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Enough Data? AT&T Passport Internation Phone Plan

Hi, can anyone help with this?

My family will be going to Germany for two weeks and I am trying to figure out our cell phone needs. I've looked into unlocking our phones and getting German SIM cards but would like to avoid that.

Can anyone suggest which, if any, plan would provide enough data? Here's what apps we would like to use:

- Email
- Apple Maps (not for navigating while driving, just to find a location).
Also: I need to be able to navigate via GPS while driving. I have arranged for my rental car to have GPS at a cost of 8 euros a day for 13 days = 104 euros. Or could I use Maps/Waze on the Gold Passport Plan (800 MB for $120)?

My daugher (I know most of this won't work - could you tell me which of these would work and with which passport plan?
- Email
- Whats App
Less important:
- Twitter
- Facebook
- Snapchat
- Instagram

Passport cell phone packages for 30 days
( )

Passport $40
200MB (Overage: $0.25/MB)

Passport Silver $60

300MB (Overage: $0.20/MB)

Passport Gold $120
800MB (Overage: $0.15/MB)

Thanks so much!

Posted by
2329 posts

I had the Passport Silver for my 2 weeks in Paris and Budapest recently, mainly for the int'l phone rate of .50 cents per minute as I have elderly parents that needed to hear from me every couple of days. I used the data very sparingly, only for looking up a few shops or locations while on the go, I checked email and various other websites, posted photos and updates on facebook and messaged with friends using the hotel's free Wi-Fi in the morning or at night. My overall usage was miniscule, nowhere near the limit..

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks Christa.

I should have mentioned that at least half the time their won't be wifi, when I am staying with elderly relatives.

Posted by
961 posts

Nina - knowing what I know now, I would go with the basic package and ONLY use free wifi for anything other than a quick look if you have to. A couple hundred mb is really not much. Plan ahead and use free wifi for everything and the phone for emergency use/texting only. I would also probably use the gps plan that comes with the rental car. jmo

Posted by
173 posts

I had the lowest Passport plan for 10 days in France. Most of the time my iPhone was in airplane mode. I used data only to quickly check maps, messages from other tour members, etc. Too bad you won't have hotel wifi because it was quite good & conserved data.

Posted by
934 posts

Assuming the relatives have a good mobile signal, you can pick up a unlocked Android with tethering function for 70 dollars and likely 4GB of data for 25 dollars

Posted by
439 posts

I used the passport service in both Ireland & Greece(both were two weeks), husband & I went with the $40 service. We did not even come close to running out. I used mine for maps, email & FB. Husband, email & FB. We would use FB messenger to communicate with his relatives in Ireland. We also used wifi in restaurants, pubs, café, etc.

I did find that in certain areas in both countries, it was very hard to use the map features.


Posted by
457 posts

I usually get the mid-tier Passport plan. On the first three trips to Italy, the mid-range plan seemed like overkill; I didn't come anywhere close to using all of my data. However, I am very accustomed to managing my data use because until last year I only had a 200MB per month data plan on my main/US plan. I used offline maps, and tried to limit web-surfing, IG, and FB to when I had a Wifi connection.

On my most recent trip to Turkey, though, I was really glad that I had the mid-range plan. My traveling companion got sick, and I had to email medical reports from roadside stops and telephone family members and insurance companies, and so forth. I ate up a lot of data and a lot of voice time. As it turned out, it was cheaper for me to have the mid-range plan on all four trips than to get the cheaper plan and pay overages when the emergency hit.

So, it's the mid-range plan for me from now on.

If your daughter can limit her FB/IG time to when she is on Wifi, you'll probably be okay with a mid-range plan. I am not sure about GPS. If you can download maps ahead of time, you're probably okay. If you are downloading maps on the fly, you might eat up a lot of data.

Posted by
457 posts

A couple of other things ...

  • All of your daughter's apps will work with the Passport plan.

  • Get MapsWithMe for offline maps. It really reduces your data usage.

  • Assume that every web or online map page you load is approximately 1 MB. The actual number will vary, but 1MB is a pretty good back-of-the-envelope estimate.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks! I just called AT&T a little while ago. i asked if you can upgrade your plan at any time and she said yes. You can do it online or call 916-843-4685 which is a free call from overseas (I think you add the prefix 011). They are avail 24 hours a day.

Elsewhere I learned how to keep an eye on your data usage. When you get on the plane remember to "Reset Statistics" at the bottom of the Cellular page. That's the easiest way to keep an eye on your data usage.

Posted by
244 posts

We just returned from a month in France. I used the basic passport plan from AT&T. We also used whatsapp to communicate. Yes you must use wifi but it worked perfect. We also just used the GPS in the car. Once in a while I needed to use my cellular data when we were lost walking in Paris. But if you download the map using wifi before you head out it will work without data. We used our hotel/apartment wifi for email, Facebook, snapchat etc. worked perfect.

Posted by
6025 posts

Just as a data point for you....

I was in London last week for basically 8 days. Took my ATT phone, looked at the plans and decided not to add anything on.

I also had an unlocked smartphone with me, I went to Carphone Warehouse and was able to pick up a SIM card from O2 for 10 Pounds (~$15) that had 2 gigs of data plus 2000 minutes in UK and UK texts. (It was on sale, should have been 20 lbs) Did not use any minutes and few texts (mainly to O2) and in 8 days used 500 Megs (GPS, Maps, Google, Downloading Menus and Museum Apps, no streaming of music or video) I considered that fairly intensive browsing and Map apps, but not streaming or intensive download activity.

I could have, and should have, added credit so I could do International calls, but used my regular cell phone for that, at a premium cost.

If on your phone you can do wifi, that offers opportunity through searches and call apps at no costs, but you are limited to cannectivity.

In the end, to use an unlocked phone offered great value.

One point though to consider...I had just a local plan, obviously with a local SIM you will have a local phone number. That means for some apps you may need some international phone or texts to set people up or do some administrative stuff that may already be set up on your phone.

Posted by
4 posts

I just got back from Italy and used a mobile wifi device from ExpressoWifi that worked very well. You go online to their website and you rent/reserve the unit online with delivery to your hotel or, in our case, they delivered it to us in baggage claim at the Rome Airport and we dropped it off at hotel in Venice when we left Italy. It uses the local Italian Cell services and converts to Wifi on a small device you carry with you that your cell phone(s) can access via the secure wifi network the device uses (it provides network name and password to you). Rates start at about $6.00/day and it is 4G service. It only works in Italy though sio you will have to research other providers for other countries.

I dint use it last summer when we visited German & Austria and wish I had!