How to Pick a Cell Phone Plan That Makes Retirement Travel a Breeze

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According to a recent AARP survey, Boomers generally take four to five leisure trips per year. Time to pack up some bestselling novels!

The survey also showed that one of the most important travel items for Boomers is their smartphone. From language translation to step-by-step directions, a smartphone is the all-in-one tool that can make traveling to new and exotic places far less complicated.

That is … as long as you have the right data plan — one that’s both affordable and won’t break your bank abroad.

55 or better? Discover wireless plans that include unlimited text and data in more than 210 countries.

Seamless global connections

An international flight attendant for 35 years, Anne N., 56, knows the value of having a smartphone with a good data plan abroad. “It’s isolating to be far from your family and not be able to talk to them,” she says.

So Anne made sure her current phone and wireless plan has the international coverage she needs to easily text, call, and video chat with her family back in Florida wherever she goes. She says “it’s a night-and-day difference” to have a data plan that allows her to use her phone abroad, stress-free.

Her smartphone also serves as her map, camera, translator, and currency exchange calculator. “I don’t have to lug a backpack with maps and my laptop or my camera around,” she says. “The smartphone does all of that. It makes international travel so much easier.” [See also, “T-Mobile’s Best Deals for Americans age 55 and older.”]

Philip W., 66, agrees that it’s not enough to just have a good phone. “You’ve got to have access to affordable, international high-speed data, too,” he says.

Last year, before Philip and his wife took a 10-day trip to Scotland to visit family, he called his wireless provider. He knew that he would have to pay extra for coverage, but he wasn’t counting on spending as much as he was quoted.

“We ended up having to buy 10 separate daily passes, which cost a small fortune,” he recalls. “And that was just for my phone. My wife turned hers off when we landed, so we could save money.”

T-Mobile makes it easy for anyone to upgrade to high-speed data when traveling internationally with affordable passes available for 1 day, 10 days, or 30 days.

Choosing the best plan for you

Anne and Philip understand that having the right wireless plan will help you take advantage of all your smartphone’s useful features. Knowing your device and data plan are going to keep you connected in critical travel situations can help you feel prepared as you head out on your next adventure.

So, what should you look for when it comes to a wireless plan?

First, you’ll want to make sure your plan is affordable when you take it outside the USA. But, if you want to do more with your phone while you travel, you’ll also want to make sure you have data and texting abroad.

At T-Mobile, there’s a plan for all types of travelers.

  • If you’re a frequent traveler like Anne, you’ll want a plan that allows you to easily use your phone abroad, such as T-Mobile’s Magenta Unlimited 55 plan. This plan provides international data in more than 210 destinations, one hour of free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi, and free texting on domestic flights. You’ll also get a high-speed hotspot that you can use instead of your hotel’s public Wi-Fi.
  • If you plan to embrace your empty-nest and spend more time travelling than you do at home, the Magenta Plus Unlimited 55 plan may be right for you. This plan comes with all the Magenta Unlimited 55 plan benefits, plus extra features such as double the data speeds abroad, unlimited Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi on domestic flights, more data for your high-speed hotspot, and even more.
  • If your #1 priority is to save money and you’re more about local weekend getaways, then T-Mobile’s Essentials Unlimited 55 plan may be for you. Essentials is by far the best option if your goal while traveling is to get the basics at a good price, and your travel plans are mostly domestic.

Of course, all of T-Mobile’s Unlimited 55 plans come with unlimited talk, text and data on T-Mobile’s network. Here’s a comparison of each plan’s travel benefits:

What’s more, all three plans come with weekly free stuff and discounts from T-Mobile Tuesdays, the best customer care in wireless with a dedicated Team of Experts, and free scam protection to fight robocalls. You get everything you need, and all with no annual service contract.

Using your phone abroad like you do at home

To truly unlock the potential of your smartphone travel companion, you may also want access to additional high-speed data abroad. This is especially important when traveling internationally if your plan comes with a set data bucket (and extra charges if you surpass this limit).

To avoid bill shock, you’ll also want to grab an international data pass with high-speed data. Most wireless providers offer international data passes, though some (including AT&T and Verizon) charge upwards of $100 for 10 days or even $300 for 30 days of high-speed data.

Fortunately, T-Mobile customers can add high-speed data in more than 210 countries and destinations abroad (more than AT&T and Verizon) with affordable International Pass options. These range from a one-day 512 MB pass for $5 per day to a 15GB pass (to be used up to 30 days) for $50. That’s half the cost of AT&T and Verizon’s 10-day pass for up to 30 days of high-speed data!

Where will you go next?

A smartphone is your ticket to exploring all the world has to offer, from pulling up your boarding passes to finding the perfect spot for sampling local cuisines. And the right wireless plan adds fuel to power those adventures.

For Philip W. and his wife, T-Mobile’s Magenta Unlimited 55 plan looks like it will be a great fit. The couple is planning another extended trip to Scotland next summer, and they say they’ll be switching to T-Mobile soon.

And when they touch down in the United Kingdom, they’ll use the T-Mobile app to grab a 15GB International Pass for only $50 per line. “At that rate, we can finally turn on my wife’s phone, too!” Philip says.

This content was provided by T-Mobile. Kiplinger is not affiliated with and does not endorse the company or products mentioned above.