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How Do I Use My Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe

Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe – In today’s connected world, it’s more important than ever before to be able to access our network at any time. Fortunately, these days we have plenty of different options, Verizon, T Mobile, AT&T, and Straight Talk.

Read Post  Solo Female Travel in Europe: Everything You Need to Know

You can still use your cell phone while traveling to Europe if you plan properly and use all of the tools at your disposal. One word of advice: Don’t just use your plan without speaking with your provider. You could rack up hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in roaming fees. Compare this to something simple like a $10 a day extra fee — just by a bit of pre-planning.

Avoid sticker shock with your next phone bill by being smart and planning in advance.

Many travelers prefer to use their own cell phones while traveling to Europe. Some people even like to bring their other mobile devices for email, communications, watching videos, browsing the Web and so on.

The good news is, it isn’t that difficult to use your smartphone in Europe (or Traveling to Asia) to access the Internet, make calls or text. The following explains everything you need to do.

Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe

Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe

Using My Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe: Talk To Your Current Provider

Your current provider probably has some kind of international plan that will allow you to use your cell phone while traveling to Europe. People go on vacations all of the time, so it is not outside of the realm of possibility that they have some sort of package that would work best for you.

Your Smartphone cell plan provider in advance and speak with them about your options. Make sure that you cancel your international plan when you return home! Tips for Traveling Internationally

How to Use Your Smartphone in Europe

If you are from the United States, Canada, Mexico, or another country, traveling with your smartphone in Europe means additional fees, be it for calls, text or other types of data access.

If you are going to use your own phone, decide first how you intend to use it (for calls only, for text, the web, etc.). You can use your regular plan for calls, text and web browsing, but it will be more expensive.

There are international service plans you can sign up for a lower cost, i.e. flat fee or limiting you to a specific number of megabytes.

Before doing any of these, make sure first that your phone does work in Europe (you can check with your carrier), and then check the international rates.

Before you go to Europe, activate your phone’s international service or call your carrier and ask them to turn on international roaming for data, voice, text or whatever service you plan to use.

Once your phone has been set up, you can access Wi-Fi in Wi-Fi hotspots, which are pretty common in the continent.

What type of phone do I have

The easiest way to find what type of phone you have and what phone model, is to check the settings in your phone.

  1. Go to the Settings or Options menu, scroll to the bottom, and click on ‘About phone’.
  2. The name and model number of your Smartphone will be listed.

Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe and Smartphone Data Plans and Texting

If you want to use smartphone data plans and texting in Europe, keep the following things in mind.

  • First, Europe uses the GSM (“Global System for Mobiles”) system.
  • All American carriers use GSM except Verizon and Sprint that use CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access).

However, this should not be an issue since most smartphones today can connect to both network systems.

European SIM Card

European SIM Card

The easiest way to use data plans and text services in Europe is to use international roaming as suggested above. If you find it too expensive, you can sign up for an international data plan which is something your carrier and other services will offer.

The cost will depend on how you plan to use your mobile device, and it’s certainly going to be more expensive if you’re going to watch movies or YouTube videos.

Plan ahead for e-Learning success as well, including a language while you are on holiday. Even a simple language translator website will be helpful for specific words and phrases as you need them.

Get a Local SIM Card

Depending on where you’re traveling, it might make a lot of sense to get a local SIM card. In order to install your SIM card, you will need to unlock your phone. Many carriers will allow you to do this as long as the phone is paid for.

If your carrier pushes back on unlocking your phone, you can always have it unlocked once you arrive in Europe. There is no real standard of excellence for having your phone unlocked by a local shop, so make sure that you check around and get solid references before you go this route.

Once your phone is unlocked you can use your local SIM card with ease! Make sure that you keep your American SIM in a safe spot because you’ll need it when you return home.

Using a European SIM Card

The simplest and most practical option is to use a European SIM card, and you can get these from various European mobile carriers. In most cases you’re going to have to unlock your phone so it can use the SIM card from other carriers.

The majority of US smartphones are locked, and you may want to get in touch with your mobile company for assistance on unlocking it. If you’d rather unlock your smartphone yourself, download software that unlocks smartphones and use their codes to unlock your device.

There are several services like these available online and the process is fairly straightforward:

  1. Pay the fee
  2. Provide some info about the phone on the website
  3. The service will email you the code to unlock your mobile
  4. Once your phone is unlocked, you can look for a SIM card in mobile phone stores, electronics counters and in some cases, vending machines.

