The Smart Expat Tech Infographic shows six core digital technologies for expats that help ease the daily hurdles of life when living overseas.
1) CALLING APPS: Contacting loved ones back home got significantly easier for Expats with the rise of Skype, which allows free video calls, voice calls and messaging from any devices that is internet connected. More recently WhatsApp, & Viber have also shown they give a great international free texting service and free voice calls within their networks as well. You and your contacts just need to download the free apps, allow your address book access in the app and you are off talking and texting around the world.
2) PHOTO SHARING AND STORAGE: Cloud Storage of Photos is an essential tool when often all your possessions are on the other side of the world from where you are. Look at using Dropbox or Google Drive for auto-uploads which can mean that is one less thing to have to think about. These also have the benefits of taking all types of important documents, not just your photos. They are free only up to a certain capacity though. So if you find your photo archives growing then looking at Flickr is still a very good option. There are many photo storing services now available, so use one. Don’t wait for the day when the container sinks!
3) TIME ZONE CLOCKS: Set up different time zone clocks on your phone and computer so you always know when you can call home. A simple reminder, but still much simpler than having to think about when different parts of the worlds change their clocks, especially around the Spring and Autumn (Fall) when there is a period of up to 4 weeks until every country who changes it’s clocks finally does so. Life is to short on this one not to have this set up! Timeanddate.com’s World Clock app covers the main operating systems.
4) SOCIAL ON-LINE NETWORKS: Expats are very active on these all of the social on-line networks as they have contacts reaching across the world. Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Linked In all are buzzing with chat and are an excellent source for connecting to new people in your new town. There are pages, groups and forums set up all around the world by expats who are sharing their local knowledge with others. If you want to connect more with the local population, use Google Translate (https://translate.google.com/) to get your search terms accurate in the local language and connect to the groups. It is a great way of practicing the new language and seeing what is important to the locals, the politics, events or festivals.
5) DIGITAL CALENDAR SUBSCRIPTIONS: Subscribe to the holiday calendars in your new country and home country to keep informed for travel plans. On the iPhone, there is an extensive list of possible iCal calendars that can be added to your own for easy reference. These range from bank holidays, to racing calendars, to week numbers, and even your local football club fixtures. As these are subscriptions, if the owner changes a date in the calendar you are instantly notified, then your schedule automatically updates as well. Google and Android also off this facility.
6) LOCATION APPS:Google Maps is a lifesaver for many Expats, but can eat up data. A new feature is the ability to save certain map areas offline. This means you can look up a city centre map at home using your free wifi connection, save the map for offline use, then when in town access google maps and see where you are without the need to wait for the map to download again and east up precious data plans. If you travel lots on business and need to log exactly how many nights away from your permanent residency country you are, use the iPhone Trac-King App. Trac-King takes the hassle out of day and night tracking, giving Expats and Non-Residents one less thing to think about.