Phone Trouble on the Road

Summer is an incredibly popular time to travel. July is the biggest air travel month of the year, and the summer months are also a time when many people decide to go on a road trip. After all, the weather is great and the kids are out of school, so why not pack up the family car and get moving? Vacations look at least a little different in the age of smartphones, though. A couple of decades ago, people who were leaving town could just record a message on their answering message noting that they would be unavailable until a certain date. But now, most Americans have dropped landline service and depend entirely on mobile phones. That means if something goes wrong with our phone while traveling, we need a quick way to fix the issue.

A map in our pocket

In the 1990s, drivers had to unfold gigantic maps to figure out how to get to a destination. In the early 2000s, people could go online and print out step-by-step directions to wherever they were heading, regardless of if it was five miles away or five hundred miles away. In the year 2018, though, there’s no need for any kind of paper, because most of us have phones with a GPS system. It’s the equivalent of having a highly sophisticated map with us 24 hours a day. If you’re taking a trip through California and get hungry for In-N-Out burgers, you can simply ask your phone to navigate to the nearest In-N-Out location. Without our phones, we could probably get around our hometowns fine, but it would be way harder to travel. We’d have to constantly stop strangers and ask them for directions or head to the nearest gas station and hope it sells maps.

So what do you do when your smartphone malfunctions and you’re hundreds of miles from home? If you can still make calls, then call your service provider and ask them to help you troubleshoot the issue. If you can’t make calls at all, then it’s worth going online and finding a local store that can help you. So if you’re driving through Missouri, take an exit that looks like it has a good amount of commerce and look for AT&T stores in Missouri. People who work at such stores have seen it all; it’s hard to surprise them. With any luck, you can swing by a store, identify the problem without too much trouble, and then resume your trip.

Your phone’s warranty

A lot of phone issues can be fixed, but that doesn’t mean the repairs will be covered by your warranty. When you bought your smartphone, it probably came with a standard manufacturer’s warranty. Those warranties don’t cover everything, though. If you’re relaxing by the hotel pool and accidentally drop your iPhone into the water, don’t expect the warranty to cover the replacement costs. To avoid any unpleasant vacation surprises, make sure you know exactly what your warranty does and doesn’t cover before you leave. Some carriers offer extended warranty insurance plans, so it can’t hurt to look into those as well. You may decide paying a few extra dollars a month isn’t worth the coverage, and that’s OK. In that case, though, it’s probably best to leave the phone in your hotel room when you go swimming. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, and there’s nothing relaxing about a $1,000 phone submerged in pool water.

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