How do WiFi hotspots work?
Most of us are familiar with WiFi.
We know that when we visit our local Starbucks we can log onto their free WiFi and check our email while we sip on an expensive Pumpkin Spice Latte, but how many of us understand how these hotspots work?
If you are someone who travels for work or pleasure, you need to have a grasp of how WiFi hotspots work.
There’s nothing worse than getting stuck without any internet, so learn how to take advantage of WiFi hotspots and save yourself a lot of hassles!
WiFi Hotspots Work using Cell Towers to Connect to the Internet
Hotspots are portals that connect to the internet using a wireless local area network, or WLAN.
Traditionally they were set up in coffee shops, libraries, and other public spaces.
Now they have expanded to almost everywhere.
The accessibility of WiFi hotspots comes with some new challenges, specifically security.
Mobile hotspots provide internet to people on the go, and these days it is uncommon to find a business that doesn’t offer WiFi to its customers!
Challenges Of Using Public WiFi Hotspots
One of the biggest challenges of mobile hotspots is that they tend to be a little on the slower side.
That’s because so many people are using the same channel to access the internet, and it’s getting clogged up with traffic.
We have all been in situations where someone is using the internet to stream video and slowing down the connection for everyone else that’s connected.
The same principle applies to mobile hotspots.
If you want to quickly check your email, a busy coffee shop will do the trick.
If you want to download some important documents, you might need to find another way to get online.
The other challenge of using a WiFi hotspot is that they tend to be less secure than regular WiFi hookups.
Data and personal information can be easily siphoned from public WiFi hotspots.
It’s really important to protect your personal information if you are planning on logging onto a WiFi hotspot in a place like a public airport.
Don’t log onto any website that contains personal information and avoid typing in any passwords.
I’ve included some more tips for staying safe on WiFi hotspots in the section below.
Prioritizing Safety On Public WiFi Hotspots
It’s imperative that you prioritize your information safety on public WiFi hotspots.
Check the news headlines, browse email or even update your Facebook status, but make sure that you’re following the tips outlined here.
That way, you’ll minimize the risk of someone stealing your information!
Stay Off Sensitive Sites
Never check your bank account or log into applications like PayPal from a public WiFi hotspot.
Even though your bank information should be encrypted, pulling it up at a public location is not advisable.
Save any transactions until you get into a more secure place.
Be Wary Of How Much Information You Give Away
All WiFi hotspots are different. Some will require you to read through and agree to their terms and conditions.
Others will ask for your email address as a way to log in.
Others might ask for more sensitive information, like your passport number, to access the internet.
Use your judgment.
If you put in your email address you might be subject to some spam.
Putting in your passport number is a terrible idea.
Avoid any WiFi hotspots that ask for this type of information.
It’s far better to use your data or access the internet another way.
Don’t Share Too Many Files
When you use a WiFi hotspot, it’s important to limit the number of files that you’re sharing.
Your connection is probably too slow to share files efficiently, and these connections are significantly less secure.
You don’t want to inadvertently send a virus to someone.
Save the file sharing for when you are in a secure location.
You’ll be able to share them quicker and safer.
How To Turn Your Phone Into A Mobile Hotspot
You might be wondering “how do WiFi hotspots work on mobile phones?”
Today’s smartphones have built-in mobile hotspot technology.
All you need to do is access your settings and turn on the hotspot functionality.
Most carriers will expect you to pay extra to use the mobile hotspot, so make sure that you’re not racking up huge data bills by using the hotspot.
If you need clarification on what is covered under your plan, simply give your carrier a call to clear it up.
Alternately, there are plenty of WiFi hotspot apps that you can download on both iPhones and Androids.
WiFi Hotspot Apps
WiFi hotspot apps allow you to set up a hotspot on your device without going into your settings.
They use a process called tethering to connect your phone to the internet.
This technology is fairly new and many people think that it is preferable to the traditional methods of finding public WiFi or using the existing functionality of your phone.
Many hotspot apps are free, but many require you to have a hotspot package set up through your carrier.
There are some that cost a minimal fee to install.
Hotspot apps allow you to connect multiple devices to your hotspot, which makes them a godsend for when you’re on a deadline crunch and need to finish up a big project.
If your other option is unpredictable and insecure public WiFi, the best option is to use the app on your phone and hook up your computer to it.
That way, you’re getting fast and secure internet.
We live in an increasingly connected world where WiFi hotspots are prevalent.
You can access the internet from just about anywhere these days.
Knowing how WiFi hotspots work, where to find them, and how to generate them on your mobile device will ensure that you will never be without internet.
Make sure that you’re accessing the internet safely and avoid giving away too much information, and you’re all set to go!
Best Mobile Hotspot Solutions
The Best Mobile Hotspot can be a fantastic way to connect multiple devices to the internet through the available 4G connection to the cell towers created by the cellular network towers nearby.
However, finding the best way to access a mobile hotspot can be complicated and frustrating.
