3 Essential Smartphone Travel Tips

smartphoneIt’s summer! Like many of you, we here at Beacon Insurance Advisers like to hit the road and enjoy some vacation time with our family and friends, but we also need to stay connected to the office while we are away. Voila—the smartphone! Smartphones have become an essential part of our lives. They give us instant access to maps, flight details, hotel reservations, restaurant reviews, a camera, and dozens of handy travel apps while also providing us with email, internet access, and needed office tools. While smartphones offer great convenience, a few travel tips can make for a more safe and enjoyable time away.

Traveling with your device requires more than just simply slipping it in your pocket as you leave for vacation. What happens if your phone is lost or stolen? What if you forget to pack your charger? And, maybe most importantly, how do you use your phone without annoying those around you?

With peak summer travel season in session, these tips can help:

1. Power up: A smartphone is only a great travel tool if it has power, so plug in and charge your phone overnight while you sleep. If you forget your charger, check with your hotel — they may provide charging accessories. Does your battery always run low? Check your settings to see if a particular app is using up more power than others. I recently changed my notification settings and improved the battery life on my phone about 25%. Keeping your apps and your operating system updated can also decrease battery drain. Get a power bank or add-on battery, so you can charge without an outlet. I spent about $20 on a 15000 mAh power bank from Amazon several years ago. Fully charged, it provided extra power for two phones for a week while I was vacationing recently. Be sure your power bank is matched to your phone and your power needs.

2. Lock it: A simple passcode can make a big difference when it comes to protecting the personal data on your phone. And, consider activating the “Find My Phone” feature available for most smartphones. This software can help you locate your phone using GPS if it is lost or stolen. Most smartphones also allow you to control and/or wipe data from your phone remotely. And, while we’re discussing data security, this is a great time to remind you to back up your phone. When is the last time you did that? A regular backup schedule ensures your pictures, videos, and other information can be easily recovered if your phone is lost, stolen, or damaged.

If your phone is one of the millions stolen every year, don’t panic. First, try to locate and lock your phone remotely. If it contains crucial or sensitive data, consider wiping your phone to protect that information. Then, contact the police, your wireless provider, and your financial institutions if you use your phone for banking, paying bills, etc. If your phone is insured, contact your insurance provider too.

3. Be mindful of others: If you must take a call while you are traveling, finish it before you board the plane or sit down at the table. Set your ringer to silent or vibrate. And, when you’re in a crowded space, text instead of talking. Others in the vicinity will thank you.

Finally, remember to enjoy your surroundings. You are on vacation after all. Put your phone away and connect with those around you. Maybe later tonight you can post that picture on social media showing how much fun you had…