What apps are best when traveling abroad?
- A travel platform like Klook for the perfect destinations and activities.
- A travel planner like Google Trips for an organized itinerary.
- A hotel booking app like Hotels.com for the best hotel deals.
- A flight booking app like Hopper for the best plane ticket deals.
- An accurate international weather forecast app like Accuweather.
The unlock-my-phone tip is the most important advice you will need when traveling abroad. Mainly because it makes communicating with your loved ones easier and cheaper. However, if you are done with that and is still having trouble getting your way through different places as you travel abroad, there may be essential smartphone apps that you have been missing for a while now.
Truth be told that there’s a lot of travel apps that you can find in the app store. However, the plethora of options can be tricky for actual use. Hence, here are 5 ideal apps that are useful and proven effective in making the best out of your next travel abroad.
Klook is a growing travel platform that offers travelers the best deals, activities, and attractions that one can book in the simplest way possible. You just need to type in the place in their website’s search bar – whether that’s Hong Kong, Singapore, or South Korea – and they will immediately turn you over into a page full of all suggestions on how you can enjoy the trip wherever you plan to go. Aside from that, they also have a sidebar which lets you browse base on categories that include the following: attractions and shows, tours and sightseeing, activities and experiences, food and wellness, and even transport and Wi-Fi. These categories are also divided into more specific activities so it isn’t hard to get the right deals.
What more should you look for? With Klook, you will never waste a single penny on your next travel abroad!
If you are a fan of Google products, you will definitely love their travel app named Google Trips. With its aim to create a to-go itinerary for its users that effectively helps them to plan less and see more of their dream destinations, there’s nothing to worry about traveling anymore. You can freely organize your plane tickets and hotel reservations in one place, research the place you are traveling to, and even get free personalized recommendations based on your Google search history. Who would’ve thought traveling could be this easy?
No worries! You don’t need Wi-Fi or data to access your itinerary and your maps. You can download them all to your phone and access them offline. Need we say more?
Hotels.com is one of the most convenient hotel booking app at the app store. It offers users great hotel deals plus all the information you need to book. More so, whether you are using your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, you can easily access the app and site to get the best deals for your next big travel abroad. Furthermore, it also has customer-focus features such as Secret Prices that allows you to get the best, budget-wise hotel deals of all time and Hotels.com Rewards which offers free nights on particular conditions! Who wouldn’t want that?
Hopper is a flight booking app that offers great deals. It guides its customers on when is the best time to buy plane tickets. No regrets, you will definitely score the best deals yet for your next travel destination.
The weather is a significant consideration when traveling, as it can either make or break your travel itinerary. With Accuweather by your side, you will never go wrong with your plans. It gives the most up-to-date weather forecasts – from long-term to at-the-moment type of forecasts on your exact address. A great way to find out whether to bring an umbrella or a sunblock cream, right?
Going to a place that’s not familiar to you can be tricky. Though it may be an exciting adventure, hence, it could also be a recipe for a disaster waiting to happen without the right tools. With these apps, you will be able to plan better, organize your destinations, and even get the best deals to further maximize your budget. After all, who wouldn’t want something great for a lesser cost?
Having your T-Mobile device unlocked wouldn’t breach your security. However, it is still important to keep your phone’s behavior tracked in order to avoid unwanted circumstances. Furthermore, keeping up with unfamiliar pop-ups and a slow processing of apps can be very annoying.
What can you do?
If you are not that tech savvy, awareness is definitely the best option you can go for. You can always ask an expert to help you out after you diagnosed your own device. Thus, without further ado, here’s a list of the major red flags of a hacked phone. Beware!
Your phone takes up too much data
Some instances of hacking can cause your phone to eat up data faster than the usual. This may be because that particular data is being used to send spam from your phone. More so, this particular type of malware may cause your device’s battery to drain faster than the usual.
Moving forward, the data it steals from your phone is being obtained by the hacker over the Internet.
Your phone is encountering frequent lags and becomes sluggish
While it could be a hardware issue that causes your phone to perform sluggishly upon every command, it can also be a malware issue. This may be due to the reason that your phone has obtained a virus infected app, given that it was not directly downloaded from the play store. However, for iOS phones, this may not be the issue. This may be because iOS phones have relatively highly secured operating systems than Android phones.
You are receiving unusual charges on your credit card
Today, the most important information can be easily accessed through your phone because of mobile processing of transactions. For one, you may receive unusual charges on your credit card which you know well you did not purchase. This may be a malware downloaded from a fake store that is designed for smartphone hacking. This very issue, among others, should be given appropriate action to avoid further inconvenience.
You have new apps installed on your phone that you did not install
One of the few annoying indication that your phone has been hacked is the installation of apps that you know you did not install. Worse, it is a really bad app that does not want to be uninstalled. It will remain re-appearing unless you get rid of the malware that has infected your phone’s operating system.
Your phone is trying to access “bad/dangerous” sites
If your phone is hacked, it may try accessing bad or dangerous sites that may harm your system. This may further lead to a damaged, or worse, a dead phone.
So what do you do? While some indications may not really harm your phone, it can when left unrepaired. Thus, it is only significant to pay attention to such issues in order to fix a hacked phone and avoid further data leaks that may affect your personal properties such as your bank account. You can scan your phone with an anti-malware app and remove the apps that the malware has installed. You may also restore factory settings in order to wipe off the malware entirely and reinstall your apps after doing so.
However, should the indications continue to appear after fixing it, consult an expert for help.
How to figure out if your phone’s unlocked?
- For iOS phone, simply navigate your phone’s settings and look for Cellular Data Network. If it’s present, then your phone may be unlocked given that this section allows users to manually change their phone’s carrier.
- For Android phone, proceed to your phone’s settings and look for the Network Operator option. Scan for networks and select one to try if it works. If it does, your phone may be unlocked.
- In general, people try to swap out their SIM cards with a different carrier’s SIM and tries to make a call if it works.
- Another alternative way to check your phone’s lock status is through your IMEI number and enter this on an IMEI checker website.
“Having my phone unlocked is the sweetest way to communicate when I travel.” – Said every traveler out there. Truth be told, when traveling out of the country, it can be very frustrating to commit to expensive roaming charges. Unlike carrier phones, unlocked phones allow you to swap out your SIM to any local SIM card wherever you are. Furthermore, you get to spend your money for other expenses. However, how would you know if your phone’s unlocked?