That’s why I have taken the time to give you my advice on some of the best ways to get your own personal hotspot from wherever you may be.
The Struggle is Real
After years of working remotely for hundreds of different companies, I know the hotspot struggle all too well.
In today’s world, being able to connect to the internet is pretty much essential.
In my line of work, it’s unquestionably a requirement.
I can’t tell you how many times I have found myself in a pinch needing a Wifi connection ASAP.
That’s why I can confidently tell you how to effectively get around the hotspot problem.
I’ve been there, done that, and found some of the best solutions available.
Best Mobile Hotspot for Internet Access
Here are a few ways that you can get a mobile hotspot from anywhere.
I am going to skip right past the whole “connecting to a nearby open Wifi network” thing.
Not only is this a pain to do, but it can also make you vulnerable to a connection that isn’t secure.
It’s way better to find a hotspot that you can connect to and actually trust.
Without further ado, these are a few of the best mobile hotspot solutions that I have seen so far, ranked from worst to best.
Use Your Cell Phone as a Mobile Hotspot
So this is probably my least favorite option.
In my experience, turning my phone into a mobile hotspot runs through my date really quickly.
I am talking about within an hour or to.
This isn’t an accident, either.
Mobile companies make a lot of money from people who need 4G or Wifi access.
That’s why you have to pay so much for data that seems to disappear right before your eyes.
The solution is unlimited data, right?
Wrong. Been there, done that.
Your data connection may be unlimited, but it’s not unlimitedly fast.
After you run through your 4G plan, your data starts to slow down.
You may have noticed that at the end of the month, your data connection gets slower.
This is because once you hit a certain point, your wireless provider automatically slows your data.
Not cool big wireless companies, not cool.
Anyway, when you use your phone as a hotspot, your connection won’t be as reliable or as fast as it could be, or as you might need it to be.
Pros of unlimited data:
- Fairly easy to figure out
Cons of unlimited data:
- Eat through your wireless data
- Can get expensive
- Slow or non-existent connection
Personal Mobile Hotspot Devices from Wireless Providers
Here’s an idea: Buy a mobile hotspot device from the same company that you can’t trust to actually give you unlimited 4G even though you already pay for it.
Maybe not the best option, right?
However, these devices DO work better than turning your phone into a wireless hotspot.
They’re usually portable and function like a Wifi router that you can travel with.
Wireless hotspot devices harness the cellular connections from the cell towers around you and convert 4G connections into Wifi.
The catch is that you have to pay for them, and in many cases, pay a lot.
Not only will you have to drop a lot of cash to buy one of these devices but you’ll also need to pay for a monthly plan.
These plans almost always include long contracts with lots of fine print.
Once you’ve gotten past all of this, the connection speeds are only okay.
The worst part about these devices though is their coverage.
You’ll only get to connect to the cell towers owned by the wireless provider that you purchased the hotspot from.
This means that if you’re in an area where your cell company doesn’t have towers, you’ll be without Wifi.
Pros of buying a mobile hotspot device:
- Specifically designed to give you a Wifi Hotspot
- Can be added to your cell service plan
Cons of purchasing a hotspot device:
- Only can connect to local towers owned by your cell service provider
- Must buy the device separately
- Monthly or annual contracts are required
- Not much better than creating a hotspot from your phone
Buying a Preloaded Hotspot Devices
These hotspot devices are great if you’re going to be traveling around in a designated area, usually your home state, territory, or province.
You simply get the hotspot device, pay for pre-set services, and you’re good to go.
Many of these hotspots will work for a few months at a time and then you have to renew your service.
They’ll usually work wherever people can get a cell signal from the main cell companies in your area.
They work with multiple towers and companies so you will get a better connection in general.
The thing is, quality devices can be hard to come by.
Plus, they don’t always offer a secure connection.
This is a big issue.
Also, even the best devices won’t work internationally.
These kinds of mobile hotspots have designated coverage areas.
Once you get outside of your pre-designated area, they stop working.
If you want to travel abroad, you’re out of luck.
Pros of buying a Preloaded Hotspot Devices:
- Work with multiple service providers
- No contracts or minimal contracts
- Faster connections
Cons Preloaded Hotspot Devices:
- Can be inconsistent
- Don’t work internationally
Overall Best Option – Portable International 4G and Wifi Hotspot Devices
Now for my favorite solution.
International portable mobile hotspot devices.
If you really want ultimate connectivity from wherever you are traveling, this is your best bet.
These devices offer some of the lowest service rates, rarely require any kind of contract, and can be used all over the world.
You will have access to the internet no matter where you are on the planet, as long as there’s some cell service available.
You don’t have to rely on your cellular provider either.
They convert the 4G connections of thousands of cellular providers into Wifi that you take with you everywhere.
They’re like little magical Wifi routers that you charge and take with you when you’re on the go.
As a digital nomad myself, these devices are my go-to option when I am traveling abroad.
