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For the Love of Roaming: How You Should Prepare Your Phone for Travel Abroad

phone on vacation
Written by Dhinesh Manuel

This blog post was updated on June 9, 2023.

Our phones have become essential to our lives. So much so that we hardly ever put them down and use them through almost every moment we’re awake.

Let’s not forget the numerous texts, Instagram snaps, Facebook posts, tweets, and Snapchat stories we put out there that take up so much of our time during the day. In today’s world, life without a phone would be deemed almost impossible (how did we ever get around without Google Maps? Go figure!)

So what measures can you take to protect your phone and your information when you’re traveling abroad? Here are a few things you can do to make sure you avoid any issues when on the road, and what to do if you do get into a spot of bother.

Back up your contacts to your Google account

looking at phone

Probably the best thing to do before you embark on your adventures is to make sure that all your phone and WhatsApp contacts are backed up on your Google account. Not quite sure how this works? No worries, this simple guide should help you.

Make some space on your phone

guy holding phone

You’re just in time to catch that Icelandic geyser erupt in all its glory but your phone says “There is not enough available storage…” AAaargh! Avoid the frustration and just make sure you transfer pics and videos to another device before you hop on your flight.

Check your phone plan


Your network provider sometimes may not operate in the place you’re traveling to, and even if they do, you could end up paying exorbitant rates for just a few texts or for checking email. There are a few alternatives: You could check on a limited data and international roaming package from your network provider, purchase a SIM abroad wherever you land, or rely on the internet quality in cafes and bars and use WhatsApp for making calls (but do your research — a few countries like the United Arab Emirates do not allow WhatsApp calls).

Write down your phone’s IMEI number

In case some crafty Artful Dodger steals your phone, you’re probably going to be in a bit of a pickle. But writing down your phone’s unique IMEI number (somewhere other than on your phone) can often help you identify yourself with your network, and consequently get them to block any misuse immediately. If you want to know your IMEI number, all you have to do is dial *#06# on your smartphone.

Carry a back-up phone at all times

woman holding phone

Reconsider giving away your old, yet trustworthy phone. Keep it in a backpack or somewhere safe in the hotel or hostel you’re staying at. Better still, if you can at least copy a few of your main contacts as well as some emergency numbers from the country you’re visiting, it could prove to be a lifesaver.

Make a note of your network’s ‘lost or stolen’ number

Jotting this down in a journal or on a secondary phone can help you quickly report the theft of your phone and stop any further usage.

Double check that you’ve got the right adapter


Carrying a nifty universal travel charger can help you plug into a variety of different power outlets around the world and keep your phone battery from dying on you at a crucial time. However, it’s always safe to check the voltage and plug types used in your destination to make sure you have the correct one.

Make sure to download the music, movies, and maps you may need

music on phone

Just in case you encounter shoddy internet connections wherever you choose to wander, make sure you have some music, movies, or TV shows downloaded on your phone. Plus, it’ll make that long flight on a movie-less budget airline a lot more bearable. Worried about getting around a city when offline? Google Maps will let you download the maps of areas you want to explore so that the next time you’re walking through a labyrinth-like European street without Wi-Fi, you won’t get lost.

Following these simple tips can help protect your phone, get the most out of it in various situations, and in the worst case of theft or loss, prove useful in making sure you have a back-up plan.

Do you have any tips for preparing your phone for travel abroad? Any tips on what to do if you lose your phone abroad? Dial in your thoughts in the comments below.

About the author

Dhinesh Manuel

Socialite, philanthropist, costumed crime fighter by wait...that's bad ...

Musician, writer, travel junkie, dog lover, and database of useless information. I love to learn about new cultures, experience new cuisines, meet new people, and have a few laughs along the way!

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