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
- Transport services
- Wi-Fi connection
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?
What gadgets makes a good company on a weekend road trip?
- An adjustable smartphone car mount
- A quality dash cam
- A fast, multi-port USB car charger
- The portable miniespresso
- A portable Wi-Fi
Are you planning a road trip with your friends on the weekend? Have you packed your things yet? Aside from unlocking your device from T-Mobile and inserting another SIM card for emergency purposes, you might need a few more company to keep you secured and entertained during your most awaited road trip.
What would they be? Here are a few of our best picks on gadgets to accommodate you and your friends while you are traveling during the weekend.
1. An adjustable smartphone car mount
There are various types of phone car mounts that you may come across with at different stores, but one thing that you’d most need on your road trip is that one adjustable smartphone car mount.
A great example of this car mount is the ExoMount Touch Air Vent Car Mount. It allows you to focus on the road while doing its thing. You can easily mount it on your air vent so you can easily view your phone at eye level. This also allows you to easily swivel your phone’s screen to your option of perspective – whether it’s in portrait or landscape. It is truly a great choice for a car mount that you wouldn’t need to turn your attention further away from the road anymore.
You can check it out at Digg Store for more details!
2. A quality dash cam
Of course, safety should always be a priority when traveling. Having this said, it is always a good choice to invest on a quality dash cam. Having this in your car will not only make you well-aware of the road but could also be a great witness during unforeseen circumstances.
Moreover, it can also help you document the most scenic destinations on your road trip. It’ll be definitely worth it!
3. A fast, multi-port USB car charger
Being on the road makes it hard for everyone’s phone to last for the longest time possible. This is why you should always have a fast multi-port USB charger with you. With the technology today, it is without a doubt that you can purchase a USB car charger that is capable of fast charging that caters to everyone’s unit.
Moreover, you should also consider choosing that particular USB charger that is capable of protecting your device from any unlikely instances such as overheating and short-circuits. A great example of this is Anker’s PowerDrive 4. Equipped with four ports, it will definitely help everyone use their phones to the extreme without the fear of getting their batteries drained.
4. The portable miniespresso
It is definitely a good thing to have a shot of coffee or tea while on the road without stopping at a coffee shop. So how do you do this? Well, what is great is that there’s this thing called Miniespresso. It’s a lightweight and easy-to-use device that allows you to estimate and tamp your espresso before pumping it to give an aromatic, steaming hot shot of espresso.
No, you don’t need to plug it anywhere. What you just need is a hot water and a powdered espresso and you are good to go!
5. A portable Wi-Fi
It is true that the need for Internet connection is a must these days – most especially when you are going to travel. Given that there are a number of things that you may need the help of your beloved unlocked phone and the Internet – whether it may be online maps, communication, or a quick overview of the place you are going to. So what better way to back you up on this matter is a portable Wi-Fi! Not only does it help you during the course of your road trip, hence, will also be a great companion for you and your friends while on the road.
There are still a number of things that you can have during a long road trip. However, always keep in mind that you must ensure that those particular things you will be bringing, especially gadgets, can definitely aid you in your primary needs.
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, it is 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, 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!
Travel Blogger 1: Top Picks
Our first travel blogger loves being location independent and funds her travels with freelance editing and writing work. She has been to 29 countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America.
“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.”
Travel Blogger 2: Top Picks
Travel blogger 2 is a passionate food lover. Her blogs mainly features food and restaurants around a particular city she has traveled from. She enjoys discovering new places, and trying out new products, while meeting new friends in between.
“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.”
Travel Blogger 3: Top Picks
Travel blogger 3 is a Travel Influencer and an IT Business Analyst based in the Philippines.
His 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. He 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. He aspires to see 100 of the best places on earth by 2030.
“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).”
Travel Blogger 4: Top Picks
Travel blogger 4 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.
“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!”
Travel Blogger 5: Top Picks
Travel blogger 5 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. He loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint.
“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.”
Travel Blogger 6: Top Picks
Travel bloggers 6 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 their blog, 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!
“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!”
Travel Blogger 7: Top Picks
Travel blogger 7 likes to travel to a different country without bringing a bag.
- 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.
Travel Blogger 8: Top Picks
Travel blogger 8 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.
“As a writer, it has become a habit to read. Traveling or not, I dedicate 2 hours per day to read. It helps me “organize” 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 did technology change the way people travel?
- It made quick travel bookings possible.
- It helped people travel without much paper (i.e. paper maps, travel guides, books, etc.)
- It enabled people to take photos in the comfort of their phones.
