Travel, Data on Your Phone, and Other Sunday Tour Prep

IMG_0390I am sitting here in PDX at the cafe and listening to The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour with a smile on my face. I just spent an hour with my cell phone provider trying to make sure I had the right travel plan for the UK and not get caught unawares as last year. I have opted for the $10.00 per day unlimited and spent time going over what needs to be managed on the phone itself while traveling to keep things under control.

You see, here in Merica, we tend to supersize everything. It’s not just food we gobble. We suck up the data and really don’t realize we are doing it, and that’s what the providers are counting on. The fact that we don’t think like Europeans do about conserving resources can really hit your pocket when you return from your trip. So, let’s look at what you can do to manage your data use and still get around as you like in a big new city.


Roaming has always been an evil word in telecom, but since you will be physically wandering joyfully, try making it less painful. I have had cell phones for over 20 years now and still remember this is the most costly thing to deal with, borrowing another network while traveling. Only have roaming on when you are not in areas where you can get WiFi. Make calls when you can be in a WiFi zone. Using maps is tricky and will use a lot of data.

Map Apps

Guilty pleasure here. I do bring paper maps with me of places, but they can be a combersome nuisance. Although if I were traveling with children i would make them use and help with this, it’s becoming a lost art, the reading of a physical map. It can also make you stick out like a tourist target. But if you don’t know a city, it will have to be how you roll. Some map apps and tour guides apps have a offline feature. This may still access data but saves a big file on your phone. You can dump it later or course, but think about it.

How to Access Maps Offline

Warning: Some Offline Map Apps will cost you money. Some are free to try, but full features will cost you.

List of Offline Map Apps

eTips Around the world with specific destinations. Free basic app, more in depth with attractions and such will cost you.

Google  Maps the classic app. IPhone will come with Apple maps,  but this too can suck up data.

MAPS.ME will download a map for your area. Try doing this when you are in WiFi mode as it will go faster and cost less for initial download.

CityMaps2Go Operates off of saving map for area.

Offline – Currated Events and Things to Do in Your City. App grabs information from location on current events happening and has it ready for you.

For a full list see here.

Penny Lane was playing, and made me think what traveling and meeting people in their neighborhoods and communities really brings to travel. Enjoy your travels this season and share them with us. Hopefully with less data fees. Oh, it’s still okay to ask someone where a street is.

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