After 15 long months of pandemic-related restrictions, the warm weather has brought a newly opened country — as well as a new era of summer travel. Over two-thirds of Americans (67%) are planning to travel this summer, which is a 17% increase from those who traveled earlier this spring. Millennials seem to be the most excited, with 72% of the generation already planning trips according to Trip Advisor’s 2021 Summer Travel Index. Although many still plan to drive to their destination (43%), 19% plan to fly. The majority of Americans (74%) will take a domestic trip, while 13% will still travel internationally.
Road trippers are clearly eager to get out of the house and into nature, with millions of Americans planning to gas up their vehicles. But with such high demand — along with a move toward a “hybrid” work model — the great American road trip will look much different this year.
As for those digging out their passports and spending hours on their favorite flight search engine (and dusting off that handy Rick Steves guide!), many vaccinated Americans can now visit Europe and other international destinations, even though travel abroad will also look very different this year.
Of course, this means the summer road trip and coveted international vacation is back! Which is great news, especially for T-Mobile customers.
So, from scoring hotel reservations and keeping track of local restrictions, to booking a last-minute table at a European hot spot, here are some tips for how your device can help you navigate the new normal — the next normal — of globetrotting or making the most of your domestic road trip this summer.
Health and Safety
With COVID-19 restrictions and local safety guidelines varying widely by state, you’ll want the most up-to-date information relevant to where you’ll be traveling. For domestic trips, websites like the USA Today’s COVID Map and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide easy access to real-time updates on COVID restrictions across the country.
Safety protocols also vary widely by country, and apps like COVID Controls offer easy access to real-time updates on COVID restrictions and entry requirements across the globe. The COVID Controls app even allows you to customize your trip, giving you information on your destination country’s current protocols based on your country of origin. A number of countries in the EU have also adopted a digital vaccine passport ahead of an initiative to have all 27 member states join this summer, and uses a digital green certificate in the form of a QR code that can be stored on a device.
Check these out before you hit the road if you’re planning on crossing state lines or before you book that international flight.
Last-Minute Restaurant Reservations
Although restaurants across the country have opened their doors to the public, many are still running at low capacities in a number of states like New York and California. Additionally, a shortage of hospitality workers has caused restaurants to limit the number of customers they can serve each night. If you didn’t plan ahead for your domestic travel and book dining reservations in advance, apps like Open Table and Resy can help you score a last-minute table after a long day on the road.
And although many countries in Europe have opened their doors to vaccinated American tourists, restaurants are still running at low capacities in a number of hot spots like Italy and Spain. Apps like The Fork can help you score a last-minute table after a long day of wandering the streets of Rome or Barcelona if you forgot to do so in advance. And if you need to ask that foodie friend for a recommendation, don’t forget with T-Mobile’s Magenta and Magenta MAX plans you get unlimited texting and data without roaming fees in over 200 countries. Not to mention, if you do decide to hop on a flight and want to do a little last minute research on your destination while in the air, T-Mobile’s Magenta plans offer in-flight Wi-Fi on select airlines.
Hotel Bookings and Car Rentals
So much of life on the road is about aimlessly wandering from place to place in search of your next adventure. It’s that game-time call to push on to a new city or pull into a charming little town you’ve never heard of for the night. And similarly, so much of international travel is about the spur of the moment decision to hop on a train or keep your alpine road trip going for a few more days. Need a place to stay at the drop of a hat? Apps like Hotel Tonight offer deals on last-minute hotel bookings, helping you find a place to get some rest after an epic day of exploration.
For domestic travelers on road trips to a city this summer, it’s worth checking to see if the city has an attraction pass — usually a digital ticket that lets you bundle attractions to make the most out of your visit. For example, The New York Sightseeing Pass offers ticket-free entry to more than 150 attractions around New York City. These passes can often save you time and money, and are a great way to catch all the can’t-miss sights cities have to offer. And don’t miss out on the savings with T-Mobile’s “Always On” offer for up to 30% off theme park admission with EBG that you can find in the T-Mobile Tuesdays app.
For those going abroad, no train trip through Europe is complete without a Eurail Pass. But how to keep track of all the different destinations and timetables to help you hop from country to country? The Rail planner app from Eurail will help you sort out your departure and arrival times, and plan the perfect route for an unforgettable vacation.
Navigating National Parks
If you’re like many road trippers this summer in America, you’re likely planning a visit to one of our country’s storied National Parks. For the easiest way to plan your visit, make sure to download the NPS app. This app is your guide to more than 400 National Park System units, and offers interactive maps, tours of park places, accessibility information and much more to help make your trip to the great outdoors an unforgettable one.
While some are trying to master the terrain of America’s national parks, others will be trying to learn the foreign language they set out to master during lockdown before their international trip. No worries if you’re a little behind on your conjugations — apps like iTranslate offer instant translations on the go, so you won’t miss a beat when it’s your turn to order your morning pain au chocolat et café au lait at the boulangerie.
If your domestic road trip includes a little time in nature, your phone can make it easy to get out there and hike, bike or camp like a local. Apps like AllTrails and Trailforks can help you find the best trails for hiking and biking, with updates on trail conditions to aid you in picking the best spot to get out there. If you’re planning to camp this summer, the Recreation.gov app has everything you need to discover and book campsites, no matter where your summer road trip takes you. And with T-Mobile, America’s fastest 5G is now available at no extra cost to 300 million Americans to help when you’re out on the road with nothing but nature around! Happy trails!
For those traveling abroad, once you’ve made your way around the globe and are ready to return to the United States, the Mobile Passport app can make customs a breeze. After all, the last thing you want to do after a transatlantic flight is stand in an hours-long line. The app is only available for certain airports in the U.S., including most of the major points of entry for international flights. Just be sure to download the app ahead of landing, and enter your passport and trip information before you head to the customs area. Bon voyage!