5 ways to prepare your phone for a weekend away

Going away? Whether you're holidaying in the UK or travelling further afield, here's how to get your phone ready, from setting up your data plan to optimising your apps.

With the summer finally here now’s the perfect time to start planning a weekend away.

But while your bags and your passport might be ready, is your phone? We’ll show you how to get your phone holiday-ready, from avoiding unwanted costs to creating more room for holiday photos.

1. Keep an eye on your data use

Much as we love the idea of a digital detox, most of us are likely to use our phones while on holiday. Whether it’s to boast about lolling on the beach, or just to catch up with friends and family back home, our smartphones are never far from our grasp. But they could come with a surprise: roaming charges.

Smartphone beach

BT customers can avoid this with BT’s Roam Like Home. This lets you use your phone while abroad as if you were still at home, with no hidden charges. It works in 47 countries, including Cyprus, Croatia, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Iceland, Saint Martin and the Canary Islands. 

If your destination isn’t covered, you’ll need a Travel Data Pass. This gives you 500MB of data every 24 hours, and works in countries further afield, like Australia, Canada, the USA and South Africa. 

Remember you can check your data use with the My BT app or online at My BT.

2. Free up space for photos

A holiday is a great opportunity to take plenty of photos. But if you're too snap-happy, your phone’s storage can soon fill up and. That’s why it’s vital to free up space before you go.

A great way to do this is by using BT Cloud. This stores back-up copies of all your files online in secure cloud storage. With your photos, videos, music and movies all backed up online, you can delete them from your devices to free up space for new holiday snaps.

Smartphone photo building

It also means you can access your files from all of your devices, be it laptop, tablet or smartphone – as long as they’re connected to the internet, they should be able to access BT Cloud. It also makes it easier to organise and search your content, and if you edit a document, the latest version will be accessible in the cloud from all of your devices.

3. Be careful with your battery, and consider a back-up

The last thing you want is a dead phone battery, especially while travelling. Long journeys can be stressful, and it’s important to be able to stay in touch with family should you be delayed or stranded.

Smartphone charging powerbank

Make sure your phone is fully charged before you set off and always take a charger with you, as well as a travel adapter suited to your destination. Some trains and planes have plug sockets under the seats or in the chair arms, so keep a lookout. You can also save battery by not watching films or using mapping apps unless necessary, as GPS really drains the battery.

Most smartphones feature a battery-saving mode – this switches off unnecessary actions like checking for emails to use less power, and can be activated manually or automatically when the phone's battery life drops below a pre-set level.

Some phones have ultra-battery-saving modes which cut out all but the most basic functions like phone calls and text messages. Familiarise yourself with what your phone has to offer and try them out before you go.

On Android phones, the battery-saving mode can be found by tapping Settings > Battery > Battery Saver.

You could also invest in a portable charger. These plug into your phone and charge it up just like it’s the mains - just remember to keep your charger charged up as well! The Juice Power Station is a good option, as it lets you power up two devices at once – handy if you’re travelling with a friend.

4. Optimise your apps

Today’s smartphones are very clever devices, but you don’t always need them to do everything they’re capable of all the time. In fact, their smartness could end up costing you money in data and roaming charges.

Battery saving apps

That’s why you should go through your apps and make sure they’re not working overtime in the background. If they’re checking your emails, for example, they’re not only potentially eating into your data allowance (if you’re not on a wi-fi network), they could be contributing towards an unexpected bill.

Switching off these features will also save you battery life too.

5. Download all the apps you need beforehand

It pays to be organised, and that’s never more true when it comes to apps. You should download everything you need before you set off. That way, you’ll save yourself money (there are no roaming or data charges if you do it on your home wi-fi) and stress (no last-minute scrabble to find something to keep the kids entertained).

The BT Wi-Fi app can connect you to over 5 million wi-fi hotspots in the UK absolutely free. If you want something to keep the kids entertained on long car journeys, check out BBC iPlayer  or iPlayer Kids for those aged eight and under. That way, you won’t have to put up with constant calls of “Are we there yet?”

Google Translate

If you’re going abroad, Google Translate is a must. It can translate signs, menus, phrases and more. And it even works in real-time, letting you have a conversation with a complete stranger in another language!

A decent mapping app is also vital and Here WeGo is one of the best, offering real-time traffic info, maps to download to use offline (avoiding data charges), multiple routing options and more. You’ll never get lost again.

Be prepared for your holiday with one of these brilliant smartphones

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