These SIM cards cost anywhere from 4 to 8 euros, and they don’t come with any commitment or contract. If you want a SIM card with data access good for a month, expect to pay around 13 to 25 euros for the card.

Before you buy, take a look at your smartphone and make sure that the card is compatible. Some mobile devices like the iPhone use a different type of nano-SIM card, so make certain the card fits your phone.

Talk to the clerk and check the rates for calls and to and from the European countries you will be visiting. Use the same approach for texting.

  1. Once you’ve got a SIM card that works with your smartphone, ask the store personnel to install it and do a test call.
  2. Turn your mobile on, enter the PIN and if necessary switch the language to English.
  3. Don’t forget to record the PIN number and ask how to check the credit balance.

In some European countries, your SIM card may have to be registered along with your passport for security reasons. Follow the instructions and after an hour or two you’ll be able to use it.

If you run out of SIM, you can get one in any mobile phone store and tell the salesperson how much credit you want. The clerk is either going to give you the credit over the phone or you will be given a voucher with instructions.

Best Data Plan WiFi Hotspot Devices for Travel

Charging Your Cell Phone in Europe

One of the most common mistakes people make is thinking that you’ll need a costly voltage converter to charge your mobile. In fact, the majority of mobile devices, tablets and laptops have battery chargers that can work on 220 volts used in Europe and countries in the world, as well as 110 volts (the US).

Cell phone chargers can work with different frequencies from 50 Hertz to 60 Hertz. Unless your mobile device specifically says to use a converter, don’t use it because it could actually damage your mobile because it already has a converter.

If you want to know if your cell phone has dual voltage capabilities, read the words on the charger.

  • If your cell phone has dual voltage you will see something like “Input 100 – 240V, 50 – 60 Hz.”
  • Then, if your mobile phone is dual voltage, you still need to use a plug adapter, but not a voltage converter.

Before going on a trip, you have to keep in mind that all countries have their own electrical system, and that will determine what type of plug adapters you have to use.

In Italy for instance, the majority of outlets are compatible with two round prongs, but bathrooms have three-pronged grounded outlets.

If necessary, you should purchase a multi-country plug adapter if you’re not sure which type of adapter to use. Better yet, you should research the plug adapters that are used in the countries you’re going to visit. Thanks to the Internet, this should be easy, and if you’re not really sure you can always send an email to the website and get clarification.

If you’re only going to bring a cell phone, a single adapter will do. However, if you’re bringing a laptop, tablet, and other devices, it’s best to have several adapters as your hotel room might only have a few electrical outlets available.

In some cases you also have to plug an adapter into another before you can use it. For instance, you can put plug a two-pronged adapter onto a three-prong European adapter to make it work.

No matter how many plug adapters you buy, make sure the plug fits in properly.

Prepaid Cell Phones in Europe

There’s no lacking of prepaid cell phones in Europe, but when you buy a GSM prepaid wireless and/or a SIM card, make certain call time is included.

Charging Your Cell Phone in Europe

Charging Your Cell Phone in Europe

If you’re in Germany, you can get a Handy for less than 60 euros which includes a refillable SIM card with prepaid minutes. The set up is usually pay per minute but the cost varies per country.

Almost always, however, it’s cheaper compared to international roaming.

Another option is to buy a GSM phone before leaving for Europe, but if you decide to do this, check the various services online to make sure you get your money’s worth. Once you’ve got your cell phone you can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi available throughout the continent.

Set Up a Mobile Hotspot

If you don’t need to make phone calls, you can always invest in a mobile hotspot. Companies like TEP Wireless, Skyroam, and Keepgo all have mobile hotspot technology.

A hotspot will enable you to log into the internet without using local Wi-Fi. If you want to browse the internet safely and rapidly, a mobile hotspot is really the best way to go. Many accommodations offer Wi-Fi for free, but in hotels there is usually a fee.

The Wi-Fi signal also varies, as in some places it’s great and in others it is less than ideal, which is the reason why many prefer to get a data plan.

Generally speaking, the speed is almost always good enough to send email and browse the web, but it’s not as reliable for watching HD films or video. If you have a dedicated data plan however this won’t be a problem.

All these prepaid cell phones can take advantage of Wi-Fi wherever they’re available, and in most cases, your best bet will be a café. Starbucks and McDonald’s also have Wi-Fi.

