It seems like every time that I go on a vacation I have more and more things to take care of before I leave. On top of packing you have to register your credit card, check to make sure that your travel plans are in order, and ensure that there is someone to watch your house and pets while you are gone. While iPhones have certainly made some aspects of traveling much easier, there is some prep work that iPhone users must do before they leave home.
This ensures the best use of your phone and your time while you are on vacation. Some of these things are very easy to do, while others require a lot more effort. This article will list the 10 Things Every iPhone User Should Do Before Traveling and the 10 Things That Don't Matter. Obviously, what you need to do with your phone to prepare for vacation depends on where you are going, and for how long, and I have tried to make this apparent in my rankings. If you can think of any things that an iPhone user would need (or other tips that they should totally ignore) that I did not mention on this list, feel free to mention this in the comments.
20 Should Do - Backup Your Phone
This is actually something that people should do more in general but it is especially important to do right before you travel. If your iPhone take a beating on the road and if your phone stops, you certainly do not want to lose all of your pictures and contacts. Most people take their vacation pictures on their phones, so even these will be lost if your phone quits functioning.
This is obviously a doomsday scenario but it is better to be safe than sorry when you are hundreds of miles away from your home.
It might even be worth putting your most precious pictures on the Cloud before you leave.
19 Doesn't Matter - Changing The Language On Your Keyboard
When I studied abroad there were at least three people in my class that changed the language of their keyboard from English to Spanish (we were in Argentina). I appreciate your commitment to learning the native language but maybe don't completely alter your phone unless you fully understand what you are doing. All but one of them changed it back within a week of being in Argentina but they definitely struggled before the made the switch back. Vise versa if you're travelling to an English speaking nation but it's not your first language. A big part of planning a vacation is keeping your excitement levels under control and stopping yourself from making unnecessary decisions like this.
18 Should Do - Update Your iTunes Address
It is now common knowledge that when you go out of the country (or even to far away areas of your own country) that you must call your credit card company and tell them that you are going on vacation. If you do not, you will go to use your card one day and it will get declined. The credit card company does this to protect you from identity theft. What many people do not know, however, is your iTunes account does the same thing. You might go to download an app on vacation and realize that your account has been locked due to suspicious activity.
17 Doesn't Matter- Getting A Waterproof Case
During my vacation to the Bahamas my girlfriend made a big deal about getting a waterproof case for her iPhone. She wanted to be able to take pictures in the ocean or the pool and I thought that this was a pretty good idea. There are several problems with this. Firstly, no matter how good (or expensive) the case is, there is no guarantee that your phone won't get wet. Also, to take pictures in a waterproof case the camera lens must focus in a plastic case that is already in the ocean. This all but guarantees that your pictures turn out poorly, which makes it not worth risking the safety of your phone for.
16 Should Do - Get An Adapter
When I stayed at a hotel in Dublin the front desk had a photo collection of all the phones that had blown up there over the years. There is something different about the circuits that are connected to European outlets, so if you do not buy an adapter you can permanently damage any appliance that you plug in. This can include iPhones. Unless you want to take the risk of your $800 phone becoming fried the second that you plug it in, I would recommend splurging on a $20 phone adapter. Losing your phone your first night in a foreign country is not the best way to start your vacation.
15 Doesn't Matter- Getting An Extra Long Charger
There is a myth that is prevalent in the United States that European hotels do not have very many outlets. This might be true in some places but as a general rule, it could not be falser. This myth leads some people to purchase a longer cord for their Iphone when they go on vacations. If you already have one of these, then it might be helpful. But if you don't, I do not think that it is so important that you need to go out and purchase one. Like I said, most hotels will have outlets throughout the room and even if they don't, do you really need your phone that close to you 24/7?
14 Should Do - Make Sure You Have Enough Room For Pictures
It has happened to all of us. You go to take a picture of a beautiful sunset or an idyllic park, only to have your iPhone tell you that you do not have enough storage space left so save any pictures. By the time you pick out the pictures that you are comfortable deleting, the image that you wanted to capture is gone. Don't let this happen on your vacation. It is much better to take 15 minutes and cut ties with some old memes or accidental photos then to miss the chance of memorializing what might be the best part of your trip. This is even something that you can do in the plane or car on your way to your destination.
13 Doesn't Matter - Getting a Roaming Package For Short Trips
In another entry I argue that people going on long trips should always get a data roaming package. Roaming charges are too expensive for people to be habitually using their phones without some sort of monthly plan. If you are only planning to be out of the country for a couple days, however, maybe consider going without the travel plan. Can you really not go a handful of days without using your phone? Maybe you can't, and there are options and payment plans for everyone. But it is smart to make sure that you absolutely need to pay for a travel phone plan before you order one from your network provider.
12 Should Do - Check Out the Apps for the Area
You may have noticed that there is an app for everything. There are so many apps, in fact, that a single phone cannot come anywhere close to holding all the gadgets that people can use in their everyday life. But if you are set to go on vacation, it might be worth your time to see if there are any apps that pertain to your specific trip.
Several cities have their own apps that tell visitors useful tips about getting around and entertainment venues.
Even cruise ships are getting in on the action - both Carnival and Royal Caribbean utilize an app that is a must for anyone who buys a ticket for one of their ships.
