Tips for Traveling to Latin America With Your Devices

By | 31 May, 2019

There are so many great reasons to visit Latin America. Students wishing to study abroad often choose locations in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Belize. Tourists, of course, often prefer resort towns like Cancun, Quito, Antigua and Buenos Aires. If you’re searching for history and culture, you can find it in every Latin American country.

To make the most of your trip, electronic devices are quite useful, especially when it comes to keeping in touch with friends and family and recording your adventures. That said, they do come with a few drawbacks. For one thing, you need to keep them charged, but you also need to ensure they stay safe. Let’s take a quick look at some tips for traveling with your devices.

Device Safety

Just as when you’re safe in your own home, cell phones, tablets, and laptops can all be dropped when you’re traveling. For that reason, it’s always smart to keep them covered with a skin, screen protector, or case like those that can be found at sites like Imagine how difficult it would be to get your phone repaired or have to find a new tablet or laptop to buy while you’re trying to enjoy your vacation.

Cell Phone Access and Internet Availability in Latin and South America

Your electronic devices are sort of useless if you aren’t able to connect to a cell phone network or the internet. If you’re having the time of your life and can’t share your pics and videos, you’ll be aggravated, to say the least. Wi-Fi is readily available in many areas including hostels, hotels and restaurants. Service in airport terminals is hit or miss, so be prepared.

If you need to make phone calls while you’re there, consider purchasing a local SIM card for your unlocked phone or even buying a cheap local phone. There are several models available for less than $50 USD. This will help you avoid paying for an international plan for your own phone.

Internet Security

If you make the decision to utilize free Wi-Fi to stay in touch with friends and family back home, keep in mind that any information that you type in, like account numbers and passwords are not secure. Never shop or bank online if you’re on free Wi-Fi. All your account information will be accessible to anyone near you who has malicious intent and the right equipment. When you’re away from home, dealing with something like identity theft is even harder. Take the proper steps to make sure your personal information is protected.

Airport Security

If you’re planning on taking your laptop through an airport in Canada or the US, you’ll need to take it from its case and put it into a plastic bin so that it can be screened if you don’t have TSA PreCheck. As far as traveling with other devices, they can stay in your carry-on case for the screening process. If removing your laptop from its bag is too much of a hassle, think about purchasing a TSA friendly case for it. These cases allow for airport security to unzip them so that they can inspect the laptop and you can’t put anything else in that case.

If you are traveling back to the U.S. from one of the many larger Latin and South American airports, you will be subject to similar searches. Devices will need to power up upon inspection, so be sure they are properly charged to avoid delays.

Charging Your Devices

Eventually, you’ll need to charge your laptop, tablet, or cell phone. What you need to know is that different countries have different power requirements and outlet types. It’s always a good idea to bring your chargers with you, but if you don’t already have a universal convertor/adapter, don’t buy one before your trip. Most larger hotels will have adapters available, but if not, local vendors will have them at reasonable prices, usually cheaper than what you can find in the U.S. Another savvy thing to pack is a power strip. Most hotels don’t offer enough outlets to charge everything at once.

If you have a layover at an airport, you can charge your devices there. That said, some airports will only be equipped with a few outlets for this purpose. On days when they’re busy, it might not be an option to charge your device there. Some airports offer free charging stations while others have ones you can pay to use. If you think this might be a problem, purchase an emergency portable charger to take with you. You can charge it before you leave and then use it to power your devices for a few hours when you can’t get to a wall outlet.

Hopefully, now that you’ve read these tips, you’ll be more comfortable, and your devices will be safer when you travel. Whether you are visiting Brazil for Carnivale or Chile for Lollapalooza, your trip will be much more enjoyable when you have peace of mind  — and working tech.

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