Without further ado, here are some amazing ways to figure out if your phone’s unlocked!
How to figure out if my iOS phone is unlocked?
In order to check if your iOS phone is unlocked, you may proceed to the cellular setting. While it may not exactly tell you that your phone’s unlocked, it’s a decent indicator that you may not swap out your SIM with a different one. Just make sure to follow these steps:
- Go to Settings and look for Cellular.
- Select Cellular and scroll to Cellular Data Network.
If the Cellular Data Network option is present, this may indicate that the phone is unlocked. Otherwise, it’s a carrier phone. This is due to the fact that this option allows the user to change carriers.
How to figure out if my Android phone is unlocked?
For Android phones, the indication that your phone may be an unlocked phone may seem similar with iOS phones. However, the procedure may depend on the version of the operating system and of course, the manufacturer. For the sole reason that interfaces may vary according to the brand’s customization.
Moving forward, here’s how you can figure out if your Android phone’s unlocked.
- Go to Settings and proceed to Network/Mobile Network/Cellular Network (or however your phone refers to Network setting as this may differ with the brand).
- Look for Network Operator and Search/Scan for networks.
- Wait until it shows you the results.
- Once the results show, try connecting on one of the networks and wait if your phone can pick up a signal.
- If there is, try making a call.
So, here’s the thing: if your phone showed a list of different networks, it could be that your phone is unlocked. However, there are also cases that your carrier may have had arrangements with other carriers, hence, the connection.
If you are not satisfied with the result, you may still proceed with the general method of figuring out if your phone’s unlocked.
Is there a general method of figuring out if my phone’s unlocked?
If you are having trouble figuring out whether your phone’s unlocked or not, you can always refer to this general method of doing so. Maybe then, you will be able to say: “Dude, my phone’s unlocked. ‘Gotta say goodbye to expensive roaming charges!”
First, look or borrow a different carrier’s SIM card. Then, simply swap out your existing SIM with it and then check your phone if it finds the network. This may appear in the form of signal bars or a prompt telling you that a new network has been inserted on your phone. Afterwards, try making a call. If it registers, then your phone’s unlocked. Otherwise, it’s not.
Is there any other way to figure out if my phone’s unlocked?
Well, if you are willing to go technical this time, you can move forward with International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) checking. You can get your IMEI information from your phone and enter this on an IMEI checker website to know the lock status of your phone. In order to get your IMEI information, dial *#060#. If this works on your phone, a 15-digit number will appear. Otherwise, you may navigate through your phone Settings and look for About Phone/Device. You may find an IMEI section there, and under it is the 15-digit number.
You may now enter the number in the checker and it will show you the lock status of your phone. However, the thing about this method is that there are websites that won’t be really accurate with the results. Thus, be sure to look for one that can do so.
Figuring out if your phone is unlocked can be easy – however way you choose to perform the checking. If a particular method wouldn’t work for you, you can always opt for an alternative.
Now, if you find out that yours is a locked phone, you can always choose to unlock it. There are convenient unlocking services like UnlockBase that will provide you the easiest, fastest, and safest service for unlocking your phone. No, we’re not kidding. Please feel free to contact us for further details!
Whether you are planning an out of the country Christmas vacation, a weekend road trip with friends, or just staying at home for the long weekend – there’s a lot that you can explore and do with your smartphone. It could be changing your carrier with a SIM network unlock PIN, recreating your phone case, or simply making use of an old box as a phone accessory organizer. Honestly, the list could be endless.
With the various resources available in this time and age, millennials (like you) will never have a problem doing simple and easy phone hacks. Here’s a list that you will definitely find exciting and make you wonder, “Why was I not informed about this earlier?”
There are tons of phone hacks that can be extremely helpful when you are on an out-of-town vacation or abroad. These hacks may include:
Hack #1: Display contact details on your lock screen
Losing your phone while you are out of town (or country) is probably the worst thing that could happen to you. Not only will it cause you problems when going back to your hotel, but it will also hamper you from communicating with the people you are with. Additionally, it’s hard to not have a phone while you are in a different place – you’d definitely miss out on tons of things.
Hence, in order to at least have your phone back, try typing in your contact details such as your name, your e-mail address, your hotel address, and a friend’s mobile number. Then screenshot it and then set it as your phone wallpaper. This will help you get your phone back in the event that a good Samaritan picks it up.
Hack #2: Make use of OTG disk drives for additional storage
Running out of space on your internal storage is one of the many things that you wouldn’t want to happen while you are traveling, and this goes especially for iPhone users. More so if your only photography tool is your smartphone. Yikes!
But thanks to technology, on-the-go or OTG disk drives are now available on the market. This makes it easier for those who are out of built-in and Cloud storage to save their photos in – thus, saving their vacations from getting ruined. Just plug in an OTG disk drive and you are ready to capture more scenic views from wherever you are in the world.
Hack 3: Use the headphone cord to snap your picture-perfect photos
A terribly awkward experience you wouldn’t want is to find yourself at just the right angle for a picture-perfect selfie only to find that you’re unable to reach the shutter button. What’s even more frustrating is that you are about to take a wide-shot selfie with your group of friends and you just can’t rely on your own arm’s length.
Luckily, there are solutions for this. If you are already familiar with the volume rocker camera trick with smartphones, this is just as the same with the volume buttons on your headphone cord. Plug in your headphone cord and press the volume button. Then, viola! You have captured yet another great photo to remember your travel escapades.
Hack 4: Equip your smartphone with the Disaster Alert app wherever you are
Traveling creates a certain kind of feeling where you’re seemingly detached from the realities of the world – and for those who are only looking for fun, it could be hard to sense danger or impeding disasters.
Thus, to prevent your supposedly fun and stress-free travel tour from turning into a disaster stricken out-of-town, equip your phone with the Disaster Alert app from the app store. It’s free and works regardless of your global location. In addition, it is capable of warning you of any current disasters near you like floods, storms, or earthquakes. You can also look into the details of the disaster including its intensity, and how long it has been active since the alert. It is definitely a necessary app!
