Wednesday, December 14, 2016

6 tech tips for international travelers

Today's guest post is by Adam Ferraresi, a Dallas-based web developer at www.wefollowtech.com

Holiday traveling may seem like a nightmare today, but a hundred years ago, it was truly a horror. As the Daily Mail reports, if a UK traveler wanted to make a trip to Australia or New Zealand, the journey would take at least 40 days. Things have dramatically changed in the 21st century, and it only takes a couple of hours to travel to a different continent. So it is no wonder that, according to the 2015 UNWTO Tourists Highlight Report, a staggering 1.1 billion people traveled overseas just last year.

Just ten years ago, most of us were looking forward to spending time from our homes unconnected, but in 2016 technology is a vital part of every trip. Therefore, it has become essential that we can access the Internet wherever we are and whenever we want. But many questions pup up in your mind when thinking about using technology overseas: How much will everything cost? What are the risks? What plans do I need? So here are six tips that hopefully will help you get the most out of using your favorite devices on the road.

1.      Put Your Phone into Airplane Mode

Your smartphone is your biggest hassle when you are out of the country, simply because it can load you down with international roaming bills. And when you are overseas, everything from calls to being connected to the internet comes with a huge price tag. In order to save money, put your phone into airplane mode as soon as you get on an airplane. Turn off roaming and cellular data for the duration of your trip.

2.      Pick up a Local SIM As Soon As You Land 

If you have an unlocked phone, and it’s not essential for you to have your exact number during the course of your vacation, you should pick up a local, pre-paid SIM card. Do some research before you choose your local provider, but don’t worry about it too much because you will probably be able to pick a SIM up right at the airport.
3.      Be Careful with Wi-Fi

We love free Wi-Fi, but you have to be alert at all times, because cybercriminals set up “rouge hotspots” all over the world with the sole purpose of stealing data. Most of them have names that mimic well-known Wi-Fi networks like McDonalds or Starbucks, so they can fool you into connecting. Once you establish a connection, criminals can collect your data without you even knowing that it is happening.
4.      Use a VPN for Data Transfers


You can also avoid the risks of using public hotspots by being strict with the networks you connect to, but doing that is both inconvenient and time-consuming. The simple solution is Virtual Private Network. This handy piece of software allows you to securely connect to any public hotspot by encrypting your data and thus protecting you from malicious data collection. There are free options, but a high-speed VPN such as ExpressVPN will not only keep your data safe, but it will also provide you with an additional layer of security for less than ten dollars a month.
5.      Download a Ton of Offline Apps

Your phone might be limited if you don’t have 24/7 Internet access, but you can still carry a lot of helpful information that will be a huge asset on international trips. You can easily download and load up Google maps before you go, and maps will stay in memory for 30 days. However, the offline version is only available to Android users. If you’re an iPhone user, there are other apps like MapsWithMe that provide everything you need without an Internet connection.
6.      Pack a Power Adapter

If you're carrying multiple high-tech gadgets on your trip, remember that some locations will not have the same kind of power outlets you have at home. So pick up a power adapter designed for the country you are visiting, or if you plan on doing a lot of international travel, pick up an adapter that works in multiple countries. If that is the case, the Ceptics Grounded Adapter is great choice.
Remember--if you cannot find the right hotspot or be sure that your private information is safe at all times, your smartphone will be nothing more than dead weight in your pocket.

Photos supplied by Adam Ferraresi
 

 

 

 

 

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