These smartphone travel tips will help you save money and get the most out of your overseas travel. Major cell phone providers in the USA have made it easy to stay connected while traveling by introducing affordable temporary travel options that include messaging, calling and data… all rolled into one plan. Sure, it cost a bit more for your travel period, but when you come home the extra fees go away after a month.
I’ve found that smartphone use varies according to a traveler’s age group and social connectivity. Travelers under 40 years tend to use the full functions of their mobile device for staying connected, taking and sharing photos, surfing on WiFi, and texting. Those over 40 years often use their cell phone for calling home and staying touch with family. It is a good idea to take your mobile device with you on tour regardless of its ultimate use.
But before you strike out across the pond, here are my smartphone travel tips:
- Contact your mobile phone provider and sign up for one of their international calling plans. Plans vary, but normally there is a discounted rate ranging from 30 cents to 99 cents per minute of call time.
- When you leave the USA, turn off your voicemail, email, and data features. Failure to forget this step will rack up hundred’s of dollars on you next phone bill if you’ve not signed up for an international rate plan.
- WiFi hotspots are all over Europe. Most certainly you’ll find one at your hotel (often with spotty coverage), but cafes, coffee shops, restaurants and public spaces often offer free WiFi as well.
- Many of the new international plans include unlimited texting. Check with your provider.
- If you purchase an international plan that includes a finite amount of data (such as 90, 120, 180 mb/month) then you really need to keep an eye on how much you are using with traveling. I “reset” my smartphone statistics when my flight takes off for Europe. That way I can check the actually data used while out of the country.
Charging your device
You do not need an electrical power converter for your smartphone, cellphone, camera, tablet or any gadget manufactured since 2005. All modern gadgets will charge without damage on any electric current in Europe. Typically this will be 220 volts AC.
If you follow my smartphone travel tips, I believe the convenience is worth the cost. If for nothing else, it gives me peace of mind knowing my family, co-workers, and friends are just a phone call text, or facetime chat away. Knowing that, in an emergency, a family member could pick up their telephone at home and give me a call is an added benefit as well.