You can even rent your device for the duration of your trip making them a fantastic option for vacations or work-related travel.
You just have to get your device and set it up at home before you leave.
Pros of Portable International 4G and Wifi Hotspot Devices:
- Work internationally in 100’s of countries
- Can be used anywhere that cell signal is available
- Utilize the connections offered by almost any cell network
- Fast connection and download speeds
- Secure connectivity
- Can be rented or bought
- No contracts required
Cons of Portable International 4G and Wifi Hotspot Devices:
- Must be set up using a Wifi connection from somewhere else
Best WifI Hotspots for Traveling Overseas
If you’re about to embark on a journey to a new country, there are a lot of “what if’s” that you’ll have to take into consideration.
Whether you’re traveling for work or for fun, you’re probably wondering what to do about Wifi connectivity.
What if you can’t get your phone to connect to Wifi?
What if you can’t get in touch with the important people in your life?
Well, the good news is that if you plan properly before you leave, getting Wifi won’t be an issue as you travel internationally.
Getting a Wifi hotspot device is a new and easy way to make sure that you’ll have 4G connectivity on your phone as well as all of the internet access that you need on all of your devices in any city, no matter what country you visit.
First, a Little Bit About Me, a Nomadic Writer
I have been functioning as a digital nomad for quite a while now.
It’s a hard job, but a rewarding one.
I get to travel all over the place and write for interesting people on fascinating topics.
I absolutely must have Wifi everywhere I go.
Trust me, it took a lot of time for me to solve the international connectivity issue.
I couldn’t just go start a new phone plan in every country I went to.
I found out about Wifi hotspot devices through a friend a few years ago and have been using one ever since.
Now, I want to share my advice with you, the reader, so that you too can experience unlimited 4G at a reasonable cost no matter where you happen to venture.
Modern Technology That Global Travel Easier
A few years ago, staying connected abroad was a real problem for travelers.
Cell phone service was spotty on non-existent for many people and in order to make international calls, you had to sign up for pricey phone plans or find an international pay phone.
As far as using the internet went, you usually had to locate an internet cafe and use a computer there.
In recent years, advances in modern technology have given millions of people the ability to get internet connectivity from pretty much anywhere in the world.
The trick is, figuring out how to do it cost-effectively.
The Problem: You Want To Avoid Gigantic and Unreasonable Wireless Bills
Even today, international phone plans can be impossibly expensive.
Roaming charges and data overages can quadruple when you leave your home country.
You definitely don’t want to get home from your trip only to find a phone bill in your mailbox that says you owe hundreds and maybe even thousands of dollars to your wireless provider.
Believe me, I have literally been through that exact scenario.
It wasn’t pleasant.
So how do you avoid a potential billing disaster like this without getting a totally new phone plan?
The Solution: Get An International Wifi Hotspot Device for Traveling Overseas
Thanks to the emergence of mobile Wifi hotspot devices, adventurers and international travelers are now able to take their Wifi connection with them wherever they go.
Wait, did you read that right?
Yep, you did. If you are in a city anywhere in the world where people can get a cellular signal, you’ll be able to connect to Wifi by using a portable hotspot device.
This means you can connect to Wifi on a train, in a park, or anywhere.
You can also completely avoid using your hotel’s shady internet connection.
You’ll have the ability to call your friends from the Swiss Alps, use social media while touring the Colosseum, and pretty much go on using your phone just like you would back home.
How These Little Life Savers Work
Wifi hotspots work by harnessing the available cellular signals and turning them into a connection that you can utilize.
They allow you to connect devices to Wifi just like you would at home.
Mobile hotspot and 4G devices are usually portable and can be charged before you head out to tackle the day.
Battery life on the devices I have used has ranged from around 12 to 33 hours on a single charge.
When strangers ask me how I have Wifi in a park or location where no one else can connect, I like to tell them that I am carrying around my Wifi router in my bag.
This always makes me laugh a little bit on the inside.
Seriously though, I really do get asked how I have internet in random places when I am traveling with my friends.
That’s when I whip out my portable hotspot and offer to share.
That’s right, other people can connect to your Wifi signal if you let them.
This is great if you’re traveling with other people.
The international Wifi hotspots that you get access to with these devices are super secure, which is a big deal to me.
Security is an essential part of why I don’t use public Wifi networks in other countries.
It just seems sketchy to me.
Having a mobile hotspot really is like carrying around my own magical Wifi router.
With a mobile hotspot, you can connect anywhere where there is cell service and go on using your devices however you need to.
Features These Best WifI Hotspots Devices Offer
With a mobile hotspot device, you’ll be able to get a lot more than with pretty much any other method of international connection.
Companies who produce these devices aim to offer fast and secure Wifi hotspots for international travelers in hundreds of countries.
After you get your device, you just choose which days to use your service.
You can pay by the day or by the month. Whichever plan you activate, you’ll get unlimited 4G connectivity and Wifi for the duration of your plan.
