If you are traveling or relocating internationally and taking
a computer with you – whether it's your home computer or a
laptop – there are several issues related to getting it connected
that you must address before leaving your home country. There
will be some questions relating to power supply and others,
which need answering if you use a modem to connect to the
Internet or E-mail services. You will need to resolve these
issues and the following questions in order to connect your
computer and make it compatible with the local system before
you leave home:
What are the electrical voltage, current, and plug configuration
in your destination country? Does your computer have a built-in
voltage adapter? Can you obtain the necessary plug adapters?
Should these be grounded?
What is the design of the telephone plugs locally? Are telephones
hard-wired directly into the wall? If so, traveling with an
old-fashioned acoustic coupler may be the best solution. Can
you obtain a telephone plug adapter? Should you take an extra
Do the local telephones use digital technology? You can use
a "line-tester" to find this out when you arrive.
Modems do not work through digital exchanges, although an
adapter can be obtained to overcome this.
Other questions to consider include:
Is the power supply reliable? Is a surge protector or back-up
power supply recommended? What is the quality of telephone
service? Are telephone lines delivering clear and uninterrupted
Are there "tax impulses", high frequency "beeps"
that interrupt data transmission? If so, you should obtain
a filter, or some modems can be reset to ignore momentary
Is the dial tone different from your home country and, if
so, will your modem recognize it? Is dialing performed using
"pulse" or "tone" dialing? You can set
up your modem before you leave home so that it will ignore
the dial tone: consult your technical manual or vendor.
Not all modems are approved for use in all countries. Check
with your modem manufacturer or supplier for which countries
your modem is approved.
There are several strategies you can adopt to cope with
connectivity problems, including:
Learn the workings of your modem and its related software
ahead of your departure.
Learn dialing strategies to bypass local dial tones and avoid
having to teach your modem the full range of international
Practice connecting manually through your modem, bypassing
the modem's automatic dialing and using modem software to
complete the connection.
Use a phone card to overcome inflated hotel telephone charges.
Find a local Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Your relocation consultant, local office, or building management
may be able to answer some of your questions. Other issues
will need to be addressed to your computer, modem, and software
technical help services, or to your Internet Service Provider
E-mail and Internet services are becoming increasingly popular
methods of keeping in touch with family, friends, and business
contacts around the world. (Hey, it's how you found us!) They
offer instant access to remote sources and receivers of information,
and allow correspondents to send messages without worrying
about whether the counterpart is in the same time zone.
Before you leave your home country you should find out whether
your Internet Service Provider (ISP) operates in your destination
country, and whether you will be able to use the same accounting
in your new location. It may be preferable from a cost perspective
to use a local ISP in your destination country, as long as
services are comparable.
In some countries additional telephone lines for modem connection
can take time to be installed, so prepare yourself and your
family members for the possibility of being offline for awhile.
In addition, depending on the quality of local telephone service,
and the availability of "high speed" or ISDN lines,
you may experience slower connection and data transmission
A cyber-café, which offers the use of computers to
access the Internet and E-mail in a "café setting",
can be found in cities all over the world. Travelers, businesspeople,
students and tourists, who may not have their own computers
with them, or have experienced difficulty getting connected
in the foreign environment, can buy Internet access or computer-connectivity
time by the hour, while sipping coffee. Cyber-cafes provide
a convenient way to check your E-mail. You may need to set
up your access codes before you leave home: some E-mail software
requires a password for remote access. Always remember to
delete your E-mail from the café's computer otherwise
anyone can read it. You can surf the Web, print out letters
and memos, save data on a floppy disk to take with you, or
maybe even play a game.
Using the Web
If you are traveling without your own computer, it is possible
to setup E-mail boxes on web browsers, protected by a username
and password. You can transmit and receive mail, as well as
save and store information. This will eliminate the need to
reconfigure the software on someone else's computer, which
is often necessary in order to get access to private or corporate