- It helped people communicate with people easily and inexpensively.
- It made communicating with the locals (of the place they traveled to) easier through language translation apps.
Have you tried to unlock your SIM network through pin codes so you can connect to people while you are on tour? How about booking a hotel online to spend the week with?
Over the years, technology has continuously changed the way we travel. It definitely helped make traveling easier, cost-efficient, and much more enjoyable. However, were you aware of these changes?
No worries, here is a list of how technology changed the way we travel and which you can look into. Who knows, you might agree with us!
Quick travel bookings
What made traveling easier today is the birth of travel websites over the internet. It minimized the hassle of purchasing tickets that normally takes a lot of time and patience.
Today, people can freely choose their desired destination and travel package in the comfort of their home or even at the office, right on their own devices. More so, it enables them to quickly book flights, hotels, transfers and many others that they would need for their newest escapade.
No more papers!
Before, people would stack papers on their backpacks, which may include travel guides, hotel flyers, paper maps, flight papers, and books (especially on holiday trips). This eventually causes a heavy load that can contribute to extra load charges.
Now, traveling is almost paperless as people can find travel guides through apps, book hotels online, switch on Google Maps for directions, and include their favorite books on their Kindle library. Definitely, there’s no more reason to carry a bulky backpack whenever you travel.
Taking photos is easier
Of course, among the most important contributions of technology to the way people travel today is the use of smartphones. Back then, it could be pretty difficult to capture every moment you wanted due to the limitations on your film supply.
Today, people can take various photos for each and every moment through their own smartphones, which they can also share on their own social media accounts or save in the Cloud to maximize their storage.
Stay connected anytime
Way back in the old times, one would still need to write letters and send pretty postcards to their families back home to know that they are okay and they are doing just fine. Furthermore, staying connected wasn’t cheap and easy, hence, some families will only expect to hear from them whenever there’s an emergency.
Today, staying connected to people isn’t costly nor difficult. It would only take a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection to send e-mails or private messages on Facebook Messenger or other chat messaging platform. You can even start a video call via Skype to keep in touch with your family on a real-time basis!
Ciao? Ni Hao? No more phrasebooks needed!
What most people find difficult before is communicating with the locals. Thus, the need for phrasebooks to be able to ask for directions, or just about anything, is essential.
At present, thanks to apps like iTranslate and Google Translate, expressing yourself wouldn’t be so hard.
Do you agree with our list? Indeed, technology has changed how people travel through time. There are smartphones, apps, and online travel websites that definitely made traveling fast, easy, and cost-efficient. Moreover, you wouldn’t need to worry about the simple things such as maps and phrasebooks, thus, all you need to do is enjoy the trip and have fun as much as you can!
If you simply can’t imagine a moment, let alone a life without cellphones or your favorite electronic devices, try moving to Green Bank, West Virginia, USA, where no electronics of any kind are permitted. This isn’t down to any moral or overbearing nanny state issues, it’s because Green Bank happens to be home to the world’s largest steerable satellite, and it requires absolute radio silence in order to be able to do its job. This means no high-speed broadband, no cellphones, and no radio interference of any kind is permitted. Even TV is completely banned.
To enable the telescope to operate without disturbances and receive signals from millions of miles out in space, the town, with a population of just 149 residents, has completely outlawed the use of electronic transmitting devices and there’s even a WiFi cop whose sole job is to patrol the streets seeking out errant wireless signal abusers.
Green Bank West Viriginia Telescope
Only first responders for medical emergencies are allowed to use radios and the town has but one pay phone. Residents still have access to the internet, but it operates only at the exasperating pace that dial-up used to offer some 20 years ago.
Of course no electronics can make modern life difficult for the residents of the town, but some see it as a blessed relief from the round the clock intrusiveness of modern day messaging such as Tweets, Facebook postings, texts, badly taken Whatsapp selfies and all the other WiFi social media junk that high speed broadband has made possible and ubiquitous. For this reason, some see a move to Green Bank as a positive, life reaffirming step, which is why, starting from the mid-2000s, many 21st century escapees have begun flocking to Green Bank.
The peace and quiet of no WiFi noise and stress is deemed as beneficial, and some of the newer residents who have arrived in recent years are there because they claim to suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), a disease or condition which is not yet recognized by the medical community, but has been featured in the hit TV show ‘Better Call Saul’ a prequel to the hugely popular AMC show ‘Breaking Bad’.
At least the residents of Green Bank West Virginia are making an informed choice about their no WiFi world. Unfortunately for some, the digital divide is a daily source of frustration. No place more so than in the Philippines, which has the unwanted honor of being the country with the worst internet connection in the world.
