PLANNING SOME spring or summer travel?
Bringing along the right devices and apps,
and practicing some basic cautions, can
make a good trip an extraordinary one.
Here are some questions I’ve been
asked recently; I hope the
answers can help make your
travels go smoothly.
Q We’re headed on a road
trip across many states. How can
we get internet access on the road?
A There are two main ways to access the
Internet while traveling: Wi-Fi and cellular
connectivity. With the former, you can take
advantage of free Wi-Fi hot spots in public
places like hotels, restaurants and trailer parks.
On your smartphone, tablet or laptop, ;nd the
name of the establishment’s wireless network
(when in doubt, ask what it is), connect to it (a
password may be required) and then open your
Web browser to begin sur;ng.
But be safe when using public Wi-Fi, as
cyber-thieves could be out to steal your data.
Be sure you have an anti-malware program
installed on your device to detect and stop an
intruder. You usually must download one from
your app store. Also, err on the side of caution by
sticking to basics like reading the news, checking the weather or streaming music or video.
For tasks that require signing into an
account, such as reading email, visiting social
media, shopping online or checking your bank
balance, it’s much safer to use your smartphone’s cellular connection instead of trusting a public Wi-Fi hot spot. Be aware, though,
that this counts toward your monthly data
plan, and if you’re in another country it will be
considered roaming, which can incur an additional charge.
If you want secure internet access on your
laptop, make your smartphone a personal hot
spot (under Options or Settings), and then wirelessly connect your computer to your phone for
the browsing session.
Q I’m going on vacation and plan to take lots
of photos and videos with my smartphone.
How can I back up these photos for safety and
to free up space in my phone?
A There are a few things you can do so you don’t
lose all those photos in case your smartphone
(or camera) is lost, stolen or damaged.
• Use a cloud service that lets you wirelessly
back up all your photos and videos to a pass-
word-protected online account. Examples of
cloud apps include Microsoft’s
OneDrive, Google Drive,
iCloud, Dropbox and Box.
You typically get a few
gigabytes of storage free
and pay for more. Some
services will automatically
upload a copy of every photo
or video, but this will use up data
if you’re using your phone’s cellu-
lar connection. You can also manually
upload photos when using free Wi-Fi.
• If you have a laptop with you, use your
smartphone’s charging cable to plug it into
the computer and manually copy your photos
and videos. That way you have a backup in case
something happens to your smartphone. Once
your cellphone is connected to your computer,
browse the directories on your phone and look
for the folder called DCIM. All your photos and
videos are in there. Cut (or copy) and paste
them onto the computer’s drive.
• If your Android phone takes removable
microSD memory cards, bring a couple with you
so you can transfer photos and videos onto the
card and then remove them from your phone if
you’re running out of space. Keep those teeny
memory cards in a safe place, then copy them
to a computer or upload them to social media
upon your return.
While the iPhone doesn’t support removable memory cards, special ;ash drives let you
copy photos and videos by plugging them into
the iPhone’s Lightning connector or by wirelessly transferring ;les onto the drive.
Q We are traveling to Europe and wonder if
you can recommend apps for basic translations and for converting currency.
A Because you’ll have your smartphone with
you wherever your travels take you, be sure to
load it up with some helpful (and free) apps.
• For language translation, consider Google
Translate. You can copy and paste text, speak
into the smartphone and even use the camera to
instantly translate text in one of ;; languages.
• To convert currency, try XE Currency, which
delivers up-to-the-minute exchange rates and
charts for every world currency.
• Finally, for great maps and directions,
consider Waze, the world’s largest communi-ty-based traffic and navigation app. The more the
merrier, if you will, as you’re joined with many
other drivers in your area to give and get real-time
traffic and road info. This crowdsourced approach
should save you time, gas money and aggravation
on your road trips. C
TECH CONNEC TION
Marc Saltzman, a leading
high-tech reporter, contributes to more than three dozen
appears on radio and TV,
and is the author of more
than ;; books. He’s on
Twitter at @marc_saltzman
Saltzman will answer selected
questions in this column.
He regrets that unpublished
questions cannot be
Please include “Marc Saltzman
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On the road
Tech tips for smooth travels
cloud apps include Microsoft’s