11 Doesn't Matter - Checking Your Phone For Sensitive Content
I read a Huffington Post article the other day that warned people traveling to Eastern Europe to erase any sensitive content that they had on their phone before they began their trip. This is utterly ridiculous. I don't know if the author of that article knows how mobile networks work but if a hacker in Russia (that was the gist of the article) wants to get information from your phone, you being closer to their physical location will not make it any easier for them. There are a number of reasons why you should not keep that kind of stuff on your mobile device but I do not think that traveling abroad raises your chances of this information being compromised.
10 Should Do - Get A Roaming Package
When I took a two-week vacation to Greece I was one of those people who are stupid enough to think that they do not need a travel plan when vacationing abroad. I did not have any plans to use my phone, and if on rare occasions I did, it would only cost me a handful of bucks per hour. This is completely wrong.
I only used my phone for 3 days during the trip and my roaming charges were over $100.
The weekly travel plan through AT&T would only have cost me $30. If you are traveling abroad for more than 7 days I would highly recommend paying for your networks travel plan.
9 Doesn't Matter - Getting A Map
Have you ever opened the glove box of an older person's car and been caught in an avalanche of old maps? There was a time when getting the right maps was absolutely necessary before going on vacation. If you missed an exit on the highway and did not have a map, you were forced to stop in some Podunk town and ask for directions yourself. Having an iPhone in your pocket has changed all of this. As long as you have access to service or Wi-fi, you should be able to find your way around pretty easily. For bonus points, download offline maps of the destination before you leave home.
8 Should Do - Get A Good Phone Case
I believe that this is a good practice at any time but it is especially important when someone is about to leave for a long trip. In the past few years Iphones have gotten ridiculously expensive. The last thing that you want to do after you pay $800 for a phone is to shell out more money for an expensive case but think of it as an investment. Even if you go through 5 cases in the life of your phone, you are still paying less than $250, much less than the $800 that it would cost you to replace your phone
7 Doesn't Matter - Constantly Updating Your Social Media
This might be the most important entry on this list. I guarantee you that your friends on social media do not care about your glamorous beach vacation as much as you think that they do. People might be glad to see you post a picture or two during your travels but only your grandma cares enough to not get frustrated by you posting dozens of pictures for every leg of your journey. Do yourself and your friends a favor and keep the social media to a minimum during your vacation. You are there to enjoy yourself, not to show everyone how much you are enjoying yourself.
6 Should Do - Put Important Information In Your Notes
I think that one of the reasons why traveling is so stressful is because you are constantly worried that the worst possible scenario is going to happen. There is a quality of strangeness to traveling, and to most people strange means dangerous. Your vision of being stuck in a small Mexican prison with no passport is almost surely not going to happen but if you have the means, why not take steps to prevent it. An easy way to do this is to store all kinds of useful information in your iPhone's notepad (as well as the place where you would normally keep it).
5 Doesn't Matter- Remembering Your Address
I was talking to my parents while I was compiling this list and they mentioned the fact that when they used to travel they would always memorize the address of wherever they were staying. That way, no matter what happened they would at least be able to make it back to their hotel and rental. Now that everyone carries a computer with them in their pocket, this is no longer necessary. As long as I know something about the place where I am staying, I can easily find it on my iPhone, and if I have a good maps app, I can probably find my way there on my own.
4 Should Do- Take A Photo Of Your Passport
In another entry we talk about the infamous Tijuana jail, but taking a picture of your passport is actually a good practice no matter which country you are in. Your passport is the only thing that signifies that you are an American (or otherwise) citizen and you would be shocked by how careless people are with it when they are on vacation. A photo of your passport won't gain you entry back into the U.S., but it will make the American Embassy more willing to help you. They can rush ship an official passport back to you which is much easier than trying to swim back to America.
3 Doesn't Matter- Getting To Know The Concierge
I used to work at a fancy hotel and I was shocked by how many people still use the hotel concierge. A concierge's job is basically to help guests with anything that goes on outside of the hotel. This includes dinner reservations, finding things to do, and even hailing a taxi. These, of course, are all things that we can now do on our iPhones. I noticed that older people still like to get this one-on-one assistance but if you have an iPhone you certainly don't need to consult the concierge desk. It can get pretty busy at certain times of the day.
2 Should Do - Screenshot Some Destinations
Have you ever been using Google Maps and the app takes you in the general vicinity of a place but not so close that you can easily find it yourself? These navigation apps are constantly updated but they are not always capable of taking you exactly where you need to go. As such, it is not a bad idea to screenshot some places, like cafes or restaurants, that you know you will be going to prior to leaving for vacation. This way you can use a navigation app to get in the general vicinity of your destination and then use your saved image to find the entrance for yourself.
1 Doesn't Matter - Travel Itinerary
With the invention of iPhones, travel itineraries have become way less necessary. Before everyone carried a little computer around in their pocket it was smart for travelers to research at least some of the attractions and restaurants that they would want to visit while they were gone. All of this planning can now be done on the go. All you have to do is search for "restaurants" or "attractions near me" and Google will provide you with dozens of options that are nearby. If you are an obsessive planner, you still might want to have an idea of where you're going but it is no longer absolutely necessary like it once was.