When you travel this year, it’s a really good idea to take your smartphone with you. It can make your entire trip easier and more fun. It will help you with your travel plans, capture photographs of your favorite scene, and allow you to do instant research on anything that stirs your curiosity.
The reason you might hesitate if you’re traveling overseas is that you’re not sure if your smartphone will work. It all depends on which country you visit and which cell phone company you use. The most commonly used cell technology used in most countries of the world is GSM. So if you want to use your phone internationally, you should get a carrier who uses this technology, and you also have to make sure your GSM phone supports the frequencies that will be used in the countries you visit.
Naturally, you will also want to make sure that you protect your phone from theft and breakage. Stay aware and alert to prevent theft. Keep your phone with you at all times and don’t leave it in your back pocket where a pickpocket can steal it, especially if you’re on a jam-packed train or bus. As for protecting your phone should you drop it, there are plenty of options. If you have an apple device, you’ll be pleased with the BodyGuardz line of screen protectors which will not interfere with the operations your phone.
Here are 7 ways a smartphone will enhance your trip:
- Speak any language!
Yes, you guessed it—use Google Translate. In an article named Talk Your Way into Anything with Google Translate, which is about his use of Google Translate, Joshua Lockhart explains what makes this app great for travelers:
“The core function of the Google Translate app is, of course, to translate, and with 64 languages available, it’s already off to a great start. Seeing that I don’t know 64 different people who each know a different language (or even one person who knows 64 languages), I wasn’t able to check the accuracy of them all. Even still, based on what I did translate, everything was fairly accurate.”
- Get answers to your questions.
As you explore a new country, you’ll have plenty of questions. Say, you’re walking through the Colosseum, staring up at the three-tiered Roman amphitheater, and you’re curious about the life of gladiators. Your smartphone can pull up a Wikipedia entry on the history of Rome.
- Capture the moment.
As you travel, you’ll want to take a lot of pictures—pictures of the new friends you’ve met at a busy café and pictures of the sunset over the ocean from your hotel balcony. Not only is a smartphone camera easy to carry around with you at all time, but it takes excellent photographs, too.
- You won’t panic if you get lost.
You unintentionally wandered away from your tour group and the more you tried to find the street you last saw them on, the more you get lost in the labyrinth of unfamiliar narrow streets. Suddenly, you’re lost. You don’t speak the language and you have no idea how to get back to your hotel. Normally, you’d panic, but with your smartphone, you can easily solve this problem. You can either call your hotel to get a staff member to help you get back or you can pull up a GPS app for navigation directions.
- Plan the days ahead.
When planning your next few days, you may want to check the weather before you visit any sites. After all, you don’t want to walk through an open-air bazaar in pouring rain. With your smartphone, you can get access to the weather report.
- Resolve unexpected problems quickly.
Here are three hypothetical scenarios where a smartphone could save the day:
- You rented a car, you’re on an open country road without streetlights, and your car breaks down just as the sun sets. You realize that you didn’t even think of bringing a flashlight. For all you know, it could be a simple problem to fix if you could just see what’s under the hood. A utility on your phone will work as a flashlight. And, if you can’t solve the problem after peering under the hood, you can always make a call!
- You’re at a restaurant but you can’t figure out the prices in the unfamiliar currency and you also have no idea of how much of a tip to leave. With your smartphone, you can look up a currency converter as well as access a nifty calculator app.
- You need to get up on time to catch the tour bus, but you realize that you don’t have an alarm clock in your hotel room. Since you went to bed so late, you’re highly likely to sleep through the designated time you need to be in the lobby. Use the morning alarm clock on your phone.
These, of course, are only a few examples of how invaluable a smartphone can be when you travel. You can also use your smartphone if you need to access to social media, or if you need to respond to emails, set reminders, or take notes. And, if you have a long wait at the airport, you don’t have to be bored to tears — simply pull out your smartphone to read a book, listen to music, or play a game.