You can pick and choose the days you use as well.
Unlike with a SIM card or cell plan, you only have to pay on the days that you are using Wifi.
The daily rates are about 5X lower than international 4G rates.
No other method of connectivity offers more for a comparable price.
You can even rent your device for a single trip and return it when you’re done.
Personally, I own my device, but I have friends who don’t travel much and rent their devices a day or two before they fly out.
WifI Hotspots for Traveling Overseas Devices Advantages:
- Fast and unlimited 4G and internet connectivity
- The choice to rent or buy a device
- Multiple low-cost plans
- No contracts needed
- They don’t need SIM cards
- Connectivity for multiple devices, sometimes as many as 5 at once
- Secure connection
- They work in 100’s of countries
- Reliable portable Wifi
So there you have it.
In my opinion, getting a Wifi hotspot device designed specifically for international connectivity is the absolute best way to stay connected as you trek around the globe.
Best International WiFi hotspot devices For traveling Overseas
If there’s one thing that every traveler knows, it is that nobody wants to get stuck without internet in a foreign country!
Fortunately, there are plenty of international WiFi hotspot devices for traveling that will save you the hassle of losing internet at that critical time.
Benefits Of International WiFi Hotspot Devices For Traveling
It’s easy to think that you can just grab WiFi at airports or coffee shops, but don’t fall into the trap of relying heavily on public WiFi.
Additionally, there are plenty of apps that you can download that turn your phone into a hotspot.
While these apps are good most of the time, there are definite perks to having a separate hotspot device.
Turning your phone into a hotspot depletes its battery quickly!
If you have access to a power source, this might not be such a big deal.
If you’re out in the middle of nowhere, conserving your phone’s precious battery becomes more important.
Public WiFi might be convenient and free, but there are definite downsides.
Public WiFi Lacks Proper Security
As the name suggests, public WiFi does not have the security features of a private hotspot.
It’s not advisable to check your bank balance from a hotspot, nor is it a good idea to log onto password-protected websites.
Anyone can see what you’re doing.
Public WiFi Is Slow
Again, this logically makes sense.
Public WiFi is much slower than mobile hotspots because so many people are using it.
If you need to access information quickly and effectively, stay away from public WiFi.
Public WiFi Is Not Reliable
You can’t control when public WiFi goes down.
There could be a network problem, a local issue with the router, or any other number of reasons why public WiFi could fizzle out with no warning at all.
If you want reliable internet, it’s best to invest in a hotspot device when you are traveling.
Think About The Most Logical Device For You
Not all hotspot devices were created equal.
There are plenty of things to consider before investing in one.
Think about how many different devices you’ll need to power up with your hotspot, and logistically how much space that you have.
Mobile hotspots come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from USB sticks to palm-sized devices.
You can even download apps that allow your phone to become a hotspot through a technology called tethering.
Benefits And Downsides Of WiFi Hotspot Devices
If you opt for a hand-held device, you’ll have to bring another physical hotspot with you on your travels.
None of the hotspots that I’ve outlined here are cumbersome, but some people don’t like the idea of being responsible for another item on their travels.
Let’s take a look at the benefits and downsides!
What Are The Benefits Of A Portable WiFi Hotspot Device?
If you download a mobile hotspot app on your phone expect the battery to die quickly.
Portable devices use far less battery and you won’t incur massive roaming charges.
Some travelers find it really helpful to separate their phone and internet, and mobile hotspots help with that!
What Are The Downsides Of A Portable WiFi Hotspot Device?
The biggest downside to having a mobile hotspot device is that you have to carry it around with you.
Anyone that does a lot of traveling knows that it’s important to minimize the amount of stuff that you bring on the road.
A portable WiFi device is another thing to worry about, and since they’re expensive to replace, travelers might be tempted to just use their smartphones.
Best WiFi Hotspot Devices On The Market Today
There are plenty of devices out there to choose from, but I have some favorites that I’ll outline here.
All of these offer high-speed internet and some great perks!
Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L
If you want a steady stream of uninterrupted 4G service, check out the MiFi 8800L.
It’s on the cutting edge of technology and is one of the best products on the market today.
Plus, it’s light enough to carry around anytime!
Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router (AT&T)
This option is great for people who are traveling to remote places where they won’t have access to power sources.
It comes with a backup battery and is durable enough for rough traveling.
Netgear AirCard 810 Dual-Band (2,4 GHz/5 GHz)
If you need to connect multiple devices to the internet, check out the Netgear AirCard 810.
You can hook up to fifteen devices to this tiny hotspot, and all of them will run rapidly and with total precision.
This slim device is perfect for travelers who need to be connected at all times. It will definitely never let you down!
Other Options For Internet
If you don’t want to make the leap and invest in an international hotspot device, you can get internet from some additional sources.
Not all of them will be as reliable as a hotspot device, but they will all work in a pinch!
Use Your Existing Phone Carrier
If you opt for this option, be prepared to incur some serious roaming charges depending on how your plan is set up.
