Smartphone Tricks for the Modern Traveler

It’s very common for us to get really excited at the prospect of traveling and seeing the world. Taking selfies in beautiful backgrounds, taking pictures of exotic foods--the technology is there to enhance the traveling experience. But before you go on your jet-setting way, we’d like you to read this guide to making the most of that smartphone you carry around.

Change the background of your lock screen to your important information and details

Most modern smartphones have IP67 or IP68 certifications attached to them. The IP in this particular case refers to the International Protection certification, which is a standard by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The first digit after the IP refers to a device’s resistance to dust or dirt. The 6 in particular means “No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact”, determined after an 8-hour test. The iPhone 7 is an example of a phone with this sort of resistance, although it is against dust.

Now, the second digit is what defines the device’s water resistance. A 7 means that “ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time”. The IEC defines an acceptably safe level of submersion as around one meter deep. This protection can’t last forever though, as the 7 rating guarantees up to 30 minutes worth of protection. As far as we could find out, the Samsung Galaxy S8 had an 8 certification, meaning it could last 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 meters.

Plastic bags are your friend

If you don’t have an expensive case to protect against dirt and the elements, try to get a resealable bag to put your phone in. It costs practically nothing, and it’s still possible to use your phone with it enclosed.

Extra Extra Extra

Always bring an extra charger and/or battery with you on your journey. It becomes significantly harder to make the most of your phone during travel if you don’t have battery power. This is especially true if it’s a long journey and you have to listen to music, consult your maps, or other information on your phone constantly.

Swiss Army Phone

There are an incredible range of apps you can install to your phone to make it your travel buddy. Check out some of the must-have apps for your travels:

  • There’s the Find-Your-Friends app, which lets you locate people you choose who have the same app and are connected. This is incredibly useful if your group is split up or is traversing a dense or unfamiliar place.
  • For overcoming the pesky language barrier for signs and such, try the Google Translate App (Android), and Yandex (for Apple gadgets). Yandex in particular can save the most popular languages and save them offline, meaning you’ll have an easier time in Mandarin or Nihonggo-speaking places even without a data connection.
  • For outdoor trekkers, Google’s Weather app is a nifty program that can provide you with information on the conditions for your nature’s journey. Be able to plan around rainfall, snow, or even hail. Umbrella not included.
  • Tripit is your all-around itinerary planner. You can put in travel times, destinations, important notes, total expenses, and stuff you never even knew you needed- all in one handy application.

Data Issues

Data and internet connections are a huge deal if you want to stay connected to the world while on your travels. Here are a couple of tips to keep costs low, and your security high.

  • TURN OFF ROAMING. Service providers charge A LOT for roaming services. There are many messaging apps with video call which serve the same purpose.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when dealing with free WiFi. This adds an extra layer of security to your information if you’re not sure about the safety of the Wifi network you’re on.
  • Steer clear of public WiFi with no passwords. In some cities, this is used as a honeypot to lure in potential marks for credit card fraud or phishing (information stealing). Would want to get your credit card maxed out and find out only when buying your plane ticket back home, right?

There you have it, a bunch of simple and easy to remember tips to make the most out of your smartphone during travel. We would have added photography apps, but we think it’s important to enjoy the journey and not the photos!