Tips for Getting off The Grid

All of us need to be away from home or the office occasionally for: vacation, business meetings, training etc. One of the big questions we all face is: do I want to be reachable by email or phone while away?

You have several options for keeping in touch while away:
No Communication (off the grid)
Limited Communication
Full Communication

No Communication (Off the Grid)
Many people want to have no email or cell phone access so they can completely unwind and not think about work. This is easy: just leave your cell phone and computer at home and enjoy your trip! Consider adding an out-of-office reply to your email, and changing your voicemail greeting to let your contacts know you won’t be reachable during your absence. (see below for more information about out of office messages)
Limited Communication
If you don’t feel comfortable being completely unplugged, consider limiting your connectivity by checking email and voicemail only periodically. For limited communication, it’s advisable to setup an out-of-office email reply, and to change your voicemail greeting. (see below for more information).
Full Communication
If you decide to keep your lines of communication open during your trip, there are several strategies to use to access your email and voicemail from anywhere.
Out-of-office/Vacation reply
This is a customizable message that is automatically sent to each person who sends you an email. A typical out-of-office message looks like this: ” I am out of the office until August 17th, with limited (no) access to email. If your message is urgent, please contact our support desk at (925) 283-5666 or email”
If you have corporate email, there is an easy setting to create and turn on an out-of-office reply. In Outlook 2013, go to File | Info | Automatic Replies.
if you don’t have a corporate email system, sign in to your email via your provider’s web site.(below are some common providers).
Gmail: Click the Gear symbol at the upper right side of the screen, Scroll down to Vacation Responder.
Yahoo/AT&T/SBC Global:  Click the Gear symbol at the upper right side of the screen, Choose Settings | Vacation Response.
Comcast: Sign into your email account and click Preferences | Email | Vacation Response
Take your cell phone with you
Many cell phones will work in foreign countries-check with your provider. If you are going on a cruise, you may be able to use your cell phone on the ship. Check with your provider before you go.
Take your laptop or tablet with you
You can use your laptop or tablet almost anywhere there is Wi-Fi. This includes coffee shops, hotels, cruise ships, many airlines. Note that if you use a computer-based, (Mac mail, Outlook, Windows Live Mail, etc.) email, as opposed to web-based), email, you may have to change your outgoing email settings when you are traveling, in order to send messages.
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