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Prep Your Devices for Travel

11/17/2014 02:52AM ● Published by Family Features

(Family Features) The busiest travel weekend of the year is just around the corner and a smart traveler knows that before you hit the road here in the U.S. or head overseas, you do some planning and prep. Wardrobe, medications, itinerary – but what about your phone? Have you made sure you’re maximizing your phone’s usefulness and minimizing your costs? These travel prep tips will help you get the most out of your phone and help you save money.

Get the Right Gear

  • Smartphone? Tablet? Both? – Depending on the length of your trip, consider whether you need to bring all your devices, or just a few. Today’s smartphones are mini-computers with access to maps, powerful mini-cameras and tons of entertainment apps. If you want to travel light, consider leaving the camera and tablet at home and invest in upgrading to a larger screened smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the LG G3.
  • Chargers – For overseas travel, invest in an extra charger with an international plug for the region where you are traveling or look for adapters that will let you charge in multiple countries. You may want to look for one with a surge protector built in. Other options are wireless charging pads or USB battery packs. Check out for the best travel accessories for your device.

Check Your Data Plan
You’ll probably use a lot more data than usual when you’re traveling. Make sure you have the right data plan to cover those map downloads and Facebook photo posts. Internationally, calling and texting back home can be expensive and can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars a day or more. To call and text while traveling, you have a few options:

  • Check your plan: Call your network provider and find out what you already pay for and if you need to do anything to beef up your data. If you have a Simple Choice plan from T-Mobile, international data and texting is already included in your plan at no additional cost in 120 countries.
  • Turn Off Data Roaming – If you’re not with T-Mobile, avoid hefty fees by turning off data roaming on your phone under “settings”. It will save you money, but severely limits your communication options.
  • Use Wi-Fi – Whether traveling in the U.S. or abroad, Wi-Fi is pretty much everywhere in the world and many of today’s new smartphones are equipped with Wi-Fi Calling capabilities. In the U.S., you can use Wi-Fi at coffee shops, hotels and even campsites. When traveling abroad, use local Wi-Fi to make unlimited, free calls back to the States from virtually anywhere. You can also boost your Wi-Fi coverage at home with a T-Mobile Personal CellSpot to make sure you get full-bar coverage.

Stock up On Apps
As always, make sure your phone is loaded up with the right apps for the best connection everywhere you go.

  • Free Wi-Fi Finder – You’ll never be without the proper connection with this useful app, which scans your current location for Wi-Fi hotspots nearby.
  • GoGo Talk and Text – Stay in touch in flight! GoGo is offering free, unlimited texting and visual voicemail access on all U.S.-based airline flights exclusively to T-Mobile customers.
  • HopStop – Get all your public transportation options at your fingertips. You’ll find information on metros and buses, biking and walking directions, and maps to help you get around.

To get more smart ways to use your smartphone while on the go, visit

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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