6 Phone Management Tips When Traveling Abroad

Phones are a major reason why travelling is more accepted and comfortable than ever before. First of all, you have your device on you, which means that you have all your apps and accounts there. In the past, to stay in touch with things back home, you would have to go to the internet cafe, and these weren’t that available in many locations.

Second, there are so many apps that make travel safer, ranging from interactive maps, Yelp, and even translation apps (which are better than ever before, thanks to the developments in NLP).

Still, handling your phone while abroad can be a tad more complex than you expect it to be. This is why you need to understand some basic principles of phone management when travelling abroad. Here are a few such tips.

6 Phone Management Tips When Traveling Abroad

1. Install VPN

The first thing you want to do is install a VPN on your device. There are so many sites, tools, and creators that restrict their content to people in certain regions. If you’re already using them, prefer using time, or rely on them for work (or daily routine), it would be a waste to abandon them just because you’re travelling abroad.

There are so many great VPNs to choose from, some of which you’ll keep using even when you get back home. After all, there are so many geo-restricted shows on streaming services nowadays, and some YouTube creators are even locking their content.

As Aleksandar Stevanovic writes in his blog post about best VPNs, the best three criteria for picking the right VPN for you are features, performance, and pricing. (Source: https://www.techopedia.com/vpn/best-vpn)

The best part is that VPNs also help you in research: they help you see what kind of content you’re being fed just because you’re from a certain region. Moreover, when abroad and visiting a country known for censorship, it can help you check the news back home.

2. Check charger adapters and bring a power bank

The next thing you need to consider is the life of your battery. Normally, people charge their phones in their homes or their cars. Now, however, it’s not as easy.

First of all, your itinerary is more chaotic and unpredictable. Spontaneity has its price.

Not only that, but different countries have different power sockets. This means that the charger you brought no longer applies. Sure, your phone socket is the same, seeing as how this is up to the phone manufacturer, and most phones nowadays (even iPhone) are standardized, but where do you plug this charger?

For all the wise-asses saying that you can just plug a USB cable into your laptop, how are you going to charge your laptop, to begin with? The simplest solution would be to get yourself some local adapters as soon as you get there (or order some online).

Moreover, you should get yourself a power bank. This will make it easier to charge the device on those days when you don’t get back to your lodging for hours.

3. Buy a local SIM card

The best thing you can do when travelling abroad is buy a local SIM card. This is the best way to save money on calls and mobile data. The cost of this card is usually quite low, and the majority of modern phones have a dual SIM option. This means that you can still keep your old card and number without having to switch between them constantly.

Domestic mobile networks, even when they are worse than what you have back at home, can give you access to a network with better local coverage.

Roaming charges can be incredibly expensive, and one of the best things you can do to avoid them is just to buy a SIM card at a local store. You can even top them up quite inexpensively at the same place. Buying extra credit is quite cheap, even on its own, but when you compare it to the cost of roaming, the comparison is just ridiculous.

4. Be careful with public WiFi

This is a general tip that you should apply even at home; however, when networks are in a foreign language, it can sometimes be harder to figure out which ones are more suspicious.

Chances are that, since you have no bandwidth at home, you’ll rely more on these public networks. Sometimes, you’ll look for them at a coffee place. At other times, you’ll use it at airports and public beaches.

A lot of people these days are digital nomads, which further increases their reliance on the internet. People opting for digital nomadism hope that they’ll be able to work somewhere from a tropical beach, and the only way to get there is to find a reliable source of public WiFi.

Moreover, the VPN we mentioned in the first segment offers an extra layer of encryption that could keep you a bit safer while doing this. Still, public networks are best avoided (whenever you can).

5. Watch out for your device

The truth is that thieves look out for tourists. Why? They’re usually more careless, have no clue which parts of town to avoid, and focus so much on orientation that they don’t pay close attention to their surroundings.

So, always be mindful of where you’re going, and while you’re likely relying on your phone for navigation, make sure to clutch it tightly. There are countless videos of thieves just grabbing it from your hand on the street.

First, you want to keep your device close. Second, don’t let anyone touch your phone. A malicious party could install a keylogger or even use something as simple as a charger to hack your device.

Also, it’s not just the loss of a device that’s a problem. You also need to check your data. Losing a device means losing all the data from your phone. Make sure to back it up by storing it on the cloud.

6. Download crucial apps beforehand

You don’t want to download files while abroad.

One reason is that you don’t want to risk spending your mobile data roaming (a loss of WiFi sometimes happens before you even notice).

Other than this, you’ll likely lose connection when you least expect it, which you just have to get accustomed to. So, finding and downloading apps that work offline is one of the best ways to be prepared for the journey that lies ahead.

Ultimately, you also want to familiarize yourself with these apps. You don’t want to try them out when you’re already there, figure out that you don’t like them (or that they’re not as functional), and then have to look for an alternative on the spot.

It’s also a great way to enjoy the safety of the network that you know while downloading. This way, the risk of phishing and downloading malicious files will not be as bad as it could have been.

Take care of your phone, and it will take care of you

Even at home, you rely so much on your phone. If you don’t trust us, try to leave it for a day. If this is even an option (that you don’t use it for work), it will be quite difficult to handle. While travelling, you rely on your phone even more. So, make sure to pick up all the tips and tricks before you ship out.

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