International Insights: Top Tips for Traveling Overseas With a Smartphone

Traveling overseas is exciting but can also be challenging. If you don’t have a friend to travel with you who knows the local language and her way around (or even if you do), your smartphone can be the perfect travel companion with just a few simple adjustments.

Protect Yourself from Extra Fees

Before you go, make sure you turn data roaming off. Even if someone calls you and you don’t answer, you’ll be charged a fee, and that can get enormously expensive. Turn on airplane mode and Wi-Fi for an extra level of protection against extra fees that allows you to still use your phone when you have Wi-Fi.

Use Internet Messaging Apps

You don’t really need text and phone calls to keep in touch with people when overseas. There is a host of apps that allow you to send messages, make voice and video calls and more over Wi-Fi for free. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple’s iMessage, Skype are just a few examples.

… Or Get an International Plan or SIM Card

If you prefer to be able to text and call, you have a few options. You could purchase an international package from your carrier. Prices vary, but you can probably get 100 megabytes for around $20. While it’s not always cheap, it’s certainly less costly than roaming charges.

If you have a GSM (Global System for Mobiles) phone that’s unlocked, you could purchase a pre-paid SIM card once you’re at your destination and load it back up if you need more minutes. You might also consider buying a cheap mobile phone that doesn’t require a contract.

Awesome Offline Travel Apps

So that you can use your phone even without Internet access, you should download a few useful apps that you can use offline.

Google Maps allows you to save areas to your device so that you can find your way even without being online. In Google Translate, you can download your language and the local language where you’re traveling, so that you can translate and communicate on the go.

While abroad, you might find that you want to hear a loved one’s but can’t call them at the time. If you have a call recorder app, you can play back old conversations, which can help treat any homesickness.

Protect Your Phone and Information

Be aware of your surroundings and where your phone is at all times but especially when you’re in crowded tourist areas. Smartphones are expensive and, so, are prime targets for pickpockets.

Of course, you don’t want to lose your phone or have it stolen, but you should always prepare for the worst. Back up your phone’s contents before you leave and use a cloud storage service if you want to make sure you don’t lose any photos you take during your travels.

Before you go, you should also enable Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager. You can also set up a Remote Wipe so that your information can’t be accessed just in case.

Your smartphone can be your best friend while you’re traveling, but if you’re not careful and can also cause you a huge headache and cost you a lot of money. Make sure you prepare yourself before you leave and following these tips while you’re abroad so that you and your smartphone can enjoy the vacation of a lifetime. Don’t forget to look up from your screen and enjoy the scenery every once in a while, though.