(StatePoint) Holiday travel is slated to reach post-recession highs this year, with more than 68 million Americans traveling this season. Fortunately, your most helpful tool to make winter travel less stressful is right in your pocket: your smartphone. Not only does it make planning your perfect trip easier, your phone can keep you connected and entertained when youâ€™re away. Here are some tips to optimize your phone before you go.
Download Travel Apps
Apps like FlightAware, Google Maps and LoungeBuddy can keep you apprised of gate and flight changes, estimate traffic and plot travel routes and help you locate the best places to rest before your flight. There are even apps like SitOrSquat, for locating nearby bathrooms!
Maximize Your Storage
Cell phone cameras are more powerful than ever, and the average smartphone holds thousands of photos and videos of your cherished memories. You donâ€™t want to run out of storage space, so get the right MicroSD card for your phone before you depart. You can also set up cloud storage services so your pictures are automatically uploaded and secured.
Check Your Mobile Plan
Some mobile plans have designated perks for travelers. For example, T-Mobile ONE gives international travelers unlimited data and texting along with cheap, flat-rate calling in more than 140 countries and destinations. That means no wasting time or money searching for public Wi-Fi or purchasing an international SIM card. Plus, since unlimited data and texting are included, you can communicate without worrying about surprise overage fees. Â
Also, on flights equipped with Gogo In-flight Internet, all T-Mobile ONE customers can send texts, picture messages and check Visual Voicemail in the air â€“ and they get one hour of free internet (or for the entire flight with T-Mobile ONE Plus). More information is available at www.t-mobile.com/one.
Get the Right Phone Accessories
When youâ€™re managing a bunch of luggage and other travel gear, itâ€™s easier to drop your device, so keep your smartphone safe with a screen protector and a case thatâ€™s sturdy and practical. Some cases have non-slip materials that make them easier to grip and include storage for credit cards. Or try a PopSocket collapsible grip which doubles as a built-in stand â€“ thatâ€™ll come in handy if youâ€™re watching a movie on the plane or in your hotel room.
Bring Your Own Entertainment
Nearly one in five flights are delayed during the holiday season and that can make for boring and stressful waits. Head to Amazon or your app store to download some shows and movies before your trip (especially key when traveling with kids!) so you can watch when Wi-Fi is unavailable, and find a few games that can be played offline, too, like UnblockMe and Plants vs. Zombies. When you do have an internet connection, you can stream Netflix for free on a T-Mobile ONE family plan.
With smart planning and accessories for your phone, holiday travel becomes much less stressful, and you can save yourself from racking up surprise fees for extras and overages.
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