If you travel regularly and cannot be without your trusty phone, there are some smartphone hacks that you will find very useful. If you don’t want to be blind-sided by a slew of charges and your jaw drop to the floor when you receive your bill, follow these smartphone hacks the next time and every time you travel.
1. Download Messaging Apps and save Precious Text Messages
Downloading a messaging app is my favorite of the smartphone hacks and first on my list. You can get any number of message apps to save your text messages. Like many people, you might have been sucked into instant message style texting, which costs a bomb when you’re on your travels. You can connect to the Wi-Fi and easily fire messages back and forth with people back home.
2. Switch to Wi-Fi to Make Calls
Now here is a smartphone hack which allows you to call home- for free! Download an app with video calling and connect when you are in an open Wi-Fi area. These apps mean that you can make unlimited calls for free and even get to see the face of the person you’re calling. My favorite one is Skype because you can message on that too, and another good one is Google Voice.
3. Reset Your Data Usage and Set an Alarm
Stay one step ahead with this hack for your smartphone. You can make sure that you keep track of how much data your phone is using by re-setting the total to zero. On most cell phones you can set an alarm so if your phone starts to sneak off and use data on the sly, you’ll be alerted.
4. Download Offline Map Apps
I’ve not seen anyone (except my granddad) with a pocket map of the local area they're visiting in years. We research what we want on our smartphones, get directions and even use it as a satnav to make sure we get there. Simple! There’s a but though- downloading maps on your phone when you are on the go is going to use your phone's data and hit you with a huge bill. One of the best smartphone hacks for travelers is to use apps which don’t need data to be used. You can download the apps and the maps you’ll need before you go. Good apps for this are TripAdvisor’s Offline City Guides and MetrO.
5. Turn off Your Data
One of the smartphone hacks that will be useful if you can’t stop your friends messaging you on social media, is to turn your data off. Apps such as Facebook and Twitter eat into your data every time you get a notification. Every smartphone has the option to disconnect from the data and connect to an open Wi-Fi. Do this and you’ll avoid any unexpected data charges when you get back!
6. Get a Local SIM
It’s hard to resist uploading a couple of pictures to Facebook of you on your travels, or watching a couple of funny cat videos on YouTube. It’s this sort of stuff that’s going to wind you up with a bill that you’ll have to work every Sunday for the rest of your life to pay off. To get around this, and never miss a cat chasing a laser pen again, you can buy a local SIM or an international SIM before you go. With these SIM cards you can buy data allowances, text and minutes allowing you to use your phone to your heart’s content. All you need to do is make sure that your phone is unlocked before you go. You can call up your service provider to see if you can unlock the phone. If not, take a trip down the market or to the secondhand shop and buy yourself a cheap one, then you’ve got the benefit that if you spill a Tequila all over the handset it won’t be such a tragedy.
7. Change Your Phone's Lock Screen
This hack for your smartphone is pretty sensible. If you’re worried about losing your phone, or getting drunk and forgetting where your hotel is, this is a great idea. Change your screensaver to an image with your emergency details, or the place where you are staying. Then, if you lose your phone, there’s a chance someone will know where to take it, and if you get drunk and lost you can see where your hotel is without having to fumble through your phone. This smartphone hack has the added benefit that, God forbid, if you were to get in an accident, someone would be able to know who to call- even if your phone is locked.
Do you have any great smartphone hacks to share with fellow travelers?