‘UnlockBase’ Archive

21 Tech Travel Hacks That Will Make Your Life So Much Easier

Whether you’re traveling across the country or simply down the road to your grandma’s, it’s important that you take advantage of technology.  Here’s a quick look at 21 tech travel hacks that will make your life so much easier. And don’t forget that UnlockBase can take care of all your cellular unlocking needs.

1) Travel in style

If you can’t afford a first-class ticket with access to a personal TV, simply use a plastic bag to turn your smartphone or tablet into a mini TV.  Put your device in the plastic bag and hang it from the tray hook on the back of the seat in front of you.

Travel in Style :)

Travel in Style :)

2) Do a screenshot of a map

When traveling abroad, roaming data rates can be enormous.  When you take a screenshot of a map you’re needing, though, you can save it for later when you don’t have access to WiFi; this will help ensure you don’t use any unnecessary data while overseas.

London map screenshot

London map screenshot

3) Use cord retracting headphones

To keep your headphone cords from getting tangled, purchase a pair with retractable cords.

4) Save on data

Did you know you can use Foursquare to identify locals who don’t care to share their WiFi passwords?  By doing this, you can keep your data usage to a minimum when traveling.

5) Use airport outlets

Most airports these days are full of USB and electrical outlets.  By using these outlets, you can stay charged when traveling by air.

Take advantage of Airport Outlet

Take advantage of Airport Outlet

6) Improvise with hotel furniture

Does your hotel room not come with a desk for your laptop?  If not, simply put your room’s ironing board at the end of the bed.

7) Keep all important documents on your phone

From your Passport to your birth certificate, take pictures of these documents and save them to your phone.  Make sure to delete them after you’ve returned home.

8) Boost your charge

Often when traveling, you’ll have limited opportunities to charge your phone.  By putting it in Airplane Mode, however, you can charge your phone faster.

iPhone Airplane Mode

iPhone Airplane Mode

9) Bring along adapters 

Depending on where you’re traveling to, you may need adapters for your electronics.  Fortunately, there are all-in-one adapters that can meet almost all of your international adapter needs.

Smart Power Adapters

Smart Power Adapters

10) Pack a power strip

Since you’ll likely have several devices you want to charge at once — phone, tablet, laptop, camera, etc. — make sure to pack a miniature power strip.

11) Plastic bags work well for water proofing

Going on a cruise?  For a walk on the beach?  When it comes to water proofing your tech gadgets, simply put them in a sealable plastic bag.

Ziplock - or cheap efficient waterproof bag ?

Ziplock or cheap efficient waterproof bag ?

12) Use cloud storage

When taking pictures and videos while traveling, use WiFi at your hotel to upload the pictures to the cloud.  This ensures if something happens to your phone, you’ll still have your media.

13) Use WiFi to make phone calls

Download an easy-to-use use voice app, such as Google Voice, to make free calls back home using WiFi.  You can also use this type of app to send texts and much more.

14) Buy a wallet that is RFID proof

With an RFID-proof wallet you’ll deter data thieves from accessing the information on your credit and debit cards.

SecrID Card Protectors

SecrID Card Protectors

15) Download a travel app

Almost all major cities have unique travel apps.  Make sure to use them to find interesting attractions and activities.

16) Check in using your phone

When traveling by air, you can usually use your phone to check in.  All you need to do is present the QR code you receive on your phone and you’ll be allowed to go through security.

17) Find Airbnb lodging options

If you’re traveling to an area that is lacking in hotel options, use your phone or tablet to search for Airbnb homes and condos.  You might find you can rent a home for cheaper than a hotel room.

18) Download credit card apps

For each credit card that you take with you, download its app to your smartphone; this will help you keep your finances in check.

iPhone Credit Card App

iPhone Credit Card App

19) Consider roaming services

If you know you’re going to use your phone a lot while traveling abroad, make sure to take advantage of a roaming services provider.

20) Invest in screen protection

From in your home to around the world, a tempered glass screen protector protects your phone’s screen from cracks and chips.  You can also find screen protectors that fit your other gadgets.

