How To Get The Best Out Of Your Mobile Device While Travelling
Nowadays travellers place as much importance on remembering to pack their mobile device as their passport. Where once too cumbersome or expensive to take on a trip, the modern mobile device – whether laptop, tablet or smartphone – is now an essential part of travel. In a recent poll, 50 per cent of people said that on their way to the airport, they were more likely to turn around to pick up a forgotten iPad than to secure an unlocked door. (Full disclosure: the poll was me and the wife; I went for the iPad, she the door. She’s still not talking to me.) However, just as with any other aspect of travel, you only get the most out of your device if you plan ahead. There’s no point firing up the laptop on the plane to find you’ve only got 10 per cent battery left, or forgetting to install the city guide you bought for the smartphone. So here are a few handy tips to get the most out of your mobile device while on the road.
Films To Go
Watching movies on mobile devices has revolutionised the way we travel. No longer slave to bad films on a plane, the choice of when and what we watch is now in our hands. Most new DVD/Blu-Ray releases now come with a digital copy and iTunes is a great place to buy or rent films, but what if you want to watch DVDs you already own? You’re in luck, as there are several online companies that offer DVD to digital conversion software – my favourite is Handbrake – in a surprisingly non-techy, easy-to-follow format. Word to the wise, lads: if you’re going to watch the Twilight movies (again), make sure no-one’s sitting behind you …
Laptops and i-wotsits are great until their battery dies, which is usually at the climactic part of a film or a book. However there are ways to eke out a little more battery by following a few simple tips. Firstly, dim the brightness of your screen as low possible and turn off Wi-Fi if you don’t need it. Watching films will burn the most power on any device, followed by playing games, listening to music and reading, so plan your entertainment accordingly to get the most of a charge. Finally, when travelling bring your charger in your hand luggage, and if you have a stopover, keep an eye out for a power outlet to top up the juice.
A holiday is a great place to catch up on some reading and the growing number of e-reading devices means you can take tons of books away without the weight. The Kindle, Nook and the Sony Reader lead the way but many smartphones also offer e-reading capabilities too. One app I swear by for travel is Instapaper, a reading program that allows you to save web pages and long articles to read later off-line. Save everything you want to read when you have an internet connection, then read it when you’re on the beach or in transit. Combine it with recommendations from sites like Long Reads – and offshoot Travel Reads – and you can have some great holiday reading for no cost.
From currency exchange to nocturnal hotspots, there’s a travel app for just about everything these days. With a bevy of publishers producing travel content for phones/tablets, spending an evening (or afternoon, if the boss is out) researching the best apps before you head off can pay dividends when you’re on the road. One tip to get the most out of your purchases is to make sure they work off-line, as some require an internet connection to access the content.
It’s Not Good To Roam
As one who has been stung in the past, make sure you turn off data roaming and location services on your smartphone or iPad before leaving the country. If you log on in the wrong place, you risk incurring extortionate data charges from your carrier. Also be aware that sometimes you don’t even need to be using your phone to be stung. Certain apps – such as Facebook, Twitter or your email accounts – will constantly connect to the internet to look for new data and each time they do, it’s a charge to your bill if you’re roaming. Depending on how long you’re visiting a destination, it might be worth buying a SIM card with a data package from a local service provider.
What are your tips to get the most out of a mobile device on the road? Post a comment and join the debate!
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