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overseas-travel-with-social-mediaMy husband and I recently spent justshyofaweek in Dublin, Ireland. It was a fabulous experience, and Ireland is a beautiful country full of rich history and arts, fantastic food, and friendly people.

As a person who is always – and I mean always – connected, getting to our final destination and then strategically controlling my tech-driven behaviors once in Ireland was sometimes a big challenge. I also appreciated the opportunity to observe the level of importance Dublin businesses place on social media.

Here are my takeaways regarding social media and being connected when you travel overseas.

7 Observations from Traveling Abroad

  1. Figure out how to adjust your iPhone settings BEFORE you leave For anyone who lives by their smart phones, this is a must! Hat tip to my business partner, Kristin, for this guidance. She told me exactly what I needed to do to be able to use my phone and apps without an international data charge. Switching a couple data settings to “off” and sticking to WiFi means you should be good to go.
  2. But at the same time, don’t count on WiFi For whatever reason, my phone would not stay connected to WiFi even once I was in an establishment that had its own network. Because of this, I kept those couple settings I mentioned in the Off position unless my phone was plugged into the wall in our hotel room and otherwise stationary.
  3. Speaking of plugging in… The iPhone needs only a plug converter and not a voltage converter. Phew! (Apple FTW!)
  4. But then there’s the quickly draining battery When I’m on-the-go using apps and my camera, my battery drains quickly! Hat tip to my friend, Stacey, who posted about the portable smartphone charger she used on her trip to New York. We’ll now never travel without it!
  5. FourSquare check-ins can be tricky I was determined to check-in at as many far away places as I could! From the moment we landed at the Dublin airport, I began searching for a free WiFi network. Our hotel had one, as did the Guinness Storehouse, and some of the restaurants and pubs. Lucky for me, we were staying in an ideal center city location; I often had to wait until we got back into our hotel to get those check-ins made.
  6. The time difference is hard I know it seems obvious, but when you are accustomed to connecting with people when you are both online, you will definitely feel a bit of a disconnect from your normal world being 7 hours ahead.
  7. And last but not least Social media is not nearly as big a “thing” in Ireland as it is in the States. Guinness and its materials were socially branded. There was this wild, Viking land and water tour company that had their social signage on the sides of their giant yellow vehicles. We saw billboards and signs in storefront windows of a few international chains (think McD’s, Pizza Hut, etc.) that highlighted Facebook URLs and the like, but finding the small business with mentions of a social network was definitely few and far between.

Bobo’s had fantastic burgers. I’d highly recommend!

Returning home meant a sigh of relief. I could again open my email, and catch up on news on Facebook, and check-in to see how many miles I had flown since my last airport check-in (without having to worry about it). For my husband, it meant his phone actually working again. Data, phone calls – everything!

Who’d have guessed that the guy with the 4S had no service at all the entire trip, and it was my “old” 3 that kept us connected to the rest of the world. Just goes to show that newer isn’t always better.