According to statistics from U.S. Travel Association, 2016 was a busy year for the U.S. residents marking about 457.4 million person-trips for business and another 1.7 billion personal trips in the same year. This data has only grown, and 2019 was a busier year for travellers. Despite the Coronavirus pandemic issues that have caused a standstill in the world and freezing of international travelling, the first two months of 2020 were hectic. I expect people will resume their normal lives soon and everyone will be in a rush to accomplish one or two of their 2020 resolutions.
People travel with their devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones, which often raise concerns about the reliability of internet connection on the destination. The fact is there’s no guarantee that your destination will have a 3G/4G/LTE service for your personal and job needs.
Such worries created the need for portable hotspot devices to eliminate the anxiety and bring peace of mind while travelling the world. The good news is that travellers can rent or buy portable hotspot devices to feed their myriad devices with data.
Top reasons why you need to travel with a Portable WI-FI hotspot
You never realize how important your mobile device is until you find yourself in another world with unstable or no internet connection. For travel bloggers, business travellers, and people that like sharing their special moments on social media more often, there are reasons why you should choose a portable Wi-Fi hotspot.
Need for local maps
We all rely on Google maps, and other GPS facilitated tools for local destinations, weather updates and local news. Without a stable internet connection, this will only be a dream. Consequently, you should buy a portable Wi-Fi device for all your international travels.
Posting a few pics on the internet and social media
Tourists always want to share their specific experiences in a foreign country in real-time which can be impossible with an unstable or unreliable internet connection. Remember that sometimes tourists spend their time in rural and remote areas where internet connection is limited. If you cannot afford a satellite internet service, the only alternative is WI-FI hotspots.
Working on the go
I am a freelancer, and most of the time I work on the go. Just like me, many people have specific internet needs depending on their particular job needs. If you are a digital nomad working on the go, Hotspot devices are very reliable. After spending a lot of time roaming around and inquiring about free WI-FI and bearing crazy roaming charges, I am excited to find a lasting solution.
Choosing the best Wi-Fi Hotspot for travel
Buying a Wi-Fi device that can offer you reliability while on international transit and facilitate uninterrupted access to WhatsApp, F.B., FaceTime, Skype, Trello, Twitter and Instagram, you should invest enough time researching. Here are some points that can help you along the way.
The brand of the portable hotspot device that you want to go for matters a lot. We have so many manufacturers in the market which raises legitimacy questions. To be on the safer side, buy portable Wi-Fi devices from the likes of TP-Link, Huawei and Netgear.
After putting down the list of reputable brands, it’s important to vet them from the most affordable to the most expensive. Understand why some of the brands are expensive and what sets them aside. It’s also important to consider your preferences in this case.
After buying your device, choose the carrier wisely. It’s important to choose a carrier that you are sure provides international coverage. The internet coverage should also be stable and reliable. Some recommendations include WorldSIM and Dataroam. Though there are several other alternatives, you can choose.
Consider portable Wi-Fi devices with Built-in eSIM
Buying all-in-one devices that have a built-in device is another imperative option to consider. The good thing about them is that they come with some free international data. It’s also easy to recharge them online using the specific company’s website.
Top up options
You can expect that some of these devices come with limited data options. For that reason, it is crucial to understand how you can recharge these devices wherever you are. Some options will be to buy top-up recharge cards which is not a reliable option because these cards are not widely available. My recommendation is a service provider with online recharge capability where you can just log in to your portal and recharge your hotspot device.
4G vs 5G
For better connections, I usually recommend prioritizing 4G and 5G. These two connections offer worldwide ultra-fast connection. One major drawback is that they have a high data consumption rate. For that reason, buy data in bundles.
Best Portable WI-FI hotspots for international travellers in 2020
Although 2020 has been the worst year for international travellers so far, there are hopes that the world will open soon and people will start travelling again. When that time comes, and you are ready to get out of your home country, you don’t have to spare thousands of dollars for expensive roaming charges which can be uneconomical.
Without a portable WI-FI device, you may be forced to use unsecured public Wi-Fi, buy local sim cards or even cue for Mobile WI-FI Hotspot which brings security concerns and convenience issues on board. Here is my top selection of best Portable hotspot devices for international travellers that you can buy or rent in 2020.
I can predict with near surety that you need a lightweight and reliable portable Hotspot Wi-Fi device. If that is true, that is what you get with Skyroam Solis portable WI-FI device. This device is the best fit for frequent international travellers.
You get 16-20 hours of uninterrupted connection in a single charge, up to 5 connections which means you can connect all your devices at the same time and Built-in data. Furthermore, you have a 1-day Free pass and power bank functionality which makes it easy to charge your smartwatch and smartphone.
With this patented Virtual SIM (vSIM) you will secure 4G WI-Fi connection in over 130 countries in the world. Additionally, this device connects automatically to local carriers to provide you with additional reliability and dependability.
