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Digital nomad survival tips you can use anywhere

Mike Elgan | Oct. 14, 2013
Living in Europe, the Middle East and Africa taught me that the conventional wisdom about mobility is all wrong

While international roaming is massively expensive and problematic on other carriers — (cough!) AT&T! (cough!) — it just became free and automatic on T-Mobile.

T-Mobile US announced this week a new plan that provides unlimited texting and data in about 100 countries and into which every T-Mobile customer will be automatically enrolled at the end of the month.

If you have T-Mobile already, do nothing. Just go abroad and the free, unlimited data is there.

Let me tell you a story about T-Mobile. My wife uses it so that she doesn't have to pay for wireless while we're abroad. So we went to Italy recently and were gone for two months. She didn't even notify T-Mobile. But she didn't use it, and they didn't charge her. After two months, we landed at JFK airport and, while still in the plane she fired up her iPhone and service was just there, including her old phone number. She paid for the current month by phone, and everything continued uninterrupted.

Thanks to unlimited international roaming, however, T-Mobile has given her a reason to keep paying for service while abroad.

How to keep gadgets charged abroad
Reliable, available electricity can be problematic. The solution is very simple, actually. Make sure to give priority to battery life when choosing your electronics, and always carry and use a portable battery pack.

Look for two things in a battery pack: High milliampere-hour ratings (the more the better, but at least 10,000 mAh for just phones and tablets and at least 18,000 mAh if you want to charge a laptop) and high construction and durability ratings from other users (Many batteries are powerful but shoddy and unreliable).

Always charge everything whenever you get the chance. Turn off Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth when you're not using it, and turn down screen brightness to conserve energy.

I'm a digital nomad, and so are you. These tips and best practices will help you hang on to your expensive mobile gadgets and keep them connected and powered as well — whether you're sitting in a hookah joint in Marrakesh or a Starbucks in Poughkeepsie.

Believe me when I tell you that I've learned these things the hard way. But you don't have to.


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