.three.co.uk/) that got me unlimited data and virtually unlimited calls and texts to the UK while I was away.  Unbelievable deal, saved me a fortune
  • make the most of the time differences - it is a pain being out of sync with the UK but you can also use it your advantage by doing preparatory work out of hours so UK staff are constantly busy
  • there is free WiFi almost everywhere now, even in the remotely places it seems.  The 3 deal, above, sorted my smartphone but I still needed to find WiFi for my laptop but almost everywhere I travelled I could find free WiFi in hotels, bars and airports
  • my mobile auto-switched time-zones but I decided to keep my laptop in UK time so that I always knew at-a-glance what time it was in our main office and so that customers receiving emails from me would see UK times on them
  • not all airlines and aeroplanes are the same!  We usually fly Emirates when we go out to our Adelaide office but this time flew Cathay Pacific and the experience wasn't nearly as good
  • I bought a £17 pair of noise cancelling headphones from Amazon (see this link) before flying out and they made the long flights so much more bearable.  Obviously they weren't as good as a Bose pair for £300 but they did the job just nicely
  • make the most of the cloud for backing up photos and important documents.  Most of our key company documents are now in Google Drive for example and I could read and edit these from my laptop or my phone knowing that the updates were safe and constantly saved and backed up.
Hope those tips help if you are travelling and working abroad soon.

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