You have the options of paying your data as you go online. I recommend getting an unlimited monthly data plan at $99 because you don’t know your monthly data limits yet. However, you can prefer to pay $9 per day, $180 for 20 days or $90 for 10 days.
Skyroam Solis pros
- Easy to use
- Connects up to 5 devices
- Automatically connects to local carriers
- The monthly subscription is cheaper
- Recharges via a USB-C
- High-speed data connections
- Long battery life
Skyroam Solis Cons
- Connects only five devices
GlocalMe G4 mobile hotspot
This is undoubtedly a reliable portable MI-FI for frequent international travellers. It comes with a battery life of about 15 hours and LCD touch screen. The GlocalMe G4 Mobile Hotspot is a lightweight and small device that can fit in your pocket. This is definitely what makes it perfect for travellers that don’t want to deal with heavy gadgets.
The brand uses its automatic technology to connect to local 3G and 4G network whenever it’s available. This eliminates the need for a local SIM card. Another advantage is that this device supports about 144 countries in the world with the broadest coverage in Europe.
Unfortunately, this device is not the best if you are travelling to the Middle East and Africa. These two regions are where they have most of the gaps. Luckily, if you go to any country in Asia, America and Europe, you can connect up to 5 devices and get access to 4G internet connections.
GlocalMe G4 mobile hotspot pros
- Comes with 1GB global data pack for free
- Covers Europe, America and Asia perfectly well
- Up to 5 connections
- It’s small and can fit on your pocket
- 15 hours of uninterrupted connection.
GlocalMe G4 mobile hotspot cons
- No stable coverage in Africa and the Middle east
- Only five connections
- Relatively expensive
Sometimes you are travelling as a group, and you want to minimize the cost of accessing the internet. In this case, Huawei E5788 is the best MI-Fi device that connects up to 32 devices. This means that it’s the best option for large groups. Furthermore, the device is a 5G ready Wi-Fi device that serves you 5G connections whenever it’s available.
With 12 hours of battery life, you are assured full day-time coverage and recharging at night. It’s also a lightweight device that can perfectly fit in your backpack without causing unnecessary discomfort.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a built-in sim card, and you are very likely to recharge before the end of the day depending on how busy the device is. Luckily, you can unlock the device to use any SIM card on it.
Additionally, this device has a built-in battery that doubles as a power bank for your smartphones and smartwatches. One major drawback is that its battery is only 3,000mAH, which is only suitable for emergency recharge of your tablet or phone.
Huawei E5788 pros
- Connects up to 32 devices
- Can use any SIM card after unlocking
- It’s 5G ready
- Doubles as a power bank
- Suitable for large travel groups download speeds of up to 1Gbps
Huawei E5788 Cons
- Small battery
- No built-in SIM card
TP-Link is a global giant that makes highly reliable Mi-Fi devices perfectly fit for international travel. The TP-Link M7350 is a Portable hotspot device that suits a group of 10 travellers. It effectively offers you basic WI-FI connections.
The unluckiest thing about this WI-FI device is that it has small battery life. This means that although it offers room for up to 10 connections, connecting all of them will shorten the battery life to a few hours. It can also not double as a power bank.
Fortunately, TP-Link M7350 has an LCD that provides such information as signal strength and battery. Another great feature is the availability of a TpMIFI app that helps you set data caps and data limits and at the same time limit which device can connect to WIFI. Through the app, someone can also share videos, music and photos with other devices.
Tp-Link M7350 Pros
- Has a Micro SD card slot
- Can connect up to 10 people
- Can share videos, photos and music
- Can set data limits with TpMifi app.
- It’s affordable
TP-Link M7350 cons
- Has a short battery life
Huawei E5577Cs-321 4G Mobile WI-FI Hotspot
With up to 10 Wi-Fi connections, you can be sure of dependability when you are travelling in a group. Their high-speed mobile hotspot is available for use in many countries including those in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, United States, the Middle East and Venezuela.
The device offers fast download and uploads speeds that can match your internet needs while exploring the world. The download speed is up to 150-Mbps.
If you are able to unlock the device, you can access 3G from whenever you are by connecting to a local network. Furthermore, it can easily connect and work through the Huawei Hi-Link app. The battery offers up to 6 hours of connection which is unreasonable for busy users. Though you have about 300 hours of standby time.
Huawei E5577Cs-321 4G Mobile WI-FI Hotspot pros
- Highly reliable
- Connects up to 10 devices
- Small and lightweight.
- It’s easy to use
- The device is unlocked for all networks
Huawei E5577Cs-321 4G Mobile WI-FI Hotspot cons
- Shorter battery life
TEP wireless/Travel WIFI
This company is a pioneer in the world internet provision. Their sapphire/Ted wireless device has been recommended by many travellers and bloggers all over the world. Over time, they have proven to be a good choice for Americans who want to travel the world.
The main reason this company is on the list today is that they offer a lot of extras together with its main subscription. Some of these extras include:
- Prime Wi-Fi, which gives you access to about 60+ Million Wi-Fi connections worldwide.
