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How to Prepare Your Tech for an Overseas Trip

If you’re like most people, then you probably can’t imagine traveling anywhere without all the modern gadgets and contraptions, and if you’re traveling for business, your smartphone and laptop become even more important.

Jet lag isn’t the only issue that you have to deal with when you’re on an overseas trip. Don’t forget that your precious tech also needs adjusting to the new environment.

This means that you have to prepare very carefully to make it work properly and without incurring additional charges that can be pretty hefty.

Here’s what you should know before boarding your plane for a transatlantic flight.

Get a Powerbank

Charging phone battery

This is an essential part of the tech equipment for any globetrotter, although some would say that it’s an essential part of tech equipment no matter whether you’re traveling overseas or to a nearby picnic spot.

A dead battery on a long-haul flight can be pretty inconvenient – you can’t call your family or a cab. Given that an average phone battery has to be charged once a day under regular circumstances, you can only imagine how quickly you’ll drain your battery during a boring flight during which you have to sit still for 12 or more hours.

A lightweight external battery which will allow you to charge your phone twice can be a real lifesaver.

Pack a Couple of Power Cables

It’s very easy to misplace or lose your smartphone power cable, especially when you’re in a hurry.

That’s why you need to bring a couple of them on your overseas trip – maybe it can be hard to find the type you need in a foreign country.

One should be safely stored in your hotel room, somewhere you know you can find it. Besides that, you should carry one around in order to be able to charge your phone while outside.

Given that your smartphone probably isn’t the only device that needs to be charged, it’s also a good idea to get a multi-port wall charger with which you can power several gadgets at the same time.

And a Plug Adapter

Certain countries use different power outlets which means that their sockets aren’t compatible with your plugs.

So, make sure to find out what kind of plugs and sockets are in use in the country you’re traveling to, and get a plug adapter if necessary.

It’s a good idea to get a multi-country universal kit with different types of plug adapters so that you can be on the safe side whenever you go.

Moreover, voltages can differ too, and they range from 110 to 240 V. Bear that in mind too before plugging your phone or laptop and damaging or destroying it.

But, luckily, many devices operate in that range, so that you perhaps don’t even need a voltage converter. Just determine whether your device supports dual voltages by reading the fine print on your charger, and you’re good to go.

Avoid International Data Roaming Charges

When you step outside of your country, that is your carrier’s network coverage area, every MB you spend and which involves using your phone data will incur additional charges.

And they can be pretty high – as much as $2 per MB.

One way out of this expensive situation might be purchasing a foreign SIM and using it while you’re abroad. This option is particularly suitable for longer trips. Just make sure that your phone is unlocked and that you have your SIM card ejector with you.

However, if you want to use your own number while overseas, you can also opt for an international roaming plan with your provider. While some carriers offer unlimited international data plans, in many cases you’ll have to settle for somewhere between 1 and 10GB for a month.

Download Maps and Important Apps in Advance

If you’ll mostly spend your time in urban areas, it’s very likely that you’ll have access to public Wi-Fi networks.

But, if you plan on hitting the road and exploring the country, then the odds are that some areas will have pretty spotty coverage. In other words, unless you want to find yourself in the middle of nowhere with your GPS reporting that the signal is lost, download offline maps and always know where you are and how to reach your destination.

Think about other apps that you might need while you’re in a foreign country and download them too.

Protect Your Sensitive Information

A word of caution if you intend to use public Wi-Fi hotspots: they present a great opportunity for hackers to get easy and undisturbed access to unsecured devices on the network.

Did you know that there’s a cyber attack every 39 seconds?

So, a free Wi-Fi connection actually comes with a high price and risk, as you become an easy target for cybercriminals who can break into your devices and snatch your sensitive data.

This practically means that hackers can intercept every piece of information that you’re sending on the internet – credit card information, business emails, and different security credentials.

To prevent this and keep cybercriminals at bay, use a VPN to encrypt your data and use a public hotspot safely. This tool can also come in handy if you need to access specific data available only in your home country – a reliable VPN will allow you to access region-restricted websites.

Back Up Your Devices

No matter how careful you are, bad things can happen, and your laptop might get stolen.

Or you can accidentally drop your phone in water while you’re taking selfies on the beach – rice doesn’t work (don’t ask me how I know).

Apart from protecting your devices by putting them in waterproof cases when on the beach or depositing them in a safe at your hotel, you should back them up before going on a trip.

They store tons of important and sensitive information, pictures, music, and even business projects, so don’t push your luck. While you might not be able to retrieve your device or bring it back from the dead, you’ll at least have all your data safe and ready to be transferred to a new laptop or smartphone.

An overseas trip can be an exciting adventure, but only if you prepare your tech properly and play it safe. Don’t let a silly thing like an incompatible charger plug or a wet phone ruin your vacation.

Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.
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