What To Expect From Using Your Phone When Traveling
Our smartphones are incredibly useful in our daily lives, giving us easy access to communication and information. When you're traveling abroad, your phone can be a valuable asset to enhance your trip and stay in touch with family and friends.
To ensure a safe and connected experience while traveling, it's important to keep a few things in mind. Here are some top tips for using your phone overseas.
Unexpected Roaming Charges
Before you start on your journey by plane, train or a nice relaxing cruise trip to another country, make sure to disable both data roaming and cellular data on your phone. By doing this, you can avoid connecting to towers or networks along the way that may result in costly roaming charges from your service provider.
However, keep in mind that some third-party apps, especially those with automatic data syncing like Google, iCloud, and Dropbox, may enable cellular data and data roaming on their own. Take a look at your list of apps while you're packing to ensure you have uninstalled or restricted data access for these types of apps.
While you're at it, reset your data usage statistics before you depart and keep an eye on the graph while you travel. If anything continues to consume data even after you have turned off everything, it will be immediately noticeable on the graph.
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Turning On Airplane Mode, Thinking That You Are Safe From Roaming
Can you imagine coming back from a trip and realizing that you owe over $13,000 in phone bills? Well, you can read this scary story here - if you want to have a nightmare about your next trip.
While airplane mode shuts off all radio connections on your phone (cellular, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi), apps that don't rely on an internet connection can still consume data. To prevent costly roaming charges, your safest option is to disable data roaming or, even better, simply Download Roamless.
Relying On Unsafe Public Wi-Fi’s At Your Destination
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Make Sure Your Phone is Secured At All Times
When it comes to items that are often lost or stolen during a trip, your phone is at the top of the list. Studies have revealed that smartphones are the most frequently misplaced or stolen devices while traveling. To be prepared for such situations, it's essential to review the security measures on your phone before you embark on your journey.
We recommend the following steps:
1 - Update your multi-factor authentication settings to ensure accessibility even if you can't receive calls or texts.
2 - Install a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for secure internet connections when using public Wi-Fi abroad.
3 - Utilize a password manager to enhance the security of your login credentials.
4 - Check for any available security patches or updates for your phone before you depart.
5 - Set up a phone tracker app so that you can locate your device in case it gets lost.
Always Pack Your Phone Case
Keeping your phone safe, both electronic data securities and physical securities are important. Before you leave home, make sure you have a reliable phone case and consider using a screen protector, especially if you enjoy adventurous activities. It's easy for your phone to accidentally slip out of your hand or pocket while climbing a peak or rushing to catch a train. By safeguarding your device from all angles, you'll prevent the stress and sadness that comes with a cracked screen or damaged components.
Make Sure To Backup Your Data
Making a backup of your phone's data to the cloud is an important step to ensure the safety of your information while traveling. Additionally, to protect your privacy, it is highly recommended to consider performing a factory reset to erase your personal data from the device completely.
There are two primary reasons for taking these measures. Firstly, both at the US border and in some foreign countries like China, border agents and customs officials have the authority to search your phone. There have been reports suggesting that certain countries may even install tracking software on your phone to access your data, text messages, and social media activity.
Secondly, hackers find airport Wi-Fi networks particularly appealing due to their open (unsecured) nature and the large number of people connecting to them. Even if you use a VPN, it is impossible to know who might be monitoring your connection.
If performing a factory reset before your departure is not feasible, it is strongly recommended to do so upon your return. Since you may encounter questionable Wi-Fi connections while abroad, it's wise to assume that your device may have been compromised. Taking proactive steps to minimize this threat is crucial.
Never Trust Open/Public Wi-Fi Connections
Don’t leave automatic Wi-Fi connectivity on while you travel. It might seem obvious not to trust open connections in cafes or hotels, but you don’t even need to be knowingly connected to a network for your data to be stolen.
To turn off your automatic Wi-Fi connection on an iPhone:
- Go to “Settings”
- Tap “Wi-Fi”
- Choose “Ask to Join Networks”
- Switch it on
- On an Android:
- Go to “Settings”
- Tap “Network & Internet”
- Tap “Wi-Fi”
- Tap “Wi-Fi Preferences”
- Switch off “Connect to Open Networks”
Using your phone abroad to stay connected and on track is entirely possible with a few preparations. From knowing your options regarding mobile data to securing your device from hardware to operating system, make sure you’re laying the groundwork for a fun, connected, stress-free vacation.
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