Yes, I admit, I made the cardinal mistake of leaving my cellular data roaming while flying across the continent recently. It’s easy to do when you’re focused on other things – like getting your carry-on luggage into a nearby overhead bin. I thought it a good time to review some of the best practices for travelling with your phone.
Plan ahead and download any apps or maps you might want to access while travelling (e.g. a language translator, movies, games or maps of restaurants.) You can access this information without downloading which uses up precious data. Turn off any unnecessary apps which might be running in the background. These are HUGE data wasters, but don’t forget to turn them back on when you get home. Once you’ve settled on the plane, put your phone in “airplane mode”. If you want to take it one step further, you can turn your device off all together.
Some airlines are now set up with free Wi-Fi so ask about its usage before you start downloading a movie. I try to use just my Wi-Fi when I’m travelling. Most airports, hotels, restaurants, train stations etc. have free Wi-Fi. Look for a group of people clustered around using their smartphones! Some establishments have a password which you can get by simply asking. FYI, make sure you know your own passwords before you leave home so you can reset if need be.
Contact your carrier at home and find out what services they offer for international travel. This, too, can save you money and grief. Some have per diem data plans and others have a monthly fee for travel. It’s well worth the freedom! Understand the plans. Although talk time and data are restricted, many plans offer unlimited texts making it easy to stay in touch.
A third way to travel is to take the SIM card out of your existing phone and use one from a local supplier in the country you are visiting. You will need an unlock code so your new provider can access any network. Not all phones and contracts are set up for this service. Your phone number will change so if you need to keep in contact, use one of the many free communication apps which you have set up with your friends and family prior to departure.
Make sure you have your power cords with you. Check your phones voltage conversion capability and bring plug adaptors for the outlets in the countries you are visiting.
If you’re not travelling for business, then this might be a great opportunity for you to decrease your “device” usage and disconnect from everything and everyone who is not immediately in your presence. Live in the moment!