Want to know what the best phone hacks and tricks you can incorporate in your next vacation or overseas travels? We got you covered. This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but these are some of the things we find to be very helpful for traveling with peace of mind and convenience.
1. Turn data roaming off
When you travel overseas or if your cell service does not have coverage outside of your country, you will want to use this function to avoid international fees.
- On iOS, go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options and slide Data Roaming to OFF.
- On Samsung, go to Settings > Connections > Data Usage > International Data Roaming and uncheck International Data.
- On other Android devices, you should find it in the Settings > Wireless & Networks > then look for Data Roaming Services or similar. Then you can change the setting to either allow or not allow international data roaming.
2. Use apps to send messages over Wi-Fi
If you’re traveling out of your area of coverage, or simply traveling overseas and don’t want to mess with sending texts from an international SIM card, you can still send free messages to your loved ones back home.
Either use Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or iMessage to stay in contact with your loved ones by connecting to your vacation spot Wi-Fi. However, be careful while using iMessage as it tends to try and send the message as a standard rate text if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi.
To edit this setting on your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages > Send as SMS, and turn it off if it isn’t already.
3. Save where you want to go offline via Google Maps
GPS on your phone is a battery hog! It’s great when you need it, but if it’s not plugged up to your charger in your car, it can be a pain how quickly it can drain your battery and make your device get very warm.
For local country travel, Google Maps will actually let you download area maps of where you’ll be going so that even if you’re in Airplane Mode, you can still use turn-by-turn navigation to save battery life. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to set this up on iPhone or Android.
If your phone does not have enough extra space for you to download partial maps or you don’t wish to download them, you can always load the destination, start the navigation, and then turn on airplane mode once the navigation in your maps app has started. This works for any maps app as your phone’s built in GPS doesn’t need cellular data to work.
4. Have copies of important travel documents on your phone
Basically, all booking websites allow you to print your itineraries which we suggest printing a couple in case you lose one or accidentally destroy it.
But what if you want a digital copy? It’s pretty easy. Just pretend you’re printing a paper copy from your computer by going to your booking website such as Priceline and click on the print icon once your travels have been booked. You can then choose to print as a PDF which can be emailed to yourself and Tada! Now you can download it on your phone.
Of course, this can also be done from your phone as most bookings send email confirmations which you can view from your phone and download the PDF once you click on the link.
5. Avoid using public Wi-Fi that has no password to protect it
Completely open networks are not safe as it won’t encrypt your data for you. It would be better to join a café Wi-Fi that uses a password to prevent more people from joining the network. No matter what Wi-Fi you do end up joining, use HTTPS as much as possible.
If you have an Android device, you can make use of a great feature which automatically uses HTTPS as much as possible. Download Firefox for Android and then open the browser on your device, navigate to this article, and download HTTPS Everywhere. This browser add-on will encrypt as many websites as it can by opting for the secured HTTPS connection versus the standard HTTP.
6. When traveling internationally, use a local SIM card
We do this whenever we go out of country. It’s much cheaper to buy a month of service from the locals then to try and get international rates for the same price with the same amount of coverage and data options on your current network.
In the UK, we used Vodafone for our service provider and they gave us a free SIM card. This was extremely handy as all we needed to do when we got back to the States was put our original SIM card back in the phone. Easy and way cheaper!
7. Hide extra cash in-between your phone and phone case.
Sometimes it’s better not to have a wallet and instead keep everything with your phone since you’ll usually know exactly where it is at all times…especially when you’re traveling. Some cases allow for extra wiggle room, or provide slots and enclosures for cards and cash.
While we recommend using a travel wallet like this one from Amazon, sometimes it may be easier to simply use a case made for such convenience. Spigen and Toru are two great choices for iPhone users. If you don’t use an iPhone, you can still click on the links and search for your specific phone for a case wallet from Amazon.
8. Enable Airplane Mode to charge faster
Airplane Mode disables all network activity which can be a huge battery saver. While charging, enabling Airplane Mode can help charge your device quicker.
You may still connect to Wi-Fi, but first enable Airplane Mode, and then turn on Wi-Fi as enabling Airplane mode will automatically turn off Wi-Fi.
9. Place your phone in a sandwich bag for protection
This may sound dumb at first, but if you don’t have a case that’s somewhat waterproof/water-resistent and you are accident prone, then a sandwich bag may be the perfect substitute.
You can actually use your phone as if there was no baggie! I’m not kidding when I say that it even works using your thumbprint scanner! I took Hailey’s iPhone 7 with her clear Otterbox case on it and fit it perfectly into the sandwich bag and made her try using the thumbprint scanner to see if it worked and it did!
10. Take a picture of the area around your car to easily locate it
If you have trouble locating your car after parking it, this may be a helpful tip. I’m usually pretty good at remembering, but there’s always a chance I won’t remember while traveling. Especially while using a rental car since it’s not what I’m normally used to looking for in the parking lot.
If you take a picture standing a little ways from the car with some landmark in the background, it’ll be easier to find it later when you return. If you’re in a parking garage, take a picture of the level number and then outside, of the street signs intersecting with the garage so you can easily locate it when you return instead of trying to remember how many left and right turns you made walking around.
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