3 Technology Tips for International Travel

Christie Auyeung Travel Leave a Comment

Technology and electronic devices have become a part of our everyday life. From our phones to our hairdryer, we are constantly using tech to communicate, access information, and complete tasks.

What about when you travel overseas for your medical procedure? You’ll already have a lot on your mind regarding your treatment – the last thing you want is to run into problems with any of your devices.

So, here are 3 tips to help you do just that:

1. Be smart about your phone

If you try to use your US phone internationally, you are likely to rack up roaming fees for accessing data and making calls, which can really add up. If you will only be abroad for a short time and don’t need to make phone calls, turn off data and just use Wi-Fi. Keeping your phone on “airplane mode” can also reduce battery drain.

Additionally, here are other things you can do with your phone:

  • Consider an international phone plan. Check with your provider to see if your plan includes international calling. If it doesn’t, you can activate international calling so you can use your phone overseas.
  • Take advantage of free messaging platforms that allow you to send text messages, videos, and make free phone calls over a Wi-Fi connection, such as WhatsApp and WeChat. Skype is also great for messaging and voice calls.
  • If you will be abroad for some time, consider purchasing a local phone with a local SIM card to make local phone calls while on your trip. If you need to make calls internationally, you can purchase a prepaid phone card and use your local phone to pay per minute.

2. Bring a charger adapter and check the voltage

Your destination country may have outlets that are a different size or shape than the chargers or plugs for your electronics. There are 15 types of electrical outlet plugs used around the world, each of which has been assigned a letter identifier. Find out the type that you’ll need, and buy an adapter that will allow you to plug your electronics into the outlet.

You can check out a global map of the different plug types, or a complete list of plug types by country.

Even if you have an adapter, if the voltage is different, you won’t be able to use certain electronic appliances like your hair dryer, hair straightener, or electric toothbrush. In fact, plugging into a socket with the wrong voltage can fry your electronic device. Check the voltage of your country and to make sure your device is compatible before plugging in.

Devices such as your phone and computer are usually an exception to this rule, as they can adapt to different voltages.

3. Enhance your travel experience with apps

There are plenty of phone apps you can download to improve your travel experience. If you don’t have data while out and about, you can at least access them with a Wi-Fi connection.

Some notable ones include:

  • Google Maps: Figuring out how to get around doesn’t get much easier than this. Input where you want to go, and Google Maps will provide you route options by car, public transportation, bike, or walking, as well as time estimates and real time GPS. If you need to, use the Wi-Fi in your hotel, plan out some routes, and take screenshots that you can refer to later.
  • Google Translate: If you’re traveling to a country that speaks a different language, Google Translate can help you understand a road sign or menu, or ask someone where the bathroom is. There’s even a two-way speech mode, providing on-the-fly translation. You can also draw in foreign characters for quick and easy translation.

For more info on travel apps, check out this post from LifeHack.org.

Navigating your tech devices doesn’t have to be difficult. Hopefully these tips can help save you from some tech struggles while abroad, and also make your international medical trip more enjoyable. What’s your favorite tech travel tip? Share with us below!

Christie is a UChicago grad currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her free time, she enjoys tap dancing, learning to windsurf, and trying new foods.