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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

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                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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                Published on September 20, 2018

                11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

                11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

                In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

                Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

                In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

                Minimizing Tabs

                Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

                Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

                Incognito Mode

                Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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                1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
                2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
                3. Download extension New Incognito Window

                This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

                Save Webpages as PDF Files

                Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

                Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

                Open Recently-closed Tabs

                Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

                One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

                The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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                Solve Mathematical Problems

                Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

                For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

                Play Media Files

                Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

                In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

                Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

                With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

                Stay Focus(e)d

                Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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                Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

                With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

                This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

                Grammarly for Editing

                Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

                You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

                Loom

                There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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                There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

                With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

                Chrome Calendar Extension

                No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

                Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

                Final Thoughts

                Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

                Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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