How to keep up with your digital life whilst travelling the world
Exploring the world is becoming all the more common with the increasing ease and comfort of international travel. However, given our reliance on digital devices, we have to take into account the impact our mobility might have on our online presence. Here are some of our top tips for staying in touch, keeping yourself entertained and publishing your memories while you are on the move. You never know, using apps efficiently might even improve your relationship with technology so that you find a healthy balance between the real and virtual worlds.
TV and movies
When you’re travelling for long periods, it can be harder to stay on top of your favourite shows. It’s harder still when sites such as Netflix prevent access from international domains. Don’t fear though, for there are ways to unblock Netflix abroad so that you can stream away and avoid spoilers on your return, or even download movies to pass away the hours of endless bus journeys. If you like bigger screens, a tablet may be worth the investment; there are models for all budgets ranging from Amazon’s Kindle Fire to Apple’s iPad.
Of course, the most crucial thing when travelling is communication. We want to be able to stay in touch, whether it be with our travelling companions, people back home or local hostels and restaurants. It can be tricky to purchase a package that accommodates this, but certain network providers are better than others at extending their services overseas. Three’s Go Roam allows you access to your data and allowance in 71 countries across the world, while Vodafone‘s standard contract gives you global roaming in 48 locations at no extra cost, with a further 104 destinations available at £6 per day. Any plans with Global Roaming Plus cover 77 free destinations including Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Crucially, it depends where you are going, so find out which networks will keep you covered, or alternatively, get a pay-as-you-go sim and loan out your current phone while you are away.
As well as the ever-popular Facetime, there are many platforms to stay in touch via video. Facebook messenger and Whatsapp Video are a great option, or if you need to stay in touch with colleagues then Skype is often the preferred professional tool. For multi-person video chats, we recommend Google hangouts or Fring. Remember also that these apps are reliant on data or wifi, so look out for that when booking hotels or hostels.
One of the trickiest parts of taking photos whilst travelling is making sure you keep your snaps safe. Cloud storage is great for making sure you don’t lose anything, so try Onedrive, Dropbox, Google Drive or pCloud, which is particularly good at storing different file formats.
For those who want to edit photos on the go – which can save you a whole lot of time later when you have to go through 7000 files – apps such as Canva, Photoshop Express and Afterlight 2 are fast and easy tools that make it simple to enhance your shots. This way you can post your best photos on Instagram for live updates, or upload a gallery to your blog.
Speaking of which, if you’re keen on keeping your friends and family updated while you are away, you may want to start up a blog. Sites like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace offer free platforms for your writing, and you can automatically schedule your posts so that they are published at the best time for your international audience. For a monthly fee, you can gain access to extra features and insights to increase your page traffic. You can even keep your writing private and use it as a personal diary that you can be sure won’t get lost or stolen on your travels. Alternatively, vlogging (video blogging) is all the more popular. Simply take regular updates and post them to your followers for a slightly less time-consuming live account. YouTube is a popular site for this, along with Facebook Live, Vimeo and Flickr.
If you like to listen to music while you travel, it’s worth finding a streaming site you like – we recommend Spotify or Apple Music – and creating some playlists which you can download prior to departure for the perfect soundtrack to your trip. For a monthly fee, Both apps will suggest personalised playlists and recommend artists based on what you listen to, and you can add songs as you go along. If your phone often runs out of battery, you might want to consider buying a separate device for music – or a very big portable battery pack.
Headphones are also important: for wireless earphones, we recommend the noise-cancelling AirPods Pro by Apple, which will cut out all the background noise, but Sennheiser also do some great budget options which are a lot less painful on your pocket if you lose them somewhere along the way.
The editorial unit