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6 Helpful Smartphone Features for Traveling Abroad

6 Helpful Smartphone Features for Traveling Abroad

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.



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About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.


  1. Cindy Ladage

    Great advice I downloaded the boarding passes this last trip,

    • Carmen Edelson

      That’s great, Cindy!

  2. I always download my boarding passes, GPS instructions to places I am driving to, photos of important documents, and I use a tripbudget app to help me keep track of expenses. Lots of good uses for a smart phone!

    • Carmen Edelson

      I agree, Tami! Thanks for reading.

  3. I always go back to my gmail inbox to keep track of reservations and it is not the best way to keep organized. I will need to give TripCase a try!

    • Carmen Edelson

      I hope you find it more helpful, Cat!

  4. I would be lost without my downloadable boarding passes! It was something that was originally advised by my agent at Berkeley travel who suggested so many helpful times for luxury travel. This has by far been the most used though!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Yes, it’s definitely my most used one too!

  5. Carol Colborn

    Wifi calling…now that’s a great feature. I wonder if our provider has it? We are with Verizon, not Tmobile,

    • Carmen Edelson

      I’m not sure, but I highly recommend Tmbobile! They also offer unlimited international data for a great price 🙂

  6. These are some really helpful tips. I’m going to try setting up WiFi calling on my smartphone!

    • Carmen Edelson

      That’s great, Nate! I hope you find it useful.

  7. I’ve been looking for an app like Tripcase! Going to use it for my upcoming trip to Croatia, thanks Carmen!

    • Carmen Edelson

      So glad to hear that, Dannielle! Enjoy 🙂

  8. These are really useful tips for how to use a smartphone to its full potential while traveling. I’ll have to check to see if my provider offers Wi-Fi calling. If not, I’ve found apps like WhatsApp and Skype helpful for keeping in touch with friends and family while traveling abroad. I need to download GateGuru before my trip to Ireland. Thanks for that tip, Carmen!

    • Carmen Edelson

      You are very welcome, Erin! Have a great time in Ireland.

  9. You would think with the amount I travel that I would be better at currency conversions. I’m not! The XE app is a life saver every single time!

    • Carmen Edelson

      It really is! Happy travels, Mags 🙂

  10. Wifi calling sounds perfect. I will def have to look to see if I can get it. Thanks

    • Carmen Edelson

      You’re welcome! I hope you find it useful on your travels 🙂

  11. Google translate is my favorite! It has helped me many times!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Same here, Wilson!

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