You can also get Internet access in popular tourist destinations as well as city squares, some public transit hubs and even trains and buses. In some cases, you will need to register and get the network password to gain access.

As you can see, you can use your cell phone while traveling to Europe in many ways.

With a good data roaming plan plus free Wi-Fi in certain locations, you should have no problem keeping in touch with those around you anywhere they are. Remember, if you have a prepaid cell phone and need more minutes, you can easily buy more airtime.

There was a time when using your mobile device and cell phone while traveling to Europe was expensive, but with all the options now available, you can save money without compromising signal quality.

TEP Wireless vs Skyroam vs Keepgo When Traveling to Europe

One of the first things that you need to consider before embarking on your next whirlwind vacation to Europe is how you will stay connected. There are plenty of providers out there, but TEP Wireless, Skyroam, and Keepgo are the top three choices.

Let’s explore TEP Wireless vs Skyroam VS Keepgo when traveling to Europe.


Keepgo is a fan favorite these days and it’s easy to see why. It offers 4G service that can be used on any corner of the planet, and you can access Keepgo through a variety of different devices.

Get Keepgo SIM cards for your existing smartphone or smartwatch, or use one of their hotspot devices. The data is a little bit on the expensive side, but it is always reliable and you can access it from almost anywhere in the world, making Keepgo a great option for business travelers.

If you need less connectivity and are worried about your pocketbook, the prices might be a little too steep for you!


In the battle of the hotspots, Skyroam clocks in at more affordable but less speedy than Keepgo. It’s a great option for those who want to make sure that they have the internet at their fingers, but don’t necessarily need top speeds.

With coverage spanning the world, Skyroam will relieve you from the hassle of having to tap into unreliable or insecure WiFi when you want to hop online.

It’s a legacy player for a reason, and has amassed something of a cult following since it first came onto the scene. The only real downside is that you won’t be able to get the speeds that you would with a company like Keepgo. If you need service for business purposes, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

TEP Wireless

TEP Wireless has hotspot devices that work with your smartphone or watch. You can also buy or rent a Teppy device, which acts as its own mobile hotspot and lets you get internet anywhere. One of the beautiful things about TEP Wireless is the sheer volume of different options that you have!

When it comes to fast internet, TEP Wireless is a great option, up to a point. They do start to throttle your speed after a certain amount of internet usage, which could become a problem for those who want to use it for business purposes.

As with Skyroam, TEP Wireless can’t compete with Keepgo for the speediest coverage. Alternately, it is a cost-effective option, and TEP Wireless has been around for a long time, so you know that they are a solid company to work with.

So, who wins the battle of TEP Wireless vs Skyroam VS Keepgo when traveling to Europe? It all depends on exactly what you’re looking for from a wireless service provider.

Each option has different strengths and weaknesses, but all of them cover the vast majority of the planet and will work in a pinch if you need wireless service right away.

Find WiFi and Use Chatting Apps

You can also rely on local WiFi for your internet usage. Use caution when selecting which WiFi options you will tap into. Try not to put in too much personal information, especially passport numbers, photos of identification, etc., and don’t access banking data or other sensitive websites when you’re tapped into public WiFi.

Assume that everyone can see what you’re doing because that is probably the case!

There are plenty of chatting apps that allow you to communicate with loved ones back home. Skype, WhatsApp, and Messenger are just a few options.

Public WiFi could be a good option for people on shorter trips who just need a little bit of internet for places of interest, hours of operation, maps/directions, language translation and look up, currency questions, and other general travel information.

FREE iPad iPhone Travel Apps for Your Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe

FREE iPad / iPhone Travel Apps – I’ve had my iPod Touch for about two months now, and I’m falling helplessly in love with it more and more every day. It’s my personal assistant, I use it for just about everything.

From reading books, storing recipes and workout exercises to converting currencies, booking hostels and checking the bus/train timetables.

I suppose you could call me an ‘iPad NERD’ – if there is such a thing…

Yeah, I admit I have also found some awesome applications which ONLY work for the iPhone, so I won’t lie and say I never wish I had one of those as well – but then again I like my cellphone, it’s pink!

Anyways, today I am going to share with you the best FREE Travel Apps out there right now! These are free iPad / iPhone travel apps.

Hostel Hero

This is an application that finds you the best deals by searching through every hostel website, all over the world. You have Hostelbookers, Hostelworld, etc. all in one place. From here you can book your stay from anywhere. I love it, very easy and simple.


