Modern travel has become dependent on mobile devices. From checking maps and finding significant information on transportation and hotels, to completing important work tasks that require a data connection and checking up on the family back at home, just about any activity can be accomplished using smartphones.
As convenient as this may be, you could end up receiving a high phone bill once you return home if you are not careful.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to remain connected and fully functional while traveling without using more data than what your Internet roaming service allows. Here are seven ways to access the Internet while traveling without getting hit with a heavy price tag.
1. Navigate offline
If you are in an unfamiliar part of the world, you will need maps to get to your intended destination on time and without hassles. However, you don’t have to turn on your data connection to keep from getting lost.
Instead, you could save an offline Google map of the city or country you are traveling to on your phone ahead of time. You can download the map even before your date of travel and refer to it whenever you need it. Keep in mind, though, that maps are just saved for 30 days.
Another great option is to use an offline navigation app that allows you to download information on regional and country roads in advance. This way, you can benefit from voice navigation and route planning without consuming data.
2. Switch off updates
Most smartphones automatically connect to the Internet in the background even if they are switched off. This way, you will receive updates from your apps and social media channels.
While this is beneficial, it can consume a significant amount of data. So make sure to switch off updates before you travel and turn them on only once you are connected to reliable Wi-Fi.
3. Take advantage of free Wi-Fi
There are establishments that offer free Wi-Fi connections to their clients. These include hotels, restaurants, and other commercial locations. So make sure to take advantage of these free Internet connections.
Be wary, though, especially when using public Wi-Fi hotspots, because the files in your smartphone could become vulnerable to hackers. As much as possible, connect only to password-protected Wi-Fi hotspots or, better yet, install an antivirus app on your mobile device.
Another option is to take Wi-Fi with you. A portable Wi-Fi or 3G device will provide you with secure Internet access anytime and anywhere, and you won’t need to worry about high data costs.
4. Disable auto-play in videos
Auto-playing videos will consume lots of data, so make sure to limit or disable it in as many apps as possible. The approach may vary depending on the app you are using, but it is possible on different social apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as on video streaming services like Vimeo and YouTube.
5. Get rid of apps with ads
If you are using free apps, expect that there will be ads appearing constantly. These are not just annoying, but they also consume much data. Therefore, it would be best to pay for an app instead of paying the aftermath of high data roaming charges.
Another option is to use the lightweight versions of apps because these innovations make use of less data as compared to their full-size counterparts. These include Twitter Lite and Facebook Lite.
6. Save content ahead of time
Today, there are travel apps that allow you to save offline copies of articles, videos, and web pages. You can just refer to them while traveling without consuming any data. These apps will also let you organize everything you have saved so you will find them easily.
With a bit of preparation, you will save time and money. So make sure to download enough music, e-books, and videos before your trip so you don’t need to download if you are traveling. While you can use free Wi-Fi for downloading content, free Wi-Fi is not just slow, but risky as well.
7. Turn data off
The simplest way to manage your data when traveling is to turn it off. Disable cellular data or use Airplane Mode if you don’t want Internet access but still want access to texts and calls. Either way, you will be assured that you will not consume more than your data allowance or come home to a hefty phone bill.
Internet access and map use are crucial when traveling, but this does not mean that you will need to use a lot of data whenever you are on the go. Instead, use these helpful data roaming tips to manage your data usage effectively during trips and avoid paying for excessive costs each time you come home.
Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.