No holiday is totally bump free, but thankfully if you have your phone situation sorted you can get out of most jams.

Back in July I was lucky enough to leave behind the miserable winter weather for five weeks of European summer. I quickly learnt that travelling involves a lot of trial and error. No holiday is totally bump free, but thankfully if you have your phone situation sorted you can get out of most jams. Here are some handy tips I picked up from my travels.

1. Turn off mobile data

This might seem basic but the easiest way to get slapped with a serve of bill shock after an awesome getaway is to leave your mobile data on while you’re travelling. Sometimes apps use the net to send and receive data in the background when you aren’t using them so that you’ve always got up-to-date info. This might sound convenient but the charges add up and there’s few things worse than getting a stomach-churning bill that’ll quickly cut your holiday short.

2. Hunt out free Wi-Fi

Posting your travel snaps to Facebook and Instagram as you travel is a great way to keep your friends and family back home updated, but using an Australian SIM overseas can be expensive. Setting up data roaming is a lot like eating a kebab after a big night out – it seems like a good idea at the time, but when you look back on it you feel sick in the stomach and wish you hadn’t.

For a thrifty way of staying connected while you travel, look out for free public Wi-Fi. Hotels and hostels often include Wi-Fi when you book, and when they don’t you can almost always count on the free Wi-Fi in the hotel lobby. Also, if you’re in the US, you can’t help but find a Starbucks on nearly every corner and they have free Wi-Fi.

3. Grab a local SIM or Travel SIM

If you do have some funds to spare on staying connected while abroad, you can always grab a local SIM from the country you’re visiting or a travel sim.

All it involves is a bit of desk research before you jet off. If you’re going to a lot of different countries, go for the Travel SIM – your phone will automatically connect to a network each time you land in a new country.

4. Swap calls for SMS

Leaving your cares behind and taking off to lose yourself in a new culture and country is awesome. After a few weeks though you may find yourself loving your surrounds but still getting homesick. But before you reach for your phone remember that international call rates are intense so where you can swap calls for texts. While international SMS charges are higher than what you’d usually pay they’re definitely cheaper than calls.

5. Use Google Maps offline

Some of the best stories can come from the times you get completely lost in some part of town. This happened to me in Santorini, which while beautiful to explore is not the ideal way to travel.

If you’re in a place where there’ll be limited mobile reception or no Wi-Fi, save a map of the place to your mobile so you can use it offline and stay on track.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Search for the place you’re going
  2. Pull up the place info sheet at the bottom of the screen then tap the menu icon at the top right-hand corner
  3. Select Save offline map
  4. Only what’s on the screen will be saved, so zoom in and move the map around to get what you need. Tap Save when you’re done.

To view your saved maps, just head to Your Places under the Menu. Scroll down to Offline Maps and select the one you need.

Travelling with my phone made collecting memories and getting around a breeze. Got any tips of your own (or crazy holidays stories)? Let me know - I’m on the hunt for my next destination.

Happy travels,
Mariah – amaysim’s marketing intern.

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