FREE TIME

12 june 2017

Holidays? Not without my smartphone!


Sunglasses, backpack, flip-flops, first-aid kit... and my mobile phone! If you are leaving on holiday soon, it is time to start packing your case. And a smartphone is the 'must-have' accessory for holidaymakers. This is hardly surprising if we consider that in Belgium 74% of 16 to 64 year-olds have mobile phones, and 55% use them to go online. From planning a route to checking out restaurant reviews or tracking down the best price for activities, we just cannot do without our mobile phones on holiday! Here are some ways your smartphone can make your holidays more enjoyable

A mobile phone which doubles up as a photo and video camera

85% of Belgians claim to be members of one or more social networks, and nearly one out of two publish their holiday snaps on them. All smartphones now have cameras and video-recording features. No need to weigh yourself down with the latest devices, they are already there on your mobile phone! As well as taking photos, you can shoot videos, enhance them using editing tools, and even share them instantly with friends and family - with Facebook and Instagram ranking as Belgians' favourite social media during holiday periods.

Never lose your way

Are you in an unfamiliar place and looking for a restaurant you booked online? Do you want to find a nearby tourist attraction? Or even go to the nearest beach? This is where your mobile phone can be your most useful tool! It will help you to map your routes, whether you are travelling by car, on foot, by bike or public transport. To that end there is no shortage of apps to do the job: Google Maps, Mappy and Waze are the most widely used, as you can use them to check the real-time traffic status in over 60 countries. Say farewell to the days of struggling with road maps and wasting time, and hello to GPS apps!

Tip:
you don't even need to be connected to the internet to use GPS navigation. Simply download your map or route over a Wi-Fi connection before you leave to turn your mobile phone into a free Sat Nav!

Tracking down the best offers
"The best option is still to compare offers and read reviews by other users."

Holiday planning starts with searching for a hotel, a hire car or even a specific activity. To track down bargains, the best option is still to compare offers and read reviews by other users before making your reservation. You can access a wide range of websites from your smartphone, the best known being TripAdvisor, which you can use to compare hotels, restaurants and activities worldwide and check out millions of reviews from holidaymakers.
A study by the agency DigitasLBi showed that in 2016, 69% of online buyers in Belgium browsed the internet for other buyers' opinions before making their purchases. Your mobile phone therefore spares you the disappointment of finding that the activity you chose is boring or the restaurant you picked fails to live up to its promise.

Budgeting

Children, the pace of life and money are the three most common reasons for holiday arguments. There is no miracle app to resolve the first two issues. However, when it comes to money, budget management and banking applications offer a wide range of services, as well as allowing you to monitor your accounts in real time.
Here are three examples:

  • The "Budget Trotter" app allows you to set your holiday budget in advance and keep tabs on it while you are travelling.
  • “Les bons comptes entre amis" makes it easier to share group expenses when travelling with friends.
  • If you are travelling outside Europe, the "Currency" app will automatically convert your money into the local currency of the country you are in.

These apps help to avoid unpleasant surprises, relieve stress and allow you to enjoy every minute of your stay with the utmost peace of mind.

No more roaming charges in the EU

From 15 June 2017 you will no longer need to pay additional costs to make a phone call, send a text message or download data in another EU country. Belgian rates will continue to apply. This additional charge will be included in your subscription. However, bear in mind that a limit has been set for the frequency of the calls, text messages and downloads you can carry out abroad without roaming charges. What happens if you go over this limit? In this case, you will pay an additional charge but it will not be as high as before. This new legislation cannot be bypassed by purchasing a French or Italian subscription under the pretext that it is more advantageous. The so-called "fair use" policy must be respected. Ask your mobile phone operator for more information.

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