Phone Ready for USA? Top 6 Things You Need to Do

Petr Novák

Are you planning to travel to the USA and wondering if your mobile phone will function seamlessly? Are you uncertain if there are any specific settings you need to adjust on your phone before you leave, or if you need to contact your service provider? All your concerns are addressed in this article.

Phone Ready for USA? Top 6 Things You Need to Do | ©

Table of Contents
  1. Will My Cell Phone Work in the USA?
  2. Pack an Adapter for USA Outlets
  3. Activate Your Roaming
  4. Deactivate Your Data Roaming
  5. Consider Purchasing a USA SIM Card
  6. Activate Phone Location Sharing
  7. Back Up Your Photos to the Cloud

Will My Cell Phone Work in the USA?

There should not be any issue with your phone functioning in the USA. Every model available today is designed to work globally. However, there are a few factors worth considering regarding cell phone usage in the USA:

  1. Pack an Adapter for USA Outlets

    In the USA, they use type A and B outlets, which differ from European ones. To charge your phone conveniently, be sure to pack an adapter compatible with USA outlets.

  2. Activate Your Roaming

    If you’ve never traveled abroad with your phone, ensure you activate roaming before leaving.

  3. Deactivate Your Data Roaming

    Before you depart from your last airport in the European Union, switch off data roaming in your phone’s settings and disable mobile data for added safety. With data roaming and mobile data active, your phone could connect to the internet (perhaps for email updates or weather) and you might incur high charges. Even a single accidental connection could result in a hefty bill.

  4. Consider Purchasing a USA SIM Card

    Before your flight or as soon as you arrive in the USA, consider buying a local SIM card. For a small investment, you can gain constant internet access, which is particularly beneficial for online navigation with Google Maps or booking an Uber at any time.

    You can buy an eSIM card with mobile data (and possibly calls and SMS) from the comfort of your home via the Airalo app. You can choose a data package to suit your needs, which can be purchased at any time once it’s used up. The advantage is that you simply activate the eSIM card directly from your phone. You don’t have to go to the store to get a plastic card and you don’t have to physically replace anything on your phone.

  5. Activate Phone Location Sharing

    Both Android and Apple phones can be tracked or locked remotely if they are stolen. To utilize this feature, activate Find My Phone on Android through Find My Phone, and for Apple through iCloud.

    If your phone gets stolen or lost, you can easily locate it via the website. All you need is an internet-connected device, or another phone operating on the same system nearby. In an extreme emergency, you can lock the phone to prevent misuse of your data.

  6. Back Up Your Photos to the Cloud

    While losing your phone is unpleasant, the issue can be mitigated with travel insurance and the purchase of a new device. However, lost photos are irreplaceable. Therefore, I recommend enabling the cloud photo upload feature before you leave. You can use OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and more.

    Ensure you adjust the app settings to dictate whether new photos should be uploaded via mobile data or if the app should wait for Wi-Fi. The advantage of instant upload is the immediate backup of all new photos, though this does consume data. When I was mugged and robbed of my phone on the street in Buenos Aires in 2019, the photos backed up to the cloud were all I had left of my phone.

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