Hack #5: Seal your smartphone in a zip bag
Whether you are participating in the Color Run, going to the beach, or taking part in a Hydro music festival, you will certainly need the help of a zip bag to protect the welfare of your smartphone. Otherwise, it will be filled with dirt, sand, or water. These particles will most probably be the cause of your phone’s damage, or worse, its death.
Hack #6: Shoot time lapse videos with your smartphone
Here’s the fun part. Have you ever wondered how those photography dudes create amazing time lapse videos as uploaded on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter? Maybe you are thinking, “They probably have these great, high-tech equipment that’s too expensive to buy.” With this in mind, you’d probably just endure the itch of creating those wonderful videos and settle with static pictures. We do have a secret and yes – we’ll tell you that.
With the variety of video recording, editing, and animation apps today, creating time lapse videos like a pro shouldn’t be too hard. Great apps like Time Lapse Camera for Android and TimeLapse for iPhone can make this possible for you. Just a few tweaks and angling on your preferred shooting spot and you will definitely be able to get the perfect time-lapse which you can also flaunt in your social media accounts. Thrilled? Download the app now!
WHEN AT HOME
Travelling the world with your phone is only as good as having it work just as well as it would at home wherever you may be around the Globe. That’s where a little trick called SIM network unlocking (with a PIN) comes in. It’s as easy as it sounds, too, and the effects are absolutely liberating.
But aside from doing that to change carriers, there are still different ways that you can make use of in order to make the best out of your smartphone. Some of them are the following:
Hack #1: Fuel up your phone through your Smart TV
Staying at home for the weekend can be fun and comfy, especially if you are with the whole family. You can play for hours on your phone with your siblings though eventually, it may drain your battery. When it comes to the outlets, it can be terrifying when none is left for you to plug your charger into. This very instance may even cause ‘sibling wars’ at the moment. So, how can you avoid this?
Most often, people forget about the USB ports that your Smart TV may be hiding. This is a great non-crowded place to plug your charger cable and fuel up your phone. Just don’t forget to turn airplane mode on for extra fast charging.
Hack #2: Increase the efficiency of your phone alarm with a glass
Waking up for a morning jog can be difficult if you tend to sleep past the alarm you have set on your phone. It’s not much use if you don’t wake up, after all. Now, to be able to keep up with your supposedly healthy routine and make sure you get to it, use a bowl or glass for your phone. Put it inside the container and leave it somewhere near you. The bowl or glass can help increase the volume of your phone in the sense that you won’t be able to sleep through it. Good morning, sleepyhead!
Hack #3. Use your cassette tape’s case as a phone stand
We often love to slouch at the couch and endure the numbness of our arms just so as not to interrupt the ongoing Netflix movie or series we’ve been watching for hours. No need to settle for this kind of setup further. We’ve got a great hack for you.
Bring out a cassette tape from your storage box and take the case. Open it and make sure that the tape-holding side faces outwards and the other faces down. Once done, place your smartphone on it and let it lean. Now, you’ve got an instant phone holder!
Hack #4: Your phone a.k.a. a universal remote controller
Losing your remote – whether it’s for the aircon, the TV or the DVD player – may cause you to instantly feel irritated. Even more if you are already tired from work and have already lost patience in looking for it wherever it may be.
This is where your smartphone can come to the rescue. Along with the plethora of apps in the app store plus your high-tech smartphone, it won’t be difficult to instantly turn it into a universal remote control. It’s all a matter of finding the right app. Plus, it can be an advantage when you are fighting with your siblings over the TV, as you’ve already got your weapon to back you up in no time.
Hack #5: Control your computer through your phone
Everyone has their own favorite smartphone hacks, but this could be one of yours if you love to hang out on your laptop and phone. In a simple touch of a button from your phone, you will be able to take control of your computer’s functionalities.
How? Here’s the procedure:
- Download the Unified Remote app on your phone and its server on your computer.
- Once both installations are done, run the server on your computer and open the app on your phone.
- The app will scan for a server on your local network and once it locates the device, it will let you take control of your computer’s functionalities such as power, keyboard, mouse, presentations, and etc.
The app basically consists of a variety of remotes – from basic computer functionalities such as restart, and shut down to app functionalities like VLC, Mozilla, and even Google Presentation. Almost everything is in your hands! Err, phone rather.
Hack #6: Use your phone to conveniently shop online
Whether you are just too lazy or the rain’s just too heavy for you to go out, nothing can help you better when it comes to shopping but phone apps! Not only does it allow you to conveniently choose your preferred item in the comfort of your device, but it also features a whole lot of great deals that you can use in a purchase.
It is still important to be wise when purchasing items online. Always check the reviews before purchasing them. Happy shopping!
With these phone hacks, you will never fall behind with your phone – whether that’s activating your SIM network unlock PIN or accessing new camera tricks – the list just goes on and on.
If you have got any other tricks in mind, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
Packing for a 3D and 2N travel within the country can be challenging itself, what more for abroad?
For most travelers, traveling to a place or two within the month helped them get through the headache of choosing their essentials to pack. It allowed them to experience just the right amount of trial-and-error, from the trouble of looking for the right jeans to choosing between a book and an e-book reader.
Today, a lot of travelers travel with lesser luggage. How so? Technology served them right. Documents became accessible on all devices, and there’s always an e-book reader to go to for all the right books. The lesser the luggage, the lesser the charges – the more fun it is. As a result, more and more wanderers are opting for these travel technology solutions in order to make their venturing seamless and hassle-free.
For travelers like Aleah, Berylle, Kev, Kisty, Aris, Nick and Dariece, Rica, and Trisha, it’s particularly important to know your own tech essentials kit. This way, it will be easier for you to travel smoothly and enjoy the most part of the adventure.
In this article, the above mentioned travel bloggers have shared their very own choices when it comes to packing their go-to gadgets. Find out and see for yourself what could help you best when packing your tech essentials for your first travel abroad!
Aleah Taboclaon is the travel blogger behind SolitaryWanderer.com. She loves being location independent and funds her travels with freelance editing and writing work. Aleah has been to 29 countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. Follow her adventures on Instagram and Facebook.
