Most expatriates do. We buy the latest computers, use the newest mobile phones and embrace new innovations quickly. This is partly because of the mobile lives we lead and partly because we are early adopters of new technologies.

So what does the mobile expatriate need these days?

A Computer
First and foremost you need a computer that travels with you and is portable. I have a very small notebook computer and adore it. After years of lugging around the older style laptops that tore off your arms, this new style is portable and easy to carry. I can throw it in my handbag and don't have to lug around one of those huge padded briefcases.

A Personal Digital Assistant
I would love one of these PDA type systems which allow you to access email from different places and download things but I haven't yet succumbed. Most of my expat friends have though and many are thoroughly addicted to their "Crackberry". These devises allow you to make appointments, transfer files, store information and in some cases make telephone calls.

A desk top computer
I also have a home based desk top system. Other friends do the docking station thing but I prefer to have a big one with great memory that I can download everything I need. It goes without saying that you should also have a reliable broadband connection.

What else?

A mobile phone
Of course you will need a good mobile phone with roaming facilities so you can make and receive phone calls wherever you are. You can also opt for one with POP3 capabilities which means that you can access email via your mobile phone. Other technologies such as Bluetooth allow the exchanging of files between mobile phones. GPRS can also come in handy although the technology is still somewhat limited at this point but it may enable you to access WAP enabled websites.

A camera
You will also need a digital camera so you can take pictures and transmit them digitally to friends or family back home.

Web cam? Microphone?
You may also like to consider a webcam and microphone to talk over the internet with a VOIP type technology. MSN messenger, Skype and so on are all programmes that can be downloaded and can help reduce your phone bills.

DVD player
A number of expatriate friends also take a mobile DVD player with them although many of the newer laptops have this function within them. Sitting in a hotel room in a foreign country with nothing on television in your own language can make the evenings seem very long indeed.

And of course you should have some sort of mobile music player. Download your favourite tunes and listen to what you want wherever you are rather than having to listen to piped hotel music or tacky airline stations.

All tools to make your life a bit easier whilst on the road.

Dr Amanda O has been an expatriate most of her life.

HSBC Bank International Ltd is offering expatriate customers who are new to offshore banking the opportunity to join the digital music revolution. Until November 11th 2005, any new customers who open an HSBC bank International Offshore Bank Account with the minimum balance of £5,000 (or euro or dollar equivalent) will receive an MP3 player for free. Customers have to download and complete an application form from the website www.offshore.hsbc.com in order to qualify for the free gift.

The Qoolqee MP3 player has been retailing at £170 in Jersey Channel Islands. It is particularly useful for expatriates as it is multi lingual and includes many of the most advanced features associated with these innovative audio players. It includes a sleep function that allows you to go to sleep while listening to music and an alarm function to wake you up again! There are more details at www.qoolqee.com (dead Link 2012)

Contact HSBC Bank International Ltd at www.offshore.hsbc.com or
www.offshore.hsbc.com/1/2/international/how-can-we-help-you for information about the financial opportunities that you can also experience whilst living and working abroad.

Posted 02Nov05