Thanks to a variety of Internet-power tools -- some free, some not -- it's easier than ever to work from the road, even outside the country like I'm doing this month in Argentina.
My trip wouldn't have been possible without Skype, which works nearly flawlessly and cuts down phone costs from about $5 per minute to just two cents. To make my set-up just like the speakerphone in my office, I use a Polycom C100S, which is designed to work with Skype and automatically removes all echo from the calls.
Some other tools to consider--
- Reliable Wi-Fi is a necessity, and it's easier to find than ever. Here's a helpful article from PC Magazine: "Access Everywhere: The Definitive Guide to Wi-Fi."
- Here in Buenos Aires, there are wireless networks everywhere, all of them free. When you are traveling outside the U.S. to a place like this, don't forget to bring your iPhone: as long as you turn data roaming off and rely exclusively on wireless, you can get your email and browse the Internet without any extra charges. See these tips from AT&T: "iPhone Tips for International Roamers." Thanks to the ubiquitous wi-fi in Buenos Aires, my iPhone is keeping me connected even when I'm walking on the street.
- Another useful service is MyFax.com, which allows me to receive all my faxes via email. There are many similar services. When I get important mail, my secretary simply faxes it to me, and it shows up on my iPhone or computer as a scanned document.
- Although I'm not completely set up to work "in the cloud" -- the new term for software that resides online -- I get a lot of use out of Google Calendar and Google Notebook. The information that I've stored there travels with me wherever I am. Meanwhile, there are a number of other useful Internet-based application that I haven't tried yet, but which sound very useful. Take a look at this amazing article from PC Magazine to get an idea: "My Week in the Computing Cloud," by Kyle Monson.
Finally, after I'm done working, I can stay connected to the news back home -- the presidential race, the stock market crash (or giant bounce, depending on the day) -- by hooking into my TV at home using Slingbox. It's inexpensive, works without a hitch, and allows me to watch the Daily Show every evening. Not bad!