Your data should work from just about anywhere in the world, but expect to pay a pretty penny for it.
If you absolutely need to access the internet abroad, flip on that cellular data tab and cross your fingers that the charge is not too high.
Tap Into Public WiFi
There are definite downsides to using public WiFi, like lack of security and issues with internet speed, but if you need to access the internet quickly and there’s a Starbucks around, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t stop in and tap into their WiFi.
Just be careful not to check your bank information.
There’s no reason not to be connected in today’s world.
With these international WiFi hotspot devices, you never will be!
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What’s the cheapest hotspot for Travelers?
If you’re going to be on the move soon, it’s always a good idea to know what your Wifi options will look like.
When you’re abroad, you can pretty much be sure that you won’t be able to use your cellular service in the same way that you would be able to from home.
So what are your options?
Well, that’s what this post is all about.
As a digital nomad who has spent years traveling for work and play, I have to say, some international 4G connections are much better than others.
Whether you need to use your laptop to submit a work assignment at your hotel or want to browse the web while you lounge at the beach, a good connection to the world wide web is key.
Below, I will go over a few methods that I have used to stay connected while traveling internationally.
I’ll explain how worldwide 4G really works and give you some insight on how you can get internet anywhere in the world.
Methods that I Don’t Recommend…
Using the Available Wifi Where You’re Staying
When you travel internationally, you’ll probably be staying at a hotel or hostel.
Free Wifi is pretty much standard in any hotel and many hostels are starting to offer Wifi as well.
The thing is, that “free” Wifi your hotel is offering may not be quite as free as you’d think.
Some hotels know how to really capitalize on the fact that people tend to have connectivity issues abroad.
As far as using the Wifi at a hostel goes, I would definitely recommend against it.
Apart from the obvious security concerns, you may wind up having to share a slow connection with many other people simultaneously.
You’re already probably sharing a room and a bathroom.
Do you really want to be sharing a slow connection as well?
In my opinion, relying on the Wifi of others is way too sketchy.
You won’t know when and where you’ll actually get internet that can be relied on.
Plus, you’ll have to reconfigure your setup every time you switch locations.
You can definitely do better than this.
Upgrading Your Wireless Plan
You may want to simply try to upgrade your phone’s wireless plan before you head out on your trip.
This is definitely an option, though you’ll have a few problems to get through.
First of all, this is probably your most expensive option.
An international wireless plan is going to wind up costing you a few hundred dollars no matter which way you slice it.
Even if you are used to paying a good bit every month for your data and service, you can expect this amount to double.
There are a few wireless plans for international travel and they all shake out in much the same way.
You can be charged by the minute, by the month, or by the year for 4G service abroad.
Plus, you may wind up stuck in a contract that requires you to keep paying international rates, even after you’ve gotten back home.
These aren’t the biggest problems though.
The biggest problem with paying for international service is the service itself.
You probably aren’t going to get 4G service.
Unless you’re going to be staying in New York City, Paris, or London, you can expect to get 3G service most of the time.
This means you can’t create a mobile hotspot, download, or upload anything.
Not to mention if you need to work from a laptop you’ll be completely out of luck.
This is definitely not the cheapest way to get a Wifi hotspot.
Buying a Preloaded SIM Card
Preloaded SIM cards are another option that you might be considering.
This is definitely the most viable option so far.
All you do is purchase an international SIM card, insert it into your phone, and you’re set to go.
The thing is, not all cell phones will let you use a SIM card.
Also, when you start draining your data by setting up a hotspot, you’ll burn through that pre-paid 4G connectivity in a day or two.
If you’re using your SIM card only for personal stuff on your smartphone, sure, it will work.
However, if you need to connect multiple devices or use your computer, a SIM card isn’t the best choice.
Portable Localized Wifi Hotspots
Now we are getting into some much better options.
Portable Wifi hotspots let you connect to Wifi anywhere that cellular signal is available.
Most portable hotspots convert 4G signals into a Wifi signal that will let you connect multiple devices at once.
These portable little box-shaped devices are like magic Wifi routers for people on-the-go.
In the United States, many people use these devices for traveling from state to state.
They’re also used in Canada.
They come preset to work for a specified period of time and then you have to pay either monthly or annually for service.
Here’s the catch: Not all of these devices can be used internationally.
Which brings me to my final and favorite option…
Portable International Wifi 4G Hotspot Devices
These things are amazing.
They can be rented or purchased outright and provide users with unlimited 4G Wifi connectivity from 100’s of countries.
You can essentially use them anywhere in the world where cell signal of some kind is available.
They run off of the signals from hundreds of thousands of cell towers from networks spread out worldwide.
They allow you to create your own portable Wifi hotspot anytime from anywhere.
You can even connect multiple devices to these hotspots at once.
The best part though?
The Cheapest Hotspot for Travelers Anywhere in the World
You can rent your Wifi hotspot for just dollars a day or purchase it outright.
