As I recently became a member of the ever growing iPhone community and had a trip to Norway coming up, I did some research on iPhone travel. I knew my new gadget will be a helpful buddy on the road. But safety first! As we all know, Data Roaming can be very expensive. There are horror stories of guys who had to pay more than a thousand bucks after their trip to a foreign country. If you don’t want to bring yourself in that situation, here is what you do.

First of all: Turn Data Roaming off.
You better do that before crossing borders, because every kilobyte that your iPhone sends and receives costs. You simply go to “Settings->General->Network->Data Roaming” and switch it off. This is the best option if you still want to use your iphone to receive calls and messages.

Set the Usage Tracker to Zero
If there is any situation you really need Internet because you are lost in the jungle (hard to find a hotspot there), make sure to control the amount of data you are sending and receiving while doing so. Before turning Data Roaming on again, you should go to “Settings->Usage” and set everything to zero.

Turn Fetch New Data off
To prevent your iPhone from trying to download eMails every few minutes you should go to “Settings->Mail, Contacts, Calendars->Fetch New Data” and set everything to manual.

Set to Airplane Mode
If you are not only afraid of high data roaming costs but also about having to pay for incoming calls and messages, consider setting your device into Airplane Mode, which basically turns your phone into a simple iPod Touch.

Also check your provider’s offers on roaming packages, but they are normally very expensive. If you are abroad for more than a few days, you might consider buying a prepaid card by a foreign provider.

And now this is the fun part: the Apps! There are a lot of Travel Apps and I’d like to introduce to you the ones that I found most useful while being in Norway:

Wi-Fi Finder
Very handy App which shows up all the free WiFi Hotspots around you. Make sure to download the Offline WiFi Finder within the App before your trip.

Skype
This is probably the most obvious recommendation, but shouldn’t be missed on this list. Needless to say that you can call your friends and family at home for free with the Skype App once you found a free WiFi.

WhatsApp
If you have a lot of friends with iPhones or Android phones, WhatsApp is just the thing to send free short messages including photos, geodata and so on for free.

Currency
Well, explains itself, does it? I am so used to the Euro and travelling almost everywhere within Europe without having to worry about currency calculations, this App was very useful in Norway.

Dictionary
Even if you are familiar with a language a dictionary App can be a lifesaver. I use the dict.cc App but there are several good ones in the Appstore.

Instagram
Now we are there! This is probably my favourite App ever. So addictive! Well that doesn’t predestine this one to be taken with you in internet nowhereland, but still. Instagram is basically a mixture of Hipstamatic (we love that one, right?) and Twitter. So you take photos, add a filter and location and share it with your followers. And its free! Here is one of my favourite pictures I took with Instagram in Norway:

See more of them here. My fellow Travelette Kathrine told me about this fun Hipstamatic lense that turns all your friends and of course yourself into beachwear models. Ha!

AroundMe/Foursquare/Qype
Location based services aren’t just there to tell your friends where you are at the moment, even if it is a good way to make them jealous while you are on the road. But you can also use them to see what is around you. In the mood for a coffee? Check Around Me, Foursquare or Qype for coffee shop recommendations in your surrounding area.

Games/podcasts/audiobooks/books
Travelling often has a lot to do with waiting. Adding to our “Things to do at the airport when your flight is delayed list“, it is always smart to have some games or books with you. Consider downloading apps like angrybirds, ibook or kindle and fill up your itunes library with good podcasts and audiobooks or even movies before your trip.

I guess these guidelines are pretty basic and for total iphone beginners like me, but someone has to tell the newbies, right? Oh and don’t hesitate to recommend us your favourite Apps in the comments below!


This post was written by Nina Hüpen-Bestendonk, who has a funny name even for Germans; she is a wicked go-getter and creative freelance designer, photographer and blogger.

She has an eye for beauty and even finds it in ugly apartment blogs. Her weekly photo chronicle “My week in pictures” has already become a classic among urban Berliners. Find out more at smaracuja.de.