Tips for the Smartphone Travellers




Travelling with a smartphone can make life on the road so much easier! Here are our top six tips when travelling with your smartphone.

Buy a local pre-paid SIM card with a data plan

We will usually go for the cellular operator with the largest network coverage, even if it may be slightly more expensive. Nothing is more frustrating than having a data plan but with no network coverage, especially if you plan to go to a more remote part of the country. But if you plan to stay within the big cities, most local operators would generally have decent coverage.


We are big fans of the tether function on the smartphone. This allow us to turn our phone into a mobile hotspot so that we can connect our laptops or iPads to the internet. This is especially useful in places where the local wifi may be slower than the cellular 3G. However, some mobile data plans may not allow tethering, so do check the fine print.


Use Apps to talk for free


With the local data plan, you can use Apps like Viber or Skype to make international calls back home for free (provided your friends have the same Apps) or for a minimal fee. This will save you a bundle in international roaming call charges. In addition, we love using Apple FaceTime to talk to our families and friends back home and to show them some of the sights they are missing!


Cache your destination in Google Maps in advance


If you only have access to wifi and need to use Google maps, did you know that you can actually cache Google maps and use it with even without a data plan?


Before you set off and when you still have wifi, just open Google maps, key in your destination, zoom in to the zoom level required, drag the map around to whatever you want to see offline, and make sure the map tiles load. Once this is done, the map will already be loaded or cached on your phone, so you don't need a data plan to use Google maps as the location beacon will still work off-line!


Do note that the area cached is still quite limited, so you will need to re-cache after a few hours of sight-seeing, which brings us to the next tip.


Get free Wifi from Apple stores, coffee shops, airports, major shopping centres etc.


Nowadays, you can find free wifi in most public places in major cities. Just head to the nearest major coffee shop, fast food chain or major shopping centre. But nothing beats the good old local Apple store for its wifi signal strength and reliability.


Save your important documents in pdf on your phone


We hate rummaging through our backpack for documents (e.g. itineraries, hotel, airline or car rental reservations) so we convert all these documents into pdf and save it to our free Adobe Reader which we can access even without a data plan.


Travel insurance covers loss or damage to your phone


Lastly but most importantly, don't forget to buy your Travel Insurance before you leave!


Most Travel Insurance policies will cover the loss or damage to your phone. Do check the sub-limit that applies to your mobile phone as this is usually lower than the overall limit for the loss or damage to your baggage.


Bon voyage and enjoy the journey!


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