You’re about to embark on an adventure abroad, and amid the age-old quandary of what to pack, you realize you haven’t even considered an important element. What about your phone? Here are tried and true tips to get the most out of your smartphone while abroad without spending a fortune on roaming and data charges:
Make Sure You Have Everything
From packing clothes to toiletries to pajamas to swim suits, it is easy to forget everything you need. Be sure to make a list of everything you are going to need for your road trip, and take changing weather into consideration for different parts of the country. Although clothes and a toothbrush and toothpaste may be on your essentials list, don’t forget to bring equipment to capture your adventures.
Because space can be tight in a car, don’t lug nice photo equipment and tripods – instead opt for a smartphone with an upgraded camera. For example, the new Nexus 5 comes equipped with an advanced lens with image stabilization. It also has an HDR+ mode, which automatically takes several rapid pictures and combines them into one photo, and has a panorama option. The iPhone also offers many of these features. Smartphones are a great camera option because they are becoming increasingly more advanced, are always on you and provide many other functions such as calling, texting, reading and games, which are great for long drives.
Use a Note-Taking App to Stay Organized
Whether you’ve made a complete itinerary or you have a list of restaurants and shops you’d like to check out, using a note-taking app like Evernote makes it easy to plan and access your notes from your smartphone. Keep track of travel details here including confirmation codes, addresses, rest stops and any other information you may need for a road trip.
For lists of must-see spots, be sure to include the address and nearest transport station or cross streets as well as a phone number to make it easier to get where you need to go without having to waste time looking up these vital details on the fly.
Skip the Heavy Guidebooks
Travel aficionado Rick Steves always advises packing light, which is hard to do if you’re packing one of his travel tomes (or any other guidebooks) for each of your destination cities. Save the space in your car by downloading the e-book version instead of getting the printed copy. You can easily access it on your smartphone using an e-reader app like Amazon’s Kindle app. Instead of using the printed HotelCoupons.com Guide, you could always download the app, or consider a free digital guide subscription.
Save Big With Wi-Fi
It is easy to smash through your normal smartphone data use when you are traveling because of the extra pictures and social media posts. Although it’s convenient to have full use of your smartphone everywhere, you can easily get away with just using it when you have a Wi-Fi connection the majority of the time. Make sure your accommodations offer Wi-Fi, and you can post and check in with everyone at the end of the day. Also, many stores, cafes, bars and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi, so you always can use their connections to upload a few Instagram photos or Facebook posts while out and about. Websites like Wi-Fi Free Spot Directory or free apps like WiFi locator make this easy to do ahead of time.