We recently caught up with Heather Greenwood-Davis, who is currently on a year-long worldwide adventure with her husband and two sons. She is the Globe Trotting Mama – a freelance journalist whose work appears in the Toronto Star, Dabble Magazine, Urbanmoms.ca, Canadian Family Magazine and more.
She is constantly on the move, from one adventure to the next. We were curious to know how a jet setting family like hers spends the holidays. With so many Canadians planning trips abroad over the holidays and 80% of them planning to use technology to stay in touch with friends and family, we wanted to ask Heather how she incorporates her mobile phone into her travels. A recent survey found that almost half (48%) of Canadians will use their mobile phones while travelling during the holidays, so we wanted to know what kind of roaming advice she has for fellow Canadians in the same boat. We’ve equipped her with Rogers wireless services to keep her organized and connected. With her iPhone powered by Rogers along for the ride, she’s been taking work on the road and keeping in touch with loved ones.
Where are you are right now as we speak (Dec. 9)?
I’m currently in Cape Town with my family. Cape Town is a stunning destination with an incredible history and we’ve been able to spend time at amazing places like the One&Only Cape Town resort where we were fortunate to try out everything from the Kids Club to the Spa.
Keeping in touch is important for Canadians while abroad. More than three-quarters (77%) of those Canadians who plan to use their mobile phones while travelling during the holidays said they would be connecting with family and loved ones. How has it been for you in terms of working on the road and staying in touch with loved ones?
It’s hard enough to find the time to write a postcard when you take a week’s vacation, on a year-long trip it’s that much harder. Being able to stay in touch with family and friends and colleagues while I’m on the road has been incredible. Having my iPhone along for the ride has not only made it convenient to stay in touch but has also allowed me to access to sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It has made keeping our blog up-to-date that much easier. Without the phone? We’d be out of luck.
How and where will you be celebrating the holidays with your family?
We’ll be in Namibia over Christmas. I’m looking forward to taking the kids on their first safari and exploring the people and cultures in the country. A lot of our travel in Namibia will be self-driven and it’s a real comfort to know that even in its most remote areas we’ll have the ability to connect with the world through our phone.
Besides your iPhone, what other technology did you bring with you?
We’re travelling with two laptops and a tablet. It seems like a lot but because we’re also teaching the kids as we travel and we opted not to bring a ton of books along, they need to have an instrument they can use to access the web for learning and the tablet is easy enough and rugged enough to withstand their rough play. I need a laptop for my writing and my husband uses the other to help edit photos, update our website or check sports scores from back home. We are all skype users as well and having the laptops and tablet along with us mean we can chat with family and friends back home easily. It also makes long train rides a little easier on everyone.
Have you been using any travel applications on your iPhone, if so which ones?
I’ve got a ton of favourites and I’m finding new ones all the time. I like the XE Currency App which helps us figure out new currencies as we go. I like that I can keep a list of currencies showing at the same time which means that even if my head is still in Argentinian Pesos, I can also see how many of those are in my South African Rand. The kids like to find new language apps as we travel: They liked Busuu for Spanish and Babelingo for Mandarin. We have Expedia and TripAdvisor on our phone as well which means we can find hotels and get reviews to help us make a decision. And then there are also things like the Maps app which (when coupled with roaming) allows me to make sure the cab is taking us where he says he is; and the iTorch4 app which gives us a great flashlight for searching in the dark in shared hotel rooms. And there are so many more that we’re starting to check out – especially given that we are home-schooling the boys this year.
Many Canadians like you will be abroad over the holidays, with their phone in hand, what kind of advice do you have for them?
I love that Rogers new roaming passes means you know how much you’re spending up front. I’ve had the data roaming situation in the past where you think you’re managing your phone well but come home to an astronomical bill. The roaming options work much better at allowing me to stay in control of how much we consume. I’d also remind travellers to make sure they keep an eye on apps that might be running behind the scenes without their knowledge. The simplest way to be sure is to turn off your apps when they’re not in use. That way you can be certain any data that is being consumed by your phone is being done on purpose.
Thanks Heather. We wish you a happy holiday and look forward to hearing more from you.
Heather will be continuing to travel the world, while connected with Rogers, until July of 2012. We will keep you updated on her journey.
Kaili is a regular contributor to RedBoard