I wanted to share a tidbit of knowledge I have with all of our small business owners and employees out there. Entrepreneurs and self employed folks should listen in as well. I can’t imagine any of us have money to throw away these days and no one wants to give their money away to their cell phone company for no reason but when you travel abroad you may be doing just that. I hear all to often about friends and family returning from a trip outside the US with astronomical cell phone bills and nearly every single time it’s because they were roaming and didn’t realize their phones were sucking up data every minute of every day they were turned on. I’ve read that as much as 42% of people just turn their cell phones off all together and won’t use them when abroad. I don’t think I think I could survive if I wasn’t able to use my phone for more then a few days and especially when traveling.
I don’t have any of my own statistical data to share with you but here’s what I know from my experience, when I’ve used my iPhone or my Android phones I generally use over 130mb of data per month, I’ve even topped out at over 1gig a few times. That’s a lot of use on a small device but my good friend Sahas over at SkatterTech.com told me a few months back that Android devices using Google Maps can consume as much as 1mb of data per minute. That’s a lot when you’re paying $20/mb roaming over seas while navigating to your next meeting or IMing with an employee. On the other hand when I was using a BlackBerry I was usually using around 35mb of data per month. Now I’m not a math genius but clearly if you wanted to save money on data roaming you would use a BlackBerry. I have been a fan of the devices for a long time and our very own CEO uses one himself. I know a lot of travelers prefer them over any other possibly more hip or popular platform for many reasons including battery life and the stellar email experience. Personally when I travel abroad I use a BB as my main device with my primary sim in it. I need to know that my wife or associates can reach me even after a long day of travel or meetings and still have enough battery to have a conversation with them. I also need to know that I won’t spend an arm and a leg on data roaming.
So my tidbit of knowledge is to buy or borrow a BlackBerry if you don’t already have one (make sure it will work at your destinations and it’s unlocked) and use it when you’re abroad. Save your self and your company a lot of money by singing up for an international data roaming package (about $25 for 50mb/month) and enjoy. By the way if you set our Phone.com Mobile Office app to Call Back mode in the Settings you may also save money because it generally costs less to receive calls then to make them when traveling abroad. We initiate the call, use a smidgen of data and call you’re phone right back and save you on the outgoing call. On my last trip to England I probably saved myself at least $100 by using my BlackBerry and my travel expenses were much less then they could have been allowing me to travel again much sooner.