My friend Peter recently came to me with an interesting Less Doing problem. He is about to embark on what he is calling "The Global Lifestyle Project." He will be packing up and moving back to his native New Zealand for about three months, at which point he will begin a seasonal rotation around the globe with three months in New York, three months in Europe (mostly London and Holland), three months in San Francisco, and then back to New Zealand. The process will repeat for as long as it works. Peter created an event concept called Wok+Wine. Basically, he travels around with a wok in hand, brings together 40 people with 40 bottles of wine and 40 pounds of peel and eat shrimp that everyone eats at a communal table with their hands. Sounds crazy but it is one of the most fun experiences imaginable. Clearly, this is a business that will work anywhere people have hands so anything that can help with mobility will be key.
Since Peter knows the four places he will be spending most of his time he wants to have some sort of local presence in each place in the form of local phones. He wanted to know the best way to accomplish this local presence, while enabling him to communicate and not have to worry about too many roaming charges.
First step is to setup a Skype to Go number in each of the locales in question. Fortunately Skype does offer numbers in about 20 countries. So that takes care of the first problem, Peter has a local number and when people in those places call that number they will be making a local call. This completely takes care of "the others." Now we need to deal with Peter's side.
Once all the Skype numbers are setup, you tell it to forward any unanswered called to your cell phone number instead of going to Skype Voicemail. Since he can change the forwarding number at anytime, all he needs to do is get a local SIM card in each of the countries and when he's there, forward Skype to that number. That means that when he answers the phone he will be paying local rates. In addition, he will have the Skype app installed on his mobile phone so if he's in range of wifi, he can answer the Skype call directly without incurring any charges at all. For the sake of simplicity, he can use Skype for sending text messages as well, or use an app like HeyWire to send free text messages anywhere in the world.