For years we have all lived the same way. As soon as you leave the country, you turn the phone off and put it away. Or you spend half your trip hunting one wifi hotspot to the next. You probably dreamed like me of being able to just use your phone everywhere. You probably often wondered “what if I had an emergency?”. I hated struggling with not knowing where I was. Asking for directions and not understanding the person that was trying to help me. Just eating or hanging out near my hotel cause I had no idea where to go and how I could get there. Then T-Mobile changed my life.
I know people use that term changed my life” all too much but in this case it is true. If you so much as travel to one other country a year, listen very carefully to what I am about to share with you. A few years ago I was traveling with friends and I noticed they were using their phones for maps, email and Facebook updates. I thought “these people must be crazy”! What kind of money are they spending to have such luxury? I asked if they knew how expensive roaming was and they just laughed and said “T-Mobile gives it all to us for free”. I thought they had to be delusional. A cell phone company doesn’t give you anything for free! Then I looked into it. T-Mobile actually gives you FREE data and texting in over 140 countries! That’s right…FREE! No catch, no by the way, no contract.
I instantly went home and switched and it has changed the way I travel. Let me tell you how. These next few tips are travel musts. If you ignore them you are only hurting yourself and your wallet. These 3 things will make any trip better and they are all made much easier and possible by T-Mobile allowing me free roaming.
First up is Yelp. If you are not using Yelp, for the love of God start. Why would anybody not want free, crowdsourced information on the best places available? You get recommendations, directions, hours of business and millions of people telling you the inside scoop. I have been using Yelp since they started many years ago and I can tell you I have rarely if ever been disappointed. If a restaurant has 4-5 stars after hundreds of reviews, it’s almost a guarantee to be great! Plus often times reviewers will clue you in on happy hours and what not to miss on the menu. Yelp works in most countries. You heard that right. Most of the countries I visit, Yelp works well. What’s better than having to guess what to eat or do in a foreign country? You can also read reviews on tour companies and hotels before you commit. You can bookmark places you want to try before you even start your trip. This is free and helpful insider info that is yours for the taking. Don’t shortchange yourself by guessing when you don’t have to.
The next big gamechanger is Uber. I always hated finding a cab, hassling with negotiating and then hoping he knew where I wanted to go and that he didn’t rip me off or take me the long way around. Never mind the safety of getting in a car with a stranger in a foreign land. Uber solved all of those issues for me and as a bonus…it’s always cheaper! Are you kidding me?! You heard that right. Again, why guess, haggle, hope they understand you and then pray you don’t get ripped off? Just fire up the app and tell it where you want to go and it will tell you exactly how much, who is taking you and how long it will take to get there. You don’t even have to know where you are! It does all of this and it is inevitably cheaper. I had a friend visit Colombia recently who took multiple rides that were under a dollar! I used it to get to the airport in Brazil that was over an hour away for less that $8! I would have had a heart attack if a meter was running sitting in all that traffic. If you have never used Uber before, use my referral code (zmk7o) and we will both get $15 off our next ride.
Last one is Google maps. This one seems like a duh but once you have free international data, being able to Yelp a great restaurant and then have your phone tell you how to easily walk there is huge! I am a typical man in that I hate asking for directions. With my phone working everywhere I go, I don’t have to. I can always pull up maps and see what is going on around me. I can also aimlessly walk around and explore new cities without fear of getting lost. Imagine how much that changes how you experience new cities? I get to explore, eat and drink and enjoy a city, sometimes better than a local! I do it better and for less than ever before as well.
The last little fun thing we did was pool together for a family plan. Me and 7 friends joined together and now pay a paltry $25 a month for unlimited cell phone service. We all just pay the $300 at the beginning of the year and forget about it. That’s right, the thing that made my travel life so much better, is actually now cheaper than almost anybody pays for cell service anyways. I can’t stress enough how much easier these tips have made my life and I hope they do the same for you. I have no affiliation with T-Mobile and make zero from them getting new business. I just love a great find 🙂
Here is their coverage map.