How To Prepare Your Phone When Traveling

Learn essential tips to prepare your phone for travel, ensuring seamless connectivity and functionality throughout your journey.

phone and travel

There are lots of ways in which you may want to use your phone while traveling. But before you go anywhere, you’ll need to prepare your phone for the journey ahead. This could include downloading the right apps, gathering the right phone accessories, and checking your phone plan’s limitations and fees (especially when traveling abroad). Below are some of the preparation tasks to consider. 

How To Prepare Your Phone When Traveling

Check your data and international calls plan

Every time you need to use the internet and you’re not connected to wi-fi, you will have to use your phone’s data. When going abroad, some providers may charge you high daily roaming fees. You can turn data roaming off to avoid these fees, but it will mean that you won’t be able to connect to the internet without logging into public wi-fi.

Changing providers could be worthwhile if you travel a lot and are currently racking up data roaming fees. Some providers don’t charge anything for using data abroad, so long as you keep within a data cap. These data caps can vary between providers. 

The cost of calls and texts can also increase when going abroad. You may be able to reduce fees by limiting calls and texts (you could always use WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger instead?). As with data use, international call and text costs can vary from provider to provider; if you need to make calls and send texts abroad and you want to reduce costs, consider looking at other providers. 

Pack a charger (and adapter plug if necessary)

Chargers are commonly forgotten items when traveling. Many of us charge our phones overnight – if you’ve got an early morning flight, consider setting yourself an alarm reminder to grab your charger the next morning so you don’t forget it.

Portable chargers can be useful for taking on long journeys where you may not have access to sockets en route. Consider whether it’s worth investing in one of these chargers. Just remember to charge up your portable charger before you travel!

Electrical outlet shapes can vary all around the world. When visiting certain countries, you may find that your charger’s plug doesn’t fit the socket. Research exactly which sockets your destination country uses so that you can get a relevant adapter plug. This will allow you to plug your charger into their sockets. Order these online well in advance so that you have them for when you leave. 

Look into VPNs

VPNs (virtual private networks) can have many valuable uses when travelling abroad. These digital tools encrypt online traffic in order to protect your online identity. When using public wi-fi, VPNs can prevent hackers who are using the same wi-fi from gaining access to your data. VPNs can also allow you to change your digital location so that you can still access streaming services used in your home country or still access websites that may not be accessible abroad. 

You can download VPN apps which you can turn on and off. Some of these VPN apps are free, while others charge a small fee. 

Save PDFs of digital tickets

Many hotels, airlines, and attractions now provide digital tickets. These are usually accessible through emails or an app. While digital tickets have many benefits over physical tickets, they do have some drawbacks. If you have no internet connection or an app crashes, you may not be able to access your digital tickets. 

A way in which you can protect yourself against this disaster is by saving tickets as PDFs directly to your phone. Many people store these in the ‘books’ section of their phone; however, you can store them elsewhere too. 

Free up some space for photos and videos

Like to take lots of photos and videos while traveling? You may want to make sure that you have enough free space on your phone before you set it off so that you don’t have to deal with the dreaded ‘insufficient storage available’ message while taking that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity picture.

Paying for extra cloud storage may be an alternative option, but if you don’t have internet access, you may not be able to save directly to the cloud. Therefore, it’s useful to always have some free space on your phone.

Plan ahead some entertainment

Phones are an endless source of entertainment, which can be useful when on a plane without an in-flight TV or on a long-haul coach journey. It’s worth planning some of your entertainment beforehand.

  • Streaming platforms like Netflix allow you to download movies and TV shows to stream offline. Make sure that you’ve downloaded these in advance.
  • Music streaming platforms like Spotify, meanwhile, allow users to download albums, tracks, and playlists to stream offline.
  • On the topic of music, should you create a travel playlist? Such playlists could be handy on a long car journey; if you’re traveling with other people, you could also suggest songs to put in the playlist.
  • Are there any games you want to play while traveling? Certain apps could be worth downloading, and you may want to check if you can play them offline. If you have internet access, consider the fact that you may be able to play many games online via websites for free. This includes card games like Hearts, various word puzzles, and sudoku puzzles. 

Explore some of these handy travel apps

There are many apps that can be used when traveling. A few to look into could include:

  • Language translation apps: These can help you communicate in a foreign language and potentially learn some new phrases.
  • Route planning apps: There are various apps that can help you find a route through certain environments, including Citymapper for navigating cities and AllTrails for hiking and cycling trails.
  • Currency converter apps: Some apps can help you quickly convert one currency to another if you need to check whether a price is a good deal.
  • Hotel booking apps: Ideal for road trips and interrailing, these apps can help you compare hotels in your area and book them.
  • Location sharing apps: For your own safety and the peace of mind of loved ones, you can use an app that lets you share your live geolocation, so they always know where you are.
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