Unless you are planning to go off the grid on your next trip, your iPhone is an indispensable travel tool. I count on mine to do so many things when I travel, but this summer I found my battery draining so fast that I didn’t have enough juice to make it through the day. You know how I hate to miss the perfect photo op, so I made some necessary changes. My travels have transformed me from a reckless user of data and battery life to a good conservationist thanks to tips I learned from my children, husband and posse, as well as the school-of-hard-knocks. Perhaps some of these tips will help you get the most out of your iPhone on your next trip.
1. Use Wi-Fi whenever possible. It’s like free long distance for voice and data. Apps like Viber
allow you to place international voice calls over Wi-Fi at no charge. Before making reservations, make sure your hotel offers free Wi-Fi.
2. Before you leave, get a data plan for international travel when you don’t have access to Wi-Fi. If not, every sent or received text, Instagram post, Facebook check, tweet or email will COST you. The Verizon plan I used for my trip to Wimbledon was $25/month, but upon my return I cancelled it, and Verizon prorated the cost for 8 days.
3. Use airplane mode.
When venturing out, prevent incoming texts, emails and notifications that will chew up your data plan. Upon returning to Wi-Fi-land, turn off airplane mode to read what you missed while out and about.
4. Purchase an electrical adapter and converter with a USB port.
Newer models like this nifty gadget I purchased for my trip to Wimbledon are lighter in weight and designed to charge your new electronica.
5. Turn off Location Services in the apps you use, as well as the apps themselves.
The Locations Services were the number one drain on my battery because unbeknownst to me I had several apps following me. You know an app is using Location Services if the paper airplane icon appears next to the battery icon on your home page. Go into each app under the Settings app to turn the location off if it is on.
Since returning home, I’ve also learned to turn off apps on my phone after I use them instead of allowing them to use precious data and drain the iPhone battery for 6 hours after opening. To find the open apps, double-click your home button, and they will appear in a sideways scroll.
Slide the app picture up to delete it, and new open apps will appear. Keep deleting until the page is cleared out. Don’t worry, your apps will still open on demand.
6. Carry extra juice. Because you won’t want to turn off every location service all the time
(think Uber and OpenTable), there are loads of extra iPhone battery backups that are worth your investment and take up very little space. Carry two with you on your trip so you can charge one in your hotel room while the other travels with you throughout the day.
7. Don’t get too reliant on Google Maps. It will drain your battery dry faster than you can say Mind the Gap. Carry a back-up paper map.
8. Carry copies of your itinerary, boarding passes, passport and other travel documents if you tend to keep them on your phone. Write down key phone numbers if you don’t have them memorized. Stash copies in your suitcase as back-up should your phone die at an inopportune moment. I cannot emphasize this one enough.
9. Have members of your travel group download the Find My iPhone app before departure.
Should you or someone else lose their phone, this app will help locate the device. Invaluable.
10. Take photos of your luggage with your phone. If it gets lost, often times a photo shown to the baggage claim office will help speed up recovery of the lost bag (real life story).
This is not an exhaustive list, but we hope it gets your trip off to a great start. No doubt you intrepid travelers out there have other tips to improve our productive yet complex life with the iPhone. Do share.
August 6, 2015