If you are an avid HostelWorld fan and just want to book through them, they have their very own application for you to book your stays.


With this on your iPad you’ll never have to carry another of those brick-like-heavy books in your backpack ever again! You can download hundreds (probably more) of books for FREE on your iPad (yes, in all genres).

Every Trail

Finds many outdoor activities (walking, mountain-biking, skiing, etc.) for you to do, anywhere in the world

What Knot

Shows countless types of knots and how to make them step by step, a skill that can be crucial to know when backpacking, camping, or hiking through the jungle etc. Trust me, you never know when you’ll need it!

Skype (only for iPhone):

Now there really is a cheap way for you to call to other countries.


Translates whole sentences into heaps of different languages. The good thing about this one is that it doesn’t only translate to or from English but from all kinds of languages: Hebrew to Korean, or Hindi to Galician, it’s your choice 😉

Spending Light

Keeps track of your spending and income, how much you spend per day/week/month/year, and what you spend it on (food, clothes, entertainment, beer, etc.). It’s really good to keep you from asking, ”What happened? Where did all the money go??” and can help keep you on track with your travel budget.

Convert Everything

Convert Everything is a complete currency converter. What more do I need to say? This way you know exactly how much your paying anywhere in the world and can quickly determine the value.


Now you can search for flights and hotels with the best online travel search aggregates right from your iPad!

Lonely Planet

The application is free, and you get a Phrase book and one Guide for free. But the rest you’ll have to buy. But if you plan to bring a Lonely Planet guide, I highly recommend you pay for the digital version and bring it in your iPad. It sucks having all that extra weight when you could have it all in your hand.

Google Earth

I love looking at the earth globe – it really gets me into a happy state. I get so excited seeing all these places I want to visit, all cultures I want to see. So what is better than Google Earth?

Wi-Fi Finder

This way you don’t have to run around all streets and corners desperately looking for a Wi-Fi connection, the JiWire application does the job for you.

If you know of anymore apps which I might find useful on my travels, please link me below in the comments! 🙂

messaging apps for traveling

messaging apps for traveling

Using my SmartPhone While Traveling to Europe FAQ

What should I do with my phone when traveling to Europe?

Your options for being able to use your phone while traveling Europe, including how to see if you can get an international plan, how stay connected to 3G by getting a local SIM card, and why a pocket Wi-Fi device might be a good option.

Europe EU recently ended cell phone roaming and roaming charges. Stay connected while on your Europe trip.

Do I need an international phone plan for Europe?

Unless you travel to Europe frequently and your stays are longer than a vacation, it is simpler, more cost effective and easier to set up your own cell phone with international calling and international data plan through your existing cell phone service provider.

Do US cell phones work in Europe?

If you have an iPhone 4s or newer, then yes. But you still need an international roaming plan from your SmartPhone cell plan provider. If you have an older phone or a non-iPhone, it depends on the phone and your carrier.

Europe uses a cell phone system called GSM (Global System for Mobiles) but Verizon and Sprint use CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access). All the other major US carriers use GSM, so if you use a mobile service provider other than Verizon and Sprint, you should be able.

How To Turn Off Your Apple Watch While Traveling To Europe

When traveling to Europe, it is important to know how to turn off your Apple Watch. While the watch is designed to work internationally, there are a few steps you need to take in order to avoid any unwanted charges. To turn off your Apple Watch, simply hold down the side button until the power off slider appears. Drag the slider to the right, and your watch will turn off. You can also turn off your watch by pressing and holding the Digital Crown. If you are planning on using your watch while in Europe, it is important to remember to change the time zone. To do this, go to the Settings app on your iPhone, and tap on General > Date & Time. From here, you can turn on the “Set Automatically” option, which will ensure that your watch is always set to the correct time zone. It is also a good idea to enable Airplane Mode when traveling. This will disable the watch’s cellular connection, which can help to avoid any roaming charges. To turn on Airplane Mode, go to the Settings app on your iPhone, and tap on Control Center > Customize Controls. From here, you can add the “Airplane Mode” toggle to your Control Center.

If you are traveling to Europe, you should be able to turn off your Apple Watch. When you need to use the Apple Watch anywhere in the world, simply point your iPhone to your location. Keep your device safe while traveling with these tips: International roaming is not currently supported by the Apple Watch. As a result, many people from all over the world will have to use alternative means of receiving notifications. If you disable it, you can avoid roaming by staying in one location. By not using data while on the road, you can avoid costly overages. People who want to stay connected while on the go should consider the Apple Watch Series 6.

