Before embarking on your next international trip, it’s a good idea to research as much as you can about local customs. For example, do people shake hands when greeting each other? Or, is cell phone use during meals seen as rude? With smartphones being one of the most useful tools during any traveling experience, it’s especially important to learn more about using a phone abroad before leaving home.

In addition to cell phone etiquette, teens should also think about how to best use social media while traveling. Of course, wanting to share your experiences with friends, family, and followers is easy to do when you’re having so much fun. But there are a few do’s and don’ts to be aware of that will make cell phone use while traveling internationally a snap. Keep reading to learn more about our tips for using your cell phone abroad.

Cell Phone International Travel Tips Every Teen Should Know

There are a few key questions you should ask before deciding whether you plan on using your cell phone abroad. These include:

  • Will my cell phone work in the country I’m visiting?
  • Does my phone need to be unlocked?
  • Does my cell phone carrier offer service in the area that I’m visiting?
  • How much will an international or local SIM card cost?

If you’re unsure of the answer to the first 3 questions listed, your parents can contact your cell phone provider for more information. There are 2 main types of cell phone service across the globe, GSM and CDMA. If you have a GSM compatible phone, you should be able to use it pretty much anywhere in the world. However, many older phones or smaller cell phone providers may still work on CDMA. If you have a phone that works on CDMA-only, you may not be able to use it outside of the USA or Canada.

Mastering Social Media for International Travel

Once you’re sure that your phone can be used internationally, you’ll need to start thinking about how you’ll be using it during your adventures. While it’s true that most people today are quite attached to their cell phones, that doesn’t have to be a problem when you’re visiting a new country. If your phone is configured properly, you’ll be able to find directions, translate conversations or signage, use your international travel apps, and even post photos of the local food you’re trying. And that’s where social media use can come in handy as well.


Taking a Picture of Food for Social Media

Using Twitter

One of the best uses for Twitter while traveling internationally is to stay up to date with the best travel tips and tricks via the experts. Before you leave home, be sure to look up a few travel accounts and follow them for advice. Additionally, you can follow accounts that are local to the area that you’ll be staying in for emergency alerts. Follow the local fire department, police department, and more to access important information that can help keep you safe when you’re in an unfamiliar place.

Using Snapchat Abroad

Snapchat can be a useful tool for quickly communicating with your fellow travelers and people back home when you’re traveling internationally. But the app also has a location feature that can show exactly where you are whenever you snap. This may be useful when communicating with a group of travelers. But if you tag your posts or have added unfamiliar followers, you may want to turn your location off to be safe. To turn your location off in Snapchat, complete the following:

  1. Open the Snapchat Map from the application home screen.
  2. Press the cog icon located in the upper right hand corner of your screen.
  3. Select “Ghost Mode.”

Using Instagram While Traveling

Instagram can also be a helpful traveling tool. Not only can you follow your favorite locals in each new place that you visit but staying on top of trending hashtags can help you familiarize yourself with the area. Updating your personal story and feed is a great way to communicate with everyone back home while you’re away as well. Even if your phone is set up to make and receive calls while you’re traveling, the related costs can add up quickly. But if you update your Instagram while using WiFi, you can save money, while still interacting regularly with family, friends, and followers back home all at the same time.


Two Girls Taking a Selfie for Social Media at the Coast

Social Media Safety Tips While Traveling Abroad

Using your cell phone on international trips can be extremely helpful but there are a few safety tips you should be aware of as well. To keep yourself safe while traveling to a new country follow these simple steps:

  • Never share your flight information on social media
  • Keep your daily plans to yourself
  • Post videos or photos after you’ve already left each location
  • Keep local meetups private
  • Make sure your accounts are secure by changing your passwords before leaving home
  • Always think before you post

Start Planning Your Next International Adventure Today

Are you ready to head out on your next big international trip? At Travel for Teens, we offer over 100 programs in 40 different countries. Contact us today to learn more and request upcoming program information.