Europe’s Volcanic Ash: 8 Mobile Lessons Learned For The Road Warrior

Travel is a basic part of a business professional’s life. Some do it more than others.
Whether you travel from state to state or inter-continental, you need to be ready for disruptions in travel.
I don’t think the travelers with flights scheduled through Europe knew their travel would be interrupted for a few days.
At some point there’s really NOTHING you can do if a major disaster strikes. However, there are many things you can do to be better prepared and be able to do SOMETHING rather than NOTHING and be a step ahead of your competition – who might also be stranded or simply be able to serve the needs of customers.
1. Carry a portable hotspot. I’ve been using Verizon Wireless MiFi which works quite well. Sprint and AT&T have them as well. It’s a small plastic wafer than enables you and a few others to have a WiFi connection. The device connects to the Internet via wireless broadband.
2. Keep a high definition web cam with you. The web cams built into your notebook are fine, but for better picture clarity a high def camera is best. I’ve been using one from Tandberg and it’s lovely. Just make sure your communication software is compatible with it.
3. Power is so important and it’s critical to ensure your mobile devices are charged and if needed ensure you have extra batteries for all, or at least your essential mobile devices. You might also want to carry a portal power strip so you can make ONE electrical socket more than one.

4. Ensure all of your files are backed up to a remote location and you might want to ensure your files are also locally backed up. If your notebook crashes or phone is lost you can access your files on both devices immediately and not wait for the backed up files to download from the Internet or for you to get access to the Internet in an emergency. I find that Carbonite works fine.
5. Ensure you have a variety of communication services available to you and that any fee based services are all paid up. If you need to make an urgent phone call via Skype via their fee based service, it would be a shame to try to use it and find out your account is ZERO in an emergency and with your credit card stolen. Of course you could always use PayPal.
6. Keep support numbers (including taxi and airline numbers) handy, on a notecard and on your phone so if you need them quickly, you can get to them.
7. Ensure your computer is updated with all the necessary operating system and application and tool patches (Windows, Adobe, etc). It’s a pain to wait 30 minutes for a critical update to download and install when you’re on a fast connection. You don’t want to even think about this in an emergency.
8. Be sure to be very careful what USB key you stick in your computer or file you download. Getting hacked by a virus while you’re stuck in South America or Kansas is no fun.