How to Minimize Phone Usage When Traveling

Let’s face it, travelling costs. From food and lodging to souvenirs and spur-of-the-moment buying sprees. It seems like second-nature already. But when you return home, the last thing you’d want is to face a credit card debt bundled with a mountain of bills that would take a lifetime to pay. Thus, being able to minimize things would be heaven-sent. Outstanding among these is phone usage.

For one, the temptation to call home or chitchat with a friend about your latest run-ins can be overwhelming – more often than not. In which case, roaming and a host of international charges, not to mention hidden fees, can add up to your already bloated expenditures. However, fear not. Whether you’re in Timbuktu or the Bahamas, there is still a way to get the vacation of your dreams without the danger of becoming disconnect. Read on.

1. Contact your Phone Company in advance.

Yes, it may sound funny to some but this is by far the most practical step to undertake before you “set sail” so to speak. Each phone carrier has its own way of doing things (e.g., pricing calculations), not to mention promos and perks. Getting it straight from the horses mouth should save you the hassle of having to clarify unknown entities in your phone bill in the near future.

In this regard, beware from making international calls if you have not done needed research. By this we mean hefty research. And clarify your options as much as possible. This is especially true if you plan to be away for a month or two. In which case, picking up a local phone in lieu of your mobile could be the wise decision.

2. Make sure you have your Google Maps saved.

No question, Google Maps could be your best friend in a foreign land. Especially the Street View. But if you’re thinking you’ll enjoy the services of the app on your nifty i-tablet for instance resting on a sleek iPad mini keyboard case, just because you have the app, think again. You won’t get any view at all in the absence of internet, data or via Wi-Fi.

Your best recourse therefore, is saving Google Maps ahead of time. This sneaky little feature in the app allows you offline viewing. To do it right, you need to launch the app and search the location where you are heading to. Select the place when results come up. Then, make sure to find the white box below and click it. Subsequently, scroll to the bottom of the page. An option to “Save Map for Offline Viewing” should be visible. The saved map should be available for 30 days in the your profile tab of the nifty app.

3. Keep your phone loaded.

Make the most of your phone’s internet while you still have it. Save all the apps that you would be needing for your travel. Gmail, SkyDrive or any fave photo app. And this should include tons of entertainment, too. One operative word for travel is you have to be ready to be stuck. In the airport or while waiting for a service. In which case you will have plenty of time to read your saved e-book. Or finish your Angry Birds flurry.

4. Maximize VoIP options.

There is no need to accumulate unnecessary bills in staying connected if you can use VoIP or Voice-operated Internet Protocol such as Skype or Viber. These services offer free calls and even when you contact a landline or cellphone service not registered to these services, the fees are modest. Of course, you just have to find good internet service.

5. Adjust your settings.

First stop, turn your cellular data off so you won’t incur uncalled-for extra charges. You can do this by going to the “cellular” section for i-devices and to “Settings” for most of Android phones.

Additionally, make sure you turn on Wi-Fi, thereby allowing your device to connect to available internet services. And lest we forget, you should turn off “Push” and “Fetch” settings in your smartphone. That way your handheld won’t search for incoming emails or whatnot, adding a strain on both your time and the operating life of your device.

6. Make use of Internet Cafes.

With the power of Google (and other search engines), you can do your preparation even while miles away from your destination. Be ready with a list of internet cafe options. So even when you’re not staying in any international hotel, you still have access to internet close nearby. If you’re having a hard time, websites like should come in handy.

7. Keep an Offline Version of pertinent information.

Having to go online to see your flight information can be a tall order when you’re in a foreign country. Especially true when you’re pressed for time by an immigration officer. The solution: keep an offline copy of your important documents, which should include your planned itinerary, hotel reservation, I.D. and of course, your passport among other things.

Come to think of it, saving while travelling is easy. That if you’re willing to cut the right corners.