- VOIP Phone and SMS service-This extra is available via their app, giving you many calling and SMS opportunities.
- TEP Guru which is a free local concierge service. This makes it easy to connect to the local network via TEP+ app privately.
TEP wireless pros
- Connects effortlessly to all local and international carriers
- Comes with many extras
- VOIP phone and SMS service
- Long battery life
TEP wireless cons
- Not for use in all countries
- Relatively expensive
Are you a frequent traveller using only a smartphone? Macaroon is one of the best, functional, lightweight and small travel hotspot devices for you this year. This device connects up to 10 devices and has built-in data.
Additionally, the hotspot offers online data deals through their official software. Although this Mi-fi device is from Hong Kong, it works perfectly well for U.S. based travellers and travellers from any other part of the world.
The device works via a smartphone app. Additionally, the Macaroon data plans are affordable for any type of traveller. Furthermore, the device can be used with 3rd party SIMs. Its battery offers more than 12 hours of uninterrupted functionality.
- Has built-in data
- Comes with 1GB international data for you
- Has a long-lasting battery
- Can connect up to 10 users
- Operates through a smartphone app.
- It’s affordable
- Can be unlocked to work with 3rd party SIM cards.
- Its relatively expensive
- The battery life is not the best.
KuWIFI 4G LTE Unlocked Hotspot
The KuWIFI hotspot device is compatible with almost all providers internationally. It connects perfectly well with the SpeedConnect, Redzone, AT&T, Cellular and other providers both in the U.S. and outside the country.
Another advantage is that this device is unlocked meaning you can use it with providers of your Choice wherever you are. Additionally, it allows up to 10 connections. Tactlessly, the device is likely to slow down as you connect more devices.
I checked user reviews, and most of the people agreed that this device is a good option for Americans and Caribbean travellers. What this means is that if you frequently travel to the American land and the neighbouring Caribbean countries, it’s a good option for you.
KuWIFI 4G LTE Unlocked Hotspot pros
- Speeds of up to 150Mbps
- Best for people travelling to America and Caribbean countries
- Unlocked for other providers
- Long-life battery
- Compatible with most providers worldwide
- Its relatively expensive
- Not fit for worldwide travellers.
- KuWIFI 4G LTE Unlocked Hotspot cons
NetGear MR1100-100 EUS Nighthawk
This router is a promising future 5G device that comes with a massive battery and Gigabit WIFI. It can allow up to 20 connections all at once. The battery goes for over 24 hours with a single charge depending on how busy the device is. It is also lightweight and compact, making it capable of fitting within your backpack or pockets.
If you are one of those travellers that want impressive download speeds and long battery life, then this device is for you. It’s perfect for people visiting remote areas where electricity is unstable. The device has the LTE CAT16 tech, which facilitates super-fast downloads. Thanks to the 2.4 inch LCD panel which increases your control over connected devices and battery. To share your images, videos and music, the device comes with a MicroSD card slot.
NetGear MR1100-100 EUS Nighthawk Pros
- Massive battery
- 2.4 inch LCD panel
- MicroSD card slot
- Connects up to 20 devices
- Super-fast downloads
- 5,040mAH battery.
- 5G enabled
NetGear MR1100-100 EUS Nighthawk cons
- It’s costly for budget travellers
- Fewer customer reviews
Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot for International Travellers FAQs
Besides the information shared above, do you still have a question about Mobile portable hotspot devices for international travellers, if yes, then here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions that can cover your inquiry?
Can you use Mobile Hotspot Internationally?
Yes, travellers have a chance of using mobile hotspot devices whenever they travel for as long as they get the services from a reputable provider. If you don’t want to suffer the inconvenience of lacking a stable internet connection, then choose any of the Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots for international travellers explained and reviewed above.
When is a portable Wi-Fi Hotspot the best Choice?
Before making such decisions, it’s essential to weigh the situation and determine whether your travel situation and style warrants such investments. A portable Wi-Fi hotspot device should come from a famous brand. The subscription should offer you chances of accessing unlimited data if only your data needs are high. It’s also essential to choose a subscription with a phone call and SMS capability.
Are there any unlimited mobile hotspot plans for international travel?
It’s so unfortunate that today there’s no specific carrier that offers unlimited data plans and tethering for travellers without pressing the brakes on data speeds and exploiting the customer. However, if you don’t mind, there are few options explained above that can help you meaningfully.
How do I get WIFI when travelling internationally?
There are a few cheap options for accessing the internet when travelling internationally. You can choose to get an international plan with your local carrier, use public Wi-Fi, buy a local Simcard or use a portable Wi-Fi hotspot device. The last option is definitely worth your investment. Check the above explained Portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices for international travelling.
While travelling internationally, you still have to ensure you are connected to the rest of the world regardless of how remote the place you are travelling is. Although there are other options for accessing the internet while in another country, I believe getting a Portable Wi-Fi device that can work with international and local carriers is the best and the cheapest option. In the list above, I have demulsified your options to offer you the best Portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices for international travellers.