10 Ways to Protect Your Phone While Traveling

Here are 10 tips to ensure your cell phone survives any trip.

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Invest in a Good Case

Many experts recommend LifeProof as the best method to physically protect a phone, and options exist for both Apple and Android phones.

Besides protecting it from snow and dirt, LifeProof has also shown to waterproof phones six feet below water, and protect them from a six-foot drop. Dave Dean, Founder of tech site Too Many Adapters, also likes Taktik for iPhones. “You can throw it down a mountain and it will still work.”

Use a Screen Protector

Phil Baker, president of the product design company Techsperts, suggests getting a screen protector made from tempered glass, such as LionCover.Besides protecting your screen from scratches, it can also absorb an impact if dropped.

Avoid Bringing Your Phone to the Beach

Sun, sand and water can all be a phone’s arch nemesis. However, if it’s unavoidable, there are some ways to prevent major damage. If you don’t have a waterproof case, at the very least put it in a plastic bag to prevent getting it wet and sandy. Even better would be keeping it in a Sea to Summit bag, says Dean. Alternatively, there are companies such as Liquipel, which uses a liquid repellant to make phones water-resistant—but not waterproof.

For sun protection, Baker advises using a light-covered case and keeping it out of direct sunlight to prevent your phone from overheating. Additionally, Salt Cases claims to protect smartphones from extreme heat and cold by using a thermal technology employed by NASA.   

Protect Your Phone From the Cold

It isn’t just extreme heat that can affect your phone. Apple doesn’t recommend using iPhones in temperatures below 32 degrees; adverse effects can include the battery draining or dying. Some Android phones fare better and can handle below-zero temperatures. That said, if you have to use your phone, avoid extended periods and try to keep it warm inside a pocket the rest of the time. Alternatively, using a protective case such as Salt Cases might help as well. 

Bring a Portable Battery Charger

Anker is a popular choice for avoiding a dead battery, since it’s one of the best in the market for providing many hours of extended use in a lightweight package. (I personally own an Anker Astro E4 13000mAh, and it kept my phone alive while using battery-sucking GPS during an eight-hour road trip to Montreal.)

Turn Your Phone Off

Yes, it seems obvious, but due to our reliance on them it’s not always the first thought. Yet this simple act can preserve a battery, reduce the effects of extreme heat or cold, and prevent further water damage (such as short circuiting) if it’s turned off right away. 

Prevent Your Phone From Getting Stolen

Depending on your destination, Johnny Jet, founder of travel site JohnnyJet.com, cautions against certain behaviors, such as placing your phone on a table at an outdoor restaurant, or keeping it in a bag. He personally wears a SCOTTeVEST jacket since it contains at least 20 pockets, including secret ones, to reduce the chance of having it stolen in case he’s mugged. Jet also buries his phone at the beach (in a LifeProof case) to prevent it from getting stolen while taking a dip in the ocean. (He places a towel on top as a marker.)

In the event your phone is stolen, the password protection feature, available on both iPhones and Androids, is a strong deterrent against thieves accessing your personal information.  

Don’t Leave Your Phone on an Airplane Seat During Takeoff and Landing

Jet says he’s heard stories of phones sliding off the seat and disappearing. 

Leave Your Phone in the Hotel Safe

If your trip involves activities that pose a high risk to phones, such as sky diving or snorkeling, consider leaving it behind.

Buy Insurance

Baker recommends AppleCare for iPhones and SquareTrade for Androids. “They’re much better than what you get from cell phone companies,” he says. These plans will cover damage resulting from common pitfalls such as dropping it or spilling water on it.

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