by Nancy Bestor
Our 20-year-old daughter Emily went to Europe by herself for five weeks this summer, and although she has traveled extensively, I was more comfortable with her trip once she decided to buy an international texting and data plan for her iPhone. Her AT&T plan cost $30 per month, and included unlimited incoming and outgoing texts, as well as 120MB of cellular data. AT&T required a minimum of two months for this plan, but since she was gone for five weeks it was worth it. Frankly, to give me peace of mind, it would have been worth it even if she was traveling for just a couple of weeks. We were able to check in on a daily basis, and she was able to use data even if she didn’t have wireless. While most of the time, in her youth hostels for example, she had wireless access, there were a few occasions that her data plan came in handy – perhaps while sitting in the warm sunshine on the banks of the Seine in Paris?
If you’re planning to make a lot of phone calls while in Europe, you might be better off with a European SIM card that you insert into your phone, but Emily really didn’t make phone calls. She contacted hostels for future bookings via the internet, sent texts to friends she was meeting, and to her family at home, and even Face-Timed with us when on wifi to show us her pretty face. Those who are staying in Europe for an extended period would certainly be better off buying a mobile device in Europe, but for short time travelers, an international plan with your local phone provider is certainly worth researching.