Saturday, 18 May 2013

How to use your Android phone in a foreign country

Smartphones are the best thing since, well, I don't know when but damn are they handy!

Recently during my trip to Istanbul and Gallipoli (Turkey) I found myself in a country which only spoke English when there was money involved. Wanting to learn more about the country, the places I found myself and the food I was eating I decided to try out my Android smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy Ace 2.
Some things I found especially useful when out of the country include:

Taking my phone charger with a local power adapter and portable charger.

Having your phone last more than an hour is kinda important to help stay on top of whats going on. Being able to plug your phone in at cafes and hotels is a good thing especially as this is where you normally find free WiFi. For those moments when you're running out of juice a portable charger can be a lifesaver. I ended up buying a solar powered charger as it could be charged while I was in the middle of nowhere at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli.

Google Maps with Offline Maps.

While you're in the hotel make sure you take advantage of free WiFi and download local maps to your device. Making the area available offline means you can use the GPS and maps to know where you are and where you're going.

Speaking of where you're going, make sure to bookmark the places you're trying to get to while you're still in the hotel, that way you can quickly see how far away you are.

Google Translate with Offline Languages.

Google Translate is a fantastic tool! Make sure you download the local language to your device before you leave the hotel. This way you can type your menu into it and find out more about what the food is, what different buildings are, and even how to ask someone where the bathroom is.

Adding a new keyboard to your phone. 

Quickly you will discover that the English keyboard on your android device doesn't have all the foreign characters by default, this makes it difficult to translate words as Google Translate always uses the foreign characters. Fortunately it is easy to add a second keyboard to your phone, and switching between keyboards is as easy as swiping across the space key.

Other things to consider

Turn off mobile data when roaming, you probably don't need it and it is far too expensive anyways.

Want to know how?

Find me on the social networks and ask away, if I get enough interest I may add tutorials to help.

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