Imagine enjoying a day at your favourite beach this holiday season, marred by a heart-stopping moment when your smartphone slips through your fingers into the ocean while snapping photos of your kids surfing. Or painstakingly recording your New Year’s Eve celebrations on video only to have ‘No room to save this video’ flash up at the end of the clip. A bit of preparation can ease this heartbreak; here are a few tech tips for the holiday season:
- Update and backup everything before you go; countless phones and devices are lost, stolen or washed away in the sea while holidaying. Back up your phone, tablet and computer so if anything happens then you are not crying over lost data or images. Also think about what happens if your home is burgled while you are away – hide your backup device somewhere in your house, or back up to the cloud.
- When you are on holiday, you are always hunting for power and a mobile signal. Pack your device chargers and make sure you grab the fastest one and the correct cables. If your iPad charges really slowly, you might be using the wrong wall charger – here’s the solution. Don’t forget car chargers – you can get fast dual car chargers for devices at most electronics stores which help prevent arguments in the car. If you have a portable battery like a Mophie Juice Pack, charge that up and toss it in your bag as well.
- Make sure Find My Phone or other equivalent apps are installed – and activated – on any devices you are taking away. Test them out so you know how they work!
- Delete unwanted apps, images and music before your holiday to make room on your device for lots of holiday photos or videos. You don’t want to be rashly deleting random images or videos just so you can take those New Year’s Eve pics!
- Download all your music before you go away. If you use Spotify Premium, sync all your favourite tracks offline so you can listen to them without using mobile data while you are travelling. Check out a wireless speaker like Jambox for a portable stereo.
- Use your telco’s data usage app to keep an eye on your data plan. While you are travelling you are likely to go through more mobile data as you are using maps to navigate your way or to locate addresses, have reduced WiFi access, or you’re uploading all those holiday pics while you are out.
- Turn off automatic app updates and other services that can chew through data. For example changing your email to fetch manually and not load images will save data. On an iPhone go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data > switch Push to Off. To switch off email images, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Load Remote Images.
- Test out Skype connections with your family before you hit the road, especially if you are using a different device when travelling.
- Make sure you have any important travel documents, itineraries, passports stored both offline (for when you don’t have internet access) and in the cloud (in case you lose your device). Take a photo of the important pages for safe storage. Apps like TripIt will let you store all your travel info in one easy place.
- Install a few apps to entertain you (or your kids) when you are waiting for planes, or on a plane, or in case you miss your plane.
- Download your holiday reading ebooks to your device before you leave home.
- Lastly, make sure you can access everything you might need when you don’t have internet access (eg during a flight). Turn your phone to Airplane mode while you are at home and test everything out beforehand!
Do you have any other tech tips for travellers that I have missed?