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Staying connected while traveling abroad is no longer an indulgence, it is a necessity – and Pocket WiFi for travel makes it easy.
We used to scramble to find free WiFi hotspots in cities around the world, desperately connecting to unsecure networks and feeling utterly helpless when it wouldn’t work.
All of that changed when we purchased a portable WiFi device. With our personal pocket WiFi device, we are connected from the moment the flight touches down all around the world.
Why Do I Need Pocket WiFi?
Travel has changed. It used to be that we traveled abroad to disconnect and decompress. But – like it or not – technology is a part of travel now and internet access is practically required. A WiFi connection is not just for uploading Instagram photos and keeping in touch with family and friends on Facebook, but for the essentials of travel.
Our travel WiFi device sometimes feels like a lifeline. While sightseeing, we connect to WiFi to get directions and information. To get around, we rely on apps, like Uber. When we need to get in touch with our Airbnb host on arrival to a new destination, we need a connection.
In our first year of full-time travel we relied solely on free public WiFi for a connection outside of our accommodations…and it was maddening (not to mention risky!). Racing around in search of connectivity consumed an inordinate amount of time, which inevitably, diminished some of our travel experiences.
Buying a personal travel WiFi router changed the way we travel. We eliminated the stress of frantically searching for public WiFi and instead focus our energy on enjoying our travels.
What Is Pocket WiFi?
If, at this point, you are reading this and thinking ‘What Is A Pocket WiFi?’ you are not alone. So, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s chat a minute about exactly what pocket WiFi for travel is.
In a nutshell, a pocket WiFi device is a portable WiFi router that is small enough and light enough to fit in your pocket. Just like your home WiFi router, it provides an internet connection for WiFi enabled devices – like your smartphone, tablet and laptop – but pocket WiFi is powered by a battery.
Pro Tip: Interchangeable terms for pocket WiFi devices are mobile hotspot and MiFi.
How Does Portable WiFi Work?
Similar to a mobile phone, a WiFi pocket device uses cellular signals to create a connection with your WiFi enabled gadgets. The signals are transmitted to the device either via SIM Card or cloud technology. The Best Travel WiFi Devices are enabled to use both.
Can I Use My Smartphone Instead of Travel Pocket WiFi?
Yes, but before you use your phone abroad, we caution you to first check roaming rates with your provider. International data fees are notoriously high. When you use your phone, those fees can add up quickly. The last thing you want to do is come home from your vacation to a humungous phone bill.
However, when you invest in a pocket WiFi international device, you purchase data separate from your personal phone plan – at a much cheaper rate. There are heaps of other benefits for using a travel WiFi hotspot too, which we dive into in a minute!
Pro Tip: In the United States, some phone carriers offer International Rates packages, but the cost can add up quickly. Do the math to find out which option would be cheaper…and take into consideration future trips abroad, too.
Buying vs Renting WiFi Hotspot
The process is fairly simple; rental pocket WiFi devices can be picked up at the airport or they can be rented online and shipped to you before you depart. The downside to renting pocket WiFi for travel is that learning how to use a new portable WiFi hotspot device can be a bit of a learning curve (which is not something you want to be doing on vacation!).
While the rental WiFi pocket devices worked great for both trips, we determined it would have made more sense financially for us to purchase a mobile WiFi device rather than rent it. Our best advice is that if you are going to rent pocket WiFi, do the math to see if it is the better economical choice over buying one!
The Best Pocket WiFi For Travel
Since we started traveling in 2014, we have owned three different pocket internet devices – each one better than the previous.
Our first mobile WiFi hotspot device was tied to a specific mobile carrier and country (Australia). It was a locked device (we could only use it with that carrier), which was incredibly limiting and, in the end, ineffective for worldwide travels.
The second mobile pocket WiFi device we purchased was an unlocked pocket WiFi hotspot, which allowed us to utilize different local SIM cards for connectivity. While that portable pocket WiFi worked well, tracking down a SIM card in every new country became a hassle.
Our current pocket WiFi for travel abroad is the GlocalMe G4 and it is the best pocket WiFi we have owned.
Why GlocalMe G4 is the Best Travel WiFi Hotspot
After fussing with SIM card pocket WiFi for years, we upgraded to the GlocalMe G4 – and we absolutely love it! We think it is, by far, the best pocket WiFi router for the price…and we never travel without it! If you are going to buy pocket WiFi, we highly recommend buying the GlocalMe G4.
In fact, we think GlocalMe G4 is the absolute best pocket WiFi for international travel – and we have five reasons why. (And if you want to read fellow traveler reviews, you can find them on Amazon!)
#1 Wifi Data Options
The top reason the GlocalMe G4 is the best pocket router for travel is that there are two options for obtaining data: SIM card or cloud technology. The device is a pocket WiFi with SIM card plus global WiFi data plans can be purchased via the GlocalMe app. Although it is occasionally cheaper to buy a SIM card directly from a vendor, it is invaluable to us to pre-purchase a data plan through the app and be connected straight away.
#2 Connectivity On Arrival
Piggybacking off reason #1, another reason we love GlocalMe pocket 4G WiFi is that we can be connected to the internet the moment the airplane wheels touch down. By purchasing data via the app, we can have our internet connectivity set up before we even arrive in a new country. This saves us time and eliminates anxiety on arrival, which is especially nice after a long haul flight. We can order an Uber, contact our Airbnb host and be on our way without having to negotiate buying and setting up a new SIM card.
Pro Tip: Another feature we love about GlocalMe is that they offer regional data packages. So, for example, you can buy hotspot plans for your European Vacation and it will keep you connected from Croatia to Portugal!
#3 Connect Multiple Devices At One Time
Traveling (and working) as a couple, one of the things we like best about GlocalMe pocket WiFi 4G is that we can connect up to 10 devices at once. This feature is fantastic for couples, groups and families that travel together – because rather than needing multiple mobile hotspots, we only need one device.
When we are out sightseeing, one of us can be looking up directions, while the other is looking up attraction information. And, we can both be sharing photos with our followers on social media in real time.
#4 Utilize the App to Monitor Usage
Yet another feature we love about the GlocalMe pocket WiFi international hotspot is that we are able to easily track data usage via the app. We can see exactly how much data we have used – and how much we have left – so that we are never surprised or stranded without a WiFi connection.
#5 Long Battery Life and Doubles as Power Bank
Connectivity means nothing if the wireless pocket WiFi or your handheld device doesn’t hold a charge. Fortunately, this is where GlocalMe excels! Once charged, the portable pocket WiFi device can be used for up to 18 hours. And, as an extra benefit, it doubles as a portable battery charger for your other mobile devices as well!
Get the best price on the latest pocket WiFi by GlocalMe on Amazon!
GlocalMe pocket WiFi is a great gift for travelers! Find it and other phenomenal gift ideas on our Unique Travel Gift Guide!
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