Our phone is an essential travel accessory even if it’s only for photos! Few objects pack as much punch as our phones. They are cameras, calculators, boarding passes, reminders, confirmations, translators, currency converters, map, and guides. So it’s essential that your phone is functional for your international vacation.
If your phone is lost or stolen, this will help minimize the loss. If you are prone to losing your phone, you might consider adding a tracking device like Tile before traveling. Keep your phone in a safe place that is hard to reach (not a back pocket where it can easily be stolen or fall out.) Consider buying trip insurance to ease any potential loss or damage.
Many airlines have an app that will notify you of flights changes, allow for online check-in, supply in-flight entertainment, and will hold your boarding passes. Download the app before you go and have your reservation pre-loaded into it. Make sure you allow for notifications so you can see any changes to your itinerary easily.
Blowing through your phone battery is easy. Airports are pretty infamous for not having enough outlets. Pack an extra battery charger and charging cord in your carry-on, so you don’t get stuck without your phone.
You can’t count on always having internet access. Make sure any important information or confirmations are in a format that is available offline. Screenshotting is one way to do this. For going through customs, you may need the phone number and address of where you are staying. Make sure this information is easily accessible.
It won’t do you any good to want to watch your favorite movie mid-flight and realize it’s being stored in the cloud or only available through streaming. Have any necessary entertainment downloaded to your phone to keep from a long, boring flight. Some resorts also do not have WIFI strong enough for streaming and downloading, so this is a good practice for all the entertainment you will want for the trip. Likewise, make sure any apps for maps or guides work offline.
If your phone’s storage or memory is overly full, offload anything unnecessary before your trip. The makes sure you have lots of room for all those photos and videos you’ll be taking.
Many a phone has met their demise in salt water. If you are going to the beach, make sure you have a waterproof way to protect your phone from salt and sand.
When you check a bag, they give you a little tag for it. Take a picture of this tag and your bag before you check it. If your bags or tags are lost, it can be helpful to be able to provide a picture of these to speed up recovery. It is also a way to give the information to your travel insurance company who can track down the bags on your behalf (while you enjoy your vacay).
Losing a cord on vacation is easy. Use masking tape to label and number your cords so you can do a quick check for check out and be sure you have all your needed cables.
Many hotel rooms do not have a lot of outlets. Packing a charge with room for multiple USB ports will allow you to charge several devices at one outlet.
Some travelers change their home screen on their phone in case it is lost so that someone would know whom to contact to return it. This should obviously NOT be the phone number attached to the phone you are trying to protect. Use a traveling companion’s information or an email where someone can contact you. Do not list personal information like your address or full name.
Many an international traveler has returned home to an unpleasant surprise phone bill. If you are traveling outside your normal phone coverage, you can be subject to all kind of crazy roaming fees. Here are our best tips for keeping connected without all the charges.
When prepping your phone for international travel, you need to decide how you will want to use it. If you need cellular service, you will either need to have an international plan with your US carrier or a local SIM card for the location you are going. Many US phones possess the ability to change to a different SIM card while traveling. Check with your phone provider before you go. Many international airports and convenience stores sell temporary SIM cards that can be loaded with money to make local calls. If you need to be able to call your local tour companies and guides, receive or make calls to a local connection, or feel safer with the ability to call local emergency numbers quickly, you’ll want to figure out an international plan or local SIM card.
If you don’t want to have an international plan, many foreign tour companies use What’s App to be able to make local contact with international travelers for confirmations and questions. This account works like many social media platforms in the US where you can do direct messaging on WIFI for free. If you are headed somewhere with inconsistent WIFI, we highly recommend getting a Skylink. It will allow you to have all the WIFI you need for a very reasonable price.
The easiest way to connect to loved ones back home while traveling internationally is to use WIFI to communicate via text, Skype, Facetime or another messaging service. Keep in mind that you will need to be connected to WIFI to do this without a charge. The available WIFI signal strength and bandwidth will need to be sufficient to hold a video call, but audio conversations and text require less overall network capacity. Always be careful where you connect to WIFI internationally as many free networks can be easy places for security attacks. This is another reason we highly recommend a Skylink portable WIFI.
Make sure you tell your friends and family how to reach you while you are away, including any time differences. Check in with your family via text throughout your trip so someone will be alerted if you are having an emergency or problem.
After you land, if you do not have an international plan or SIM card, you will need to turn off both cellular and roaming capabilities to your phone. If your phone is showing a local cellular provider on your main screen, you STILL have the possibility of getting charges. When in doubt, put the phone in airplane mode to restrict all internet access until you can get cellular capabilities turned off. Only release the airplane mode when you have safe WIFI.
About The Traveling Compass:
The Traveling Compass is a full-service luxury travel agency. Our success is built on a foundation of unmatched expertise and outstanding customer service. Our travel agents specialize in international travel, corporate incentive trips, destination weddings & honeymoons, multigenerational travel, luxury leisure, and family travel. We are also Authorized Disney Vacation Planners with experience assisting families that have children with special needs or large families or groups with complicated dining reservations for over 20 guests. Our personalized travel itineraries are designed to help discerning, time-pressed travelers plan the most elaborate vacations, down to the smallest detail. As luxury travel agents, we are dedicated to creating and facilitating travel experiences that expand awareness and give each person a real sense of the country and culture they are visiting. It is our mission to make sure you have the travel experience of a lifetime, every time.