Making payments and staying in touch has never been easier
What currency do they use in (fill in the blank)? How much cash should I have on me? What is the best way to stay in touch while abroad? These remain some of my most asked questions, yet it has never been easier to answer than today thanks to the improvements made in both cell phones themselves and the apps which fight for your attention.
USE YOUR PHONE's PAYMENT FUNCTION
If you haven't loaded a credit card into your phone by now in order to simply tap to pay then you are missing out on one of the best functions your mobile phone offers. With safe and secure settings you no longer have to hand over your plastic or even remember your various PINS. Just tap.
This is especially convenient when traveling! No more worries about conversions, change, or leftover currencies you weren't able to spend. Just use your phone's payment function and you can get by 95% of the time.
I have been travelling all over Europe and Africa this year and not once did I grab for my wallet because I had my phone with me. Tap, tap... in a restaurant in Cape Town or at the admissions gate to Kirstenbosch Gardens. Tap. McDonalds in Bucharest, tap: a beer in a beer garden in Transylvania, tap. Hotel bill in Porto, tap. Tapas in Madrid, tap. Not once did I have to worry about currency conversion or having enough cash on me. Everywhere I went I was able to use my Apple Pay and my other guests used their Samsung Pay.
I found this to be of the MOST use when using a taxi. No more worrying about getting ripped off by airport ATMs in order to have enough cash for the taxi. Tap.
I liked that I did not have to bring my wallet with me or worry about handing over plastic to be run through a machine in some side room where it may or may not get scammed.
The other benefit is that your bank will give you a far better conversion than any money changer or ATM and you avoid fees, too.
USE WHATSAPP TO STAY IN TOUCH, SEND PHOTOS, AND FORM GROUP CHATS
The next most often asked question I get is how to stay in touch when traveling. Gone are the days of sending contact info for ships or hotels, again your cell phone apps have changed the game.
While there are many phone apps that offer internet based calling, WhatsApp is my hands down favorite for a variety of reasons.
First off, it allows you to use your current mobile number to text, call, send photos and even video chat. As long as you are in a wifi internet connection it is also free.
It also works using mobile data so that you can easily switch back and forth between a wifi connection and your data plan so that you can conserve your data usage. For example, I buy a suitable data plan to cover wherever I travel, but I keep it turned off except for when I need to use it. Otherwise I simply use it when logged into a suitable wifi.
Keep in mind that it doesn't matter if you are on wifi or using data, you can be reached on your mobile by anyone who has the number.
Lastly, WhatsApp is not limited to use on only your mobile phone. It can be added to your laptop, computer, and any hand held device from a tablet to a cell phone. Best of all.. it is free.