In this digital age, a smartphone is just as much of a travel essential as sunglasses and a beach towel. However, using smartphones overseas can be very costly in a number of ways. So here a few things to bear in mind if you wish to avoid paying over the odds.
Turn off data roaming
If your phone is set to automatically connect to the local network provider, you could be hit with a huge bill when you get home. From June 2017, roaming charges in the EU will be abolished completely, but in the meantime, you could still experience significant bill shock if you’re going to be using the internet on your phone while you’re away. And of course, high charges will still remain in place if you’re venturing outside the EU.
Use Wi-Fi facilities in your destination
It’s increasingly common for bars and hotels to offer Wi-Fi at popular tourist hotspots these days, so connect to these if you want to get online without breaking the bank. Be cautious though, so don’t access sensitive data such as your bank account and make sure you only connect to password-protected networks. Also, if you can’t stay offline for long without getting restless, why not identify some Wi-Fi hotspots in your destination and plan your trip around them?
Lock and password-protect your handset
These basic security precautions will help to ensure thieves can’t access your personal details in the event of your phone being stolen. If the worst does happen, don’t forget to report it so your mobile phone provider can block it – rendering the handset even more useless to the thief.
Back up everything
If you’ve got documents, photos and song playlists on your phone, then back them up before you jet abroad, perhaps on a cloud-based system such as Google Drive. People often have their entire lives on their phones, so it’s good to know everything is safe and secure even if the handset does go missing.
Save maps offline
People often rely on Google Maps and similar apps to get around, but if you have a good idea of where you will be going on your trip, why not save the maps you’ll need before setting off so it can be accessed without an internet connection? Alternatively, download offline apps like City Maps 2Go and OsmAnd to find your way around.
Calculate how much data you will need
It’s easy to monitor how much data you use on your handset, so why not check this during a typical week and estimate what you think you’ll get through on your holiday? You can either then impose your own limits on data usage, or ask your provider to set a cap before you set off.
Buy a local SIM card
A local SIM card means your handset is no different from a local phone, so you can benefit from the data and calling rates that people living in your destination currently enjoy.
Phone usage is often something that leisure travellers fail to budget for, but nobody wants to come home and receive an eye-watering bill. But with just a little bit of preparation and thought, you can use your handset overseas without worrying about tipping into the red.