After more than two years of being cooped up, most of us are overdue for some fun and relaxation. The beach is beckoning my family this summer, and we’re not alone: U.S. travel and tourism spending is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels by 6.2%, contributing about $2 trillion to the U.S. economy. And 28% of travelers plan to spend significantly more than their 2019 travel budgets for marquee trips this summer.
If you're looking forward to travel adventures of your own, I can't help you escape long lines and unpredictable weather. But I do have a handful of tech tips to get you up to speed on modern traveling. Because as much as we long to get away from it all, staying connected and saving money is more crucial than ever.
1. Roam the wide, connected world
Remember sweating the extra charges you’d face on your cellphone bill after an international trip? Good riddance to the days of paying extra abroad just to stay connected with family, friends and co-workers. With T-Mobile’s latest Un-carrier move, Coverage Beyond, customers on qualifying plans get 5 gigs of free high-speed data at up to 5G speeds, where available, in more than 210 countries and destinations. That’s on top of free connectivity and streaming all flight long on the biggest U.S. airlines.
As CMO of a tech company, digital and data dependence is constantly on my mind. And as a dad of four, including teens and a tween, so is keeping the family peace. No one should have to fear hidden fees or jump through hoops just to use their device.
2. Tap into travel rewards
For starters, try these cost-saving moves:
• T-Mobile customers can save up to 40% on hotels and select rental cars by using T-MobileTRAVEL.com with Priceline. Some deals on this site can’t be found anywhere else.
• Consider a new credit card with a signup bonus, airline miles or cash back (just be cautious about taking on high interest credit-card balances).
Inflation may be threatening your summer vacation plans, but don't give up. Instead, take advantage of travel rewards and perks from companies you already do business with, and consider new offers from businesses whose rewards align with your spending habits.
3. Take security precautions
Speaking of credit cards, investigate the security features built into your card before going abroad since they may vary by country. Technology called 3D Secure (3DS) helps verify whether online transactions are authentic. To avoid issues, update your contact information with your bank and credit card company in case they need to contact you for authentication purposes.
Among a sea of travel scams to safeguard against are fake rental homes and booking platforms, as well as vacation “deal” robocalls. T-Mobile customers can take control by using the free Scam Shield app, which includes tools that deliver scam call warnings, the ability to block scam calls with Scam Block, and Caller ID.
And T-Mobile business customers who travel for work will soon be able to use the Secure Wi-Fi mobile app — at no extra cost — to help protect their data when connected to public Wi-Fi, such as on an airplane or when traveling internationally.
4. Don't make contact
COVID-19 didn’t do us many favors, but at least we’re benefitting from an automation trend in hotels, airports and restaurants. Spare yourself time and germs with keyless check-in, digital communication with staff and room delivery via robots. You might even find robots disinfecting the air and surfaces in hotels and airports you visit during your travels.
You can also opt for contact-free tours of museums, menu QR codes, hotel and airline check-ins, car rentals and virtual queues. All the more reason to put high-speed data from T-Mobile to great use!
5. Drive smarter
With gas prices out of control these days, you might be contemplating whether to fly or drive this summer. To help crack this quandary, NerdWallet considered many factors and crunched some numbers for all of us. And while every trip is different, the cost savings of flying grow with the length of the trip.
However, there’s no denying that driving reigns as the No. 1 mode of travel. Hot tip for road trippers looking to save money at the pump: T-Mobile is teaming up with Shell and the Fuel Rewards® program to provide 25 cents off per gallon of gas through the week of Labor Day. Check it out on the T-Mobile Tuesdays app!
The Un-carrier also has more 5G coverage on U.S. highways than any wireless provider and is AAA’s official wireless partner. This means T-Mobile customers on qualifying plans score a year of AAA on us, with 24-hour roadside assistance. So, enjoy complete peace of mind as you hit the open road and see as many cities, small towns and attractions as you and the fam can handle. In addition, AAA integrates with T-Mobile’s SyncUP DRIVE to turn your car into a hotspot on wheels and monitor your car’s health.
Finally, my biggest tip for your summer travel is to take a little time to research. Ask yourself, "What are my passions?" Whether they include hiking, history, culinary experiences or something else, there are online resources, guides and blogs to point you in the right direction. Then rest easy knowing you can stay seamlessly connected while flying, driving and exploring.