Here they are: Insider tips for how to find your phone when you’re traveling

how to find your phone when you're traveling

On a recent trip to London, Logan Abbott’s phone disappeared. Although he’s one of thousands of travelers whose gadgets go missing on the road, his story is remarkable. It’s also a cautionary tale about how to find your phone when you’re traveling.

That’s because Abbott is the CEO of, a company that helps consumers select a cellphone calling plan – an industry insider. You’d think a sophisticated phone user such as him would know how to prevent a loss.

But it turns out anyone can lose a phone, even Abbott. The trick is in the recovery.

Travelers lose a lot of phones

More than 29 million phones vanish each year according to Asurion, a company that insures smartphones, tablets and other electronics. (And they’re not the only devices travelers carry with them.)

Only 50 percent of people back up the data on their devices and 28 percent of users said if they lost their gadget they would never be able to recover the data on it, according to research from Kaspersky, a cybersecurity and antivirus company.

In fact, a new survey finds that phones are the third-most forgotten items for travelers. They cost British travelers an astounding $72 million a year to replace, making them the most expensive item to lose, unsurprisingly.

Want to know how to find your phone when you’re traveling?

If you lose your phone when you travel, you can take quick steps to recover it. And if you fail, you can at least restore your data and find a new device quickly.

Abbott’s recovery plan was simple but effective. “I went to the Apple Store and bought a new iPhone,” he says. “Because I do daily backups to iCloud and my laptop, I was able to get back up and running with all my data without skipping a beat.”

His advice? Remember to do a daily backup of your data.

“It’s also critical that you have a passcode on your phone so that whoever finds it can’t access the data on your phone,” he adds.

What to do if you lose your phone when you travel

If your want to know how to find your phone when you’re traveling, you’ll want to go through the painful process of remotely wiping and bricking it. Call your mobile carrier as soon as you confirm your phone is lost so that they can disable the account. That way, you won’t be responsible for any data use or phone calls made after the loss.

Replacing the phone is pretty straightforward. Just visit the nearest phone store, buy a replacement, get a new SIM card – a smart card inside the phone that identifies you – attach the phone and SIM to your account, and you’re back online. Mobile companies have different requirements. For example, AT&T requires a number called the IMEI and the SIM card serial number to activate a new phone. T-Mobile needs the SIM card number.

What about date recovery?

“Data recovery is a different story,” says Andy Abramson, a frequent traveler who runs a Los Angeles communications agency.

Apple’s iOS backs up to iCloud all the time, but it’s not automatic. You have to set it up to perform the regular backup. If you’re on Google’s Android, everything is already backed up to the cloud, so you have to get online, and your contacts and data are synched. Abramson says it’s important to understand your phone’s backup mechanism before you travel, instead of trying to figure it out it after you’ve lost your phone.

How to not lose your phone when you travel

Keep your cell phone close. At home, you can leave it lying around, but on the road, one careless moment could lead to a permanent loss. One solution is a new product called a Murray Belt ($50), a belt worn around the upper body that allows you convenient access to your phone and other travel documents. “I wanted to develop a product that would provide a habitual location to keep my phone and put my mind at ease while I’m on the road,” Murray Belt inventor Margaret Murray Bloom says.

Another storage idea: The PortaPocket WaistBelt & Pocket Kit ($26.95), a belt with interchangeable modules for storing your valuables.

If your phone goes missing, don’t panic, says Lysa Myers, a security researcher at ESET, an antivirus software company. There are simple tricks for how to find your phone when you’re traveling. Your first step should always be to “text or call your phone,” she advises. “That way, if it’s not really lost but just stuck in the couch cushions or something, you can locate it quickly.”

What else to pack

There’s one foolproof way to avoid the panic that happens after you lose your phone when you travel.

“Carry a spare phone,” says Andrea Woroch, a consumer expert. “This way, you don’t get into a sticky situation should you lose your current phone, it gets stolen or even damaged by falling in the pool or ocean.”

That’s what I do. My kids inherited my old Pixel phone, and if I lose my phone, I’ll borrow theirs. The children may not be happy, but at least we’re still connected.

More tips on how to find your phone when you’re traveling

Activate “find my phone:”

On Android, you can go to the Find My Device page to retrieve the last known location of your device, but you have to activate the feature. Apple’s Find My iPhone feature works similarly. Here’s how to set up Find My iPhone.

Use a tracker

One of the most popular trackers, Tile, works by connecting to your phone. But the device also has the reverse ability to find your phone. Simply double-press your Tile to make your phone ring – even if it’s on silent mode.

Try lost and found

It’s not your father’s lost-and-found department. Companies such as Crowdfind are using sophisticated technology to catalog found items and help track down owners. Airports such as Salt Lake City use Crowdfind to allow airport patrons to search the inventory at any time. You can verify ownership by giving a password to the device.

Posted in On Travel Tagged , , , ,

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Global Rescue

Global Rescue is the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services. Founded in 2004, Global Rescue has exclusive relationships with the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations and Elite Medical Group. Global Rescue provides best-in-class services that identify, monitor and respond to client medical and security crises. Learn more about Global Rescue.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

VisitorsCoverage is one of the world’s most trusted providers of travel insurance for millions of global travelers in over 175 countries. Working with top-rated travel insurance partner providers, VisitorsCoverage’s award-winning search, compare and purchase technology simplifies the travel insurance process and finds the best deals for the coverage you need to explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at VisitorsCoverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

%d bloggers like this: