When you’re driving, spotty cell coverage is a drag. Music, GPS, and calls just won’t go through. Here’s a quick guide to boosting your service no matter where the road takes you.
What about a travel pro tip if you prefer to fly to your destination? You can see which flights include the most legroom with the right tools. I tell all my tall friends about this trick. Tap or click here for the secret — it’s No. 5 on the list.
If you’re heading off for a long trip, spending time in a seasonal home, or otherwise away, here’s a smart way to save money: Pause your cable and internet. Yes, you can do this and keep many of your service’s perks.
Here’s why canceling isn’t your best option
When you’re going on an extended trip, there’s no reason to pay for internet service back home. You might think canceling and reactivating is the way to go. That’s a bad idea.
• You’ll often face a cancellation fee.
• Canceling your service is frustrating and takes time. You’ll likely be bombarded with questions about why you’re canceling and offers to keep you. And once you’re through with everything, you’ll have to take time to return equipment to your provider.
• You’ll often pay an activation fee to reactivate your previous service or sign up with a new one.
• Resuming service takes time too. You’ll need to set up your plan, payment, and equipment.
The good news is many internet search providers and cable/satellite providers allow you to pause your service, which is much more convenient.
Below I gathered info on some of the biggest providers in the country. If you don’t see yours, check its website or give them a call.
Want more tech smarts like this? I’ll deliver them right to your inbox. Sign up now.
Xfinity’s Seasonal Convenience Plan lets you put your TV, internet, and voice services on hold while you’re away. You keep your equipment, phone number, and Comcast.net email address, which you can still access during the hold.
If you upgrade to Seasonal Internet Access, you’ll still be able to control your smart devices at home while you’re away too. There’s no reconnection charge, and you won’t need a service call when you return.
Xfinity charges $8 per month to pause your TV, internet, or voice services. If you want to keep your internet, it’s $29.95 for Seasonal Internet Access. The amount of time you can activate the Seasonal Convenience Plan varies by region, from three to nine months.
Travel pro tip: How to skip the line at the airport for free
If you use Spectrum, use the Seasonal Status option to put TV, internet, and voice services on hold for a monthly fee. You can do this for two to nine months.
You keep your phone number, email address, voicemail, Spectrum receiver, and other TV, internet, or voice equipment. You’ll still be able to access your Spectrum.net account to pay your bill online and check email, voicemail, and account status – but you won’t have access to the internet for the duration of your Seasonal Status. Your services will resume without a technician visit when you get back home.
You’ll need to either provide a forwarding address for billing purposes or enroll in AutoPay to sign up for Seasonal Status. You can place your account in Seasonal Status once every 12 months.
Taking a trip?: 10 best travel apps to plan your next adventure
Cox’s Seasonal Program allows you to pause your services and keep all your equipment starting at $9.99 a month. There’s no reconnection fee or tech visit necessary to get you up and running again like the other options.
You can pause your services for a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of nine consecutive months. You can plan up to two holds per year, with a 30-day break between pauses.
AT&T’s Vacation Hold lets you pause your internet, phone, or U-verse TV service. If you put all three on hold, you’ll still have access to your email IDs to use AT&T’s Wi-Fi network while you’re away. You’ll keep your number and can receive calls and access voicemail.
AT&T charges $7 per month for each service you put on hold. You can use Vacation Hold twice per year for two to nine months.
An important security warning
If you have a home security camera or other connected monitoring devices at home, make sure you can still access them before putting your account on hold. Some plans have this option while others don’t. Check with your ISP to ensure your home is protected while you’re away.
Hitting the road? Here are smart steps to protect your home from intruders.
PODCAST PICK: Smart burritos, fridges and Band-Aids
Watch out for these telltale signs your hard drive is fading. Plus, inventors are working on smart fridges, high-tech burrito tape and smart bandages. In just a few simple steps, I’ll also tell you how to stop your ex from popping up in your photo memories.
Check out my 30-minute podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”
Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.