Search her up at:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
“As a travel blogger, there are some gadgets that I just can’t leave home when I travel. First, I need my camera. I had a DSLR for almost 10 years, but I finally decided that it was too bulky for me. I bought a mirrorless from Fuji and am loving it. I also have the Supremo action camera. I use it whenever I’m doing something that could pose a danger to my Fuji, whether it’s river rafting or rappelling. I also bring my iPhone with me. It takes great photos as well, and keeps me connected with friends and family. In relation to being connected, I also bring a mobile Wifi device so that I can share photos and check emails whenever I need to. I never leave home as well without my Kindle. I used to bring real books, but when I’m traveling for months, I need more than 1 or 2 books with me. Are all these gadgets absolutely necessary for my adventures? Of course not. I can travel without them and still enjoy myself. However, I always bring these to enhance my experience, because with these five gadgets, I can write about my experiences and share them with my audience.”
Berylle Kaye Hong
Berylle is a food, lifestyle, and travel blogger at It’sBeryllicious. As a passionate food lover, It’sBeryllicious mainly features food and restaurants around the Metro. She enjoys discovering new places, and trying out new products, while meeting new friends in between.
Check her adventures at:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
“My smartphone is probably the most important gadget I bring during my travels. I can call my family anytime with just a press of a button, and share to them my personal experiences and stories matched with photos and videos.”
“For best quality photos, I make sure to bring a camera, so that I can share nice pictures on my blog. I always bring my Fujifilm XA2 camera which is very light and convenient to carry around.”
“A power bank to make sure I have a backup just in case my battery dies. Wouldn’t want to miss out on great memories and adventures.”
“I also make sure to rent out a pocket wifi when traveling abroad. It’s relatively cheaper and can even be shared among your friends/group.”
“Lastly, my headphones/earphones so I can listen to my favorite music without disturbing other people around me.”
The Awesome Kev
Kev Hernandez (aka The Awesome Kev) is a Travel Influencer and an IT Business Analyst based in Manila, Philippines.
Kev’s interest in traveling started when he was sent by his school to Tokyo at the age of 15 as a reward for performing well in a 3-year Japanese course. This ignited his passion to continue traveling the world at a young age. Kev loves to try new things as often as he can, eat (Instagram-worthy) food, go on different adventures, and share those escapades to the world through his travel blog. Kev aspires to see 100 of the best places on earth by 2030.
Look him up on:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
“As a travel influencer, my camera is the first item I make sure I won’t forget when going for an adventure. When travelling, I recommend using a mirrorless camera. It takes good professional photos but it’s also compact and not as bulky as a DSLR. I use Fujifilm XT10 35mm for my Instagram photos.”
“In today’s world, smartphones have become an integral part of any travel experience especially now that there is wifi available almost everywhere. I particularly use an iPhone 7 Plus as it also serves as my secondary camera in case my mirrorless cam dies or goes on full memory. Apart from being able to document and post about my trip on Instagram as it happens, my phone has always been my trusted companion to help me get to my destination quickly and safely.”
“My portable charger/power bank has always been a lifesaver for most of my trips. Because I use my phone often for navigation, photos, videos, and posting on my social media accounts, my phone’s battery would run down quickly. Having a power bank with you lets you use your gadgets without having to worry that it won’t be able to serve you all day long (since power sockets are not always available). Choose a power bank that lets you charge your phone 1-3 full cycles; it’s a good investment.”
“Packing a universal travel adapter is a must. It’s small and helps you charge your gadgets across the globe without having to worry if the charger fits the power socket. They are perfect for those going to multiple countries on a single trip or even those involving a layover for a quick charge at the airport.”
“Travel apps make travelling a lot easier and hassle-free. Installing apps that would help you on your trip lets you enjoy and take out the worrying part of going on an adventure. Some of my favorite travel apps include XE Currency (to convert currencies), App in the Air (to track flight status), and Klook (to book discounted tickets of tours and attractions).”
Kisty Mea is a 20-something traveling creative based in Southeast Asia. Born with messy curly/wavy hair, this illustrator/designer has an affinity for pastel colors, minimalist design, and a cup of vanilla ice cream.
Follow her adventures at:
Facebook | Instagram
“Just like any other traveler, I can’t leave without a smartphone (with travel apps installed and pre-downloaded content), a digital camera, and a laptop because I consider these three gadgets a necessity to navigate, document, and share my adventures with family, friends, and readers. Aside from that, I also bring a power strip with a travel adapter and a power bank with at least 10,000 mAh because electric outlets can be limited—hostels, for example, usually provide one per bunk—or inaccessible when I need it the most.
And if I were to pick a favorite, I’d say it would be the power strip because all of my gadgets are fully recharged for the next day’s adventure!”
Aris Mape is a travel blogger based in Cebu. His blog has received awards as Best Travel Blog and Best Photo Blog among others in the Philippine Blogging Awards, Best Cebu Blogs, and BlogEx Manila. Now, he envisions his blog to be a service-based website connecting tour companies, organizers, and local guides to travelers. Aris loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint.
Look him up on:
Facebook | Instagram
“My kind of travel is more of the comfy vacation type and very rarely do I go backpacking or hiking. So, when it comes to gadgets, I don’t have many. I used to carry an SLR, but realizing that my mobile phone–I have a Huawei Mate 9–is almost as powerful as the bulky cam, I now bank on my phone for anything photography. Great resolution, cool functionalities. It’s always fun to experiment, just stretch your creativity and look beyond your phone as a point and shoot camera.
Of course, I bring a mini tripod and a power bank. They’re my essentials. With those, I can already accomplish my travel goals–to capture great photos of the scenery, the hotel or resort, and the food, and record my interviews with the people I meet.
While on travel, I also take a lot of notes in Evernote, just so I have all the details when I need to write my stories. I also post a lot of photos on social media real-time. Photo editing apps like Lightroom Mobile and Snapseed are reliable for that task.”
Nick and Dariece
Goats on the Road
Nick & Dariece, the couple behind the blog, went on one big trip that changed their lives forever. They realized that they didn’t want their trips to have an end date! From then on they researched and tried various jobs all over the world so that they could keep traveling. On the blog ‘Goats on the Road,’ they share the very best jobs that can earn people money on the road, plus their expert tips and advice, so that people can travel for as long as they want!
