When I started using VIM I didn't realize that tabs were supposed to be used as different window layouts, and buffer serves the role for multiple file editing / switching between each other. Actually in the beginning tabs are not even there before v7.0 and I just opened one VIM inside a terminal tab (I was using gnome-terminal at the moment), and switch between tabs using alt+numbers, since I thought using commands like :buffers, :bn and :bp were too much for me. When VIM 7.0 was released I find it's easier to manager a lot of files and switched to it, but recently I just realized that buffers should always be the way to go, unless one thing: you need to configure it to make it works right.
So I tried vim-airline and enabled the visual on-top tab-like buffer bar, but graphic was having problem with my iTerm2, so I tried a couple of others and it seems that MBE works the best for me. I also set shift+h/l as shortcuts, since the original ones (moving to the head/tail of the current page) is not very useful to me.
map <S-h> :bprev<Return>
map <S-l> :bnext<Return>
It seems to be even easier than gt and gT, and :e is easier than :tabnew too. I find :bd is not as convenient as :q though (MBE is having some problem with it) but I can live with all files in buffer I think. Glad to learn more things when I'm getting old.