21) Bring an extra battery

By bringing along an extra battery for your phone and laptop, you can rest assured you’ll have power when you need it most.

Mobile Phones: 4 Innovative Companies & Organizations

Did you know that there are nearly seven billion cell phone subscriptions? This means that there’s almost one cell phone subscription for everyone on the planet. In fact, cell phones are more accessible than toilets. While you may think you know everything there is to know about mobile phones, there are likely several companies you haven’t heard of that offer valuable mobile phone advice and services. Here’s a quick look at the top 4 companies you need to know about.

1) Gizmogul

You’ve probably heard of companies that let you trade your old devices for cash, but what about trading them for charity donations? Gizmogul specializes in providing cash for cell phones, with a portion of the proceeds being given to charities. You can even choose for all of your phone’s proceeds to be given to a charity. And if you’re looking to buy a phone, Gizmogul can help you purchase one that meets your needs, and when making the purchase, you can feel good knowing that part of the money being spent is going to a charity.

2) KnowRoaming

Did you know that a little sticker could save you enormous amounts of money on roaming fees? Yep, that’s right! KnowRoaming provides its customers with a sticker that goes on their SIM cards in their phones. When using the phones at home, normal carrier rates apply. However, when traveling abroad, the sticker activates itself and the phones switch to the KnowRoaming network, which provides cheap roaming rates. Remember, prior to using it – you’ll need to unlock your phone first.

3) Cell Phones for Soldiers

One of the best ways to support our beloved freedom is by joining the Armed Forces. Another great way is by making sure that each soldier has a reliable way of communicating with their loved ones back home, and this is the goal that Cell Phones for Soldiers strives to achieve. The organization focuses on collecting funds and phones to give to soldiers who are both overseas and at home. You can either sell your phone to the organization or donate it for free. It’s a win-win for everyone.

4) Free Government Cell Phones

The Free Government Cell Phones organization specializes in providing valuable information related to helping people in need find free phones and free carrier services. When it comes to being a go-to source for all things relating to free phones, this is the organization you want to contact. There are literally hundreds of programs that offer free phones and service, and Free Government Cell Phones can help you connect with the correct service provider. And even better is that the organization can help you become a government phone program sales representative, with the potential of earning more than $1,000 a week.

Top Mobile Bloggers You Need to be Following

When it comes to mobile phones, you probably have a difficult time staying up-to-date with the latest trends. After all, every time you turn around a new phone is coming out with updated features and capabilities. Fortunately, though, the Internet simplifies staying in the loop on all things related to mobile phones. Here’s a quick look at a few of the top mobile bloggers and content creators who can keep you current on everything you need to know about mobile phones.

TechDirt – Wireless

You’ll find anything and everything related to wireless devices and networking at techdirt.com/blog/wireless/. One of the latest blogs to be posted takes a closes look at how Verizon is finally allowing “a total opt out from sneaky super cookies.” You’ll also learn how a Google-powered mobile network will soon the change the wireless industry. Looking for something related to the battle between AT&T and T-Mobile? If so, check out this post. Karl Bode, along with several bloggers, provides the content on this blog.

TechDirt - Wireless news

TechDirt – Wireless news

iDownloadBlog

A quick glance at the iDownloadBlog will provide you with an insider’s view of the soon to come Samsung Galaxy S6, Apple’s latest iPhone and all things to do with jailbreaking a phone. Jake Smith and a few other content creators run the blog, brining you must-know information on all of today’s mobile phone news.

iDownloadBlog

iDownloadBlog

The Hacker News

Looking for a site with postings that provide you with the good, the bad and the ugly of mobile devices? If so, you’ll definitely want to check out The Hacker News. Two of the best content creators on this site are Mohit Kumar and Swati Khandelwal. They provide you with an insider’s view on how wireless routers are getting hacked and much more.