Follow more of their adventures on:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Nick and Dariece’s Pick
“Choosing our top 5 gadgets is easy. Because we’re digital nomads who are travelling or living abroad full-time, there are a few things that we must have with us. Firstly, our MacBook Pro laptops are our livelihood, followed by our iPhones! We also travel with the new DJI Spark drone, which captures great footage for our YouTube channel. Our camera is also very important for photos, but mostly videos. We have a Canon G7X MarkII. Something that we travel with but isn’t an electronic gadget is our Handpresso portable espresso machine (I’m serious!). It’s so handy for when we’re staying in apartments or hotels. All we need is hot water and some coffee grounds. After a few hand pumps, voila, espresso!”
Rica of Rica’s Rucksack is the author of “The 3rd World Traveler: A Guide to Fulfilling Your Travel Dreams on a Shoestring Budget”. She is the first documented Filipino to travel to a different country without bringing a bag.
Check her adventures at:
- iPhone – Because it has everything I need such as camera for the photos (I can’t say I’m a travel photographer so I’m usually fine with the photo results), music for the long bus rides, alarm clock for my schedule and the notes app, which now serves as my “journal”.
- My old but still working Sony Cybershot DSC-W610 – My backup in case someone steals my iPhone. And it produces good photos too!
- Power bank – Always comes in handy when you’re out the whole day. Also, I cannot live without music during those long bus rides so my iPhone has to be fully charged all the time.
- My old Samsung E1086 – again, in case someone steals my iPhone. It has an alarm clock and a working number that automatically switches to roaming mode so I can still get text messages.
- USB Flash drive – for storing photos and other important files as I don’t like bringing my laptop with me.
P.S. I’m On My Way
Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She’d like to believe she’s not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. Trisha also loves extremely spicy food, pineapples, plants and symmetry. In no particular order, her favourite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv.
Visit her social media accounts for more of her travel adventures:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
“As a writer, it has become a habit to read. Traveling or not, I dedicate 2 hours per day to read. It helps me “organise” my mind.”
“In my line of work, bringing the camera is always a must!”
“In the same way as reading can balance the mind, so does music. I really like listening to music especially when I am about to fly in a country. My favourites are the Balkans, Yemenite and Ethiopian music.”
“Wherever I go (even to the supermarket!), I always have a pocket notebook where I can write down all my random thoughts. For me, in order to be a good writer, you must live it. I’m not the best yet but I am trying my best to make it a practice, not just a hobby.”
“I was about to tell you I only have 4 but I decided to add my mobile phone to the list even if I hate it so much. Unfortunately, it’s a necessity but I’ve deleted it in my list of habits.”
Wrapping It Up
Traveling is definitely among the best things that you can do in life. Not only does it make you feel thrilled and excited from time to time, but also, it helps you collect memories and make your journey in life as memorable as possible.
In order to have the best time of your life for every destination, it’s important to make sure that you have your essential gadgets packed. Aside from helping you take the best pictures of all time, it also helps you to keep your luggage as light and as minimal as possible. A perfect way to worry less and enjoy more of your next big adventure.
Pack your very own tech essentials kit now!
How to choose your next smartphone?
- Consider the operating system whether it’s iOS, Android, or Windows.
- Look into the phone’s specifications to determine which suits your needs best.
- Filter your choices through the phone’s features and choose what’s useful for you.
- Determine which of your options fits best in your budget range.
The competition in the smartphone industry is getting a lot tougher, with the variety of options from locked to unlocked devices courtesy of T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and smartphone manufacturers who made these magnificent units possible in the market.
However, along with the variety of options that these carriers and brands have offered in the market, the difficulty in choosing the best smartphone for you might be harder than you thought. Hence, we are offering you four effective tips in choosing your next smartphone, which will definitely lead you to your perfect match!
Consider the Operating System
To better choose what you want for your next smartphone, you may consider the three main types of operating system that’s out in the market.
Out of all these three, iOS and Android remains to be the majority’s favorites. Mainly because iOS offers convenience, security, and simplicity of its products. Android, on contrary, offers a variety of options for customization. Of course, Windows remains available on your options, in case you prefer a smartphone that is highly integrated with Microsoft products and high-quality camera lenses.
To be able to check on the operating systems further, we recommend that you try a demo device at their stores.
Look into the Specs
For tech savvy people, phone specifications or specs matters most. Practically, this helps them determine which smartphone is best fitted for their lifestyle: whether they are a gamer, a camera enthusiast, or an artist.
Initially, you can assess a smartphone’s specs from these five key factors: processor, RAM, internal storage, battery life, and the camera quality.
- Processor. Basically, a smartphone’s processor is stated based on the number of cores and the speed in gigahertz (GHz). These numbers indicate how powerful and fast the smartphone will be able to run the games and apps that you prefer to install.
- Random-access memory (RAM). RAM is measured in gigabytes (GB) and refers to the overall amount of storage the device is capable of multitasking apps. When it comes to RAM, it is true that the higher is better. This comes most necessary if you’re the gamer type of smartphone user as games require more RAM than any other apps.
- Internal storage. A device’s internal storage, or memory as some would call it, also plays a huge part in preventing app crashes. This also comes in handy if you are the type of user who loves storing music, videos, photos, and other files.
- Battery life. Today, the maximum battery life of smartphones has increased to 5000mAh, providing a longer time for users to play and chat on their phones
- Camera quality. Camera quality isn’t an issue today, given that more and more smartphone brands tend to commercialize better, competitive camera lenses. Typically, camera quality is measured in megapixels (MP), and as long as cameras are concerned, the higher the MP, the better. However, if you are keen on the camera details, you may also go further into the specifics such as the aperture, shutter speed, zoom lens, and others.
However, it would be best not to rely on what is written on the paper. In assessing specs, it is still better to try a demo device or go through phone reviews online for real-world assessment.
Filter via Special Features
Once you have narrowed down your preferred units based on their specs, you can also filter them with what particular features they offer. In the first place, this is where these smartphones remain distinct from each other. It may be the phone’s display, screen size, or the body of the handset.
Today, color also matters to consumers including old rose, gold, and matte black variations to name a few. However, given the tough competition when it comes to features, most well-known brands prefer going for functionality over aesthetics. Thus, the rise of waterproof and shock resistant smartphones – from the 2, 2.5, and 3D glass panel displays, wireless charging, Micro SD slots, removable battery, in-cell navigation buttons display, to the continuously innovating fingerprint technologies that people are looking forward to for a while now.
