Americans Abroad: Taking Your Technology With You

by on ‎07-27-2012 11:09 PM - last edited on ‎04-20-2016 11:27 PM by (8,342 Views)

It’s vacation time! Get ready to lovingly bubble wrap that tablet, gently pack that smartphone into its case and stock up on a myriad of chargers. Technology withdrawal is no laughing matter. (Trust us, we know.) 


My suitcase is all technology. Do I really need to bring clothes?


Yes. And a voltage converter plug too.

Clothes are always a good idea. So is bringing an adapter plug for your tech gear. (Afterall, martphones do not run on oxygen.) In the UK, we have 3 pin sockets that run on a different voltage to US electrical items.

 American smartphones are usually 115v products, but UK sockets are 240v. Iif you have a 240v smartphone, you need to purchase a 2 pin to 3 pin voltage converter plug – not just a regular one – or you risk blowing fuses in your expensive hotel room.


The internet is free, right?


No. Just because Nyan cat says so, doesn’t make it right.

Listen up, this is very important. Turn off data roaming before boarding that plane. Please do it. Oh please. If you don’t turn your  GSM smartphone off, it will automatically connect to the most appropriate UK mobile network as soon as one becomes available, and pump out all the lovely interwebs juice you usually inject into Facebook, Song Pop and Sound Cloud.


To turn off data roaming on an iPhone:

Settings > general > network > data roaming – toggle to off.

To turn off data roaming on an Android-powered smartphone:

Settings > mobile network > data roaming – untick it.

To turn off data roaming on a Windows Phone 7 device:

Settings > Mobile Network > Data Roaming Options – tap ‘don’t roam’.

To turn off data roaming on a BlackBerry smartphone:

Menu > settings > networks and connections > mobile network – set ‘While Roaming’ to off. 


Back it up before you pack it up

Your smartphone is simply bursting with stuff that’s important to you, from contacts whose numbers you never bothered to learn, to photos of that thing that happened that one time which nobody mentions in public. Hey, you don’t want to lose all the music you spent hours adding to your computer, then to your phone, then to your computer and, sigh, the process is never ending. So, for goodness sake, back up your smartphone before travelling abroad.

And finally… 


A couple of tips for the trip

Use ONLY (secure) Wi-Fi networks


While abroad, don’t be tempted to switch on 3G on your GSM mobile and connect to a UK network, which can be very costly. Connect to a secure Wi-Fi network whenever you want to frantically thumb through Facebook to see all the posts from your crush or best friend that you’ve missed during your vacation. If a network doesn’t ask for a password or network key when you attempt  to connect, it isn’t secure. We advise you not to connect to unsecure networks when checking anything personal. If your hotel doesn’t provide access to a secure network, try BT Fon, which allows you to connect to a network of Wi-Fi hotspots, for a pre-paid daily charge.


How to get help if something goes wrong


We’re not saying that Britain is any more hazardous to your smartphone than the US, but if your phone does get lost, broken or stolen while you’re over here, pop into a Carphone Warehouse and chat with a Geek Squad Agent there for help. Find out more here.


Have a safe trip over here in the glorious British summer rain, and remember that Geek Squad UK are always only a phone call away whenever you need technology support.


By Agent Brown (UK)

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