Regardless of where you live, you can connect to your iPhone with a Series 6 watch. Under the Cellular Data Options section, you can disable cellular data. How to disable roaming on an iPhone, Android, or Apple Watch To do so, navigate to the Settings app and select Cellular. It is possible to stop MMS messages from roaming. If you disable data roaming, you will no longer be able to access mobile data outside of your service area. Apple Watch Series 3, which has built-in cellular, enables you to stay in touch when you’re not connected to your phone. Using cellular allows you to use your iPhone without using data and make calls.

Even if you don’t have cellular service, you can use your Apple Watch to run all of its features. It is the most popular Apple Watch model, and it has a wide range of colors and styles. If you want to buy an iPhone from an Apple Store, you’ll need to activate it with one of these national carriers. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS with (RED) receives a percentage of each purchase made through the RED website. The standard model is available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. The only way to use a watch outside of your country is to buy a GPS-only model. Although you may be unable to purchase an Apple Watch Series 3 in the United States, it is still possible to do so in the United Kingdom.

How Do I Turn Off Cellular On Apple Watch For International Travel?

Credit: VentureBeat

Log in to your iPhone by selecting My Watch, Cellular, and then scrolling to the Cellular Data Usage section. Swipe up from the watch face to open Control Center, where you can toggle your cellular connection on or off. When you tap the cellular button, it will turn on or off.

How To Turn Off Your Iphone’s Cellular Service For International Travel

If you are traveling internationally, you may want to turn off your iPhone’s cellular service. To prevent data roaming, open the Settings app, tap Cellular, and then turn off Data Roaming. As an alternative, you can disable Data Roaming by going to the Cellular Data Options screen. You can deactivate your cellular plan by going to the My Watch tab and selecting the carrier plan that you want to remove.

Can I Use My Apple Watch In Europe?


No, most likely. Apple watch models are sold in various regions and are designed to work with cellular providers in those specific regions. Furthermore, the Apple Watch’s warranty does not extend beyond the United States.

Depending on how the watch is designed, you might not be able to use an Apple watch from the United States in Europe. Apple watches come in a variety of models, including those that only use GPS and those that include cellular capabilities. The former, on the other hand, is not required to carry a carrier and can work anywhere in the world. Because the Apple Watch requires carriers, only select models can be supported by European cellular providers. Data roaming is not permitted on the majority of Apple Watch models. This means that the watches can only connect to Wi-Fi or cellular networks on their iPhone. You can use your Apple Watch anywhere with GPS-only watches, even if it is region restricted.

If your watch becomes damaged, you cannot take it to a repair shop. chargers convert energy from 100 to 240 volts, so the Apple Watch requires about 220 volts to function, which is plenty. When traveling around a country, a power converter is required. Apple has retail stores in 32 European countries as of July 1, 2009.

The Apple cellular service is among the best in the industry. Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 8 SE have two cellular models available, while Apple Watch Ultra has three cellular models available. There are variations in the performance of models based on where they are purchased; however, they have been optimized for use in that country. In many parts of the world, the Apple Watch SE does not support LTE or UMTS bands, which means you can’t use it with other devices. In most countries, the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra support both LTE and UMTS bands. You can use any adapter from your area to charge your Apple Watch, and the chargers are available on voltage ranges ranging from 100 to 240 volts. In addition, each of these adapters can be used in conjunction with a travel adapter in a different country. Even if you don’t have cellular service in your area, an adapter can be used with your watch.

How Do I Turn Off Data When Traveling Internationally?

If you’re unable to find an international plan for your destination, the best thing to do is completely disable data roaming. The toggle switch can be found in Settings You can change your data usage on your Android device by going to Settings.

To prevent your iPhone from roaming abroad, we’ll show you how to turn off data roaming. The process can be accomplished in four simple steps using an iPhone. You can also turn off data and disable calls by turning on Airplane Mode. To disable cellular data completely, open the Settings app and select Cellular.

Will I Get Charged If Data Roaming Is Off?

A phone company would argue, however, that when data roaming is turned off, there is no reason to charge data.

Turning Off Data Roaming: What It Means For Your Phone

If you disable data roaming on your phone, it will not be able to connect to any wireless networks. The term encompasses all networks, in addition to cellular networks and WiFi networks. It means you will not be able to read your emails or use apps that require internet access. Nonetheless, you will be able to communicate with one another by text and voice.

