When Traveling Abroad, What’s Your Backup Plan?

This week Google announced that on July 1 it is shutting down the most popular RSS stream blog reader in the world, Google Reader. A whole bunch of you probably get to this blog from there.

alternative to Google servicesI’m sure most people who signed up for the service assumed it would be around as long as Google would, close to forever. But the company is chopping anything that’s not a profit center, so your calendar and Gmail could be next if you rely on them daily.

Which brings us to an important question: do you have a backup plan for products or services you use regularly when you travel?

* What’s your second way of getting cash if your debit card is lost, stolen, or eaten by a machine?

* What second or third credit card will you use when your first one is lost, stolen, downgraded (by credit limit) or copied by a cyber thief and disabled?

* How will you keep in touch with the important people in your life if you lose your phone?

* What will you do if Facebook shuts down or starts charging? If there’s a Twitter outage that lasts for days?

* What if Skype goes down or Google shuts down Google Voice?

* What’s your secondary e-mail address when the first one gets shut off or hacked? Do you trust Google enough to rely on gmail?

* Where are you storing all those photos you’re taking in case you lose the laptop, tablet, or phone where they’re stored?

I can’t say I’m 100% prepared for every scenario, especially considering I almost never buy travel insurance–but probably should. And if Paypal goes under, I’m in big trouble since that’s how most advertisers pay me.

But if you spend 10 bucks on Nomadic Matt’s book you’ll get ideas on what to do on the money side (with specific recommendations).

As for me, stay tuned next week if you read this blog’s RSS stream somewhere because I’m dropping Google’s Feedburner like a hot potato this weekend. It’s been a long time since I trusted that company anyway and based on how they’re treating customers, I don’t have much faith that Feedburner is reliable for the long term.

  1. Jeff

    Some excellent questions. Money and email addresses, I have handled. Between 2 Gmail accounts, a Google Apps account for one site and NeoMailBox.net for another, plus two work accounts, I think I’m set for life!

    I’ll be totally screwed if Skype goes down. If Facebook starts charging, I’ll get lots more writing done!

    Thanks for the reminders about taking care of those “It will never happen to me” scenarios.

  2. Jill B

    But Jeff, 2 Gmail accounts is no better than one! You should have the second one with another service, or better yet with a domain you control yourself. Nobody can take that away from you or change the terms mid-stream.

  3. John Pedroza

    Right now I am experimenting with Feedly. It isn’t as simple as google reader but so far it seems to work and it has a android app. I am still open to any other suggestions.

  4. Andreas Moser

    I’ll just live a happy life like I did before all of this technology stuff came up. It also worked back then. Phone booths, letters, libraries, travel agencies.

  5. rubina

    greader is an excellent rss reader. better than google reader in my opinion.

  6. Tim

    Thanks for the suggestions all. I’ve used My Yahoo for as long as I can remember and it has served me well. I never got why Google Reader was so popular anyway: ugly, hard to organize, clunky—but it was easy to start and it integrated with gmail. Better options for sure, but people have to switch, which is always hard. Better to do it when you’ve got time than when it’s an emergency.

  7. Tom Miller

    These are actually good points. We normally plan things based on what we want them to happen, not putting into mind what other possibilities can occur. At least, its a good realization for us travelers. Better to prepare.

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