The Hacker News

The Hacker News

ZDNet

When it comes to all things related to mobile phones, Matthew Miller has the latest news and reviews on updates and relevant news. With in-depth reviews on both Android and iOS based phones, you’re sure to learn neat tips and tricks about today’s hottest smartphones. You can rest assured that the author knows what he’s talking about. He’s been working with mobile phones since 1997 and has owned more than 200 devices.

Key Benefits to Unlocking Your Mobile Device

Unlocked mobile devices represent a large sector of the communication industry, and unlocked phones are perhaps one of the most effective devices for expanding the reach of communication for many people… Unlocked phones have been the topic of many debates in the U.S. Congress, who voted to permanently allow the unlocking of cell phones. People tend to think of unlocked phones as something that people want for the sole purpose of escaping contracts or obligations to their carrier. However, unlocked phones are actually used for several other purposes. Unlocked phones have been used as a vital part of Women’s Protective Services; they enable a larger geographic area to use a given phone; and they improve the global economy.

Women’s Protective Services

Unlocked mobile devices, particularly cell phones, are used to help women leave abusive, dangerous situations. An unlocked mobile device gives women a tool to use in the event of an emergency. For example, an abusive spouse may be stalking a woman, and she can use the phone to notify emergency responders of anything that would make her unsure about her setting, such as leaving work with the spouse’s car nearby.

Reach a Larger Geographic Area

Although cell phone carriers tend to be located and provide service along areas with a high population density, millions of people live outside the reach of the major cell phone service providers. Unlocked phones give these people access to communication, which, in the case of illness, injury, or simply the passage of knowledge; can be a life-saving tool. An unlocked phone can be used on international carriers where the phone’s original carrier does not offer service, or it may be used to reduce the charges of using the phone abroad. Recycled phones are often unlocked and sent to areas of the world in need of modern communication. Furthermore, unlocked phones impact the global economy.

Unlocked Phones and the World Market

If a carrier had the right to nullify and make all phone unlocks illegal, it would devastate the world economy. Unlocked phones give people the option to switch carriers for a variety of reasons, including leaving carriers who charge exuberant fees, have a lack of geographic service, or for the need to move overseas. Not only do unlocked phones help the world market, but they actually increase the competitive efforts between providers, which helps ensure that the cost of using mobile devices stays minimal. If the competition did not exist, a dominant company would gain a monopoly and have unrestricted reasoning to increase prices beyond what most people could afford. This would spiral into the return to the age of the landline phones, and the production and use of cell phones would come to grinding halt.

The advancement of mobile technology has united the people of the world in ways never thought possible. Most cell phones have an initial lock placed on them by a carrier, but the need for effective two-factor communication between people around the world has contributed to the widespread practice of unlocking mobile devices. If the U.S. Government condones the process of unlocking mobile devices for the above mentioned reasons, what reason do you have for not ensuring your phone has access to communication on a global scale?

The Insider's Guide to Traveling Abroad With Smartphones

When preparing for a trip overseas, there’s so much to think about. Let’s take a quick look at a few mobile phone tips to follow both before and while traveling abroad.

Before You Go

Unlock your phone: A lot of people forget to have their phones unlocked so they can be used overseas, at a much cheaper rate. Don’t let this happen to you! You have two basic ways to get your phone unlocked; either through your network carrier or through a third-party service provider, like UnlockBase.

Before your go unlock your Cell Phone

Unlocking your phone allows you to use it on a local carrier serving the country you are traveling to. Without local service, or in the least an international data plan, you will likely pay upward of $15/MB for data; this means sending a simple picture message will cost about $30.

Gear up

  • Phone chargers: You’ll also want to stock up on phone chargers, preferably ones that connect to your computer through a USB port. You might even want to invest in extra battery packs to ensure you can stay charged on the go.

  • We know you’re already planning on taking the coolest selfie for trip, so you’ll want to purchase a lens that is compatible with your smartphone and possibly even a selfie stick.