What Happens If I Turn Off Airplane Mode Overseas?

If you don’t use your phone in airplane mode, you may find that it connects to foreign carriers when you travel outside the country. As a result, you will be charged far more for your phone service if you make, send, or use data.

The Benefits Of Turning Your Phone Off

When you turn off your phone, it quickly loses its battery, and if you do not have access to a power source, your device will enter recovery mode and begin requesting passwords and other security codes in order to restart.
You should think about turning off your phone while not using it if you are spending a lot of time on it. Because it can slow down your device’s overall performance if you are doing a lot of extra work on it.
If you plan to travel internationally, it is probably a good idea to put your phone in airplane mode to avoid data charges. If you are not using your phone, it’s also a good idea to turn it off if you’re not using it.

The Pros and Cons of Using an Apple Watch for Travel

The Apple Watch is a really good fitness tracker and companion for an iPhone, but is it a good travel watch?

The short answer: it depends on what you want it to do and what you have when you travel. It can be really good, but having internet connectivity is key.

I have an Apple Watch 2, but at this point, you’d be better off getting the newer Series 3 or Series 4. The Apple Watch is an extremely capable watch and fitness tracker. It can provide timely information to you, much of which is very useful while traveling.

I have taken my Apple Watch on a southern Caribbean cruise, on a couple of quick road trips and on an eight-day trip to Italy.

(Disclaimer: When we link to places you can buy our stuff or places we stayed, we are using special codes which earn us commissions on the sales at no additional cost to you. Please see our Review Policy for more information.)

I have a Space Grey Aluminum Body 42mm Apple Watch Series 2 with a Black Woven Nylon Band. Apple offers several other color and band choices. I chose the Apple Watch over other travel and fitness watches (check out the article here) and it has done quite well.

Fitness Tracking

Apple Watch Fitness Tracking

The watch tracks my active calorie burn and keeps an eye on my heart rate, both of which are very valuable to me. I have used a Fitbit in the past for this task, and while I liked it, the Apple Watch is a much more robust device.

Flight Alerts

There are several airline apps which will provide up-to-date gate and departure information, as well as baggage tracking updates, to your watch. This is great for when you are sitting in the airport lounge, enjoying a refreshing beverage before a flight.

Hotel Check-ins

Hilton Honors Apple Watch App

My Hilton Honors app will let me know if it is time to check in for my hotel and can be used as a room key at hotels enabled with that feature. Pretty handy! I know, bad pun.

Weather Updates

I use both the native weather app and Dark Sky to give me up-to-date weather forecasts. This is great, but it requires a little work unless you want to turn GPS on all the time.

Apple Watch Weather App

For the native weather app, the trick is to load all of the cities you will be visiting ahead of time, in order. It’s a little tedious, but you will need to do that for sunrise/sunset info, too. As you go, delete the cities you have visited and it automatically updates the weather and sunrise/sunset info.

For Dark Sky, you have to open the app and have it find your current city to get fresh info.

Both of these apps require a data connection at some point. This can be a real issue if you are traveling without an unlocked phone or hotspot.


This is one of the best feature of the watch, in my opinion. Knowing when sunrise and sunset are, wherever you are, is a huge advantage to a traveler, especially if you are a photographer.

You can plan your day so much easier if you know when it will be light and dark.

Apple Watch Custom Travel Face

Moon Cycle

The watch can also tell you the moon cycle, another important piece of information for a photographer or anyone staying on the coast since the moon affects tides. There are some great apps just for tides if that is your thing.

World Clock

One of the complications I used while in Italy was a world clock to help me keep track of time back in Atlanta. Since our blog posts are timed with Atlanta, it helped me keep in sync with our publication schedule.

My “Time Face”

Apple Watch

One of the cool features of the Apple Watch is the ability to set multiple watch faces to suit different days and needs. For example, I have an international travel watch face. I also have what I call my “Time Face.”

The Time Face has all of my “clock” related complications, including timer, stopwatch, alarm and world clock. This gives me one swipe access to those important utilities, without taking up space on my normal watch face.


Wow, this one feature is worth the price of admission. The ability to input walking directions on the phone and use the watch to navigate the directions is awesome.

