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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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                Published on November 19, 2020

                15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

                15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

                When looking to improve your workflow, you need to have a proper computer. And one of the most appealing computers out there is macbooks. These sleek transportable computers allow you to work anywhere at any time and provide a lot of functionality to their users.

                But sometimes, that’s not enough. In so many cases, you’re looking for more.

                While you could go for some productivity apps, there are actually a lot of macbook accessories available that will make your life easier in many ways. These extra accessories will allow your macbook to charge faster, hold more data, or keep it safe and protected while you travel around.

                Beyond that, there is a wide variety of accessories to pick from as many companies have jumped onto the bandwagon of supply to macbook users. Below we’ve listed off some of the greatest macbook accessories that’ll benefit your computer.

                What Makes For Great Macbook Accessories?

                Before getting into the list, we wanted to go over the criteria for what makes for great macbook accessories. The items that we’ve picked from this list will have the following criteria:

                • Reasonably priced – Accessories themselves shouldn’t break the bank compared to the large initial investment of a macbook.
                • Usability – All these accessories are practical in various situations, however, they also have extra features that make them useful in a few situations beyond their obvious functions.
                • Compact – Workflow is also about space in most circumstances. As such, anything that’s too bulky doesn’t help much. These accessories are either large on purpose – for storage of other items – or are nice and compact so they won’t get in the way.

                A USB Drive To Store Files Quickly Without Accessing The Cloud

                  While you can always access the Cloud at any time, sometimes accessibility can be cumbersome or it takes time. Instead of trying to access files that way, getting a USB flash drive can save you plenty of time. Especially if your work entails providing presentations.

                  The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive is great as it offers USB-C and USB-A connectors allowing you to plug into virtually any device and transfer files and more between computers. Also, USB drives boast several hundred gigabytes these days making them solid storage devices.

                  Buy SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive here.

                  Compact Charger That Does More Than Charge

                    Your default charger that comes with your MacBook is a good option for a charger, but these days chargers can offer so much more. This can help you speed up your workflow as you can be charging other devices or using the charger for other uses beyond charging.

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                    In the case of the Anker PowerPort charger, it is more compact than the default charger. It also offers another USB-C connector allowing you to rapidly charge another gadget with it.

                    Buy Anker PowerPort charger here.

                    Port Adapter For Those With Multiple Devices

                      One of the hard restrictions with a macbook is that it only has two USB-C ports. This is manageable for people with fewer gadgets but if you’re the kind who has several, it can interrupt your workflow if you need a particular device and you can’t charge it or access it.

                      In this situation, a port adapter from Satechi can help. It offers multiple USB-C ports allowing you to use multiple devices. This can also help in organizing cords which we know can disrupt work. If the USB-C ports aren’t enough, it also comes with an SD card reader and ethernet cable port too.

                      Buy Satechi Multi-Port Adapter here.

                      A USB Cable That Isn’t As Intrusive Or Cumbersome To Use

                      The USB-C cable that comes with Macbooks is small and is used to hook to an external monitor. By adding more length to them, you can have better cable management. One option that we found to be ideal was the Nomad Kevlar cable which offers enough length to do what you want while giving you more space to work with.

                      Buy Nomad Kevlar USB-C Cable here.

                      Screen Cleaning Your Laptop To See What You’re Doing

                      Dust, particles and splotches are to be expected on laptop screens after a while. While you can work around these, sometimes they can obscure your vision at times. The same can apply to all devices these days.

                      The only problem with many solutions on the market is that they can damage screens. Fortunately, we found a screen cleaning solution that doesn’t harm screens. ScreenDr Professional screen cleaning kit comes with a spray that’s safe for screens and an antimicrobial microfiber cloth to ensure you make the most of the spray.

                      Buy ScreenDr Professional Screen Cleaning Kit here.

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                      Card Reader That Speeds Up Photo Transfer Time

                        If you’re looking for a standalone card reader for your work, getting a device designed for photo transferring and reading is essential. One of the best macbook accessories in this category we found was the Vanja card reader.

                        This one is able to read SD and MicroSD cards while also transferring the pictures to a computer with ease thanks to its USB-C and USB 2.0 port options. It’s also small making it easy to carry around and is cheap to buy making it a great choice to pick up if you deal with plenty of pictures.

                        Buy Vanja Card Reader here.

