Ten years ago, the typical international traveler would most likely be equipped with guides, maps, language-to-language books, laptop, and a camera or two. Today, a smartphone and tablet computer are likely to replace all of the above for the millions of globetrotters out there. The evolution of technology is a beautiful thing, especially when it comes to less stuff to carry onto planes, across foreign landscapes, and through world-class museums.
Preventing Loss or Damage
Concerning personal technology, travelers are typically most worried about misplacement, theft, or damage to their smartphones and tablets while moving through crowded foreign cities and traversing rugged, unfamiliar landscapes abroad. To this end, the following serve as handy, if not basic, tips for avoiding common trouble with tech while traveling:
Never travel without phone and tablet cases. For added security, a screen protector will guard against the usual threats posed against mobile technology on the go.
Install a lost phone or tablet app to make finding misplaced mobile tech easier to find. This also helps in the event a device is stolen; however, there are other steps to take to prevent theft from happening in the first place...
Avoid common street scams typical of any major city. Pickpockets target distracted pedestrians, in which case pausing to watch what seems to be a street fight or drunken shame may in fact be walking into the snare of thieves. Furthermore, if a stranger offers to take your photo with your phone, politely decline.
Most mobile phone carriers provide means to temporarily extend coverage abroad. However, don’t be suckered into outrageous data roaming charges when less expensive alternatives exist.
One option, of course, is to take advantage of free wireless networks scattered across most major world cities. These networks do expose your devices to security risks, so install appropriate apps to protect against such attacks.
Free wireless isn’t always available, in which case a SIM card swap may be in order. Europe is the continent with the best deals out there, but parts of Asia and South America are getting on board with easy-access temporary phone service for travelers.
The point of traveling is to soak in all the amazing sights, sounds, and tastes you can’t get anywhere else. Having access to mobile technology while seeing the world is incredibly beneficial - but don’t let maintained access to networks and continuous coverage block out the experience itself. Angry Birds and Facebook can wait for the hotel room, hostel, or even for the plane ride back home. Use these devices for navigation, recording video, taking photos, and emergencies - but otherwise, keep them in the pocket, backpack, and purses.
Once upon a time, travelers had to lug around a lot of stuff in order to have a safe and happy time abroad. Radical changes to technology have lightened the load, making trips abroad much less focused on keeping track of an array of gear and more on the sights to behold.
However, it’s important to take steps to protect this technology and maintain connections without it resulting in a huge bill from your service provider. Furthermore, functioning mobile devices ought not distract travelers from the experience, only add to it. Abide by this, and there’s no reason travel and technology can’t go hand in hand around the world.