With pent up demand for travel after years of restrictions, international travel options are gaining in popularity. The U.S. dollar is strong, making international travel especially attractive, and according to a recent survey by MMGY Travel Intelligence, a quarter of Americans with travel plans within the next six months are expecting to travel internationally, the highest percentage in three years.
An important aspect of deciding to travel internationally is your access to smartphone connectivity, either using your mobile plan or the availability of public Wi-Fi. You may be asking yourself if your phone will work, how much it will cost and if you even want to use it while on vacation. The experts at UScellular are here to help you navigate through these questions and more with the following six tips:
- Check Your Plan: Before leaving on an international trip, determine how much you plan to use your phone and prepare for any unexpected usage. Then, check with your carrier about international plan options for your destination and to ensure your phone is compatible with global travel. In addition to offering plans that include calls, text and data while traveling in Canada and Mexico, UScellular has affordable international day passes and monthly plans to meet a variety of travel needs.
- Get a Messaging App: If you want to stay in contact with friends and family at home, have everyone download an app such as Skype or What’s App so you can send messages or video chat in a variety of countries. These apps aren’t tied to your phone number and allow you to connect securely using Wi-Fi if you don’t want to use your mobile plan.
- Download Maps: If you are planning to walk, bike or drive to unfamiliar locations and are unsure of your connectivity, you can download maps on to your Apple or Android device and access them offline using Google Maps. After you download an area, use the Google Maps app just like you normally would, and the offline map will guide you to your destination as long as the entire route is within the offline map.
- Speak Their Language: Going to an area where residents don’t speak your native language? Google Translate helps you communicate in hundreds of languages by typing or speaking words or phrases into the app. Similar to Google Maps, you can also download languages you need for offline use.
- Avoid Unintended Usage: One way to avoid unintended app usage and potential data charges is to turn off data roaming in your phone’s settings. It’s also a good idea to disable any apps that run in the background, turn off notifications and limit automatic app updates.
- Stay in “Airplane Mode:” According to a Booking.com survey, people say phone and internet connection at their destination is essential, but you may want to relax without interruption. An easy way to ensure you aren’t bothered – but still have it for emergencies – is to keep your phone on Airplane Mode upon arrival.