Determine Which Fits Your Budget Range
Of course, you will need to consider the price range in choosing your smartphone as well. Typically, iOS phones are much more expensive than Android phones. This includes Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy Edge units at the top of the list. If you prefer, however, a lower cost yet phones that run on Android, you may opt for a HTC, Huawei, LG, or Motorola product.
Don’t rush though, since there are a lot of brands to choose from. In addition, a variety of deals from carriers that you can take into your advantage.
As highlighted in these tips, it is truly important that you choose a smartphone that fits your preference, lifestyle, and budget perfectly. Through this, you will be able to find satisfaction on your next smartphone.
How does the weather affect your cellular connection?
- Air does not directly affect your cellular connection. However, changes in humidity levels do.
- Water conducts electricity, and as it does, it reflects radio waves. The water vapor then absorbs the energy from the radio waves and converts it into heat. As a result, it blocks the signal between the cell site and the device.
“I did unlock my phone but why is my connection still bad?” – Most people would look for solutions over a bad cellular connection, but at times, it is better to understand the situation first.
Typically, your connection weakens when you are out in the woods or most especially when the weather is not good. However, how does the weather affect your cellular connection? More so, is it true that a rainy weather is truly bad for your connection?
Here is a brief discussion to help you with.
What is Cellular Connection?
Cellular connection (or cellular signal) is what helps your phone transmit text, photos, and calls to another phone. Basically your device, either it be a smartphone or a basic phone, communicates with a cell site through radio waves. The frequencies may range from 700 to 2,600 MHz and are commonly designated in the ultra-high frequency (UHF) band given that it fits in the band’s range of 300 MHz to 3 GHz. More so, this can be identified by through the five bars that are indicated in the upper part of your screen.
Commonly, UHF radio waves travel directly from the source to the receiver, also known as line-of-sight propagation. It is one characteristic that radio waves possess in the process of transmitting data from a device to the receiver. However, as the waves travel in a straight path towards the receiver, often, they are blocked by obstacles such as hills and large infrastructures. This then may cause diffraction, reflection, refraction, or absorption of the radio waves to the materials or atmosphere that it travels to.
Given that there are several radio frequencies available, cell providers are most likely to resolve the issue of obstacles. These cell providers just have to make sure that they do not interfere any of those that are emitted by another cell site.
Most likely, radio waves can travel for about 45 miles away, given that there is a clear line-of-sight – meaning no obstacles, a powered-up cell site, and a great atmosphere condition. However, in reality, the maximum traveling capability of these radio waves is just about 22 miles or less.
Just remember that the farther you are from a cell site, the weaker your cellular connection or signal is.
How Air Affects Your Cellular Connection?
Technically, air does not directly affect your cellular connection. However, changes in humidity levels do.
As you may have known in the above discussion, UHF frequencies’ line-of-sight propagation may only be affected when and if there are obstacles along the path. The air is a simple matter, only when it is not associated with water. However, in cases when rain and lightning strikes, the UHF frequencies may bounce and travel over longer distances. This then may extend the reach of transmission that can cause a weaker cellular connection.
How Water Affects Your Cellular Connection?
Unfortunately, water isn’t good for cellular connections. This is due to the fact that water conducts electricity which may reflect waves. As it does, the water vapor then absorbs the energy from the radio waves and converts it into heat. This blocks the radio waves from traveling between your device and the cell site, which results in a weak cellular connection.
What to Do About It?
Knowing about how weather affects your cellular connection can help you in your daily encounters. An example of which is when traveling. If you know that you are going to a place where there is most likely weaker connection or signal, you can try Googling about the cell sites that are near it. So in case you have an emergency, you’ll know what to do.
More so, you can try switching from an LTE to a 3G connection in situations that you really need to send a quick message to someone. As often times, lower frequency radio waves can travel better in atmospheric conditions that higher frequency radio waves could not work into.
Cellular connections travel through radio waves in a straight path. With this in mind, it can be concluded that a rainy weather can cause those frequencies to bounce and cause weaker connections.
As the old saying goes, once the genie is out of the bottle, there’s no way to put him back. That’s how creator of the internet, Sir Tim Berners Lee, has recently stated he feels about the worldwide web which he gifted to the world.
He has warned that the potential for mobile phones and other devices to be tampered with in far reaching and damaging ways is high if proper protection is overlooked. “When people are thinking about the security of their systems, they worry about people discovering what they are doing,” Tim Berners-Lee said. “What they don’t think about is the possibility of things being changed.”
Citing an example, he said: “If you disrupted traffic data to tell everybody that all the roads south of the river are closed, so everybody would go north of the river, that would cause gridlock and disable the city,”
With iPhones and Androids rapidly becoming more advanced, there’s a growing trend in the number of smart phones being hacked, leaving users extremely vulnerable to compromised personal information. But what are the tell-tale signs your mobile phone has been compromised? If you notice any of the following occurrences over the course of a few days, the chances are your device has been hacked or compromised.
You have recently noticed your smartphone is slow and clunky
If your mobile feels like your phone is working reluctantly, almost against your will, and is slow, unresponsive, and typing is difficult, it may have become infected with malware. There are a number of free apps out there that can slow down your phone’s performance, and quickly fill the memory on your phone. Review your apps carefully, and if there are any you don’t need, or are not sure about, delete them.
You’re sending or receiving unusual text messages
If friends start telling you they are receiving unusual and unwanted text messages from you, or if you are receiving such messages, you could have had a security breach. It’s time to run a reliable anti-malware app to check if there is a problem.
New apps have been added to your phone and you didn’t install them
There are several vulnerabilities in operating systems that may let Android or iOS malware escalate privileges and gain the ability to circumvent security features. This can result in apps being installed without your permission. These apps can potentially steal your data, record your calls and text messages. They can even hijack your social-media and online banking sessions. Immediately delete any apps you did not install.
The battery is draining much quicker than it used to
Malware chews up battery time as it works on code in the background. If you find your battery draining faster than it used to check your apps to see how much memory they are consuming. If necessary delete them and install again, or just do without them. A clean fast phone is one that is not overloaded with apps.
Certain apps have stopped working properly
When apps that were working perfectly well start to misbehave, delete them, run a virus and malware check and install again from a trusted third party.
