This blog post was updated on July 12, 2021.
With my husband and I working solely online and not from an office, having a strong, reliable Wi-Fi connection is not only imperative while traveling. Our very jobs and incomes depend upon it. After countless trips abroad, rolling the dice and hoping our accommodations’ Wi-Fi would suffice, we decided on a recent trip to Croatia we needed a more reliable option. Portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices allow you to stay connected with your own network, usually from a device no bigger than a cellphone. After researching countless companies and actually bringing one of these devices with us, I realized that these companies offering up Wi-Fi for rent are not so cut and dry. If you are someone that requires a reliable connection while traveling, here are a few questions to ask the company you are considering.
How Much?: These portable Wi-Fi devices are not cheap. The one we rented cost about $13 a day for unlimited data. This price only bought us Wi-Fi in one country. If we had added on another country, it would have been another $13 a day. This price can quickly add up especially if you traveling through several different countries and if your selected company doesn’t offer unlimited data. Before you agree to a company, be sure you know how much it will cost. This number can be somewhat hidden. If you are traveling to multiple countries, you might want to look into unlimited country plans in order to make the device more affordable.
How Many Devices Can I Connect With?: If you are traveling with your family or a group, the portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices have to allow several of your devices to connect. Many of these companies allow up to five devices to be connected at once. When you have to switch between your phone, computer or tablet as you travel, you have to be certain that your Wi-Fi device can handle all of your devices.
How’s The Signal Strength?: My husband and I really worried about signal strength when deciding which company to go with for our travels. We read reviews and finally decided on one after reading such glowing accounts. In the end, the signal strength was accurately described for the most part. You have to read reviews thoroughly, especially ones targeted at the countries you will be visited. Other consumer experiences can often help you gauge if you can connect or not.
What’s the Battery Life?: As we were stuck on a sailboat in Croatia with our Wi-Fi hotspot, we needed a device that had a strong battery life. While our company advertised an eight-hour battery life if fully charged, our device couldn’t carry much of a charge, especially if we were both connected. Again, reviews come into play here. If people complain about battery life, they probably are being genuine. If you worry about the battery life, some companies do offer an extra battery to carry with you in case you are stuck in the middle of the ocean without any sort of plug like we were.