A smartphone is a great tool for travel. Whether you need help navigating a new city or want to use your phone as a GPS system during a backcountry hike, this device will see you through to safety. But you can find many other excellent uses for your smartphone while traveling and follow some best practices to minimize your travel expenses. Put these six tips into practice to make good use of your smartphone on your next vacation.
Confirm Your International Travel Plan With Your Provider
If you’re traveling internationally, your cellphone provider will charge you different rates than what you’re used to paying back home. The costs can add up quickly, and if you don’t plan ahead, the large bill waiting for you will give you quite a shock.
Check what international plans are available through your carrier. Some plans charge a flat daily fee whenever you text or make a phone call, meaning you can avoid international fees completely if you don’t call or text that day. Moreover, as soon as you use your phone under these plans, you can enjoy unlimited access for the rest of the day. Other plans cap how many minutes you can spend on the phone or how many texts you can send, then charge you more if you go beyond those limits.
Track Your Vacation Exercise
It can be easy to let yourself go on a vacation. Using your smartphone with a fitness app can help you remember to log some hours jogging or to visit your hotel’s gym during your trip. If you plan on splurging at a few nice restaurants, you can use a calorie tracker to make sure you don’t go overboard while you’re traveling.
Track Your Vacation Budget
You’ll need to keep an eye on both your belt and your wallet while traveling. If you’re adventuring internationally and changed currencies before departing, careful budgeting can keep you from paying exchange rate fees at local banks and ATMs. Download a simple budget app to help you track your spending.
Use Video Rather Than Phone Calls
If you’re traveling internationally, making a call back home can be incredibly expensive. Instead, use your smartphone and a video conferencing app over a free Wi-Fi connection rather than paying for calls back home. To enjoy a clear and stable video call, you’ll want to use a smartphone with a good camera and a fast processor, like the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. This phone’s long battery life (up to 17.6 days) means you can make video calls without worrying about having to go back to your hotel room to recharge.
Leave Your Phone on Airplane Mode
It can be difficult to remember to take it easy on your data while traveling. You could also accidentally use it and unknowingly rack up roaming charges, or perhaps receive a text message from a friend who doesn’t realize how much reading that message can cost you. To avoid these problems, leave your phone on airplane mode whenever you don’t need an internet connection. Use a voice-over-IP service such as Skype, Discord, or Google Voice and a Wi-Fi connection to make your calls.
Pre-Load Your Maps
If you’re traveling and don’t have an unlimited data plan, relying on your phone’s GPS to get around will eat up your data and your battery life. But you don’t have to leave your data off or find spots offering free Wi-Fi to update your maps. Instead, you can download the area where you’ll be traveling and type in new destinations on the go without having to use your mobile data or needing to find a hot spot.
For the best results, turn your data on briefly to check for any traffic problems. After your phone finds the fastest route, turn off the data. With the map pre-loaded, your GPS will work like normal even without an internet connection.
Smartphones are truly incredible travel tools. Follow these tips to not only use yours smarter on your next vacation but to also avoid unpleasant bills when you get back home.