Smart tips for your smartphone to travel abroad

Smartphone, a pocketable device, we can’t live without even for a moment. We all want our smartphone to work properly while we are on our overseas trip with family, friends or colleagues. Smartphones have become an inseparable holiday essential like swimwear and sunscreen for us. But if you are about to explore your first overseas holiday destination then tighten up your belt a bit because as soon as you will land on the land of aliens there are chances that you will hit with confusing mess of conflicting advice, technical jargon, get frustrated with non-working gears and have to agree with expensive roaming agreements.

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prepare your smartphone before traveling abroad

You have to be very careful while using your smartphone overseas else you will be left with a long bill to pay off. So give some time and do a bit of research up front to know about all the affordable options on hand to save your money, time and to save you from mental stress and frustration. Here are few things you should know and do before and during your trip.

1. Find out will your mobile phone work overseas? This is a most common and first thing to know about your smartphone soon after you jump on a decision to travel abroad because different countries and cellular companies use different technologies and frequencies so you should check up whether your phone is compatible with it or not. In simple terms, your destination either has a GSM or CDMA network — GSM is the international standard and it is widely used throughout the world while CDMA coverage tends to be less universally available.

If your phone only supports CDMA, it is highly unlikely to work internationally and even if your phone supports GSM, in that case also you should check and be sure about its supportability of the frequencies used in your destination country. In order to send and receive the calls, texts and 3G/4G data all over the world your phone should support these specific bands- 850/900/1800/1900 MH so you won’t face any problem in all most every country. To know if your phone supports these bands or not, do check your phone’s specifications.

These days technology has improved tremendously as most of the smartphone are built to be compatible to work in different countries.

2. Unlocking the smartphone: Once you figured it out that your phone has GSM supportability then in next step you need to unlock your phone.

First of all, you should know what a locked phone is and what its disadvantages are when you decide to travel overseas. In some countries (mostly in the US) if you got free or discounted phone by signing a service agreement then, in this case, there are chances the service provider company will prevent your phone being used on any network other than its own network. In this case, when you decide to travel abroad you would not be able to use that country’s available networks and you will be forced to use the same home country network with higher roaming rates. On the other hand in an unlocked phone, you can easily replace your SIM card with local SIM card and can save a lot of money. So it is important that your smartphone should be unlocked.

Once your phone is unlocked with your carrier’s permission then you can easily put a local SIM card in your phone and can use it. Unlocking your phone without your carrier’s permission is considered to be illegal but still, there are many independent phone unlock stores all around the world (especially in Southeast Asia) where you can get your phone unlocked.

3. Options in hand when tip 1 and 2 is not applicable to your mobile phone: You are still left with some options in your hand when you know your phone is not going to work overseas and you can not unlock it:

– Use Local WiFi hotspot instead of your personal internet because it’s easily available at any Café, restaurant, metro station, and your hotel, and also there are many other options to call and text like Skype, Hangout, Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, imo etc. Switch to these options and save your money.

– You can also buy or rent a budget smartphone which works in that particular country as you are there only for few days. So if you are seriously thinking to reduce your travel budget then a budget phone can be the best option for you.

– You can also rent portable hotspot for short trips at minimal daily or weekly rates and can connect up to 5 to 10 devices with it whenever you want or you can buy an unlocked hotspot and put a local SIM card in it and connect your phone or any other device with internet like any other wifi network.

4. Things to remember:

– Make sure you have installed all the necessary apps in your phone like trip advisor, Nearbuy, Uber, Goibibo, Google Maps, Makemytrip, Skype, Whatsapp, inshorts and download your favorite music, books etc. to bring some fun in your trip else if you download these apps after reaching there you will waste your time and money because of higher use of data.

– Make sure you have turned off the data roaming, mobile data and push notification before you reach the destination else again you will end up paying high bills due to use of data roaming at standard rate throughout your stay.

– Change your setting from automatic to manual download/update in app store/play store, Gmail and for any other app where you can get heavy media files to download.

– Keep your family members and local friends and relatives contacts in quick dialing/favorites so that in a case of any emergency you or anyone around you can call and inform them easily.

We are very much sure that by using these travel tips with your phone you can make your trip hassle-free and enjoyable.

Keep Travelling!!

Note: This post was originally published in March 2017 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.