Ten things that happen when you take your phone abroad

Image of a woman using Instagram
Ruth knew that her picture would get mad likes if she popped on the Valencia filter
"Make sure your travel insurance policy covers gadgets, and in the unfortunate event of a theft, be prepared to spend several hours at the local police station getting a crime number"
  • | by Rachel England

Sun, sea and more snaps than you can shake a selfie stick at.

Yes, it's that time of year where we all jump on a plane. Destination: anywhere hot.

And as your phone contains everything from your camera to your map, it will make your trip so much easier... or will it?

Here are the 10 steps everyone goes through when using their phone abroad.

1. Your network settings go mad

Image of a tourist taking a picture in a city

The moment you arrive and take your phone off airplane mode you're bombarded with messages from your network provider asking you to update this and synchronise that.

It doesn't matter that you're already signed up for roaming abroad, your phone needs immediate reassurance that everything is okay.

2. You'll never shake off data charge anxiety

Image of a family on holiday

Even though roaming charges in Europe were cut in May this year, using your phone abroad is expensive, and if you continue to use it like you do at home without taking advantage of your operator's travel offers, you can expect an eye-watering bill when you get back.

The sort-of good news is that European roaming charges are set to be abolished altogether in June next year, but in the wake of Brexit, no-one really knows what that means for the UK.

Nonetheless, most network providers offer deals that let you use your plan's texts, minutes and data as normal when you're abroad for a nominal daily fee (around £3).

But you'll never quite shake the feeling that you're rinsing your bank account every time you upload a sunny selfie.

3. Hotel wi-fi becomes your best friend and worst enemy

Image of a two girls taking a selfie

It makes sense to use hotel wi-fi when you can – keep some of your month's data allowance for all the #throwback snaps you'll upload when you're back at work and it's raining.

Problem is, everyone else in the hotel has had the same idea, so your connection may be intermittent at best.

And you'll probably have to sign in on a bafflingly shonky website every time you want to get online, which means you'll be receiving promotional emails from an obscure foreign telecommunication company for the rest of your life.

4. You'll run out of storage

Image of a cocktail infront of a beach

You've downloaded a movie for the flight and loads of music for the apartment, so your phone storage is bursting before you've even had the chance to Instagram the view from the airplane window.

Pretty soon taking a photo of a lurid cocktail means spending precious drinking time debating which apps you can get rid of to make space.

Pre-empt this unnecessary faff by sending your photos to the cloud for safekeeping, or doing a data dump onto your computer before you go.

5. Sand. Sand everywhere

Image of a couple taking a selfie in the sea

Just as sand has a tendency to over-familiarise itself with your pants, you can be sure it'll find its way into your phone too.

At the very least you'll find it hiding around the casing, but don't be surprised to find it lurking around the battery and SIM card, too.

Give your phone a quick brush down once you've left the beach to help prevent sand getting into nooks and crannies and potentially causing problems down the line.

6. Bye bye, battery

Image of someone using Instagram to take a picture

Looking at a screen in the sunshine is like staring directly into the sun itself, so you'll probably have the screen brightness cranked up to 11, which will drain your battery faster than you'll destroy the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet after a heavy night out.

Plus you'll be taking loads of pictures and ploughing through data to upload them to Facebook.

Download an app like Juice Defender or Battery Doctor to help your phone go the distance.

7. Your phone will get gross

Image of the Costa Dorada in Spain

It's no secret that phones are already riddled with germs, and now yours is set to become 100% more gross.

A heady combination of sweat, suncream and sticky sangria mitts means your phone will become disgusting, taking on a greasy yet gummy quality no sleek piece of tech should ever be subjected to.

Someone in your group will have packed wet wipes – use one to give your phone a refresh at the end of a clammy day.

8. No more poolside bants

Image of someone's legs in a pool

In the olden days of the package holiday, friends could playfully turf one another, unsuspecting, into the pool, knowing the only consequence would be wet pants and a ruined hairdo (and possibly a ruined friendship).

Now though, we live in fear of trashing our gadgets and loudly announce 'MY PHONE IS IN MY POCKET' any time we're near a body of water: the universally-understood declaration that poolside frolics are off the table.

But there's always someone that takes things a bit too far, so if you're not confident you'll be able to fling your phone to safety in the event of a pushing, make sure you've got it insured against water damage.

9. You'll lose it

Image of a sunrise over a picturesque lake

Best case scenario: your phone's been misplaced among the explosion of clothes, towels and swimsuits littering your hotel room.

Worst case scenario: you leave that questionable bar at three in the morning having misplaced both your phone and your dignity.

Most handsets have 'find my phone' functionality, allowing you to sign in to Google or Apple to pinpoint its whereabouts.

Useful if you've left it in a mate's room or in the hotel restaurant by mistake, not so helpful if someone's pinched it out of your bag or you've unknowingly dropped it in the sea.

Make sure your travel insurance policy covers gadgets, and in the unfortunate event of a theft, be prepared to spend several hours at the local police station getting a crime number (most policies won't pay out without one).

10. You'll eventually forget about it

Image of a couple holding hands while cycling on the beach

The deeper you find yourself in holiday mode, the less attached you'll be to your phone.

Once you're lying by a turquoise blue sea and your worries and cares have melted away, it's suddenly not so important that you check Facebook every 10 minutes.

Shove your phone in the safe and enjoy the digital detox.

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