You may have noticed that I went to Europe a few weeks ago, more on that later, but just before I left, Telus reached out to me, saying that if I was going anywhere for spring break, they lend me a phone for a weeks to try out their Travel Packages. I wrote back instantly saying, thanks but my only trip scheduled was to Europe and that I was pretty sure that the roaming charges in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria would likely cripple one of Canada’s biggest companies.   They too wrote back immediately, ensuring me that Europe was doable and to check out their travel passes, Travel Tracker app and device protection plans.

Well, hot dog. Or should I say kielbasa (the czech work for sausage.)  It seems that companies like Telus had finally caught on to the fact that the modern day traveller would not only like to use their phone when their on the road, they pretty much need one.  Thanks to the unprecedented popularity of travel apps, having regular access to your phone is pretty much mandatory.  Knowing that you’re not going to go bankrupt is just icing on the cake. Sorry, sütemény (Cake in Hungarian)

But don’t get me wrong, roaming is still going to cost you money, you’ll still have to pay more than you normally would in Canada, that’s why you need to use your phone carefully. Here are some handy travel tips from me, the very frugal traveller.

Search out the Wifi! 
This seems obvious, but sending out a quick tweet or Instagram video can cut into your allotted data faster than you think.  Much like when you’re searching for a nice bathroom, hotels and chains will become your best friends when it comes to wifi. Sometimes it’s free and other times you have to buy something, but when you’re walking on cobblestone for eight hours, you’ll appreciate a cold beer at the bar while you catch up on your favourite hashtags.

Save on roaming, by not roaming.
No matter where you live, GPS can suck up a lot of your data. But how do you not get lost in Europe?! I mean, just look at how lost Christopher Columbus got.  Instead of leaving the GPS while you are looking for the museum or tourist attraction of your choosing, look up the destination on your map app, then screen grab it.  The photo will have all the info you need, but you won’t be paying to leave your phone while it tracks your every movement. Plus, getting a little lost is definitely part of the fun.

Get the most of your social media.
If you enjoy social media as much as I do, you likely follow a little bit of a schedule as to when people are online and when to get the most engagement out of your tweets, posts or videos. So remember, just cause your schedule changed, doesn’t mean that everyone else’s has. When you’re on the road, use your phone’s world clock to keep track of what time it is wherever you live. That way, your friends and family can follow along with your adventures and you don’t have to worry about sleeping through them. In a world where we want to post things instantly,  it takes a little discipline to wait until the opportune time, but it’ll be worth it!

Hope that helps and happy travels!

(I know I look angry in this photo, but I wasn’t at all. Please use the beer and the giant piece of meat as proof.)


Mike Morrison