If you are heading away from some winter sun or snow, a smartphone will undoubtedly be an essential thing to pack.
But while it takes a second to toss your handset into your hand luggage, making sure that it’s ready for the journey takes a little more thought. Read on for our guide to readying your smartphone for an overseas jaunt. If you've got multiple smartphones in your family, discover how you can save money with BT Mobile's Family SIM.
Step 1: Find out if you will incur roaming charges
In June 2017 roaming charges ended within the European Union. BT Mobile introduced Roam Like Home which lets you use your inclusive BT Mobile allowance to send texts, make calls and use data in 47 EU destinations*.
This means you can use the data to do things like check email, social media and Google Maps, without worrying about running up an unexpected bill. Go over your monthly data, texts and call allowance and you'll be charged at BT's standard rate.
It’s also free to receive calls and texts when you are roaming in a Rome Like Home country.
Roam Like Home doesn't apply to non-European countries like Japan, Australia and the USA.
Step 2: Download before departure
If you intend making use of language phrase books, travel guides, BBC iPlayer programs or maps, do your downloading now, using your home wi-fi. It will typically be much faster and save you time.
Step 3: Register your handset
Smartphones are easy targets for organised criminals – and don’t think that they’ll be fooled by hiding your handset under a flip-flop while you head off for a paddle.
Make sure you register details of your phone on the Immobilse Propery Register, which helps police identify stole goods.
It also makes sense to set up your handsets phone-finding service, if available.
Apple iPhone users can make use of the company’s Find My iPhone app/service to help locate a missing handset. Find out more.
Android users need to download the Google app, then in the event your phone goes missing, head to www.google.com/android/devicemanager. Enter your Google account details and password. As long as the phone has battery, its location will appear on a map and you can command it to make a sound or wipe it.
If you've got BT Broadband you can download BT Virus Protect, which is available for Android phones. It lets you locate a lost phone and even take a photo of the person who took it - don't forget it will also keep your phone safe from viruses. Find out more.
Step 4: Pack a travel adapter
Forget a travel plug and you can forget using your phone – or any other electrical item for that matter.
Many smartphone chargers are universal, meaning they can be used safely in any socket worldwide, but you still need an adapter.
These cost just a few pounds from the likes of Amazon.
Step 5: Enable airplane mode
This tip isn’t strictly necessary but if you want to avoid a flat battery at touchdown, enable your smartphone’s ‘airplane mode’.
This disables all radio communications, saving loads of juice during the trip. Typically, this will be found in your smartphone’s Settings menu.
Step 6: Monitor your data use
Remember, overseas data use can be expensive if you are travelling somewhere like the US or Japan not covered by BT Mobile's Roam Like Home, so keep a close eye on your usage.
On Android handsets, tap Settings – Data Usage. Later versions of Android allow you to set alerts when reaching specified data levels.
Apple users can find out how to check usage on an iPhone.
Step 7. Connect to wi-fi
Finally, while it makes sense to connect to your resort’s wi-fi service, if it has one, make sure you do so securely – check with management to ensure that you’re connecting to the correct hotspot and avoid connecting to it if it is unencrypted and unsecured (so if it doesn’t request a password, steer clear).
BT Broadband and BT Mobile customers get free access to BT Wi-fi hotspots worldwide. Read more: How to use the BT Wi-fi app to connect to hotspots for free
*Roaming Zone 1a: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (Incl. Azores & Madeira), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Vatican City Roaming Zone 1b: Canary Islands, French Guiana, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Iceland, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Martinique, Mayotte, Norway, Reunion, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, San Marino, Switzerland.