Whether you are traveling within your home country or embarking on an international adventure, your smartphone can make your life easier. Modern smartphones are more than communication devices – they are personal assistants, direction providers, local guidebooks and more.
The following 10 tips will help you get the most out of your smartphone, tablet and other gadgets the next time you travel.
. Download a hotspot directory app before you go. Apps like FreespotDirectory (U.S.-based hotspots) and JWire (U.S. and international) let you find Wi-Fi connections wherever you go.
. Use an app like Connectify to expand paid Wi-Fi to more devices. Connectify works on Windows 7 and 8 to instantly turn your laptop into a Wi-Fi hotspot.
. Check with your provider to make sure your phone will work overseas and that your plan will cover the charges. If your current smartphone is incompatible with overseas travel, you can rent an international phone for your trip.
. Conserve voice and data minutes by using programs like Skype. You can keep in touch with the folks back home and avoid costly overages.
. Leave your smartphone in airplane mode even after you land. Airplane mode reduces battery usage significantly.
. Ask your carrier if you need a new charging cord for international travel. Your regular charging cord may not work overseas.
. Give your batteries one last charge by plugging in at the airport.
. Pack an extra battery or two just to be safe. You do not want to run out of juice just when you need it most.
. Get familiar with your favorite mapping program before you leave for your trip. Google Maps and similar programs make getting around easier, but you will need time to learn the features.
. Download a translation app if you will be traveling in a foreign country. Apps like WordLens, iTranslateVoice and Jibbigo can translate voice and text into a myriad of different languages.