Using your mobile phone while overseas is crazy expensive, with most carriers charging a fortune to make or receive calls, or even to listen to voicemail. But if you run your own business, you may need to maintain your existing number so that clients can reach you easily.
Here is one workaround that I've found, which requires two physical mobile phones:
- leave your existing "home" SIM card in one phone
- buy a local pre-paid SIM card (including a data plan) and put it in the other phone
- buy a Skype Number in your home country. This is a local phone number which people can call, and which will be forwarded to your Skype account
- divert your home mobile number to the Skype number
Now when people call your normal mobile number, the call will be routed to your Skype number, and you can answer the Skype call on your second mobile (either using WIFI or your local SIM's data plan).
- I use an old iPhone with a broken screen to hold my "home" SIM, since it isn't actually used except as a way of forwarding the calls
- this old phone needs to be switched on, in order to forward the calls
- I'm still charged for the incoming calls, but in order to keep the costs down, I let the calls divert to Skype's voicemail service, then I call the client back using Skype.
This approach means that you're contactable on your normal "home" mobile number without having to tell all of your clients to call a new number.
AirBnb is an awesome resource when you're booking someone's private house.
But increasingly these days, the house you're renting is already being managed by a professional agency, and if you rent it via AirBnb you're paying two sets of fees - whatever the agency is charging, plus the AirBnb fee.
This tip is to use AirBnb to find a great apartment or house, then search for it via Google and pay for it outside of the AirBnb platform.
Travel insurance for an extended trip like ours (12 months) for 4 people, visiting multiple countries around the world, is pretty expensive.
Rather than paying $2k+ to insure our trip, we upgraded our Commonwealth credit card to a level which included travel insurance for the cost of the card - about $350pa.
Thankfully we haven't had to make a claim yet, but as far as we can tell the insurance is legitimate as it's underwritten by Allianz Insurance.
Our credit card is more expensive than a fee-free card, but less expensive than buying travel insurance, so it seems like a win-win situation.