Going on a trip? Not so fast, turbo. You're going to need to put in some travel prep work, and this includes your cell phone.
Travel season has arrived and you can discover more of our travel guides for cell phones right here. But before the jump, read on for some basics.
Why Travel Tips for Cell Phones?
While it doesn't seem necessary for some, you might like to know that, on average, Americans lose their handset about once a year. In 2012, Americans lost over $30 billion worth of cell phones. That's billions with a B. Considering how much you paid for your smartphone, you might want to read on.
1. Figure out where you're going first
This matters. If you're staying stateside, you can check out the coverage map for the locations you'll be traveling to. This is helpful, especially if you'll be staying domestic and state-hopping to random locations.
You don't want to be this guy standing around in a suit looking for a signal.
If you are traveling internationally, there are heaps of options for the best way to access your talk, text, or data without breaking the bank. You'll have to first decide if you need to use your carrier's roaming options or if you can use a SIM card for wherever you're going.
Read more about SIM cards and Roaming for international travel here.
2. Get travel Insurance
Travel insurance is something to seriously consider if you are heading overseas. There are of course pros and cons to getting insurance for your phone. And while most carriers offer some kind of policy before you walk out the door with a fully loaded plan, most only offer the insurance within 30 days of purchase.
3. Don't hop on WiFi all willy-nilly
Whenever you use WiFi that's not your home or work, there's risk. This is especially tricky whether you're traveling overseas or staying in the U.S. There are tons of resources out there but you should keep in mind the following tips.
- Whether you're in a hotel or coffee shop, you need to verify the network name. If the front desk staff says the network name is Hotel123, don't log on to Hotel321.
- Make sure your device is secure to begin with. Turn off any automatic connections.
- Change passwords before you travel.
- Update any apps or software before you travel.
- Don't log onto any site that stores information. You can wait until you get back home to shop online.
- If you absolutely need to shop online, only use the websites that start with HTTPS. "S" means "secure".
4. Double-check with your carrier before you go
Whether you're with a big carrier or a smaller MVNO, you should definitely let them know you're traveling and that you want options. Most carriers offer some type of international plan, deal or passport. This is so that you're not shocked by any prices and know exactly how much data, text, and talk you are able to use. You might even opt for VoIP options instead of using your cellular data. This is something that more and more travelers are doing. Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, and Google Hangouts are just a few. Tip within a tip: just safely use WiFi instead of your data when you use these apps and you've got this travel with cell phones thing totally dialed in!