To get it working, you just set up a plan from your home computer before setting out on your trip.
Many companies will ship the hotspot device right to your door and let you return it when you’re done renting with pre-paid postage.
If you want to buy your hotspot device, no problem. Just go online and select that option.
You can pay for unlimited Wifi by the day or by the month.
There are even some international Wifi hotspot devices with annual plans.
If you’re looking to save money but absolutely must have internet while you travel, these devices are a lifesaver.
In my experience, they’ve saved me the most money while traveling internationally.
A portable international Wifi 4G device is hands down the cheapest hotspot for travelers.
Best mobile hotspot unlimited plans
As you probably already know, a mobile hotspot can convert cell signal into Wifi.
To be more technical, mobile hotspots are “wireless access points created by a smartphone feature that shares the phone’s cellular data.”
So, with a mobile hotspot, you can connect your devices to the internet in places that Wifi just isn’t available.
The thing is, to get a mobile hotspot, you’ll need to have the right device and the right unlimited data plan.
Below, I will tell you how to get the most reliable mobile hotspots anywhere in the world.
Mobile Hotspots in Your Home Town or Region
If you purchase an unlimited data plan in hopes that you’ll be able to create a mobile hotspot for internet access on the go, there are some things that you’ll want to consider.
If you are going to be traveling within your home country, this method will only work until you hit your data limit.
Most “unlimited” data plans actually do have data limitations.
If you create too many hotspots or keep a hotspot active for too long, your connection will drop from 4G to 3G/2G speeds.
After you reach a certain point, automatic software limits your connection.
So, if you’re going to be using your hotspot locally or within your home country, just be sure that your unlimited plan really will be unlimited.
You may have to do some research depending on where you live or simply read the fine print in your mobile plan.
Hotspots for International Travel
With that out of the way, I am going to assume that you’re trying to find a workaround way of getting internet abroad.
This makes total sense.
Personally, I am a digital nomad who travels for a living so I completely understand the struggle.
Some of the biggest problems international travelers must overcome center around getting reliable cell service and internet in other countries.
Your cellular provider might not have towers in another country and even if your wireless carrier offers 4G service, roaming charges and data overages can start to rack up pretty quickly.
Why I No Longer Rely on Hotspots From my Smartphone When Traveling Abroad:
I remember the first time I had to deal with the international service and internet dilemma.
I was working as a remote designer for a company in another country and they requested that I come to a design conference taking place just outside of London.
My airfare and hotel were going to be paid for, I just had to keep working and updating an assignment that I was already on throughout the duration of the trip.
Or so I thought.
I purchased a travel plan for my phone (from Verizon) to avoid any surprise fees.
I had been planning to generate a data hotspot from my phone if I had any internet connectivity issues when I first arrived in the UK.
When I checked into my hotel Friday evening, I assumed that I would be able to hop on the Wifi and get some work done over the weekend before the first meeting on Monday.
No big deal right?
The internet was a no go.
Something was up with the hotel’s connection.
I had anticipated this.
I figured that I could just generate a hotspot from my Samsung phone the next day.
Come Saturday afternoon when I had slept off the jetlag, I tried to get my phone working.
The data speeds were barely 3G, meaning that a hotspot wouldn’t work for what I needed to do. I was totally stuck without internet.
Luckily, there was a Starbucks about a block away.
Unfortunately, it was raining. On both Saturday and Sunday of that week, instead of catching up on sleep in my hotel room and working at a slow pace as I had planned, I found myself fully dressed and trekking to Starbucks in the rain.
I ended up figuring out the hotel’s Wifi issues on Monday but the whole experience was a wakeup call.
I was not going to go through a scare like that again.
My point is, as a brand new remote designer and digitally nomadic contractor, I thought I had solved my Wifi issues with my whole cell phone hotspot idea.
However, as soon as I had to leave the country, I found my skills no longer applied.
I am still an international traveler who relies on my internet connection for work.
However, these days, I usually use the following methods to stay connected on my phone and laptop when I travel abroad.
The Expensive Way: Upgrade Your Phone Plan for Your Trip
So the easiest and most convenient way to get international phone service is to just go purchase an international travel plan from your wireless provider.
I know At&T and Verizon Wireless offer these plans.
You can choose an annual plan, a trip or travel pass plan, or a get a month-long upgrade depending on the wireless provider you have.
All three methods usually wind up costing about the same.
You’re going to be paying a few hundred dollars extra in almost every scenario.
If you don’t mind paying about double what your regular wireless bill is, you can just upgrade your plan for the duration of your trip.
There are a few problems you’ll want to watch out for, however.
For one, some Samsung Global phones don’t actually work globally.
I recommend doing your research on the device you have before you buy a plan or leave on your trip.
Also, if you are planning to get internet by generating a hotspot with an international plan, you should reconsider.
You’ll burn through your data quickly and if you only get a 3G connection, you won’t be able to create a usable hotspot anyway.
