The prospect of bringing your iPhone, Android device, or Windows phone on an international journey may seem daunting. Not only will you need to be extra careful with this valuable asset, but you’ll also need to deal with the prospect of exorbitant international phone data charges. Read on for some tips and tricks to help ensure your success on your trip to South America.
Avoid Data Charges
The easiest way to ensure you don’t get hit with high data charges is to prevent your phone from data roaming. If you keep data roaming on while you’re abroad, your phone could be updating apps in the background without your even realizing it, gleaning information such as the news, the weather, and your location.
Both Android and iOS have functions that allow you to turn data roaming off. On an iPhone, simply go to the Settings app and turn off the Data Roaming button. Your phone will stop using data completely unless you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.
On an Android device, the process is similar – head to the Settings app and find the Wireless & networks section, and you’ll reach another section for Mobile Networks. Find the Data Roaming button and uncheck it.
A word to the wise: disabling data doesn’t keep your phone from making or receiving calls or text messages, so if you plan on using your phone internationally for those purposes, it’s definitely a good idea to call your carrier beforehand to get a sense of your options.
Protect Your Belongings from Thieves
Another major component of traveling to Central and South America with a smartphone is keeping your phone safe from harm. Travelers may as well have targets on their backs for thieves; because they are not fully aware of their surroundings, jet lagged, and/or lost, you’re more vulnerable.
It’s important to keep your gadgets safe. The biggest tip? Don’t ever leave your smartphone unattended. Always keep it on hand – or better yet, leave it in your hotel or hostel room, locked up in a safe or a locker. If you absolutely must use your phone while you’re out and about, don’t take it out on the street. If you’re lost, duck into a store or into another safe place to check your GPS.
Always stay focused when you’re out on the street. Thieves are experts at creating distractions, and they’ll look for any opportunity to target you when you don’t you’re your wits about you.
Whatever you do, don’t let the prospect of theft allow you to miss out on an excellent travel opportunity. Whether you travel for a gap year, for work, or for volunteering, there’s a ton to see and do. You may not even need to bring your phone at all.