Download: You’ll want to download these four apps on your phone before you head out:

  • Currency App: This app simplifies knowing how much money you’re spending when dealing with different currencies. All you do is select the currency you’re making a purchase with and then select the conversion you want to take place.
  • Transit App: If you’re using public transportation, Transit App is a must. It shows you the quickest way to get to your destination using a variety of transportation methods, including bike shares, commuter rails and more.
  • Data Manager App: “This app helps you take control of your mobile data usage and save you money on your monthly phone bill.” Clint Johnston from TripHackr says.
Clint Johnston from TripHackr

Clint Johnston from TripHackr

  • Text Messaging App: Rick Steves, America’s leading authority on European travel, recommends the apps below, “all of which “work similarly for text messaging.” : WhatsAppText PlusTextfree, and React.
Rick Steves

Rick Steves

  • Offi Journey Planner: If you’re using public transportation, the Offi Journey Planner app is a must use. It shows you the quickest way to get to your destination using a variety of transportation methods, including bike shares, commuter rails and more.

Once You Arrive

Buy a SIM card: Go to a retailer — possibly even a gas station — that sells SIM cards and data plans for the carrier you want to switch to. Simply pop the SIM card in your phone and follow the activation process; you’ll then have a working cell phone with cheap international calling.

If you don’t want to take the route of switching out SIM cards, you can always take advantage of KnowRoaming, which requires the simple, one-time application of a sticker on your current SIM card that activates itself and provides cheap international voice, text and data roaming rates in over 200 countries. KnowRoaming’s prepaid system puts you in control of your usage and spending, which you can monitor in real-time using the KnowRoaming app.

Knowroaming SIM Card

Dave Dean from Too Many Adapters gave KnowRoaming a try and was more than satisfied.

Dave Dean from Too many adapters

Dave Dean from Too many adapters

WiFi: While on your trip you’ll want to avoid costly data usage charges by tapping into free WiFi connections as much as possible. SpeedSpot is an app that helps you identify the closest free Internet connections.

Translation: If you’re in need of a translation app, there’s no better one than OneTongue, which has the capability to support eight users simultaneously.

Stay connected with friends and family: When it comes to staying in contact with your loved ones back home, you can’t go wrong with Skype. Simply download the app to your smartphone and you’ll be able to make international calls for as cheap as 1 cent a minute. Google Hangouts is another excellent communication app, supporting both voice and video connections.

Extra Tips to Keep In Mind

  • Keeping your phone in airplane mode ensures that you don’t unknowingly use any data,
    and it’s also ideal to turn off any push notifications.
  • When communicating with your friends and loved ones, do your best to do so with a free WiFi connection.
  • Have a great time!

Top 5 Budget-friendly Unlocked International Cell Phones for Travel

When it comes to mobile phones, most people are choosing to hop on the smartphone bandwagon.  Not only do these phones offer an assortment of features and application capabilities, but they also come in many shapes and sizes.  And best of all, some of them are unlocked, meaning they can be used on various networks.  Most importantly, some of them can be used overseas, making them perfect for those of you who travel internationally or have loved ones who are in the military.

Here’s a quick look at five of the most popular unlocked phones that can be used internationally.  Do keep in mind, though, that once you land in a different country, you’ll need to purchase a new SIM card for the carrier you wish to use; this allows you to make international calls without going bankrupt.

Asus ZenFone 4

The ZenFone 4 is an incredibly affordable smartphone.  If you want a larger display screen, opt for the ZenPhone 5.  The ZenFone comes with several attractive features, including:

  • 5-megapixel camera
  • Intel Atom processor
  • Android 4.3
  • 1GB of RAM
  • Moto G

If you liked the Moto X, then you’ll love the Moto G.  Available without a contract and for only $179, the smartphone features Android 4.4 KitKat, great performance, and specifically directed toward people traveling internationally, it is available with GSM.

Nokia Lumia 625

If you’re wanting to travel with a Windows phone, then the Nokia Lumia 625 is an excellent option that you should take advantage of.  It has 512MB of RAM, a 4.7-inch display, a 2,000mAh battery and much more.  Although this phone regularly retails for nearly $300, you can usually find it online for much cheaper.

