Friday, May 11, 2012

Tips for Using an Android Phone Overseas

This is a guest post by Ashlee McCullen

Image credit: YugaTech
If you plan on traveling with your Android phone, taking a few simple precautions can save you all kinds of stress. Think carefully about how you will use your phone, and the kind of security you’ll require. You may save tremendous money from roaming charges and keep your phone’s data safe even if the device is stolen. Don’t Let Data Catch You By Surprise If you’re using your Android phone outside your home country, you may be in for a nasty surprise if you don’t research your options for data usage. Roaming data fees are exorbitant, and you may be able to get by on wi-fi alone. You can turn off some or all of your data use in your phone’s settings.

  • If you still wish to use your data plan, I still recommend you shut off your phone’s access to background data, which is used for checking e-mail and social networking apps.
  • If you can get by without using your data plan, simply shut off all mobile network access.
Options are available for using your phone while avoiding exorbitant fees.
  • Purchase a pre-paid SIM card at your destination. (Note: This only works for unlocked phones.)
  • Purchase an international data plan with your existing carrier. These options are easy and flexible, but a bit pricey. (Still not as expensive as standard international roaming charges, however.)
Make the Most of Your Battery Whether you’re in-country or across the world, you may not have options for recharging your battery during the day. To preserve battery life, turn off your wireless internet (as suggested above) and GPS, except for times you need them. And follow common-sense tips like lowering the brightness of your screen and avoiding the use of processor-intensive apps from Facebook to games. Keep Your Phone Safe Be wary of where and how you use any gadget while travelling abroad. If you can, avoid using your Android phone at crowded, touristy locations where pick-pockets are rampant. By the same token, avoid using them at night and in places that seem sketchy. You may be making yourself a walking target for muggers, otherwise. Finally, your phone may endure some bumps or even drops, so don’t forget to use a quality phone case. I can recommend T-Mobile d3o phone cases for most users, but if you’re doing any rugged traveling you may want to look into a water proof case like the clever AquaPack Mini. Protect Your Data Even if you lose your phone or it becomes stolen, you can still prevent thieves’ access to your personal information with a few simple steps.
  • First, use the Android’s built-in screen lock. This alone makes your phone much harder to hack, and is too easy to not do. (If you’re still concerned, I recommend Hidden Lock for adding another layer of security.
  • Second, make sure your Bluetooth is turned off. This has the added benefit of preserving your battery life.
  • Third, consider a third-party backup tool. With MyBackup, for instance, you can make copies of your data to an SD card or upload your data to the cloud. Be sure to back up the photos and materials you gather as you travel.
  • Finally, install a program that can remotely wipe the data from your phone. Lookout Security & Antivirus is one such program, and it has the added benefits of malware protection and the ability for you to locate your phone.
About the Author
Ashlee McCullen is a staff writer for, a site about fashionable aprons and kitchen style.