The Smart Way: Get An International 4G Mobile Hotspot Device
This is the best option if you’re looking for mobile hotspot unlimited plans.
If you need a mobile hotspot when you’re traveling, just get a portable international 4G hotspot device.
They harness the available 4G signal in many countries to create super-fast and reliable Wifi hotspots.
You may even be able to connect multiple devices at once.
You can purchase your device outright or rent it.
Then, you just pay as you go for the Wifi that you use.
You’ll get access to hotspot unlimited plans that last all day or all month.
You’ll easily be able to save the most money.
Plus, these devices are really easy to set up.
I suggest setting your device up from home before you head out on your trip.
This will help to ensure that you have Wifi while you’re traveling through airports.
You’ll also be able to know before you go that your device is working correctly.
The Verdict: The Best Hotspot Unlimited Plans Are Usually From Portable Hotspot Devices
So there you have it.
If you’re traveling in your home country, you can create a hotspot from your smartphone as long as you have a data plan that’s truly unlimited.
If you’re going to be traveling abroad, I recommend getting a portable international Wifi hotspot device.
Here’s a link to the SkyRoam website and one for TEP Wireless as well.
Both companies offer amazing advantages to travelers and would be good for any international trip.
Thanks for reading, and happy travels!
What is the Best Portable WiFi Hotspot for Traveling Overseas?
Anyone who has ever traveled internationally for pleasure, business, or both knows that accessing WiFi is one of the major challenges that face all wanderers today.
In today’s world, we are more connected than ever.
Losing that connection can lead to some serious stress.
If you’re traveling for business, the loss of WiFi can even translate to the loss of revenue, so staying connected is absolutely vital.
We can’t always rely on being able to utilize public WiFi.
Sure, most cities have a coffee shop with fast internet, but that’s far from a guarantee .
If you want to be sure that you’ll stay connected you need to invest in a portable WiFi hotspot.
What Is A Portable Hotspot?
A portable hotspot is a device or SIM card that allows you to connect with the internet from anywhere in the world.
This is especially helpful if you’re traveling in remote places or need to be assured that you’ll have access to the internet at all times.
What is the best portable WiFi hotspot for international travelers?
It depends on your travel style, the length of your trip, and whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure.
Always Online Wireless
Always Online Wireless offers flexible plans for your international travel needs.
You can pay by the day, hour, or megabyte and their service is fast and reliable.
They also don’t make you sign a contract, so their service is good for people who don’t want to be roped into a commitment but need to access a WiFi hotspot for traveling.
Rates for Always Online Wireless vary by country, but their website makes it easy to simply choose your destination and pick a plan from there.
You can use this hotspot on any device as long as it’s unlocked.
If you don’t know whether your device is locked or unlocked, it is definitely locked.
Cell phone companies are notorious for locking up their devices.
Depending on your contract and the amount of time that you’ve had the phone, you can have the device unlocked through their customer service.
Alternately, you can try to unlock it yourself or take it to a local shop.
Results will certainly vary if you go this route, so make sure to do your research beforehand!
Overall, Always Online Wireless is a great option for those who don’t want a contract, need to access data for a short period of time, and want to be assured that their WiFi speed is fast.
Using Your Phone’s Data
It might be tempting simply to use your phone’s data while you’re overseas but beware of falling into the trap of racking up a ton of roaming charges.
Unless you have worked out an international plan with your carrier, you could be facing hundreds of dollars worth of charges.
It pays to think ahead and plan for those periods of time when you don’t have WiFi, but you need it.
Free WiFi spots are not always totally feasible, and people easily get stuck without internet.
By working out a portable WiFi hotspot in advance, you will never be in a position where you don’t have access to the internet.
TEP Wireless is the original WiFi hotspot, and one of the best portable WiFi hotspot for international travelers.
TEP Wireless doesn’t offer SIM cards, but a small device adorably named Teppy, which acts as a powerful hotspot in over 100 countries!
In addition to WiFi, Teppy allows you to call or text.
It also offers a service called TEP Guru, a local guide that lets you wander through new parts of the world with ease.
Their experts for TEP Guru are really qualified, and you can read about their credentials right on the TEP Wireless website.
One of the most unique features that TEP Wireless provides is its Kitestring program, which alerts your contacts if you don’t check in.
Since many people travel alone, this feature is ideal!
TEP Wireless launched in 2011 and have been a favorite of travelers since then.
You can rent your own Teppy for about $9 per day, buy one for $129, or get one for free if you purchase their $99 unlimited internet package.
If you rent or buy your Teppy you still have to purchase an internet package, so this last option is attractive to those who are traveling for long periods of time.
When you think about it, $99 for high-speed internet is actually quite reasonable!
Lastly, TEP Wireless has partnered with several major airlines to offer their service in the friendly skies!
Many planes offer WiFi packages these days, but the costs are usually extremely high.
