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7 Ways To Minimize Your Phone Usage When Traveling

7 Ways To Minimize Your Phone Usage When Traveling

When traveling, there are a lot of things that you find yourself paying for. From higher prices on things you need like food and lodging, to things as small as souvenirs and entertainment attractions. All of these costs add up, but you don’t want to have to occur more hidden fees when you return, including those to your phone bill. Roaming and other international charges can put a hamper on your budget and worth the seven tips we are going to cover today, you will learn how to enjoy your vacation, stay connected, and not have to spend a cent more than you normally do on your phone bill. Happy travels.

1. Contact Your Phone Company

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    If off, it doesn’t hurt to contact them and ask what options they do have for individuals going abroad for a certain amount of time. This is highly recommended, if not a requirement of me to you, because not only are different individual’s situations different in where they are going abroad, but your carrier may have different policies. You may even be able to pull some teeth in your specific case depending on where you’re going, your length of time as a customer, and even discounts through your occupation or student status.

    International calling plans should be entered only after hefty research, many times you are still paying more, only at a smaller rate than if you never informed your provider. If you are going to be away for longer than a month or two, see if you can pause your plan. You’re better off picking up a local phone, than paying to keep up your same one while away for a long time.

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    2. Save Google Maps

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      There is a sneaky little feature in Google Maps that allows you to save maps for offline viewing. To do this, simply search the location that you will be headed to. After the results come up, select the location. From there, click the white box below and scroll all the way to the bottom. You will see an option to “Save Map for Offline Viewing”.

      This map is available for thirty days in your profile tab of Google Maps. This is accessible by clicking the “person” at the far right of the search bar. Scroll all the way to the “Offline Maps” section. Clicking the “View all and manage” option allows you to see how long your map is available.

      3. Load Your Phone Up

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        While in the air or even during your down days while on vacation, you may find that your phone is a great way to keep yourself occupied in a relaxing way. Before you depart, make use of the last bit of reliable Internet that you may have an load your phone up with games and other fun applications that can keep you busy. If you make use of iBooks, load up a book or two as well.

        In addition to all of these programs you are loading up, consider clearing out your phone of unnecessary programs and photos. You’ll find yourself taking a lot while on your trip and so that added open space will come in handy. Lastly, make sure you backup and update your phone to the latest firmware before leaving. When I went out of the country last summer, a bug hit my phone and made it unusable for the duration of my trip. If I had my phone updated, security settings could have combatted the bug.

        4. Look Into VoIP Options

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          You can stay connected with family and friends through VOIP, or Voice-Operated Internet Protocol, programs like Skype. They offer a free option if you contact other Skype users, and if you want to contact a landline while abroad, the cost is very minimal and cheaper than getting even an international phone. While it does depend on the strength of your Internet connection while away, this is a great option to have and chances are you’ll encounter an Internet cafe where you can find a good connection either for free or for a low cost.

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          5. Make Necessary Settings Changes

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            Before you depart, make a couple of changes to your settings. First off, go to the “Cellular” section and turn off Cellular data. This will prevent your phone from automatically connecting and incurring fees. Instead, ensure that WIFI is constantly on.

            This doesn’t mean you should connect to many WIFI connection you encounter, the chances are higher that some connections can be dangerous to connect to, but keeping it open allows you to always remember to connect when you encounter a safe and reliable connection like those in Internet Cafes. Additionally, in settings, by going to the Mail, Contacts, and Calendar section, turn “Push” and “Fetch” settings off. By now working on a manual setting, you’re iPhone won’t constantly search for emails, useful when your WIFI connection is a bit slow to begin with.

            Android users should go to Settings, then Data Usage to adjust settings for while they are abroad.

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            6. Locate Internet Cafes

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              Before departing, have a good list of internet cafes readily available. Especially if you aren’t saying at a internationally renowned hotel, this list will allow you to know where you can access the internet nearby. Additionally, even if you are staying at a top notch or American-owned hotel, chances are high that they are up-charging you on daily internet access. Lastly, having a well researched list will allow you to have a safe place to surf the web no matter which part of town you are in. Websites like Cybercafes.com can connect you to great internet cafes wherever you find yourself.

              7. Keep an Off-line Version of Everything

              US Passports

                Lastly, before you depart, make sure you have an offline version of important documents, including your itinerary, Passport, identification, hotel reservation and flight information. This is important not only for safety, but it reduces the reasons to have to go online when referring back to this information. Back home, you may have the luxury to go to an airline’s websites on a whim for information. In a foreign country, this may require a little more work on your part.

                With the aforementioned tips, I hope you are able to enjoy your summer vacation and keep your wallet happy too. Let us know in the comments below where you’ll be headed to this summer. Don’t forget to check out my article on 23 Awesome Hacks Everyone Should Know.

                Featured photo credit: Huffington Post via i.huffpost.com

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                40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

                40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

                Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

                There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

                Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

                It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

                Productivity apps to help you get things done

                1. OmniFocus

                This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

                Download it here.

                  2. Forest

                  Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

                  Download it here.

                    3. Things

                    Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

                    Download it here.

                      4. 30/30

                      Recently covered here at Lifehack

                      , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

                      Download it here.

                        5. Any.Do

                        A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

                        Download it here.

                          6. PocketLife Calendar

                          This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

                          Download it here.

                            7. Asana

                            We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                            , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                            Download it here.

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                              8. ToDoist

                              This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                              Download it here.

                                9. FlowTasks

                                From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                                Download it here.

                                  10. Calendars 5

                                  This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                                  Download it here.

                                    11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                                    A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                                    Download it here.

                                      12. Due

                                      A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                                      Download it here.

                                        13. Checkmark 2

                                        I use this app

                                        for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                                        Download it here.

                                          14. TeuxDeux

                                          Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                                          Download it here.

                                            15. Wunderlist 

                                            Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                            Download it here.

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                                              16. Nirvana

                                              For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                              Download it here.

                                                17. Priorities

                                                An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  Productivity apps that help you build habits

                                                  18. Productive

                                                  With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                                    You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      20. Streaks

                                                      This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        21. Remember The Milk

                                                        Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          22. Day One Journal

                                                          When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            Productivity apps that makes organization easy

                                                            23. Evernote

                                                            Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              24. Pocket

                                                              You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                              Download it here.

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                                                                25. Sync.Me

                                                                This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  26. Droplr

                                                                  One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    27. Dropbox

                                                                    Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      28. iDolly 

                                                                      In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                                      Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        29. Soulver

                                                                        It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          Productivity apps that help you work smart

                                                                          30. Captio

                                                                          A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            31. Drafts

                                                                            A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                              This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                              Download it here.

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                                                                                33. Doodle

                                                                                This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                                  I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                                    A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                      36. GoodReader

                                                                                      This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                        37. LogMeIn

                                                                                        Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                                          Productivity apps that improve security

                                                                                          38. 1Password

                                                                                          There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                                            39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                            You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                            All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                                              40. Truecallers

                                                                                              Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                                There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                                Reference

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