Officially the Philippines is the country with the slowest connection and poorest coverage of LTE in the world, a phone application that measures internet speed. According to the “State of the LTE” by OpenSignal Inc., the Philippines has the slowest LTE or Long Term Evolution connection of the 16 countries surveyed, with 5.3 Mbps (megabits per second), only next to the US with 6.5 Mpbs.
Conversely, Asia is also home to the country with the fastest broadband in the world. South Korea has the world’s best LTE coverage at 91%. Second place goes to Tele2 Sweden. LTE or Long Term Evolution is designed to be 10 times the speed of its 3G counterparts for mobile devices.
It looks like there may not be too much demand for our remote cellphone unlock services in Green Bank, Virginia, but in every other part of the world, achieving the best broadband speed at the best rate is a never ending quest. For this reason, UnlockBase offers the largest database of cellphone providers and cellphones on the net. With constant new additions and updates as new models emerge, even brand new phones can be unlocked quickly, reliably and cost efficiently usually in just a few minutes. So if you’re not residing in Green Bank, why not give us a try.
It wasn’t so long ago that all you needed to bring with you on a holiday was a simple cell phone, after all, a smart phone is designed to take pictures, to play music and videos, send messages, and slip easily into your pocket. How could you possibly need anything else? Yes, but standing still is not something smart phones do. Suddenly a whole industry has grown up around smartphones that means without the accessories your cellphone is somehow naked and incomplete. Here is an overview of some of the new must haves that have evolved seemingly in the blink of an eye.
Sim Free Phone
This is a definite ‘don’t leave home without it’ item if you want to save serious money on overseas surfing and call charges. If you have a good quality smartphone tied to a network provider UnlockBase can quickly unlock it for you and free your phone up so that when you travel you can simply slip a local SIM card into your phone and pay local rates instead of what can easily be extortionate network provider rates. Don’t leave it till it’s too late. Get your phone unlocked now!
DiCAPac Action Floating Selfie Stick with Water Proof Bluetooth Remote
It’s no longer enough to have just an ordinary selfie stick. For your exotic beach side holidays you need a floating selfie stick that enables you to capture the action in the pool or indeed the sea. The DiCAPac Action Floating Selfie Stick boasts a water proof Bluetooth remote, in addition to the selfie stick being 100% waterproof, as the name suggests, it floats so you will not lose it as you enjoy yourself in the pool.
Olixar ToughBeats Outdoor Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
These small Bluetooth speakers pack a punch and at the same time enable you to stream your music via Bluetooth no matter where in the world you happen to be. Designed to withstand the elements, you can also answer calls hands-free. The speakers are small enough to carry with you in a bag or rucksack or fit into a bag and share your vast library of cool sounds with your friends.
Local SIM cards
A much smarter way to bypass all roaming charges and let your smart phone live like a local in your chosen destination is to simply dust off your spare phone, fit it with a WorldSim or simply buy a new local sim card as soon as you arrive. Of course to do this you first need to make sure your phone is unlocked. Luckily, this has become incredibly easy through reliable online cellphone unlock companies such as UnlockBase. Most phones can be unlocked in a matter of minutes, leaving you free to insert the sim card of your choice.
Proximo Key Fob Bluetooth Tracker
Available for both iPhone and Galaxy S, Proximo ensures you never lose your phone. The Proximo Fob works with the free app on your phone, alerting you as soon as your phone or keys get too far away from each other.
Olloclip Clip-on Lenses
Companies such as Olloclip have opened up huge photography possibilities for travelers using a smart phone. Their range of clip on accessories include wide angle lenses, telephoto lenses and macro lenses to enable you to take professional looking pictures on your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.
Noise cancelling headphones
Noise cancelling headphones can quickly carry you away to your own little cocoon of pleasurable sounds on your smartphone. The Bose QuietComfort headphones may not be the cheapest on the market, but the quality is undeniable.
Fiddling about with cables to charge your phone, and the very act of needing to constantly keep it charged while out and about can be a hassle. With Chargekey you have re-charging power on the go. Chargekey is the world’s most portable USB charging cable for iPhone & Android. It fits perfectly on your key chain and charges and syncs just like your regular cable charging device.
So the next time you are planning an overseas trip, get creative about what accessories you bring with you to enhance the fun of using your smartphone and how your handle your call charges. Or if it’s all too much hassle, just leave your phone at home and send a postcard!