Asus PadFone Mini

Wanting a smartphone that doubles as a tablet?  If so, you’ll love the PadFone Mini.  It comes out of the box with Android 4.3 as well as 1GB of RAM.  It’s 8-megapixel camera takes amazing pictures and captures clear video.  When it comes to extreme versatility for international travel, this is the phone you’ll want to invest in.

Sony Xperia E Dual

Although this phone doesn’t come with a microSD card slot, it still features a rear-facing camera, 4GB of memory, a big battery life and plenty of compatible apps.  You can usually find this phone for well under $100, and it works well with just about any international carrier.

If you would like more information about unlocking your cell phone to use while traveling abroad, contact UnlockBase today.

10 Most Frequently Asked Questions Answered Pertaining the FCC Guidelines on Mobile Device Unlocking

Here’s a quick look at 10 common questions and answers relating to the FCC and its unlocking guidelines.

1) Is the FCC okay with consumers unlocking their cell phones?

Yes.  There was a ban on unlocking phones, but it has been lifted.

2) What do the FCC guidelines mandate U.S. wireless carriers to do?

The guidelines instruct that five of the nation’s biggest US wireless carriers must inform their customers of the dates and stipulations related to when their phones can be unlocked.

3) Does the FCC implement a fee when a phone is unlocked?

No.  The FCC mandates that carriers not charge an unlock fee when a consumer has met all ‘unlocking’ requirements.  The providers themselves, however, may charge a fee if the consumer has not met the requirements, such as an Early Termination Fee.

4) Does the FCC decide when phones can be unlocked?

The FCC says that phones can be unlocked when the contract with the carrier has been fulfilled.  If the contract has not been fulfilled and the carrier charges an Early Termination Fee, this fee must first be paid before the phone can be unlocked.

5) What does the FCC say about unlocking prepaid phones?

All prepaid phones can be unlocked, but there may be delayed unlocking dates.  For example, some carriers will mandate that you cannot unlock a prepaid phone until after it has been activated for at least 60 days.  All carriers must allow prepaid phones to be unlocked at least one year after initial activation.

6) Does the FCC unlock all phones once the contract has ended?

No. The FCC itself does not unlock phones, however, some carriers automatically unlock them after a contract is up.

7) What does the FCC say about unlocking phones for military members?

There are exceptions in which the FCC mandates that military members who are deployed internationally will receive the right to have their phones unlocked before a contract has been fulfilled, and most times, the associated accounts must be in good standing.

8) If I owe money on my phone but not the service itself, can I get my phone unlocked?

If you purchased your phone through a network carrier and your contract has ended but you still owe money on the phone, you will most likely be required to pay off the balance on your phone before you can unlock it.

9) Can a lost or stolen phone be unlocked?

Yes, but not if it is reported lost or stolen before it gets unlocked.

10) Will an unlocked phone work on any carrier?

No. The technology on your phone must be compatible with the technology being used by the network carrier. GSM Cell Phone will only work on a GSM Carrier and will not work on CDMA Network Provider, and CDMA Cell Phone will not work on GSM Carrier but only CDMA Service Provider.

If you would like more information on unlocking your phone, contact UnlockBase today.

The cost of roaming is overwhelming and confusing. If you’re with AT&T, it remains one of the most expensive carriers for using a cellphone internationally. Learn more about how much you’re paying in AT&T roaming fees, and two solutions to help avoid these costs by unlocking your phone.

Infographic | Avoid AT&T Roaming Costs by Unlocking Cell Phone

Infographic | Avoid AT&T Roaming Costs by Unlocking Cell Phone

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The hot button issue of unlocking and jailbreaking phones continues to be a driving force behind the decision to sign up for service with a specific cellphone carrier. Before you find yourself pulling out hairs and arguing with your service provider, you need to know what happens to the millions of devices that have been unlocked and the steps you can take for having your device unlocked. You never really know what happens to your cellphone once it’s gone, but it could very well change another person’s life.

Locked VS. Unlocked Phones – the eBook

Locked VS Unlocked Phones - Download eBook

Unlock your Cell Phone today with UnlockBase

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