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How to Prepare Your Phone for International Travel

6 tips to get your phone ready for an overseas vacation, including cool apps, how to stay connected (without surprise bills) and more.

prepare your phone for international travel

Whether you’re traveling with a group or exploring solo, international travel is an exciting experience. You can meet new people, visit beautiful landscapes, taste food from different cultures and recharge – all are well worth the money spent. And with Sprint Global Roaming you’ll have an easy and inexpensive way to stay connected to your world while traveling the globe!

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 Buy an adapter

Having a dead phone while you’re out on the town in a new city, an ocean away from home, can be stressful. And not being able to charge up is even worse. Be sure to invest in an international adapter that will be compatible with the outlets in whatever country you’re visiting. Many can be bought in convenient multi-packs, providing several adapter options. And most newer adapter models come with USB ports, making it easy to charge more than one device at a time.

Tip: You might also want to consider external chargers for long day trips. AAA members get a 25% discount on eligible Sprint accessories.

 Update and sync

If you’re like most smartphone users, you’re probably stubborn when it comes to downloading software updates. True, they can be a little annoying and inconvenient, but phone updates are meant to improve the performance of your product, including fixing those nasty security bugs. Before heading overseas, it’s a good idea to have your smartphone operating at its optimum.

You’ll also want to back up your info. It’s one thing to lose your phone in the local supermarket (with a slight hope that you’ll see it again), but what happens if you lose your device in Dubai or Sydney? Most smartphones automatically update to a cloud. But for those who keep it old school and opt for manual backups, be sure to save your contacts, photos, notes and other important data in a secure location, just in case.

Tip: If your phone isn’t already set up with an auto screen lock and passcode, add them. If your phone is lost while traveling, your personal information will be much safer.

Download cool travel apps

 To prepare your phone for international travel, download a few apps that can help you keep track of important info like flight departures or train times, and invest in some city guides. Apps like TripIt and TripCase are great for storing and organizing travel docs. Click here for more great apps.

Tip: Some apps will let you cache data. Meaning, you can access your flight times, itinerary, travel notes, guides and other information, even when internet is not available. This feature will certainly come in handy from time to time.

prepare your phone for international travel

Sam Edwards / OJO Images / Thinkstock

Research international cell phone plans

International travel, whether for business or pleasure, is exciting but takes a lot of planning. Sprint automatically provides customers the ability to use their phones internationally and provides basic data (up to 2G speeds) and text for no additional charge with calls from only $0.20/minute in 185+ featured destinations to help travelers stay connected without piling up surprise roaming charges. And if travelers need fast data, high-speed passes are available on-the-fly directly from smartphones with options from $5/day and $25/week – with no advanced planning, no account log-in, and no purchase transaction.

Sprint customers can check coverage and rates by destination here.

Considering a pre-paid SIM card

Sprint has made international service seamless, simple and affordable. But travelers embarking on longer journeys to more remote destinations may benefit from buying a pre-paid SIM card from the host country which may provide reasonable alternatives for service abroad. With an unlocked phone, having service in another country can be as easy as swapping SIMs (be sure you don’t lose your original one). Simply find a local service provider once you arrive at your destination – or research one ahead of time if you’re a planner – and buy a pre-paid (monthly) SIM card.

Tip: Newer phone models are equipped for international travel, but you can easily find out whether your device has an unlocked SIM card slot through your carrier. If you happen to have an older device, consider renting a phone from the local cellular provider.

Use Wi-Fi

If you’ve chosen to forego the international cellphone plan or pre-paid SIM card, Wi-Fi could be your new best friend (if it wasn’t already). And honestly, that isn’t a bad option. In most places around the world, you can find free Wi-Fi in restaurants, pubs and other public spaces. Wi-Fi Finder apps will also make a great tool for scouting out free internet.

Simply adjust the settings on your phone to toggle between wireless roaming data and Wi-Fi data to optimize your service experience based on particular needs. Use WiFi for applications that typically require significant bandwidth (accessing downloads, streaming audio & video content). Use wireless data for access while you enjoy shops, beaches, parks and national landmarks where Wi-Fi may not be accessible.

There’s a lot to plan for and think about when traveling to a new country. With Sprint, using your wireless services abroad is easy.

Don’t forget to keep yourself (and not just your electronics) safe during your visit. Check out these travel safety tips for your net big adventure.

AAA members can enjoy international travel worry-free with Sprint Global Roaming in 185 featured destinations. Service includes free basic data (up to 2G speeds), free text, and calls from $0.20/minute. And in Canada & Mexico, enjoy the benefits of Unlimited Freedom across borders with 4G/LTE high-speed data, voice and text for NO additional charge.

And AAA members get a free basic membership renewal for as long as they are Sprint customers. Learn more.

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