Ways to Prep Your Cell Phone for International Travel

Once you have your airfare, hotel fees and travel insurance coverage figured out for your overseas trip, you might be wondering whether or not you want to bring along your cell phone. These devices have become very handy travel companions, especially in the case of an emergency, confirming travel plans like reservations and simply getting you back on your path if you find yourself lost in an unfamiliar city.

Nearly all cell phone companies allow you to purchase data plans to activate your phone while abroad, which can let you keep in touch with family and friends while you are away as well. However, there are a few things you need to do for your phone before the wheels lift off at the airport.

Study your data plan
While there are some companies that offer unlimited data overseas, others only allow for a certain amount of data you can use. If you go over this data plan abroad, your cell phone bill will not be pretty, especially if you are activating multiple phones. Either spring for unlimited data or be very cautious about where and when you use your phone. It might also be wise to invest in a SIM card in the country you are visiting for backup.

Don't forget chargers and adapters
You will need to keep your phone charged throughout the day, especially if you don't plan on returning to your hotel room until the end of the day. Be sure to keep an adapter and charger in your carry-on luggage in the case of a delay, lost luggage or cancellation, along with other essentials. This can keep you from having to purchase a pricier version at the airport.

Download everything you need before leaving
If you have a smartphone, you know how draining downloads can be on your battery and data plan. While you are home and have Wi-Fi, be sure to download all of the apps you will need for language translation, itinerary, maps, flight notifications, weather and destination guides. It's also a good idea to also have all of your music and other entertainment options downloaded to your phone if you have a long layover or flight.

Take photos of important documents
In the event your passport, driver's license or other important documents gets lost or stolen, having a photo on your phone of these details can help you when you fill out forms.

Turn off automatic modes
Unless you set your phone to manual, your phone will continually roam to find data. While this is fine if you have an unlimited plan, the additional charges can really add up otherwise. Try finding a spot that has free Wi-Fi when you travel, then manually turn on your data settings to save money and battery life.

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