Copyright 2005 Richard Grady
For many of us, it is time to start thinking about packing our suitcases and jetting off on our summer holidays/vacation. When I had a 'normal' job, this was a time to get out of office and completely forget about work for a couple of weeks. Things are somewhat different now though as an Internet business never sleeps or takes time off so how do you handle your online business when you are supposed to be soaking up sun on a far away beach?
Obviously if your business is large enough to have employees, you shouldn't have too many problems and can, hopefully, leave things in capable hands of your staff for a week or two. But in event that you run a 'one man band' and don't have anyone to reply to emails and deal with orders while you are away then I am afraid it is down to you to look after things.
So with this in mind, here are a few ideas that may help to ensure that your vacation remains exactly that :-)
1. Close your website down for duration of your holiday. For me this goes completely against grain - one of advantages of an online business is fact that it can earn you money whilst you sleep (and whilst you sunbathe). However some business owners do simply decide to shut up shop when they go away and write off a couple of weeks income against a stress-free break.
2. Find a local Internet cafe. For many people this is probably easiest and most affordable option. Most tourist destinations have some level of public Internet access available at a reasonable price. Last year I even managed to get a half decent Internet connection on a tiny island in middle of Indian Ocean! The main downside in using Internet cafes is security. I have never been completely comfortable entering important passwords into public computers and have often ended up using two or three Internet cafes in same resort and changing passwords on a daily basis! Slightly paranoid perhaps but it only takes one dishonest cafe owner to really put spanner in works.....
3. Take your laptop and connect via hotel landline. Most hotels have an IDD (International Direct Dial) telephone in their rooms. This means you can dial straight out of hotel without having to go via switchboard. This being case, you can hook your laptop up and dial up just as you would at home. The cheapest way of doing this is to do some research first and find a local Internet company that can offer 'pay as you go' dial up - don't dial into your home ISP as this will cost you dearly in international call charges. Be aware that not all countries use common RJ11 phone socket and you may need to purchase an adapter socket. These are readily available on Internet - just search Google for 'modem adaptor socket for (your destination)'. You should also check that phone line you are about to plug into isn't digital - if it is, you could fry your modem. Ask hotel reception or better still, get a tester unit that plugs in and checks line for you - these are cheap and could save you a lot of problems. Whilst using dial up in this way is very convenient, it can be expensive (hotels are notorious for making huge profit on phone calls) and it is likely connection will be very slow.