Data or text messaging (SMS) is greatly increased but your usage remains the same
You know your monthly data usage, but lately it has been considerably higher than you expected. Beware of text messages that can arrive in your inbox inviting you to click on them. Some of these seemingly innocent texts can charge you for every text you receive, and you can receive several a day, which will massively affect your charges as these are premium rate texts. Delete any texts you do not recognize.
Charges you do not recognize are displaying on your phone
Criminals love nothing more than to exploit an infected device. They make expensive overseas phone calls via remote party proxying through your device. They can also send SMS messages to international numbers, or ring up charges in other ways.
Your phone has been accessing dodgy sites you never tried to view
Many business mobiles operate on private networks that ban dubious sites of a certain nature such as porn sites or pirated content sites. If you notice that your phone has been trying to access such sites and has been blocked, when you yourself have not attempted to visit them, it is more than likely your phone has been infected, and you should report it to the company’s IT Department before the finger of suspicion falls on you.
An acquaintance seems strangely well informed about your schedule/activities
If you feel someone knows more about you than they should, such as what time you will be at a certain venue, or certain comments you have made to other friends, you may be being cyber stalked. This means a piece of malware has been introduced to your phone for the purposes of discovering everything about your personal, and quite possibly your financial life, too. Again, this you need to protect yourself by running anti-virus and malware software from a trusted source. It may also be necessary to go the whole way and restore the phone to factory settings, but make sure you back up valuable information, music and pictures to the cloud before doing so.
Your phone number is all a hacker needs
While it is important to take precautions by regularly checking your phone for malware and viruses, it is also worth bearing in mind that all a determined hacker needs to access your phone is your phone number. We are all guilty of giving away our mobile number too freely. How many business cards do you give to little known acquaintances during the course of the day?
Did you know an experienced hacker can use a network interchange service called Signalling System No. 7 (SS7), also known as C7 in the UK or CCSS7 in the USA.
CCSS7 acts as a broker between mobile phone networks. As calls or text messages are made across networks, CCSS7 handles details such as number translation, SMS transfer, billing and other back-end duties that connect one network or caller to another. By gaining access to the CCSS7 system, hackers can track a target’s location based on mobile phone mast triangulation, read their sent and received text messages, and log, record and listen into their phone calls, simply by using their phone number as an identifier. For this reason, it’s important to be extremely careful to whom you give your number.
How do you protect your mobile device when it has also become your mobile bank, your wallet, social network and more?
The truth is, you can never be fully protected, but an awareness of what hackers might try to do, and what happens when they have successfully hacked your phone will give you the awareness to do something about it quickly.
How can you change your service provider if you’re not happy with the service you’re getting?
That’s much easier to answer. Just contact Unlockbase. We have the largest database of mobile phones and service providers internationally. We can quickly, easily and securely unlock your phone and set you free to choose the best provider for your needs.
If you’re in the market for a new smartphone but don’t want to pay the, let’s be frank, not so advantageous monthly price of a service provider contract phone, you could decide to look for a “behind the curve” model. That is a secondhand smartphone that’s perhaps a year or two old, but still functions perfectly adequately.
There are several good sources for ‘behind the curve’ phones including Mobile-Base and Amazon. These sites often have deals on newish phones at close to used prices. But if you do decide on a second-hand smartphone, it’s vital to bear in mind some of the potential phone buying pitfalls.
The first thing to consider is what type of second hand phone option you want.
- Save money on a popular brand second hand phone from a previous owner.
- Or pay more for a refurbished phone. A refurbished phone is one that has been tested, fixed and made serviceable by a retailer. If you opt for this route, make sure you get a guarantee, even if it’s for a warranty of only six months.
Check the IMEI
If you decide to go the second-hand route, it’s vital to check that the smartphone works correctly, and above all, that it isn’t stolen. If it is and you buy it, your mistake will be discovered as soon as you try to fit a new sim card into it. The phone will die on you, not only that, you could be held responsible for handling stolen goods. 1 in 4 mobile devices checked has a significant used history.
To check if the phone is clean and not stolen you need to run a check on the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. To find the IMEI on the phone check under Setttings/About Device on Android, or punch in *#06#. The IMEI will instantly appear on the screen.
You can then check the phone’s status at sites such as IMEIPro or CheckMend, said to be the world’s largest data resource on smartphones. While there is a small charge to check on this site, it’s well worth the price. Equipped with the IMEI number you can quickly find out the phone’s full specifications and its history, whether or not the Seller wants you to know about it. It’s like a VIN check for vehicles.
As soon as dodgy sellers realize you know about the requirement of checking for the IMEI, they may well quickly back off and try their luck with a less savvy buyer.
Meet face to face when possible
Whenever possible it’s always best to meet the seller face to face. Buying sight-unseen from eBay or sites that are not rigorously monitored can quickly lead to buyer’s remorse. Sites such as Mobile-Base are monitored, and in the event there is a provable problem they will intercede on your behalf, because all Sellers are vetted.
Consider sim size
Another important point to check is whether you have the right size sim right size sim for the phone you want to buy, but you can always pick up a cheap one.
Check for damage
An important advantage in viewing a phone face to face rather than online is that you can check for scratches, dents, screen cracks and full functionality. Don’t forget to check the camera lens for scratches or misting. If the back opens, open it: the smartphone should be clean inside, and the battery still serviceable.
A fair price
Getting the best bargain for your purchase of course involves several factors including the age of the phone, the condition, the model, whether it’s brand new in box, all the usual variables, however, before you start discussing price, have a good idea in your mind as to what the same model is selling for elsewhere. It makes it much easier to spot a bargain price, but then is a bargain price truly a bargain. Only homework can help you decide.
Across the States there are dozens of sites that cater to refurbished phones including Mobile-Base, BestBuy and Overstock. Then of course there is eBay and Amazon. With the exception of eBay, you can spread the cost of your purchase with a credit card and even opt for added protection to guard against any technical or hardware problems.
If you decide to buy from a bricks and mortar store, remember to bring along a laptop, a charging cable, earbuds or headphones, and even a microSD or SD card. Check the smartphone charges by plugging it into your laptop to make sure it charges. Check the headphone jack and card slot. Place your own sim in the phone and make a phone call.
