Smartphones have become a part of human life. The devices are always within arm’s reach; whether we are driving, sleeping, or walking, we can always access our smartphones to check on conversations or time. You will be surprised by the number of times you pull out your phone to unlock it. No doubt, you can barely survive without your phone for a day because it is probably your calendar, reminder, exercise monitoring tool, and a tracking device. Today, when a person is offline for 3 hours, it causes panic among family members and friends; the panic is justified because of the level of connections in the 21st century.

But how are these smartphones efficient when traveling abroad? Can you still communicate with people at home, send emails, and check on your financial balances online? Communication is often a challenge once you cross borders; not only availability of network but also data charges.

Here is what to consider before you embark on your trip to stay connected.

  1. Unlock your phone

Unlocking, in this case, is not the screen but the phone; be sure to check with your mobile carrier to ensure your phone is not tied to a specific provider. This is important before setting off on your journey. When your phone is locked to a particular mobile carrier, you won’t be able to connect to a different network when you get to your destination in another country. The only option would be to subscribe to international roaming packages, which are pretty expensive. It is cheap and convenient to unlock your smartphone before traveling.

  1. Make use of Free WI-FI

Whenever you need to send texts at home, check on your email, upload photos on social media or status, it is wise to sniff on the available networks in your location. Most public places have free WIFI open to both locals and visitors. It is part of cutting on your expenses on data; why not take advantage of free services to save and spend on other necessities? However, it is important to take caution when connecting to public networks because most are prone to hacking and malicious activities. On this, you will have to trust your instincts and be careful when clicking or subscribing to any services while connected on the network. If you are sharing private information and exclusive documents, better wait until you are in a safe connection.

  1. Budget on data

Budgeting is essential before going on any trip; if you have to keep communication with family and friends back at home then you better include data charges in your budget. There are multiple online data calculators that give an idea of how much you need in your destination depending on the amount of time you will be in the country. The calculation should be based on how active on social media and other online platforms. If you intend to send huge files and upload photos every time you get off the bus, a budget for more. It can be frustrating to run out of data and cut your connection with the world when you need to share the fun. Smartphones have become part of us with respect to sharing photos and videos; any inconveniences that interfere with our communication can spoil the fun because we can’t share or capture the moments.

  1. Buy a SIM card at your destination

This is an inexpensive option of staying connected when in a different country for vacation. There are several benefits of acquiring a local SIM card. First, you can easily recharge when you run out of airtime. Also, you are guaranteed of secure and reliable connection throughout your stay because it is a local network as opposed to international roaming. However, you have to make sure your phone is unlocked to be compatible with local SIM cards. The compatibility issue is the only downside of this technique to remain connected to your family and friends at home. In addition to unlocking your phone, be sure to keep your original SIM card safe because you will have to replace with the local one. It is easy to misplace your SIM card when replacing, especially if you are staying in the new country for a long time.

  1. Buy a Portable WIFI device

It is important to stay connected with family and friends irrespective of how long you will be traveling. People close to you need to be updated of your location and state because of uncertainties in a foreign land. Therefore, you should be willing to stretch out your limits to ensure you stay connected. This might be a relatively costly option but is effective and worth of your every penny. If you have a universal portable device, carry it from home and try if it is compatible with the local networks. If not, you will have to consider it an investment and acquire one. Not all destinations have public free WIFI, you might have to create your own hotspot and connect with people at home. You will also have to buy a local SIM card and data for the device to serve you effectively. After incurring these costs, you will appreciate the flexibility and convenience of the connection.

Do your homework with respect to communication and network services before your journey; it helps with avoiding unnecessary stress when on vacation.