Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 08 2013

How to Keep Your Cell Costs Low When Traveling Abroad

By Michelle Crowley, Manager, Global Development

Meetings are making their way to new places. Business opportunities are popping up in emerging markets. As more planners and suppliers adopt an international outlook for the future, it’s clear that this is a borderless industry.

SEE ALSO: Kristin Mirabal’s Tips for Attracting a Global Audience

However, those borders are still very clearly defined when it comes to paying to stay connected. I’m on the go quite a bit for my work at PCMA, and when I first started, I fell into the trap of paying some crazy per-minute mobile rates. Luckily, I’ve learned my lessons as my travels have continued, and I’ve figured out how to keep my costs low.

Last week, I stumbled on an article from Jess Fee at Mashable with some valuable tips for ensuring that you or your accounting department don’t receive a massive bill once you arrive home. Click here to read Fee’s full take.

My Take on Cost Controls for the Meeting Planning Globetrotter

For the most part, I agree with Fee’s advice, particularly using Wi-Fi whenever you can. If you’re in a session room or a hotel room, be sure to hook your phone up to the Wi-Fi signal to guarantee that you won’t discover those nasty surprise charges. When it comes to making actual calls, I use Skype. You can get a full view of minute rates based on where you’re calling here.

When it comes to texting, my go-to app is called WhatsApp. It’s a messenger service that lets you exchange text messages without paying SMS charges. If you’ll be trading texts with peers and colleagues at a meeting, I recommend determining who you’ll be communicating with most frequently and asking them to download it, too. You’ll both save yourself some costly headaches.

One piece of advice for anyone whose travels take them to a wide range of places: buying an international SIM card may not be efficient. Since I’m always traveling to new places and I don’t typically stay in those places for an extended period of time, one country-specific SIM won’t do the trick for me.

Looking for more international insights? Here are five useful PCMA resources to help you understand where your next wave of attendees might be waiting, how to connect with them and which hoteliers are unveiling new accommodations for them? 

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