July 26, 2018
Traveling Smart(phone) .
From Abu Dhabi to Zagreb, each year more and more Americans travel overseas for work or pleasure. In 2017 alone, Americans took nearly 88 million international trips – and over 70 percent of U.S. travelers agree that they “always” use their smartphones when traveling. In fact, globally, 76 percent of travelers say the most important trip accessory is not a pair of headphones, nor a camera, but a mobile phone.
Once you’re abroad, your phone can serve as a solution to language barriers, a guide to an unfamiliar area, a source of security, and a way to contact new and old friends and loved ones alike. With that in mind, here’s a few helpful tips to consider when using your tech as a travel companion abroad:
- Check with your cellular provider. It’s important to be aware of international talk, text, and data coverage fees. Alternately, some service providers offer international plans, and sometimes even rental devices, making it easy to stay connected while traveling. Your provider may also offer usage alerts, account management tools, tips and customer service support while traveling abroad.
- Take a paperless approach to adventure. Mobile library apps can be used for guidebooks, language apps provide easy translation, airline apps can track flights and hold tickets, storage apps can back up photos, and mobile banking allows you to follow finances. Your device can also store PDF copies of tickets for traveling and attractions.
- Conserve your cellular data. If you’re conserving data while traveling abroad or aren’t connected to the local network, you can download directions for offline use and use language translation apps that work even when not connected to a network.
- Don’t end up with a dead device. Consider bringing accessories like power banks or external batteries to avoid running out of battery in a new area, and be sure to take note of a country’s plug type and voltage to ensure you’re bringing the correct plug adapter and can charge your devices. More information about plugs, socket types and voltage by country can be found here.
- Familiarize yourself with emergency numbers. 9-1-1, while ubiquitous in the United States, is not used internationally to call for help. Many European countries rely on 1-2-2 for emergency services, and a full list of emergency contact numbers by country can be found here.
- Secure your smartphone. Be aware of your phone’s security features, in the unlikely event that you lose your smartphone overseas. The majority of iOS and Android phones have “find my phone” capabilities, which allow device owners to locate, ring, lock, and even erase the contents of a misplaced smartphone.
A mobile device can make exploring the world feel more accessible and safe. If you’re overseas this summer, your device can help you make your way around a foreign area, communicate with locals, identify local attractions and more.