In the past, we have used our iPhones or a paper map to navigate the streets. It’s awkward, and in the case of the phone, battery-draining. The watch is great in this regard. It tells you how far to the next turn, vibrates to tell you to turn right or left and all it requires is a quick glance.

Nightstand Mode

One of the cooler new features of the Apple Watch is Nightstand Mode. When the watch is on a charger sideways, it brings up a clock feature which allows you to see the time while the watch is charging.

Apple Watch Nightstand Mode

I have one gripe about Nightstand Mode: the clock is not always on. I would really like that as an option, but perhaps that would wear out the display too fast. That said, if you want to see your watch, just tap the nightstand or the watch and it will turn on.

I hope, in the future, Apple gives us a few more options for this display, but it is very useful as it is.

Battery Life

As long as you are not using it all the time, the watch will easily last a couple of days. When flying to Italy and back, it still had plenty of juice, despite the long travel days without a charge. Mine had about 30% battery when I finally went to sleep after flying from Atlanta to Milan, going to Verona for lunch and then arriving outside of Venice.

A few weeks ago, when we went to Historic Banning Mills, I decided to try out the battery to see how long it would last. I woke up Saturday morning with a full charge and ran it all day Saturday and all day Sunday. When I went to sleep on Sunday night, the Apple Watch still had 15% of its battery remaining.

I did not run GPS while during this test but it does show an Apple Watch can survive two days of traveling without a charge. Still, I charge mine every night and never worry about the charge.


Requiring constant Internet is the watch’s biggest Achilles’ Heel. Without the Internet, apps like Dark Sky become useless. If you have Internet at the hotel and can update it once a day, the basic weather app will give you the basic forecast for the day, which is useful.

Final Thoughts on the Apple Watch as a Travel Watch

The Apple Watch is a great fitness tracker with plenty of good travel apps and functionality. While its battery life is not perfect, it does a lot and you can customize it for your needs and create different watch faces for different trips.

For someone who doesn’t need that kind of functionality, I recommend something simpler, like this Citizen Field Watch with Eco-Drive. I wore it before I got a fitness tracker and, as long as it is exposed to sunlight, the battery won’t die on you. It’s a simple, functional watch.

Travel Resources

We use Skyscanner to find deals on flights. Skyscanner has a great interface and compares tons of airlines for the best pricing and routing. That said, it does not always have every airline and some airlines will have better deals on their website. Still, Skyscanner is a great place to start.
Click here to search for a flight.

We typically stay at Hilton properties, so we use the Hilton website. You can find good Hilton Honors discounts or AAA discounts for a hotel there. We make great use of our free night certificates from our Hilton Honors American Express.
Click here to book a Hilton property.

If there are no Hilton properties available, we use TripAdvisor to read reviews and book the hotel. We find we can get the best price that way.
Click here to search for a hotel.

We use Vrbo for the times when we have rented a cabin for a weekend getaway, like this cabin in Townsend, TN, or needed to rent a house for a large family vacation. We had a great experience with them in terms of refunding deposits when COVID hit and will continue to use them.
Click here to search for a vacation rental.

As a general rule, we book with Hertz for rental cars. We have had nothing but good experiences with them. Plus, we really like unlimited mileage and not worrying about crossing state lines. We have even rented from Hertz overseas in both Slovenia and Croatia.
Click here to book a rental car.

We have found some amazing prices booking a cruise through Cruise Direct. We have saved a lot of money on our cruises compared to what we found elsewhere, making a last-minute Bahamas cruise even cheaper.
Click here to book a cruise.

We highly recommend Outdoorsy for RV rentals. We rented a camper van for a week to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for the elk rut and Custer State Park for the Buffalo Round-Up and had a blast. The program was easy to use and we really enjoyed the freedom of having a camper van for that trip.
Click here to rent an RV.

We don’t often book tours. Typically, we like to do stuff on our own. That said, there are some experiences you just can’t have any other way. So, when we do want to book a tour, we always check Viatour first.
Click here to book a tour.

We make extensive use of both Good Sam and AAA on the road. Good Sam is normally regarded as a discount card for RVers at campgrounds and Camping World but anyone can use the 5 cents off a gallon at the pump at both Pilot and Flying J.
Click here to get a Good Sam membership.

We have had AAA as long as we have been married and it has more than paid for itself in discounts at hotels, aside from the peace of mind of having roadside assistance. Add in paper maps and the ability to get an international driver’s license and it is more than worth it for any traveler out there.
Click here to get a AAA membership.




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