The total number of countries available to Verizon customers on the carrier’s TravelPass service is now in excess of 185, following the addition of 54 more countries as supported destinations. New locations highlighted by the service provider as part of its largest-ever expansion include Qatar, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya. The company says that, based on historical user data, around 99-percent of its customers who travel will be visiting a country that's covered under the plans. Finally, Verizon revealed that 33 of the new countries can be included in the International Monthly Plans, allowing a full month of use in other countries rather than charging a daily rate.
Background: There don't appear to be any other alterations arriving alongside the addition of new countries, so users shouldn't need to adapt to changes in pricing. That means that traditional TravelPass plans -- which begin when data, text, or a phone call are sent while traveling in a supported country -- will start out at $5 per day in Mexico or Canada and $10 per day elsewhere. Customers on 'Go', 'Beyond', or 'Above Unlimited' plans aren't charged for use in Mexico or Canada but TravelPass needs to be activated to avoid higher rates for other plans or in other regions. That price gives users 0.5GB of up to 4G data per day and calls or texts that fall in line with their domestic use allowances. An additional 0.5GB per day can be optionally purchased if the set data amount is exceeded.
Monthly travel plans go quite a bit further for substantially more money, starting at $70 for 100 talk minutes, 100 sent texts (unlimited texts received), and 0.5GB data. For $130, minutes and texts messages jump up to 250 and 1,000, respectively. Data gets a boost to 2GB at the higher rate. Those rates are intended for use in one-time travel circumstances but separate bundles are also available for a monthly charge. The bundles are meant for use by those who travel frequently for business or vacation or who might need to be out of the country for a bit longer. The charges for services included in bundled monthly travel plans are variable in order to accommodate the varying needs of the customer.
Impact: The addition of more countries to Verizon's plans should make life much easier for those who don't want to face per-use charges for minutes, texts, MMS, or data usage. As shown in reports that began surfacing near the middle of 2017, trips to some regions can become exceedingly expensive due to the cost-per-line pricing. In at least one instance, a group of customers taking a trip to Israel strayed too close to the border with Jordan -- which is now on Verizon's supported list. When they arrived back in the US, the users were met with a bill that went well into the four-figure price range. The discrepancy was due to their service kicking over to a tower in the neighboring country that just happened to be closer to their location and had a stronger signal. Similar disputes have cropped up repeatedly with travel-related plans across carriers and some of those aren't ever resolved favorably for consumers. More countries being supported should, at the very least, minimize the chances of those situations occurring.