Summer is a time to get out and explore, to share good times with friends and family, and to make lifelong memories. While there are plenty of free summer activities to enjoy, there’s nothing like a traditional family vacation to make the summer great. Unfortunately, it can come with a price tag. According to American Express, the average vacation expense for a family of four is $4,580. So it’s important to look for unique ways to save so you can enjoy the summer, without going broke. Take a look at our tips for staying connected, for free, no matter where your summer travels take you:
- Don’t Forget about Wi-Fi
It’s estimated that more than a quarter of Verizon and AT&T customers are hit with overage charges each month. Overtime, those extra fees can add up to big bucks that could have better been spent on a nice family vacation dinner. That’s why it’s important to always keep an eye out for Wi-Fi. Most hotels and coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi, as do many restaurants and local shops. Don’t be afraid to ask for access so you can send an email, look up directions, or post a social update, without paying for it.
- Contact Your Carrier Before You Go
One of the best ways to defend against hidden or unwanted fees when traveling is to contact your service provider before you go. Many providers are flexible and can make adjustments to your plan during the time of your trip. In addition, you can learn about specific fees for phone calls, text messages and emails so you can understand what will be your best bet for communication with your smartphone. Cell phone companies are becoming increasingly accommodating to travelers, as well. Companies like T-Mobile are offering plans that allow travelers to have unlimited data and texting, as well as low flat-rate calling while traveling abroad in more than 140 countries. Their Binge-On feature also allows users to stream video without using data, a great way to stay connected to your favorite shows and movies, while on the go.
- Consider Messaging Services
Messaging apps have been all the rage in 2016. Today, more than 2.5 billion people use messaging apps, with that number expected to rise to 3.5B over the next two years. If you haven’t picked up on the messaging trend yet, doing so while you’re travelling may be your best bet. Apps like Jott, allow you to “text friends in places you could never text before,” and Viber allows for free calls, texts and picture messaging anywhere. A quick download on your smartphone can help you save a quick buck.
- Connect to Local Networks
What if there was a tool that made it seem that your smartphone wasn’t actually roaming? Turns out, there is. KnowRoaming is a sticker that you place on your phones SIM Card in order to connect to local networks in more than 200 countries. The tool boasts that it can save you up to 85% on voice, text and data charges. Unlimited packages start at $7.99 per day.
- Check Your Smartphones Settings
One of the easiest ways to stay connected while traveling, without burning through data and battery life, is to check your smartphone’s settings. Make sure that all automatic syncing is turned off. Also, be sure to close any apps that use data when they’re not in use. Lastly, turn off all push notifications.
Have your own tips for staying connected without going broke? Let us know in the comments!
Samantha Rivers short bio:
Samantha Rivers is a freelance writer who lives in Chicago (Go Cubs!) and loves writing anything in the lifestyle, travel, and career realm both online and print. When she’s not running the Upward Onward blog, she enjoys reading, finding new restaurants, being active outside, and indulging in a glass of wine or two.
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