You probably carry your smartphone even as you move about your home, so of course you’re going to take it with you when you travel. And, you should. The ever-expanding capabilities of these devices make them invaluable resources on the go.
That said, smartphones have their limitations (and risks). Just ask anyone who has run out of juice while using their phone as a map. Or, someone who lost their phone while on a trip.
If you’re traveling this holiday season (or any time), you’ll want to avoid these and other troublesome scenarios. Here are a few sensible smartphone tips to help you do just that.
Sometimes, this is harder than it sounds, so try to charge every night as you sleep. If you find yourself running low on juice in the middle of the day, many public places now have charging stations (and almost all of them have an outlet you can find). Plus, here are some other tips to help you fight battery drain:
- Keep your charger handy. Oftentimes you can now charge your phone in-flight, so don’t stuff it in the very bottom of your bag.
- Forget your charger? Before buying one (or freaking out), ask the front desk at your hotel. Other travelers commonly leave chargers behind, so the hotel might have an extra.
- If you know you won’t have a chance to recharge for long stretches (exploring the Great Wall of China, perhaps?), consider a portable battery or power pack. Test it out before you go.
- If you only have a short time to charge, put your device on airplane mode. The same goes any time you want your battery to last longer.
Secure Your Devices and Data
In years past, travelers were warned against carrying valuables. Now it seems everyone carries hundreds of dollars’ worth of electronics with them constantly. So, how can you keep your devices safe and your personal data secure?
- Don’t be an easy target. Keep your phone in a place where you’ll know immediately if it’s gone – don’t leave it out on restaurant tables, etc. When not in use, be sure the screen is locked.
- Leaving something behind at the hotel? Lock it up in the safe in your room. Don’t leave it out on the nightstand.
- Protect your data with a passcode. Without one, thieves can access your personal info after stealing a device.
- Remember, others are using the free Wi-Fi, too. They may be able to see the data, such as account numbers and passwords, you send while connected. Log in to online banking and other accounts only if absolutely necessary while using shared Wi-Fi.
- Consider insurance or a “find-my-phone” service. Smartphone-specific insurance plans are available from both wireless carriers and third parties. And, some software will allow you to locate your phone using GPS, remotely shut it down or even wipe its data.
Steps for Handling a Lost or Stolen Phone
Countless smartphones are stolen every year. Here’s what to do if, despite your best efforts, your device disappears:
- If you have a security app, use it to try to locate and lock your phone, as well as wipe data from it (if you’re sure it’s gone for good).
- Contact police if you believe your device has been stolen. Don’t approach or pursue the thief unless you are certain of your safety.
- Get in touch with your wireless provider, and, if you have financial data stored on your phone, contact those institutions as well.
Finally, Don’t be That Person
Everyone has a horror story about the guy who wouldn’t get off the phone in the restaurant, on the plane, even in church. Make sure you’re not the subject of such a story – here’s how:
- Finish your call before boarding the plane, being seated at the table and so forth.
- Keep your ringer on silent. And, use headphones for music, games, etc.
- On overnight flights (or if you’re reading anywhere next to someone who’s trying to sleep), dim your screen.
- Text instead of talking, especially in tight, crowded spaces.
Just in case you and your smartphone do part ways (though we hope it doesn’t happen), you’ll still need to know your flight and other trip details. It doesn’t hurt to put a few particulars down on paper, or print them off, before you leave home.
Enjoy your travels this holiday season, and be sure to look up once in a while. After all, if you’re only connecting with your phone, you probably aren’t connecting with family and friends.
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Having a home inventory helps you take advantage of the personal property coverage on your homeowners insurance or renters insurance when something valuable is lost, stolen or damaged. That includes when your belongings are at home, in your car or with you on the go. Be sure to include your smartphone and other electronic devices in your inventory. Start yours today using Safeco’s Home Inventory app for iPhone and iPad.
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