Tips and Tricks for your Smart Phone when Traveling Internationally

Your smart phone makes a pretty good travel companion. You can stay in touch with friends and family, read travel reviews, navigate your way around town, and check up on currency conversions. Here are a few suggestions, tips and tricks for traveling with your cell phone, and a small collection of good apps to load up prior to your trip.

  • How to save money on calls and data

    How to save money on calls and data

    Basically, you have three options:

    Use your existing mobile plan
    T Mobile has an excellent international plan at .20 a minute, data, and free texting. Some of the other carriers can be a bit pricey, though. The big advantage is your cell phone number remains active and reachable. If you are using this method, be sure to turn your data roaming off!
    Buy a SIM card
    If your phone is “unlocked” you can use SIM Card, easily purchased abroad in a variety of stores and newsstands. Both single and multi-country SIM cards are available. The pricing is usually much better than the plans offered by most carriers. You can forward your home cell phone number to the new SIM card and still receive calls using your regular phone number.
    Use Skype
    If you have a Wi-Fi connection, Skype is a great, inexpensive alternative way to make and receive calls internationally; and their mobile app is excellent.

    Finally, you can use apps that send messages over Wi-Fi instead of your carrier like Messenger, iMessage, or Viber.

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  • Mobile Hot Spots

    Mobile Hot Spots

    Need a Wi-Fi signal? There are typically numerous hot spots available when you travel; but, security can sometimes be a concern, especially if you are logging into your bank account or other sites where you use passwords. Avoid public Wi-Fi sites and networks which are sometimes “spoofed” with legitimate sounding names like “London Free Wi-Fi.” Boingo has an international plan with over 700,000 hot spots worldwide. There are also portable “MiFi” hot spot devices you can carry with you such as Skyroam ( with good coverage. Be sure to check that the data usage and speed such devices and plans offer are adequate for your needs.

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  • Important Documents and Reservations

    Important Documents and Reservations

    Create a location on your phone for each of your hotel, airplane, and other reservations so you can access them easily on checking in. Also, take pictures of your passport, health insurance card, and any travel insurance documents you might need in the event your actual documents are lost.

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  • Maps and GPS programs

    Maps and GPS programs

    Save the areas you going to visit offline using Google maps. This will save on data charges when you don’t need a live map or your GPS. However, most online mapping programs and GPS work very well in cities worldwide and are invaluable tools!

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  • Compass app

    Compass app

    There are many free compass apps for your phone; and these little tools can come in very handy in an unfamiliar city! Having a map is great, having a map and a compass to easily determine which way is north is even better.

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  • Camera


    Cell phone cameras have become extremely sophisticated with higher pixel count and resolution than ever. With your cell phone in tow, many can leave their point and shoot cameras behind in favor of their cellular travel buddy. There are also several clip-on lenses now available that provide for terrific zoom, fish-eye and macro shots.

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  • Translations


    Your smart phone can also provide you with a terrific translation service. Services like Bravolol( are very useful language tutors and translators that will even assist with the pronunciation of a phrase. There are several free categories of phrases and phrases are shown in both English and the native language.

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  • Destination Guides and Currency Converter

    Destination Guides and Currency Converter

    Bookmark a range of destination guides and a currency converter. These tools are a valuable way for you to familiarize yourself with the cost of an item in both your own and native currency or to quickly locate the scoop on “what to see” and “what to do”.

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