8 Smart Ways to Use Your Smartphone When Traveling Abroad

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The thought of traveling outside your country of residence is an exciting prospect. However, if you are journeying to a place that you’ve never been to before, you’ll need to be ready for anything and everything. Worry not, with a smartphone on hand, there are numerous things you can do to make your trip easier.

A smartphone is a wonderful device brimming with endless possibilities. Besides taking photos or sending texts, there are still many things you can do with your phone. Here are the different ways your smartphone can be your best buddy when you’re in a foreign land:

1. Navigate maps

Google Maps is an amazing app that supports different cities around the world. Aside from Google, other apps like Waze, HERE WeGo, Maps.Me and OsmAnd work, too. By using them, you can even be a little familiar with the place you intend to go to before you leave.

You have the option to save maps offline. But if you want to navigate this app more efficiently, it’s recommended that you have a data roaming package so that you can browse the internet with no limits. This comes in handy as you have no assurance that you can connect to a Wi-Fi network in the city you intend to go to right away.

2. Turn on airplane mode

The moment you get on your international flight, kick your device into gear by turning on airplane mode in your phone. You should leave your phone in that mode during the entire flight to avoid annoying air traffic controllers and pilots. A phone’s radio emissions can be quite strong and can cause unpleasant noise.

Airplane mode will disable your device’s cellular radio, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi – all wireless transmission functions. This is also a quick way for you to turn off many of your smartphone’s battery-draining radio functions.

3. Convert currency

If you have a limited budget, a conversion calculator will be helpful in helping you spend within your budget. Download a conversion calculator app like XE Currency so that you can monitor your pocket money. Money exchange rates constantly change so it’s important that you have an app that keeps you informed.

4. Translate language

Traveling to a place where there are only a few locals who can speak English? Google Translate is your go-to app in translating different languages. Then there’s iTranslate Voice 3, TextGrabber, Microsoft Translator and other similar helpful translation apps.

When touring a place unknown to you, you will need to speak to locals in order to get by. It can be quite useful to have an app that can help break down communication barriers.

5. Stay in contact

When in another country, you still need to stay in touch with your friends, family, and clients back home. To ensure that you won’t get disconnected from important people, check with your service provider about their offers on international calls. Usually, there’s a pretty hefty charge for SMS, calls, and data usage, so make sure to avail of promos before you leave.

If you can avail of free Wi-Fi in the hotel you’re staying at abroad, you can connect to that network to stay in contact. You can then use various online messaging apps like Skype, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp without spending a single dime.

6. Share itinerary details

You can gather all the details of your trip in one app. TripIt is an app that lets you easily share your itinerary details with the people you’re traveling with. Even if you’re not online, car rental details, flight information, tour plans, and hotel reservations may be included in the app for easy access.

7. Get a ride

The Uber app is active in more than 800 cities and is the worldwide king for getting a ride. If you’re not familiar with the transport system abroad, you can simply request a car through the app to go straight to you. Then, you simply connect with the driver, track the vehicle location, and wait for your ride to arrive.

8. Prepare for the weather

Most weather apps have weather information for different destinations. If you’re going to a country with four seasons, it’s best that you’re armed with the right clothes and an umbrella for comfortable touring of the area. An app like AccuWeather lets you prepare for the weather before heading out of your accommodation.

Easy-breezy travel with your smartphone

Nowadays, traveling internationally is made easy with a smartphone. However, bear in mind that a smartphone is only as smart as its user. Use your smartphone wisely and get the most out of it through the eight ways mentioned above. 


Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.

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