Roaming charges – the sting that comes with any type of international travel! Let’s face it, none of us are likely to leave home without our phones while we are away – with no access to google maps to find our way back to the hotel, no Facebook and no way to call home to let people know we are safe. Luckily there are some sneaky tips that can make your roaming fees much more manageable…
Limit background data
Background data consists of things like app updates and emails. For apps that you don’t need you can go into your settings (usually in the menu that is called something like ‘wireless and networks’. Here you can choose which apps to limit. Better yet go to Play Store/Apple Store and turn off automatic updates (you can switch them to update when Wi-Fi is available).
Switch to Data Server mode
In Chrome you can switch to data server mode which restricts the amount of data that is used while browsing. In the Chrome settings it’s usually in the Advanced menu (Android) or the Bandwidth menu (IOS).
Switch your SIM
Your contract SIM might not give you such a good deal overseas, in which case a travel SIM is a good idea. Not only are they pay as you go so you can’t over spend, but you can receive calls for free in all the popular destinations (your regular provider will charge you for this). Plus you get access to significantly lower data rates and call charges worldwide.
Change your apps
There are lots of apps that do the same thing as some of the apps you might already have – although they don’t need a data connection. Switch Google Maps for maps.me for example, so you can navigate your way around with no data roaming charges. In addition disable any apps that have ads as this will eat through your data and cost you a fortune!
Get Onavo Extend
This uber cool app compresses data usage by as much as five times, meaning you get 5 times more data without the added costs. Better still – it’s free!
Automatically connect to Wi-Fi
You can change your settings to automatically connect to Wi-Fi when it’s available. This will potentially save you a lot of money. I say potentially as you should remember to keep safe with your online security – open networks are prone to hackers who could steal your private information (bank details, PayPal logins etc). Be careful and only connect to secured networks that you trust.
Take WiFi with you
With handy little portable WiFi gadgets, you can take WiFi with you. An unlocked WiFi hotspot will enable you to put any data SIM inside whether that be your contract SIM, worldwide data SIM or a local SIM. You can generally connect 10 – 15 devices, and then you can get online anywhere worldwide!
Don’t leave our data roaming on
I shouldn’t have to say it but just in case! Make sure you keep data switched off unless you need to update or get online.
As smart phones continue to get smarter and smarter, they naturally become more and more indispensable. These days, airlines, buses, and trains are making things even easier by offering ticketless travel. Just show up, present the ticket details on your phone and board the transport of your choice. Apart from that, the smart phone can schedule your trip, find you the best car rental, book your hotel…and of course, phone home. It’s a must have accessory on any trip.
So since the smart phone is so smart, it’s time you became equally wise, and not sleep walk into exorbitant overseas call charges from your service provider. These charges will drain you of your money quicker than a beach pickpocket on overtime.
For example, did you know that if you were to send a picture home via conventional text message, it could cost you up to $40.00 with some plans! That’s outrageous and criminally dumb, especially in this day and age where there are so many better and cheaper alternatives available.
In fairness, many of the leading carriers have relented and started to offer free roaming charges to several destinations. They didn’t do it because they wanted to. The truth is that every year since 2007, the maximum rate for calling or texting any European Economic Area (EEA) number while roaming within the borders of the zone while on a mobile phone in the EU, has been lowered. This covers all 28 EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (the cap also applies to data). On July 1st this year another new cap will come into force, further reducing the cost of roaming in Europe.
This is following years of extremely high overseas charges where bills could easily run to thousands of dollars with the unaware cellphone owner having no idea as to the true cost of travelling overseas with a smart phone. But do not be deceived by some of these seemingly benevolent offers. Call charges overseas can still easily run to $3.00 or $4.00 a minute, and that doesn’t include data costs charged by the megabyte as you leisurely decide which restaurant to visit on your phone.
Also, forgetting to put your phone on roaming before you leave home is a big mistake. All of your home country voice mails, texts and other data are automatically “pushed” to your phone before you are out of the airport, or as soon as you have a signal. These can cost you a lot of money in a hurry.
But there is a better and much easier way. Here is a simple 5-step process for taking a smart phone with you when you travel overseas and how to save BIG money while doing so.
Step 1: Leave your contract smart phone home alone.
Just put it in a drawer and forget about it.
Step 2: Buy a SIM Free phone
Buy a SIM Free smart phone purely for travelling. Or if you have a second smart phone you don’t often use, get it unlocked by a reliable online unlock service such as UnlockBase. This will enable you to swap SIM cards easily as you travel and instantly enjoy local call rates in whichever country you visit. Friends and family will quickly get used to your new number while you are overseas.
