Before You Travel with Tech: 3 Tips You Must Know

Before You Travel with Tech: 3 Tips You Must Know

Tech items, such as tablets and GPS units, can make great travel companions, but first you have to know how to make the most of them. This question came from a reader: My mini iPad was a gift but came with no instructions. I took it with me on my trip to Peru, but once I was there, I couldn’t access the iPad even to send a small message back to Canada to say “Everything is OK.” I am very disappointed with my gift—it was useless!

An iPad mini is far from useless, but if you don’t know how to use it, it’s about as useful as a car with a manual transmission is to someone who has no clue how to drive a stick shift. It’s really important to familiarize yourself with a piece of technology before taking it on the road.

Did you know that complete instructions for any Apple device are always only a few taps away? Apple maintains an extensive database of instructions for all of their devices. Go to the Apple website. [In the search bar at the top, type in “mini iPad user guide.”] The results will lead you to a useful guide that will answer many of your questions.

Of course, the time to look for instructions is not while you’re on vacation but before you depart. If you plan on using a tablet to stay in touch on vacation, here are few things you need to consider:

1. Will you have WiFi where you’re going? WiFi service is so common in many countries that we take it for granted when traveling. A tablet is basically a WiFi appliance. Without WiFi, it’s like a car without gas—it won’t go. (Some tablets can connect to your phone’s data plan, but that needs to be set up before you travel. Your phone plan may not be available when traveling abroad.) Check ahead to see if the places you are staying offer WiFi. The same is true for a GPS system. It might be fine and dandy for driving in the USA, but if you are heading into Mexico, Canada, or Central or South America, your device might not have maps for those regions installed.

2. Practice using the device. If you have never received email on your new iPad before, you’ll want to make sure your account is set up and you know how to do things like send and receive email and attach photographs. If you plan to post to Facebook, make sure the Facebook app is set up properly and running. (If you’re in Peru and realize you don’t know your password, the fact that it’s on a notepad back in your office won’t help much.) Once you have set up a new GPS, take some trial drives before hitting the road.

3. Check your power supply. Make sure you have both a wall and a car charger for your device. If you’re headed to another country, check to see if you need a power converter for charging. Plugs and voltage vary from country to country.

[Ed. note: If you get stuck setting up a new device, give Dr. Networking a call at 541-488-8765 and we will gladly help you.]

~ Cynthia
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