Lillian Gaitho’s weekend thoughts this Friday look at the use of smart phones when preparing to travel
Five Tips to Getting your Smartphone Travel-ready
There is no doubt that smartphones have revolutionized the way we travel and keep improving the process with every new app and upgrade. From booking a cab or sharing a ride in a foreign country, to reserving your flight and even checking into a hotel, the possibilities on a smartphone’s interface seem to know no limit. Lillian Gaitho this weekend takes a look at a number of things you need to check on before you set out to explore, just to ensure you get the most out of your smart gadget.
#1 Take stock of your off-line apps
That is, the ones that are needful such as maps, expenditure trackers, health apps and the trip planners. More chances than not, your wanderer spirit could lead you into stretches where hotspots and routers translate to alien dialect, but with your apps well packed in your personal offline store, there will be little you cannot do. This is also ideal for times that you wish to unplug and just enjoy the immediate, without getting bombed by numerous notifications on new games, gossip and ghost content.
#2 Frequencies and Providers
There are mainly two frequencies on which mobile technology is built; GSM which stands for Global System Mobile and CDMA acronym for Code Division Multiple Access. While GSM seems to be more popular internationally, CDMA is more common in the USA and Russia and even some countries in Africa. The major difference is that while there is a chance that GSM phones can be unlocked to accept CDMA, the opposite is hard to achieve. This typically determines whether your phone can work abroad and a slight mistake on your cellular details could cut you off communication soon as you step out of your country’s borders.
#3 Locked and unlocked network
I think it’s selfish, that some providers still lock phones to their network, meaning that the owner cannot insert a different sim card despite having paid full price for the gadget! It actually must be one of the most infuriating sale blackmail of our time and has been termed illegal in some countries. That said, to avoid frustrations, check with the company/network provider to ascertain that your smartphone can take in other sim cards without a hitch. Buying a local sim card at your destination will prove way cheaper than chasing roaming costs on your siamese twin provider.
#4 Boosting your wifi reception
While data roaming is almost a no-go zone, unless you want to take out another mortgage on your house when the bills arrive, while you are travelling do most hotels usually have good Internet, whether at a cost or on free basis (which is advisable). The only problem comes in when there is a bunch of you and a stack of gadgetry trying to squeeze in a unit from a snail-speed signal. Before you leave familiar or free wifi back home, do your research and install some wifi boosting apps or even create antennae on your phone where possible.
#5 Test your selfie stick
That is, if you fancy the powered stick. Yahoo has a running list on places that have banned this equally revered and loathed monopod, but manufacturers are still raking in profits. Compatibility with your smartphone is a top trait to look out for, as is the adjustability of the shaft.
A useful selfie stick must also be flexible enough to slide in the right direction for those super angled shots and must also mount the camera/phone in a sturdy way. Once you are done checking the built qualities, check the stick’s ability to fold back neatly and lightly, in a way that it won’t take a hassle to fit in your backpack.
It may be annoying and inconveniencing to walk around swinging a selfie stick like a baseball bat or a hiking cane, but then, adds yours truly, it might come in handy as a defensive weapon should ever one be required.