Why smartphones are perfect travel companions

The summer holidays are nearly here. Discover how data can make your holiday much easier, from getting directions to making money transfers and more.

High roaming costs meant using your phone abroad used to be expensive, but with BT Mobile's Roam Like Home, take a trip to 47 desinations including: France, Spain, Italy and Germany and you can use your monthly call, text and data allowance instead of paying roaming charges.

With Roam Like Home, when you call or send texts to friends and family in the UK or other Roam like Home countries, you won’t be charged extra as long as you have enough remaining on your allowance. Instead of turning data roaming off, you can also use data from your monthly mobile allowance without worrying about unexpectedly high bills.**

[Read more: How to use the BT Wi-fi app to connect to hotspots for free]

Let’s take a look at some of the time-saving and helpful things you can do on holiday with data.

1. Navigate and sight-see

Google Maps is one of the most useful smartphone apps, especially when you’re travelling. With Roam Like Home you can fire up the app to see your location and find directions to the Eiffel Tower, Sagrada Familia or another holiday hotspot. If you’ve got a car, you can even get turn by turn voice instructions. Hungry? Need petrol or money? Use Google Maps to find nearby restaurants, petrol stations or cashpoints.

2. Share your photos       

Facebook and Instagram are great places for sharing your life with friends, and with Roam Like Home you can upload photographs to your feed during your holiday (and make your friends jealous) without worrying about incurring data charges.

Phone being used to navigate - Getty

3. Video chat

With video chat services you can talk to family and friends around the world as if they were in the next room. With Roam Like Home if you are on holiday and miss mum or dad’s birthday or want to say goodnight to your kids, fire up Skype and Facebook Messenger and get talking!

4. Food recommendations

You’ve arrived in a new city, you’re hungry and want somewhere tasty but affordable to eat. Use the Trip Advisor app to find a list of cafes, restaurants and fast-food joints nearby, with ratings, prices and location. Bon appetit!

Phone with book guide books Getty

5. Phrase book in your pocket

Not speaking the local language can slow you down, so a language app like Google Translate can be invaluable, translating 103 languages as you type and even translating spoken conversations. Camera Mode translates pictures of text – take a photo of a road sign or food label and discover instantly what it means. With Roam Like Home, as long as you are within your monthly data allowance, you can use it whenever you need it.

[Read more: 12 tips for better photos this summer]

6. Use online banking

Banking apps allow us to stay on top of expenditure, quickly transfer money and pay bills. But they use data, which means to avoid being charged when on holiday, you might not check as often as you’d like. With Roam Like Home you can check your bank balance at any time, make emergency payments or find out if you’ve got enough if your account for a duty-free splurge.

Two hands holding phones on beach - Getty

7. Keep up to date with email

Without Roam Like Home, if you went abroad, you’d probably turn off push email to save data. Push email is when messages are sent straight to your phone without you having to open your email app to check.  Now you can keep it on and stay up-to-date with work, friends or travel updates without worrying. Of course, if you really want to relax, you can always avoid email altogether.

8. Stay notified

If you’re a smartphone user, during the day your phone will probably ping with app notifications like news alerts, WhatsApp messages, game alerts and more. These notifications use data so you might have turned them off in the past, but now with Roam Like Home you can keep them turned on.

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*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 Zone 1b: Canary Islands, French Guiana, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Iceland, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Martinique, Mayotte, Norway, Reunion, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, San Marino, Switzerland

**If you exceed your monthly data, text and call allowance you will be charged extra. Visit BT Mobile for a list of prices.                                           

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