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Traveling With Tech

Technology has permeated every part of our modern lives, even all aspects of travel. We no longer leave the house with just a suitcase. Now we always pack a variety of technology—cell phones, digital cameras, tablets, laptops, and more.

All these items make our daily lives easier while keeping us ultra-connected, and we cannot imagine being without them, even while traveling.

Some things to consider as you get ready to travel with your technology of choice:

Learn the accessibility options available at your location
Learn what internet connection options will be available and any additional fees that may apply (to avoid any suprises upon arrival).

Most hotels have Wi-Fi, usually in guest rooms and common areas like the lobby, lounge or bar.

Some hotels charge for Wi-Fi access while others offer it as a benefit of joining their loyalty program, and some simply provide it complimentary to all guests.

Hotels situated in more remote locations (like in rural or less-developed areas) may have Wi-Fi that could be very spotty or unreliable, with much slower service compared to what you have at home. The connection may be sufficient for checking email or texting, but not for streaming or video chatting.

Airport-provided Wi-Fi, while often free, is often overwhelmed by high traffic, making it unreliable; and service aboard planes, even paid, can have similar issues.

Mobile Wi-Fi boosters or range extenders for your laptop or other devices can be an affordable option if you really need a strong signal and/or speed. Check Best Buy, Amazon or similar retail outlets for options for your Apple or PC/Android device.

Know how your device “roams” and what that can cost
If traveling internationally, know how to turn your Wi-Fi and data roaming features on and off using the settings on your device. If your device contract doesn’t include an international plan, turning off data roaming will ensure you aren’t charged for service internationally.

Calling long distance back to the U.S. is almost never necessary, thanks to apps like Skype, Whatsapp, and Facetime (for iPhones).

Find out what apps and/or software you need if you want to use Wi-Fi for your calling needs.

If you do think you really will need to talk from overseas, check with your carrier before you leave, they have much better (aka cheaper) options than you will be offered when you land in a new country.

Plan to purchase and/or pack the appropriate accessories
Ensure you have each charger your devices require and any converters/adapters you may need if traveling internationally.

Remember that an adapter changes only the plug type for your device, and you may also need a converter if you visit countries with different current.

Safeguard your items
Secure your technology when not in use, like in a hotel safe (or similar), and always make sure to disconnect from any networks when you finish using your device.

Also, understand your homeowner’s insurance policy to see what is/is not covered when you take your technology with you while traveling.

Unsecured vs. secured Wi-Fi
Most Wi-Fi in coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, etc. is unsecured—even if it requires a password—and can make your device vulnerable to all kinds of problems. If using an unsecured connection, avoid anything that requires entry of your personal information, including credit card numbers.

Using technology on the road can be a great way to stay connected to home, work or loved ones. And with the many new products and services available now, it has never been easier.