When you are traveling to another country, one of the most useful travel gadgets you can bring is that pocket-sized computer you use to make calls and text your friends. Yes, a smartphone can be an international traveler’s best friend — check out the following reasons why:
Use It for Wi-Fi Calling
No matter where your international journey takes you, chances are you need to stay in touch with at least a few people back home. Fortunately, Wi-Fi Calling makes it easy to check in with the pet sitter, your family, employees or whoever else you need to contact while you are away. If your phone service is through T-Mobile, setting up Wi-Fi Calling is easy; the T-Mobile website includes a How-To Guide for your phone on the “device tutorials” page. Once Wi-Fi Calling is set up, you can make and receive calls while abroad, access unlimited high speed data and send and receive texts over a wireless internet connection. As a bonus, if you have an unlimited plan like T-Mobile ONE or Simple Choice, all incoming and outgoing calls and message over Wi-Fi Calling are free.
As a Trip Organizer
Instead of trying to remember all of your planned excursions or printing out flight info for which restaurants you want to try, use your smartphone as a vacation personal assistant. Download an app like TripCase and keep all of your flight info, tickets, reservations and other trip details in one handy spot.
For Layover Assistance
Chances are good that you will have at least one layover during your upcoming travels — and you may not be familiar with that airport. Make layovers less stressful by downloading the GateGuru app on your smartphone; the app’s AirportCard feature includes a ton of great info on a number of airports and their amenities, as well as airport tips, maps and more. If you are exhausted after hours in the air and need a latte from Starbucks, the app will show you what restaurants and coffee shops are in your terminal so you don’t have to wander around looking for your caffeine fix.
Get Help with the Local Language
You can sync your destination’s language with Google Translate; just download it for free, open up the app and tap the language you need at the top. Having a pocket-sized translation dictionary will help you in a number of ways — from being able to ask directions to a local museum, restaurant or restroom to being able to ask the server in a café if the entrée you are ordering contains an allergen you need to avoid.
Download Your Travel Guide
Travel guides are amazing resources when traveling abroad, but they can be notoriously bulky. Fortunately, you can find and download just about any major travel guide you need onto your smartphone, including Frommer’s, Fodor’s Travel and more. Some are available through a Kindle or Nook edition only, so you may want to look up the books you want ahead of time and get any needed apps before leaving home.
Built-in Calculator and Flashlight
After traveling for hours on end, your brain may not want to compute the local conversion rate of U.S. dollars to the local currency. That’s okay — use the calculator that is built into your phone to make these conversions, or download the XE Currency app and have it do the work for you. Another great built-in feature is your smartphone’s flashlight; it’s ideal for finding the outlets in dark hotel rooms, if you are traveling in a remote region and need to see, and/or any other time you could use a little more light.