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August 2, 2017 | How To

Smart Tips for Your Smartphone Abroad

By Justin S.

It’s always best to disconnect when you're traveling—hang up, hang out, and live in the moment. However, a phone is no longer just a phone; it’s your camera, your map and general go-to utility for anything and everything.

Here are some tips to get the most (and spend the least) with a smartphone abroad.

Before you go…

1. Find an adapter that will properly fit the outlet in your destination. Remember, different countries require different plugs, so you may need a versatile adapter if your trip involves a variety of destinations.

2. Talk with your carrier to find out what sort of international plans they offer. When traveling abroad, communication is key. Free Wi-Fi is awesome, but may be limited/spotty throughout your trip. International data packages allow you to use your phone to check in with family and friends back home, coordinate plans with fellow travelers, and have access to any apps you may need (Venmo, Google Maps, Uber).

When you arrive…

  1. Know your data plan so you can avoid going over the set data limit. If you leave data on without an international plan, your phone will roam foreign networks, who will then bill your carrier, who will then bill you. And it won’t be cheap.
  2. Turn on Wi-Fi when you arrive to your accommodation, (if available). Even with your data roaming switched off, you can still use Wi-Fi.

What to download…

1. Whatsapp & Viber. These allow you to talk to anyone with the app via Wi-Fi, regardless of their brand or carrier. Your Tour Director will also use these to communicate with the group, so download both and delete whichever they don’t select.

2. Google Translate. Learn simple phrases to break down language barriers through photo translation, phonetics and lessons to help you become more #cultured.

3. XE Currency. Want to know exactly what something costs in US Dollars? This app can be taken offline to calculate exchange rates based on your last time of Wi-Fi connection.

4. Offline playlists. Apps like Spotify let you download playlists to your phone so you can jam out any time.

Bonus tips…

1. Save the trees with mobile boarding passes. Download your pass before your flight, and scan it straight from your phone. It saves you hassle while saving trees from their untimely deaths.

2. Make some room by clearing out your phone's photo library before you leave. You’ll need all the space you can get for famous landmarks, incredible scenery, and, let's be honest, a few selfies.

3. Disconnect. This is important enough to be mentioned twice. You have the rest of the year to keep up on social media and other distractions of everyday life. Use this time to leave behind woes of work, Instagram feeds, and Snapchat streaks.

Photo by EF Ultimate Break traveler Hannah L.

Live in the moment before it’s gone; you can brag about it later.

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