Smartphones can do so many things today and combine multiple consumer electronic devices into a single slim, pocket-friendly device. With all these devices can do theres no reason to leave them at home. Before heading out on a trip here are some easy ways to make the most of the phone while away and help avoid bill shock when you get home.
1. Globe-Trotting Phones: Whenever traveling out of the country find out if your phone will work where you intend on going before you leave. There are some GSM-only phones that will work in multiple places around the world, but not everywhere. Depending on where youre going will dictate if a GSM phone-only will work. If not youll need a world phone. There are quite a few world phones available such as the Motorola Photon 4G and the DROID 3 by Motorola. These are true world phones because they work on both CDMA and GSM networks. That means its bound to work with cell phone networks around the world. To find out if you have a true globetrotting handset check the phones specs. Under networks youre looking for it to say CDMA and GSM. If the specs are confusing call your carrier theyll tell you if the phone will work outside of the US.
2. Vacation Rentals: If it turns out the phone you have wont work where youre going and youll need a phone its easy enough to get one before you go. Renting phones used to be a bit of a cumbersome process. Thats not the case anymore. Simply call your existing carrier before you leave and they can set you up with a compatible phone and plan. While you're at it ask them if there's anything that can be done to lower the plan for the phone you're leaving at home while you're away.
3. Data Basics: These days people text, e-mail, and surf the web on a smartphone far more than they talk. Doing these activities over a WiFi network isnt using data. However, when there is no WiFi connection this is done over a data network. The phone youre using is smart so its constantly running connectivity features in the background and its main task is to ping the mail server to check for any incoming mail. This requires data. If youre roaming out of the country all that connectivity is going to add up to one hefty bill.
Heres a tip: To only use WiFi while out of the country go into phone settings. Select connectivity and deactivate mobile networks. This will ensure that there is no data being used in the background.
4. Plan Ahead: If you do indeed have a phone that will work out of the country contact your carrier before you leave. Youll need to change some of the features of your plan to avoid bill shock when you return. Even if you have unlimited texting with your existing plan youll need to activate International texting. Its true texts sent and receive will cost more, but in the long run it will be a lot cheaper than if you dont activate such a plan. Plus, it will ensure that texting will work out of the country.
5. Memory Maker: As mentioned earlier smartphones are more than just phones, they are video players, portable music players, and high-end digital cameras. So why not take advantage of all those features while on the road. If your smartphone doesnt have at least 8GB of memory either on board or on a microSD card then invest in at least an 8GB microSD card. Be sure to get a higher class (6 or higher) since these cards tend to be faster and work well in other electronic devices.
Here are a few ways to make the most of phone storage while away: