Best Ways to Phone When Travelling on Business
Making phone calls while travelling on business is crucial in today's business world and there are now many different ways of calling. But what's the best way to make all those calls, first securely and secondly without racking up massive mobile phone bills?
Keeping Phone Calls Private and SafeThere are also two aspects to the security of phone calls made while travelling, secrecy and safety. A business traveller might not think of secrecy when calling the office but the tendency to raise one's voice while on a mobile phone call is well known and, particularly if you are on a commuter train, there is a significant chance that your conversation could be overheard by someone who could take advantage of the information. So it's worth at least keeping company names out of phone calls made in public places.
The issue of using mobile phones safely is a hotly debated topic but it makes sense for road warriors to make sure that they at least have an approved hands-free kit for making mobile phone calls in the car. It's worth taking care when walking down busy streets while on the phone too, as the number of accidents involving pedestrians whose attention is diverted by their phone conversations is on the rise.
Are Phone Costs an Issue?When it comes to the cost of calls, particularly on mobile phones, many business travellers won't worry about it. They aren't responsible for paying the bill and, expensive as international mobile phone calls are, or worse still, calls from a hotel, they pale into insignificance compared to the income a business will get from the next big deal. It's the finance directors who will be concerned about making employees use the cheapest call methods and they cannot do much about it, except make the best deal they can with the mobile phone companies.
Cheap Phone Calls While TravellingSelf-employed business people and those working for small businesses will be more likely to want to make cheap phone calls though. As already mentioned, calling from hotel rooms usually results in massive call charges levied by the hotels, so many business travellers use their mobile phones instead. This is also because it's easier, as many of the numbers they need to dial will already be in their mobile phone contact lists.
Charges for mobile phone calls, particularly international roaming calls, have come down recently as the EU threatens to investigate high roaming charges.
People who make frequent visits to the same country or countries can make cheap phone calls by investing in pay-as-you-go SIM cards from those countries. At least phone calls to customers and other contacts within those countries will be cheaper as they won’t attract roaming charges. But it's easy to lose small things like SIM cards and unless you invest in a phone that takes two cards, you have to faff about changing the cards all the time.
Cheap Phone Calls Using the InternetA new way of making much cheaper calls is to use free internet access in hotels, airports and cafes and make calls using Voice over IP technology (VoIP). Once you are connected to the internet you can make calls using a headset connected to a laptop and VoIP software, or a VoIP compatible phone. Calls to other users of the same VoIP package are usually free and calls out of the internet on to normal landlines are chargeable but usually very cheap.
This can be tricky to set up and is probably only an option for technically savvy people who are likely use it a lot. Until it becomes as easy as dialling a number, perhaps with phones that can switch automatically between GSM and VoIP when in range; it's likely to remain in that niche. But it's already got the major traditional phone companies worried.