Mobile Phone Hacks by The Professional Traveller
I can barely remember travelling without a mobile phone, having had one now for so many years. Thankfully the bills are substantially lower than they were and of course we now have glorious smartphones which can help with all sorts of wonderful things.
Having been travelling with mobiles for such a long time I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. So here are my mobile phone travel hacks to help you too.
1 – Take a Super Long Power Lead
Have you checked into your hotel room, unpacked your belongings, made a cup of tea and then realised there is no electrical socket near the bed. Oh the disappointment!
Have you then ended up crawling round on your hands and knees looking under desks and behind curtains only to find an electrical socket some distance from your bed?
You plug the lead on and despite moving a chair or a table you find you can’t actually reach your phone for the bed. This means you go to bed worrying if the alarm will wake you up in the morning? To make sure you set the volume to maximum so you don’t miss it.
The next morning you are awoken by your alarm going off at full volume, so loud that it sounds as if it could wake most of the hotel. You scramble out of bed trying to turn it off before you wake everyone else.
Instead of a nice gentle start to the day your day has started with a real bang.
Like you I have also spent lots of time crawling around to find electrical sockets. Given that I am usually travelling for work I am on call during the night so I always like to keep my phone right beside me in case of emergency.
I have also spent quite a bit of time crawling around in guests rooms trying to help them find a socket too. They have been all over the place – under desks, in the floor, behind curtains and generally not where you would expect to find them.
Of course the ideal is to have an electrical socket next to the bed but this isn’t always the case, especially in older hotels. Short of lobbying hotel designers there isn’t much we can do about electrical socket locations.
That’s why extra long leads have been a travel essential of mine for some time!
A long electrical lead still means you need to do a bit of detective work to find the electrical socket, but once found you can generally get the phone to the side of your bed fairly easily, without having to rearrange furniture to balance your phone on.
This means you can relax, going to sleep with your alarm set at a sensible volume for the morning.
If like me you are working, you know the phone is right there in case anything happens.
Below you can find the link to the leads I use – they are long, really long infact, but they have gotten me out of trouble on many an occassion.
These leads are 4.5m long which is 19’6″. This means they should ensure your phone is right beside your bed.
These particular ones are the leads only which mean you can plug them into your adaptor which then goes into your electrical socket.
These leads help me to sleep better when travelling which is why it is top of my mobile phone travel hacks list!
If you don’t have a USB socket adapter then you can easily buy one.
Why not consider getting a 4 in 1 socket so you can charge multiple things in one go and reduce the number sockets you need to take with you?
AroundMe hasn’t been off my phone since I found it many years ago. It is still one of my favourite travel apps, helping me to find ATMs, supermarkets and restaurants when I travel.
Having used AroundMe in a variety of countries I have never managed to catch it out yet and it has always come up with some suggestions.
Like many apps it uses geolocation to show things nearby.
Things you can see nearby are;
- Coffee Shops
- Movie Theatres
- Movies (this is movies showing nearby)
- Petrol Stations
There is a paid version of AroundMe but I have never used it because the free version is so good. Despite not travelling anywhere for a year I have still kept this app on my favourite – because that’s how much I love it!
Finding this app has helped me all over the world and it’s been one of the best mobile phone travel hacks I’ve used.
Learning a few words of language of the country you are travelling to is always a great idea. Having a translation app on your phone is also extremely helpful and Google Translate works extremely well.
I really like the fact you can show or play the translations which can make it easier if you are asking something or trying to communicate in general.
Google Translate also has a handy feature where you can download the language so it will work when your mobile phone doesn’t have a signal which is really handy when travelling.
It’s also free!
Google Translate has certainly helped me when travelling for work and having to deal with foreign drivers, where we don’t share a language. It’s been one of the mobile phone travel hacks which has really helped me as a Tour Manager.
4. Ticketless Travel Apps
How did we manage when we actually had to carry tickets? I can’t tell you how many times guests lost flight tickets over the years, leading to lots of anxiety and of course delays at check in while new tickets were printed. Yes, actually printer, on paper!
Thankfully many organisations now have travel apps enabling you to keep your tickets on your phone. This applies to airlines such as Easyjet and British Airways and it can make checking in much easier, with of course flight updates being sent to your phone as well.
Sometimes there is an issue with screen resolution, so I would recommend boosting your screen brightness before you try getting it scanned, but also remember to change it back again in order to save your mobile phone battery.
Of course it’s not just travel companies that offer travel apps – Booking.com has a great app where you can easily search and book hotels and of course keep all your bookings to hand. This is certainly handy in the case of any problem as you have all the booking details right with you.
Tiqets enables you to book tickets for activities and attractions with no need to print them out which can make booking things on the go handy too.
Of course the list goes on – there’s all sorts of travel apps. Just remember not to go too crazy otherwise you will have no battery left, and no phone memory!
I love Calm. It’s been on my phone for a couple of years now and it’s one of the few apps that I am prepared to pay for.
It does lots of things – meditations, breathing exercises, self improvement talks and podcasts.
It also does Sleep Stories.
Sleep Stories are like bedtime stories for grown ups and I absolutely love them. Most of them I have never heard the end of because I am usually sound asleep.
My favourite ones are of course the travel sleep stories and there are lots them including;
- Crossing Australia by Train
- The Nordland Night Train
- The Trans-Siberian Express
- Crossing Ireland by Train – read by the wonderful Cillian Murphy
- Elephants of Nepal – read by Joanna Lumley
- Blue Gold – read by Stephen Fry
And many many more.
Matthew McConaughey read Wonder which is a lovely fiction story.
I use Calm at home and when I travel I find the familiar voices a very soothing part of bedtime and as such it helps me have a better night’s sleep.
Sometimes an unfamiliar room or bed can cause a few problems getting to sleep but Calm lessens those and before long I am drifting off thinking of travelling adventures. What a fab way to fall asleep!
6. Online Banking App
If you are confident using online banking then why not consider using an online banking app?
This can be very helpful when you are travelling, particularly if you are travelling with bank or credit cards.
Many of these apps have the ability to immediately switch off cards in the event that they are lost, giving you some time to try and find them, or to cancel them completely.
Over the years I have spent hours on the phone with clients who have been trying to get through to their banks to try and get their cards cancelled having lost them, or very occassionally having had them stolen.
These calls generally take place at the most inconvenient or difficult times, adding to the stress of an already stressful situation.
Knowing I have the ability to pause or cancel my cards when travelling gives me great peace of mind.
Hopper is a great app for checking flight prices and seeing if they are likely to go up or down.
It is very simple to use and a colour coding system gives you information on flight prices.
It can be a helpful double check if you are in the early stages of planning a trip.
Hopper has now expanded to cover hotels and flights.
7. Emergency Phone Charger
We all rely on our mobiles when travelling, and having been travelling for work I often have a whole group relying on my mobile phone working.
You can guarantee if your mobile phone is going to die it will do it at the most inconvenient time.
That’s why I always travel with an emergency mobile phone power bank. I can keep this in my bag so that I can easily access it in case the battery dies.
The great thing now is that you can also get really good solar mobile phone chargers, which means you can also top up while travelling away from mains power sockets too.
Travel Essentials Series