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9 Surprisingly Easy (But Often Forgotten) Tips for Using Your Phone on Holiday

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Thousands of us are about to jet off on our holidays, desperate to get away from the dreary grey skies of the ‘great’ British summer.

Most of us will be taking our smartphones too, so that we can take pictures, make calls, read books, watch movies and brag about our holiday on social media.

Unfortunately, fancy smartphones are a big target for thieves in tourist hotspots. There’s also the risk that all the calls and data you use will leave you with a bill with more zeroes than Bill Gates’ bank account.

That doesn’t mean you have to leave your phone at home, though. Just follow the tips in our surprisingly easy guide to using your smartphone on holiday.


Download everything you need before you go

Downloading stuff abroad costs an absolute fortune – just ask the poor woman who decided she needed to download The Best of Neil Diamond while in South Africa and nearly ended up paying £2,600 for the privilege (she managed to knock it down to ‘just’ £400).

Download everything you need – apps, music, movies and so on – before you go using your Wi-Fi at home. That includes any Google Maps or important documents (hotel bookings, etc) you might need too.


Check your roaming data plan and upgrade if you need to

Different providers charge different rates for using your phone abroad, and this rate can vary depending on your plan. Check your rates before you go so that you don’t leave yourself open to nasty charges.

You might save yourself some cash by paying for temporary data too. 3 offer unlimited data for a day for £5, which is ideal for a short city break, while O2 will give you 25MB of overseas data for £1.99 a day (a better long term option).


Find a good bar or cafe with Wi-Fi

Find a nice cosy bar or cafe with free Wi-Fi and pop in for a daily pint/latte while you do your phone business. It’s a no-brainer, really.


Use Skype and What’sApp instead of texting or calling

If you use Wi-Fi, it’s completely free and you’ll save a fortune. The only downside is that you’ll only be able to stay in touch with people back home while you’re on Wi-Fi, but isn’t the whole point of going on holiday to get away from the people who pester you on a daily basis?


Do not, under any circumstances, use your phone in the pool or the sea

One slip while taking a selfie in the sea will make your £500 iPhone the most expensive piece of fish food in the world. Insurers aren’t too sympathetic to people who drop their phones into massive bodies of water either, so you’ll have to fork out for a brand new phone when you get home.


Don’t have your phone out all the time

Nothing screams ‘careless tourist’ more than pointing your phone at every mildly pretty scene and taking 500 snaps. You might as well put on a sign saying ‘rob me, please’. Take photos, but use common sense and, if possible, make sure someone is watching your back.


Don’t let anyone borrow it

The best scams are universal, aren’t they?


Just ditch it

We’re so attached to our smartphones that the thought of just leaving it behind rarely crosses our mind. Leave your smartphone behind and give yourself a break from the stresses of life back home and enjoy your holiday! You won’t have to worry about it being nicked either.


Replace your smartphone with other (cheaper) gadgets

It’s easier than you might think: the camera can be replaced by an ‘old school’ digital camera (which you can buy for about £10 these days), a physical map book and guide can replace the internet and an old phone with an international SIM card can cover your calls and texts. You can do everything you’d use your smartphone for and not worry about getting it stolen.


Have you got any top smartphone security tips? Share them with us in the comments.

And if you need a bit of cash during the post-holiday financial blues, you can always sell some stuff with musicMagpie.