Preparing Your Smartphone for Travel

Before you go on your next trip, taking some time to prepare your smartphone will help you to get the most out of it while you are on holiday.

Here’s what you need to do:

Synchronise and delete unwanted data

Synchronise your phone with your computer before your trip. This will back up all your photos and other data, in case your phone is lost or stolen. (Your travel insurance or gadget insurance can never replace the magic moments stored on your phone.)
Once you’ve backed up, you can delete some things from your phone, to make sure there is lots of memory left for the photos and videos you will take on your holiday. As well as deleting unwanted apps that you no longer use, consider deleting photos and especially videos, because these take a lot of memory. You can also trim videos, just keeping the best bits, to reduce their size.

International Roaming

Check that you have international roaming turned on for your smartphone. This will allow you to make calls, text, and use data while you are on holiday. You will often need to phone your network operator to arrange for roaming to be turned on. If you have recently changed your phone or your network, roaming will probably be turned off.
Be aware that charges apply for roaming and it can be expensive.
It is often best to turn data roaming off but leave call and text roaming on. This means that your phone will not be able to keep using data to connect in the background, to retrieve emails etc, unless you are connected to wifi.
Apple roaming information is useful, and Google has Android roaming information too.

Know how to work your phone

Two very useful features are Flight Mode and the torch. (The torch illuminates the LED flash on your phone.) Make sure you know how to find these quickly. Search Google if you’re not sure.

Load up with travel apps

Here are a few useful apps to consider:

  • Put the TripAdvisor app on your smartphone, open it, then download the offline city guide for the place you are visiting, if one is available. It’s free of charge. Then you can still read TripAdvisor when you don’t have an internet connection.
  • Download some kind of communication app to stay in touch with folks back home. Skype, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger would be useful. Make sure you add your family and friends to the app before you go, so that you can actually contact them!
  • Download a currency converter app such as XE. Load it up before you go away to get the latest exchange rates into the app before you travel.
  • Put a couple of games on your phone to pass the time. Go to your phone’s app store and you will quickly see the latest trending games. Many are free. Make sure the games don’t need the internet in order to work (test it before you go by turning on Flight Mode then playing the game).

Social media

Just a word of caution: don’t write about your holiday publicly on social media until you get home. Otherwise you are advertising to the world that your house is unoccupied, and you might be in for a nasty surprise when you get home!

Reading material

Put the Kindle app onto your phone. It’s free, and you can get some free and very low cost books, including travel guides for the place you are visiting. This lets you save weight when packing, by leaving your books and travel guides at home.
If you use Dropbox for storing your files, the Dropbox app has an offline mode, where you can download files for reading without an internet connection. This can be useful if you have newsletters or other files in PDF format that you wish to read.

Pack your charger, adapter and battery pack

Don’t forget to take your phone charger and its cable. You will also need a power adapter for the exact country you’re visiting.
You should also consider a spare external battery pack. These are quite cheap and are readily available for iPhone and Android phones. The higher the capacity (measured in mAh), the more charge the battery pack will give you.
Don’t forget to charge up the battery pack before you go away, because most do not come pre-charged.

One final word of advice, make a note of your IMEI number.  If you lose your smartphone while travelling, your telco provider will need your IMEI number to block your SIM card from unauthorised use.  There are also some handy apps which can help you locate your phone or remotely erase its contents if it is irretrievably lost.




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