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Tech Tips For Summer Travel Abroad

6/20/2014, 11:04 a.m.
Whether you’re seeking the view from the London Eye, the thrill of zip-lining in Belize or the taste of an ...
Many travelers hit the road expecting to use their smartphones abroad in the same way they use them at home, relying on them for navigation, using their favorite apps for travel tips and freely posting pictures to social media. But many are unclear about international roaming costs and coverage.

Explore the extras: Prepaid international calling cards may also be available through your wireless provider. Also, special day or week passes can get you access to high speed data or additional services.

Don’t forget insurance: In case your device gets lost, stolen or damaged along the way, be sure to secure an insurance plan to protect it.

Travel blogger Summer Hull of Boarding Area’s Mommy Points column notes her own personal experience with trying to stay connected while abroad.

“I am honestly sick of having to jump through so many hoops and keep such close tabs on usage internationally with other providers,” said Hull. “I’m also sick of the big bills that come with having international add-ons. This T-Mobile approach sounds so much, well, simpler.”

Worry-free Wireless Travel Abroad

Following are a few simple tips from T-Mobile to help keep your travels on track and free of complications:

Pack the essentials: This includes portable chargers, an international power converter and MicroSD cards to give you added storage space for photos and more.

Travel safe: Use features such as Bluetooth for hands-free driving while navigating the twists and turns of unfamiliar roads, or applications like T-Mobile’s DriveSmart Plus, which silences incoming notifications, sending callers to voicemail and auto-responds to incoming text messages.

Make packing light: Use a multi-function smartphone that allows you to access entertainment with videos and games, mobile music player, GPS navigator, high quality digital camera, and in some cases, even a mobile hotspot.

Best Apps for Travel

Check out these leading apps to help you navigate a successful journey:

GateGuru (Android, iOS, Windows Phone): Especially helpful when traveling with children, GateGuru can locate kid-friendly restaurants, clean public restrooms and more. View your TripIt and Kayak itineraries, as well as view or post airport security wait times and see a structured list of airport food, shops and services.

Viator (Android, iOS): Helps you find and book countless tours, day trips, shows and activities for the best travel experiences worldwide.

Unit Conversion Free, Currency (iOS, but others are available for most platforms): Converts temperature, distance, weight, volume, speed and more, including currency in real time.

Best Bets for Brazil

Are you heading to the World Cup? Here are some tips to make your travel a little easier:

The World Cup is spread over 12 host cities, so it’s probably best to decide which games are must-watch and plot out an itinerary around a convenient home base in one of the cities.

With hotel rooms likely already booked or at a premium price, consider alternate, more affordable forms of housing. In addition to couchsurfing and Airbnb, Fodor’s recommends AlexRioFlats, or family-run guesthouses or pousadas, which are an authentic way to experience the different regions of Brazil and can be booked via online travel sites like HiddenPousadasBrazil.com.

To get around Brazil — which is just slightly smaller than the U.S. in area — it’s easiest to travel by bus or domestic flights. If you choose to travel by bus, you can purchase tickets in the bus stations, or online from Rodoviariaonline.com or PassagemRapida.com. Domestic airlines include TAM and GOL, as well as TRIP Azul Linhas Aereas, Brazil’s newest airline, with service to about 100 domestic destinations.

Can’t make it to the match? Then join fellow futbol fans and be part of “El Gran Pase,” a website in which viewers submit a video showcasing their best kick of the soccer ball. You could be included in the longest pass in the world, alongside soccer fanatics like Jorge “Soccer Machine” Perez and Shakira.