Step 3: Buy a “World SIM” SIM card
As an alternative to swapping SIM cards wherever you go, consider a SIM card such as World SIM, which enables you to use your phone anywhere using just one number. This award-winning SIM card gives you free international roaming in 90+ countries, international phone calls for just a couple of cents a minute and competitive local call rates while you are at home.
Step 4: Investigate free Wi-Fi options
Whenever you travel, and wherever you are, try to avoid using too much data on your cell phone. The chances are you can get free WiFi in your hotel room, at an Internet cafe, or in a coffee shop. Check out JiWire WiFi Finder App for international Wi-Fi spots; searching by your destination makes it really easy to figure out which companies offer Wi-Fi services at your destination.
Step 5: Use Skype, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook for free messaging
Once you are happily in your room with the free WiFi blazing, use these free apps on your SIM Free smartphone to send your holiday photos, instant catch ups, email messages and more. If you have to make calls, make them, it’s ok because you will be on local or World SIM rates. If you use a Lycamobile SIM card you can even make free calls provided you call another Lycamobile number.
So get smart and follow these 5 simple steps so you can have peace of mind while actually enjoying your vacation and not worrying about an eye watering cell phone bill from your carrier when you get home.
When preparing for a trip overseas, there’s so much to think about. Let’s take a quick look at a few mobile phone tips to follow both before and while traveling abroad.
Before You Go
Unlock your phone: A lot of people forget to have their phones unlocked so they can be used overseas, at a much cheaper rate. Don’t let this happen to you! You have two basic ways to get your phone unlocked; either through your network carrier or through a third-party service provider, like UnlockBase.
Unlocking your phone allows you to use it on a local carrier serving the country you are traveling to. Without local service, or in the least an international data plan, you will likely pay upward of $15/MB for data; this means sending a simple picture message will cost about $30.
- Phone chargers: You’ll also want to stock up on phone chargers, preferably ones that connect to your computer through a USB port. You might even want to invest in extra battery packs to ensure you can stay charged on the go.
- We know you’re already planning on taking the coolest selfie for trip, so you’ll want to purchase a lens that is compatible with your smartphone and possibly even a selfie stick.
Download: You’ll want to download these four apps on your phone before you head out:
- Currency App: This app simplifies knowing how much money you’re spending when dealing with different currencies. All you do is select the currency you’re making a purchase with and then select the conversion you want to take place.
- Transit App: If you’re using public transportation, Transit App is a must. It shows you the quickest way to get to your destination using a variety of transportation methods, including bike shares, commuter rails and more.
- Data Manager App: “This app helps you take control of your mobile data usage and save you money on your monthly phone bill.” Clint Johnston from TripHackr says.
Clint Johnston from TripHackr
- Offi Journey Planner: If you’re using public transportation, the Offi Journey Planner app is a must use. It shows you the quickest way to get to your destination using a variety of transportation methods, including bike shares, commuter rails and more.
Once You Arrive
Buy a SIM card: Go to a retailer — possibly even a gas station — that sells SIM cards and data plans for the carrier you want to switch to. Simply pop the SIM card in your phone and follow the activation process; you’ll then have a working cell phone with cheap international calling.
If you don’t want to take the route of switching out SIM cards, you can always take advantage of KnowRoaming, which requires the simple, one-time application of a sticker on your current SIM card that activates itself and provides cheap international voice, text and data roaming rates in over 200 countries. KnowRoaming’s prepaid system puts you in control of your usage and spending, which you can monitor in real-time using the KnowRoaming app.
Dave Dean from Too Many Adapters gave KnowRoaming a try and was more than satisfied.
Dave Dean from Too many adapters
Also HandsetExpert put together an interactive world map that will let you know where you can use your phone, whether all services are available and whether it will cost extra.
WiFi: While on your trip you’ll want to avoid costly data usage charges by tapping into free WiFi connections as much as possible. SpeedSpot is an app that helps you identify the closest free Internet connections.
Translation: If you’re in need of a translation app, there’s no better one than OneTongue, which has the capability to support eight users simultaneously.
Stay connected with friends and family: When it comes to staying in contact with your loved ones back home, you can’t go wrong with Skype. Simply download the app to your smartphone and you’ll be able to make international calls for as cheap as 1 cent a minute. Google Hangouts is another excellent communication app, supporting both voice and video connections.
Extra Tips to Keep In Mind
- Keeping your phone in airplane mode ensures that you don’t unknowingly use any data,
and it’s also ideal to turn off any push notifications.
- When communicating with your friends and loved ones, do your best to do so with a free WiFi connection.