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Tech Tips For Summer Travel Abroad

6/20/2014, 11:04 a.m.
Whether you’re seeking the view from the London Eye, the thrill of zip-lining in Belize or the taste of an ...
Many travelers hit the road expecting to use their smartphones abroad in the same way they use them at home, relying on them for navigation, using their favorite apps for travel tips and freely posting pictures to social media. But many are unclear about international roaming costs and coverage.

(Family Features) Whether you’re seeking the view from the London Eye, the thrill of zip-lining in Belize or the taste of an icy cold gelato in the streets of Rome — summer adventure is calling.

World Travel on the Rise

According to the airline industry association A4A, air travel is expected to rise to its highest level in six years this summer, with a record number of people travelling internationally. However, if you count yourself among those travelers — perhaps one of the estimated hundreds of thousands of Americans headed to Brazil for the World Cup — are you prepared to stay connected with friends and family back home and easily share your adventures with them?

Many travelers hit the road expecting to use their smartphones abroad in the same way they use them at home, relying on them for navigation, using their favorite apps for travel tips and freely posting pictures to social media. But many are unclear about international roaming costs and coverage.

“For those who do travel or call overseas, it’s hugely expensive or requires all kinds of workarounds to avoid the huge fees,” said Ovum analyst Jan Dawson. “So this is a real pain point for some customers, at least.”

A recent Kelton survey confirmed a high level of exasperation that international travelers feel when journeying abroad. Here are some of the results:

Nearly everyone surveyed (88 percent) reported being frustrated by the expenses and challenges of staying connected while abroad.

Among customers of the big three carriers, nearly 20 percent leave their devices at home or never turn them on while travelling outside the U.S.

Another 40 percent turn off data roaming to avoid high costs, and 20 percent say they would turn off data roaming if they knew how.

Make Sure You’re Prepared

So, before you head off on your summer journey, T-Mobile wants to make sure you’re armed with the best mobile tech tips for staying connected internationally. These ideas can save you from unnecessary headaches and a ton of money along the way.

Check your coverage: Before you travel, make sure you know the network specifications and international data rates for your carrier in the places where you’re travelling. Be sure to make adjustments if necessary to avoid costly surprises in your bill when you return.

Find the best international plan: Look for carriers, such as T-Mobile for example, that provide unlimited data and texting in 120-plus countries and destinations worldwide with their Simple Choice plan, freeing you from the worry of coming home to bill shock from outrageous roaming fees. Because most carriers tack 90 percent margins into their global roaming plans, many consumers see their costs total more than $1,000 a day when they use their phones abroad the way they normally do at home. Last Fall, T-Mobile launched international data roaming and texting at no extra charge — plus slashed calls to a low flat rate of 20 cents a minute — in more than 120 countries and destinations worldwide.