How to take your technology abroad
It's nearly your vacation time! Get ready to lovingly bubble wrap that tablet, stroke that smartphone into its case and pack up a myriad of chargers. Technology withdrawal is no laughing matter. Trust us, we know.
My suitcase is all technology. Do I really need to bring clothes?
Yes. And a voltage converter plug too
Clothes are always a good idea. So is bringing an adapter plug for your shiny, shiny. Smartphones do not run on oxygen. In the UK we have 3 pin sockets that run on a different voltage to US electrical items.
American smartphones are usually 115v products, whereas UK sockets are 240v. Anyway, the upshot of this is that if you have a 240v smartphone, you need to ensure you purchase a 2 pin to 3 pin voltage converter plug, not just a regular one, or you risk blowing fuses in your expensive hotel room.
The internet is free, right?
No. Just because Nyan cat says so, doesn't make it right.
Listen up, this is very important. Turn off data roaming before boarding that plane - please do it, oh please. You see, if you have a GSM smartphone, it will automatically connect to the most appropriate UK mobile network as soon as one becomes available, and pump out all the lovely interwebs juice you usually inject into Facebook, Song Pop and Sound Cloud. (I've amassed over 2,000 Song Pop coins in the past two weeks, you can tell my evenings are currently quiet.)
To turn off data roaming on an iPhone:
Settings > general > network > data roaming - toggle to off.
To turn off data roaming on an Android-powered smartphone:
Settings > mobile network > data roaming - untick it.
To turn off data roaming on a Windows Phone 7 device:
Settings > Mobile Network > Data Roaming Options - tap 'don’t roam'.
To turn off data roaming on a BlackBerry smartphone:
Menu > settings > networks and connections > mobile network - set 'While Roaming' to off.
Back it up before you pack it up
Your smartphone is simply bursting with stuff that's important to you, from contacts whose numbers you never bothered to learn because your mobile remembers them for you, to photos of that thing that happened that one time which nobody mentions in public. Hey, you don't want to lose all the music you spent hours adding to your computer, then to your phone, then to your computer and, sigh, the process is never ending. So, for goodness sake, back up your smartphone before travelling abroad.
- How to backup an Apple iPhone
- How to backup an Android-powered smartphone
- How to backup a BlackBerry smartphone
- How to backup a Windows Phone device
A couple of tips for the trip
Use ALL the (secure) Wi-Fi networks
While abroad, don't be tempted to switch on 3G on your GSM mobile and connect to a UK network, which can be very costly. Connect to a secure Wi-Fi network whenever you want to frantically thumb through Facebook like a deranged stalker to see all the posts from your crush or best friend that you've missed during your vacation. If it doesn't ask for a password or network key when you attempt to connect, it isn't secure. We advise you not to connect to unsecure networks when checking anything personal, like a social network or bank statement. If your hotel doesn't provide access to a secure network, try BT Fon, which allows you to connect to a network of Wi-Fi hotspots, for a pre-paid daily charge.
How to get help if something goes wrong
We're not saying that Britain is any more of a hazard for your smartphone than your local Walmart (we've seen the website), but if your phone does get lost, broken or stolen while you're over here, pop into a Carphone Warehouse for help. Find out more here.
That's all, folks! Have a safe trip over here in the glorious British summer rain, and remember that Geek Squad UK are always only a phone call away whenever you need technology support.