How many of you have heard someone saying: “I’m going on vacation and I don’t want to be bothered. I am NOT bringing my cell phone”. Although years has passed since the last time I heard this phrase, believe me, there is still some hard headed people that think this is the best choice. On the other hand most of us today have many well founded reasons to bring along our communication devices when we travel. Getting in touch with your loved ones back home in case of an emergency, having access to local and international news and most of all just to protect your personal information are some of these well founded reasons. Where ever you go your precious devices could be as useful as a brick if it is not connected to a network and that should not be expensive and in most cases, it should be free. Here is a short list of things to do to save money on network communication while you are traveling.
1. Booking your hotspot.
Before booking your hotel, make sure that they provided free Wi-Fi access. Most hotels announce this service in their brochure making us believe that we will have access to free Wi-Fi in our rooms. Although this is true for most big cities hotels it is not the case if you are traveling to the Caribbean or some beach resort hotels where they only provided free Wi-Fi in some restricted areas like their lobby and restaurants. Just be prepared.
2. Prepare your hardware.
Get an extra SD card (taking too many pictures?) Get an extra charger cable (they are easy to lose or break) If you are traveling to a region where they use different outlet plugs get some of those in advance. Lock your device with a Passcode in case it gets stolen or lost. Put everything in your hand luggage in case your suitcases get lost.
3. Prepare your software.
This is one if not the most important thing that you should do before departure. You will need to download and install those applications that will allow you to place and receive free calls to the telephone network over Wi-Fi. It is important to know that most of these applications are not accessible in the App Store or Google Play store from other countries outside of the US and Canada with a very few exceptions. You will find a detailed list of these applications in our “Best communication apps” post. If you are traveling to a big city you should consider downloading the “Wi-Fi Finder” app in the App Store and/or “Free Zone – Free WiFi Scanner” app in Google Play store. These applications will connect you automatically to more than 600.000 hotspots in more than 120 countries around the world.
4. Play safe.
Before taking off set your device network to “Airplane Mode” then turn Wi-Fi mode on. This will disconnect your device from all voice and data (3G, 4G) networks so you don’t have to pay for roaming fees in your next bill statement. Now you are ready for departure. We only hope that at your return you will say with a big smile on your face: What I was thinking? I will NEVER travel without my cell phone!