Locked or unlocked
If the smartphone is locked to a certain network provider which you don’t want, you can quickly, easily and cost effectively unlock it with UnlockBase, the leading online remote unlock service. You can also bargain down the seller as it should be cheaper than an unlocked phone. An unlocked phone gives you complete freedom to choose your own network at a price you want to pay.
Secret codes and apps
Smartphones usually have hidden codes that provide access to extra information and self-test routines. As an example of this, Android phones, *#*#4636#*#* will provide usage statistics and battery information, while *#*#0*#*#* will run an LCD display test. A useful site for checking out codes is Redmond Pie. You can also research the phone you’re after on a YouTube. You can alternatively run an app test such as Phone Tester for Android or Phone Doctor Plus for Android and Apple’s iOS. These apps will give you a quick gauge of the smartphone hardware and the state of the battery. There’s no excuse for not doing your homework, it takes just a few minutes to save yourself a lot of hassle down the line.
Armed with this information and plenty of due diligence, you should be able to find a good quality second-hand or refurbished phone at a good price.
Think about it. Would you rather go back to the good old days when you couldn’t carry a phone around with you? It had certain advantages. People accepted the fact that there would be whole hours of the day when you simply could not be contacted. Nowadays we get jumpy if we can’t get hold of someone inside of an hour, often half an hour.
Being unable to get hold of people in an emergency was a frustration, but it’s a frustration that has now been largely overcome. But now there’s a new source of frustration and exasperation. It’s called poor cell phone reception. It affects everything that governs modern life; phone calls, instant messaging, text messaging, email, internet, apps, social media, and plenty of other real-time services.
We’ve become so accustomed to an always on, always working world, that our levels of patience have greatly decreased. When there is no cellphone reception it’s almost enough to throw your phone out of the window.
Our service providers ensure we pay handsomely for the privilege of such convenience, so it’s only fair we should expect reliable 3G & 4G LTE signals, but do we always get them? No. However, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to help boost your cell phone strength.
1) Let nothing come between you and your cell tower
Your cellphone works best when there’s an uninterrupted signal between you and the cell tower. Your phone should also work well when it’s right in front of the router, but if you’re in another room there are objects and obstructions in between. The trick is to reduce interference between the cell phone and the cell tower. To do this you can go outside or stand by an open window, away from thick walls and insulated interiors.
If a good signal really matters to you, look out for tall trees, hills, mountains, metal structures, and high buildings before you settle on a place to live, all these will contribute towards a poor signal. You can also check with your service provider what the signal is like in any particular area. And the higher your apartment, the better as high rise apartments get the best signal.
Then there’s the weather. Unfortunately, we can’t control it, but it may also affect service. Rain, snow and thunderstorms can all reduce reception, but sometimes, just shifting your position a few feet can reduce the problem.
2) Know where your nearest cell tower is located
Finding out where your nearest cell phone tower is located can really help in your battle for better cellphone signal. If you want to know where your nearest cell tower is, go online, enter your zip code or city and state and you can quickly find out. You can discover cell tower locations by all the major carriers including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, & T-Mobile. The reviews from other users will give you an honest appraisal as to cell signal strength.
– Check websites:
OpenSignal ranks the top carriers and their signal with a cell phone coverage map and then further compares your area cell phone signal nationwide and even worldwide. You can also refine the type of cell phone signal by 2G, 3G, and 4G.
– Download an App:
OpenSignal: For iPhone | For Android
Akvelon’s Signal Finder: For iPhone | For Android
RootMetrics’ Cell Phone Coverage Map: For iPhone | For Android
– Use your phone:
Your smartphone is a great way to find signal strength. Cell phone signals are measured in dB (decibels). Similar to radio waves, such as AM/FM. All cellular devices operate within this standard:-50 dB to -120 dB signal level.
-50 dB is considered full strength (full bars). -120 dB is considered signal Death Valley.
So, while the bars on your phone are supposed to indicate signal strength, you can’t truly rely on it. Why? Because there’s no industry standard and practice to label dB values in relation to the number of bars. For example, 1 bar on Verizon is 2 bars on AT&T and 3 bars on Sprint, even though it could be the exact same signal and performing at the same speeds.
You can check the Db readings like this:
For iPhone Users:
- Go into Phone Mode
- Dial and Call *3001#12345#*
- You know enter in “Field Test Mode”
- Drag down your notifications bar and you will see your dB reading in the left-hand corner.
For Android Users:
- Go to Settings > General > About Phone
- Then “Network” (or “Status“)
- You should see your dB Value
Now try walking around the house to find out where you receive the best signal. The number closest to -50 dB is where you get your best signal.
3) A full battery means a better signal
Connecting to a cell tower takes a constant supply of power, so if you’re low on battery, your phone might not be able to identify the best signal. Options like Bluetooth and NFC should be switched off when not in use. Close unnecessary or unused apps working in the background. Turn off push notifications, and always update to the latest firmware.
4) Use your Wi-Fi Network
If you keep your WiFi signal on your phone switched on when you are outside, remember to switch it off when you get home and use Wi-Fi Calling, using your broadband landline WiFi to make
calls and connect to the internet. T-Mobile and Sprint offer full WiFi calling support, while AT&T and Verizon only support WiFi calling on select phones. If you already have landline internet, connecting your cell phone should help boost reception service.
5) Cell phone signal boosters
These are powerful FCC-certified devices that harvest your 3G & 4G signals and amplify them by up to 32 times and then rebroadcast it to your home or car.
Cell phone boosters are one-time purchases with no monthly fees. They come with 2-year manufacturer’s warranty and lifetime technical support. They are fully legal and approved by all US and Canadian carriers, and they work for any cellular device on any US or Canadian network.
6) Unlock your phone and find another carrier
If you’ve done everything you can and you’re still not happy, you can complain to your service provider. It’s their duty to ensure as much as possible that you get good reception. Competition for your business is keen. Sprint offer a 50% cut on bills if customers switched carriers, while T-Mobile will pay for any early termination and old payment plan fees. Good carrier deals are out there waiting to be discovered.
But if you decide you want to change your service provider, UnlockBase is here to help. We unlock the widest range of phones from the longest list of service providers, and we can free your phone, quickly, conveniently and economically.