                        Protective Sleeves To Protect Your Laptop From Harm

                        For those who are travelling the last thing that you want is your laptop to get damaged for whatever reason. Even though you’re not likely to drop it as frequently as your phone, having a sleeve for a laptop to be in can save you time.

                        One sleeve that we found interesting was the Native Union sleeves. They are made of tear-resistant material with genuine leather accents. Its interior is soft as well preventing scratches from your laptop. It also offers a pocket area where you can store cables and other macbook accessories easily.

                        Buy Native Union’s laptop sleeve here.

                        Car Charger For Charging On The Go

                          For the person always driving around, a car charger is always a helpful tool to have when you’re on the go. The one from Anker is particularly helpful in a number of ways. Not only can this charge your macbook, but it also has an additional port for you to charge your phone if needed.

                          It’s not the fastest charger out there when compared to the Macbook Pro adapter but it’s the highest in the market with an output power of 30 watts. For comparison, the second-fastest charging connector offers an output of 18 watts. Aside from that the charger has an illuminated LED ring for you to see it and the connectors late at night. It also has a function that ensures devices don’t experience surges or overheating from the charger itself.

                          Buy Anker PowerDrive car charger here.

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                          USB-C to USB-A Adapter Grants Access To Older Models

                          If your older macbook still works but has files you want that you didn’t back up that you want this makes it easier to access them. It also allows you to access devices that have USB-A slots only. This can save you a lot of time if you are moving between older and newer devices.

                          Buy Thunderbolt Adapter here.

                          A Hardshell Case For Added Protection

                          A sleeve is good for travel, but when you’re using it, having an extra layer of protection can be nice. Beyond that this hardshell case can also serve as additional protection from scratches and bumps too.

                          Buy Incase Textured Hardshell case here.

                          Alternative Sleeve For Those With Tighter Budgets But Want Protection

                            If you are looking for an appropriate laptop sleeve but aren’t looking to spend too much, AmazonBasics brands are a good alternative. Their sleeves are elegant and still offer good protection from scratches as well. It also has a few pockets for small essentials too.

                            Buy AmazonBasics laptop sleeve here.

                            A Hub That Accommodates Several Ports At Once

                            We’ve already mentioned a port before being a huge time saver thanks to it having various ports for different devices. This one is a great alternative as while it doesn’t offer as many USB-C ports, it offers more variety. Paired up with the design being the same color as the MacBook Air, it offers two USB-C connectors, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and SD and microSD card readers.

                            Buy Satechi Type C Pro Hub here.

                            Earbuds To Deal With Fewer Headphone Cords

                              Cords are a common problem when boosting productivity at the desk and one way to mitigate them is to go wireless. If you are thinking about that, one option to consider is the Soundcore earbuds. These are cheaper than the traditional AirPods from Apple which can save you money.

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                              Furthermore, they deliver great sound and are connected via Bluetooth. The beauty of these earbuds is they can also cancel sound despite them being so compact. They also offer touch control allowing you to pause, play, skip music and answer calls.

                              Buy Soundcore Wireless Earphones here.

                              Desktop Stand To Save Desk Space

                                Desk space is another crucial part of productivity as things can get in the way and obstruct your work. In cases where you don’t need your laptop at the moment, having a stand where you can set it aside can be helpful.

                                In those situations, we recommend the Twelve South Book Arc. This neat Macbook accessor can save a tonne of space since it requires you to close your laptop in order to insert it into the stand. It also keeps it elevated from the surface which can protect it from spills

                                Buy Twelve South BookArc desktop stand here.

                                A Comfortable And Easy To Use Mouse For Faster Working Speed

                                The last of the macbook accessories we’ll talk about is a proper mouse. Logitech offers fantastic mouses and their Logitech MX Master 3 is one of the greatest wireless mouses out there. It’s ergonomic design, customizable buttons and insanely precise movement is fantastic. It also comes with a scrolling wheel for precise scrolling.

                                The battery power can last for months between charges and like all Logitech devices, it comes with a USB-C connector for charging.

                                Buy Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse here.

                                Bottom Line

                                There are many macbook accessories out there to improve your workflow. Taking the time to do research and invest in some of the best ones though will save you plenty of time, money and energy in the long term. At the same time, all of these accessories can help you with specific needs for whatever you are doing.

                                Featured photo credit: Viktor Ritsvall via unsplash.com

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