Using your smartphone abroad

It is estimated that the average smartphone user spends around 3 hours a day with their eyes glued to their screen, something that doesn’t tend to dip when they go on holiday. Perhaps this is unsurprising because for many people a smartphone is more than just a phone: it is a camera, a book, a diary, a map, a television…the list goes on!

However, even seasoned veterans can be shocked by the bills that greet them upon their return home. In this post we look at how you can make sure you don’t get stung and get the very best from your smartphone.

  1. Before leaving back up the files on your phone. Should the very worse happen and your phone is lost, robbed or damaged this means that you’ll still be able to retrieve your valuable information.
  2. Turn automatic data roaming off. If you don’t do this background apps will continue to run without your noticing. The result could be a heft bill. Instead, make use of free wifi wherever you are, restaurants and bars are a virtual goldmine, and track your data usage with an app like ‘My Data Manager’.
  3. Preload your phone. By preloading maps, directions, music and boarding passes you can enjoy all the benefits your phone has to offer while avoiding the need to chew into your data on your travels. Remember, your GPS receiver will still work while data roaming is turned off.
  4. Move your most tempting apps. If you have email and facebook on your phone’s homepage the temptation to ‘just have a quick look’ may be too much. Doing this once or twice might not seem like a problem, but the costs can mount quickly.
  5. Check and update your security system before you leave. When travelling you’re likely to connect to public networks, running a greater risk of security breaches. To protect your confidential information update your anti-virus software and stick to secure connections.
  6. Utilise location and security apps. Apps like Lookout have revolutionised mobile security, enabling you to track your phone via GPS. Importantly, these apps can also be accessed remotely, enabling you to remove and block important and vulnerable files before someone else gets to them.
  7. Consider buying a second SIM. Buying a foreign SIM card is recommended if you’re travelling for long periods, because it will allow you to make local calls at a more reasonable rate. If you plan on doing this, make sure that your phone is unlocked before you leave.
  8. Get app savvy. Apps like Roamer and Skype can help keep your bills down by using the internet to make calls. If you hook up to a wifi network you can still phone home, without worrying about your bills.


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