We know how difficult it can be for many drivers being away from home, either in the UK or a foreign country. At this time of year your phone can be an invaluable connection to your loved ones.
When all you have is your smartphone or tablet to catch up with everything that’s going on, it’s easy to eat through your entire data allowance without even realising.
So, be it a family Skype call, getting directions to your depot, doing an online food shop or checking updates on the Freightlink App, here’s a few things to think about when staying connected.
Free EU roaming has been available since June 2017, but before you travel double check that your data usage will come out of your allowance (especially when on ferries!) and you don’t have to pay any additional fees – no one likes unexpected surprises!
It’s easy to become reliant on phones for direction, especially if the vehicle you’re in doesn’t have GPS. However, did you know that instead of live streaming a map you can use Google Maps offline?
All it takes is a little route planning and organisation. Simply download the Google Maps app and select ‘Offline maps’ from the menu. You can create your own custom map to download for later use and you can even pin different locations.
This sounds so simple, but you might not realise somewhere has Wi-Fi until you’re on your way out.
Most of the ferry operators provide Wi-Fi. Sometimes, free. If you’re unsure, give our customer services team a call.
Many European countries now offer free, public Wi-Fi that is safe and secure to use including Portugal, Latvia, Sweden Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and many more.
Download an app like WifiMapper for a map of free Wi-Fi hotspots nearby.
If you use a lot of Wi-Fi enabled devices such as tablets and laptops, you may find it worthwhile to invest in a portable Wi-Fi router.
Working in a similar way to a smartphone, the Wi-Fi router uses 3G/4G networks and your data allowance to provide an internet connection to multiple devices. You could be making a delivery in Spain and still be watching an episode of Coronation Street as clearly as in front of your TV at home.
Make sure you’re getting the most out of your phone contract and the best deal. There is no point having unlimited texts and calls when you’re using iMessage and WhatsApp to message and call home.
Check with your network provider to see if you can get a plan that provides more data and less of the stuff you don’t use.
Remember, apps still use data to keep themselves up to date when you’re abroad. You might be in the EU with free roaming, but they’ll still use data just as they do at home.
Check your data settings. Most phones now have data warning levels and limits, which can be set to prevent going over your allowance and incurring additional charges. You can even enable Data Saver mode to use less data when you’re browsing.
Christmas is here! Now is as good a time of year as any to reiterate the importance of not using your phone or device when driving. There is nothing that can’t wait until you have pulled over in a safe location.