Briefcase road warriors are on the rise. Business travel volume went up more than four percent in 2004 and is expected to rise quickly over the next few years, according to a survey conducted by the Travel Industry Association of America. The report found that roughly three out of four of these travelers believed that using the latest technology was more efficient than physically traveling, but only one out of three believed remote meetings were more effective than face-to-face correspondence.

The wisest business people combine personal meetings with the latest technology. And there are many new and affordable ways to facilitate a constant connection to your clients.

Files from afar

Assuming your laptop isn’t your main computer, carrying it abroad can be a hassle. Necessary files must be transferred from the desktop computer to the laptop. Furthermore, after returning home, new files must be transferred back to the primary computer. The process increases the chances of mistakes, such as deleting a perfectly good file or having duplicate documents.

A growing alternative is using remote computer access, which allows you to use any computer to reach necessary files on the office desktop or laptop. The documents can be edited and moved just as they could at the office. The method also can be used to access your files from home. There are several remote computer access services including Go To My PC, Symantec PCAnywhere, and LapLink.

Getting lost

Washington D.C., Tokyo, and other world capitals were given winding, labyrinthine roads to help prevent invaders. Even a seasoned traveler needs more than a map to get to his or her location quickly and safely.

Once limited to high-end cars, GPS, or global positioning systems, are now available as handheld directional devices. The GPS uses an always-on satellite to track your position, find your desired location and give directions on how to get there. Many show maps that rival Google, Yahoo! and other PC services.

For instance, the Mio H610 Personal GPS, due out November 2006, sees your location and suggests restaurants, bathrooms and other necessities. It can be set to walking directions or writing directions. Other similar devices are offered by Garmin, and Magellan.

Getting the message

It is important to keep tabs on home while garnering new business abroad and, today, many cell phones can be used worldwide. An international phone must be multi-band, meaning that it is compatible with the different cell phone systems in each country. Your cell phone provider can recommend a multi-band phone or tell you if you currently have one.

Light international traveling may just require renting a phone for the trip. Cellular Abroad and other services allow you to order a phone before traveling and use it for the duration of the trip. A last simple option is using a callback service likeGlobal Phone. The company will connect you to the desired number after going through their operating system, but at a much cheaper cost.