You can use your Teppy in the air and avoid paying all of these fees.
Skyroam is another giant of the mobile hotspot scene, mostly because it is so user-friendly and you can use it in so many different parts of the world.
In fact, Skyroam customers can access the internet in more than 130 different countries across the globe!
You really won’t find a bigger footprint than that!
Buy or rent the Skyroam Solis and enjoy immediate WiFi at the click of a button.
You can connect up to five devices to your Skyroam Solis.
You don’t need an international SIM card or any additional equipment.
Simply set up your Skyroam Solis and you’re ready to go!
Like other mobile hotspots, Skyroam has a few different plans depending on what you want to do.
You can buy the Skyroam Solis for roughly $100, or rent it for about $10 per day.
For long-term travelers, the option to purchase makes the most sense!
You still need to purchase a data package, which Skyroam offers for about $8 per day.
This is a really competitive price and makes Skyroam a great option for travelers who go on slightly longer trips and need internet.
The sheer volume of countries that Skyroam covers, plus the competitive price of its data packages makes this portable WiFi hotspot carrier one of the best ones around.
Best data plans that work in every country
Best data plans that work in every country – Whenever I have been callous enough to take international trips without selecting a suitable data plan first, two things have happened.
On some occasions, I have had to travel without using the internet or texting unless I happened to find a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Now, I think I don’t have to go on and on about why this is a bad (and perhaps even dangerous) thing to do.
Other times, I managed to use my regular data plan.
When I did this, however, I had to go back home to a phone bill filled with extra data roaming and international text messaging charges.
The best way to go about the whole thing, of course, is to get a data plan that works in every country.
Most phone and internet companies have various such plans readily available, and modifying or adding to a regular plan is a task that can normally be carried out in a matter of minutes.
Alternatively, it’s possible to look for carriers in your destination country that offer minimal-cost pre-paid data and voice/text plans for limited periods of time.
In the end, it’s all about choosing the right plan for your specific needs.
With that in mind, these are the best data plans that work in every country.
T-Mobile Simple Global
There are various international data plans offered by US-based T-Mobile.
However, taking into account factors such as prices, coverage, speed and data limits, it can be said with confidence that Simple Global is the best one.
After signing up for this plan, users receive the capability of accessing the internet and sending text messages in more than 210 countries.
Remarkably, the 2G data and text capabilities are completely unlimited.
Additionally, the plan includes no-charge Wi-Fi calls to the United States, Canada and Mexico.
For other countries, Wi-Fi calls under this plan cost $0.25 per minute.
Pros of T-Mobile Simple Global
• Unlimited 2G data and text capabilities.
• No roaming charges for covered countries.
• Great coverage.
T-Mobile Simple Global Cons
• No tethering.
Sprint Global Roaming
Right out of the bat, Sprint Global Roaming is a convenient service because it offers its services in 165 destinations worldwide without adding roaming costs to your monthly bill.
It needs to be mentioned, however, that, abroad, the service’s speed is capped at 2G unless you agree to pay a daily or weekly high-speed data import.
Apart from free basic data capabilities, this great plan offers unlimited text and voice calls at only $0.20 per minute.
It should be noted, however, that this price may vary according to the destination.
Additionally, it’s worth pointing out that, along with this plan, you can get the extra High-Speed Data Roaming Pass for a single day or a whole week.
Sprint Global Roaming Pros
• Free with any Sprint Global plan.
• Unlimited text in 165 countries.
Sprint Roaming Cons
• Can get slow depending on the location.
AT&T International Roaming
Out of the four international roaming plans that AT&T offers, the most convenient in terms of price and coverage is the International Day Pass.
This data plan can be added to your existent plan for 10 daily dollars, and it gives you access to the same data fees you use at home when you in another country.
Without a doubt, AT&T’s Day Pass offers an impressive global reach, and it’s reasonably-priced enough to compete with some of the other data plans mentioned here.
What truly makes this service stand out, however, is that it can be accessed in over 200 different countries.
This includes various countries where other services are not available.
Pros of AT&T
• No roaming charges added.
• Allows you to use your regular plan everywhere you go.
• Available in over 200 countries.
Cons of AT&T
• Can get expensive over several days.
By adding 10 dollars to your regular Verizon plan, you can get the TravelPass.
Allowing users to use the service in exactly the same way as they would domestically, this plan can be used in more than 130 countries.
What is truly notable about it, though, is that it provides 4G/LTE coverage in many of those locations.
For a lot of travelers, 10 dollars a day may seem steep.
is particularly true for those who only need to send a few emails and texts every day.
However, people who, like me, need to work during their travels, will appreciate the access to 4G/LTE regardless of the cost.
In addition, Verizon offers one of the most stable connections internationally.
Verizon TravelPass Pros
• Provides access to 3G and 4G data capabilities.
• Has a fixed daily cost of $10.
Cons of Verizon TravelPass
• Daily cost can be excessive on low-use days.
Google’s Project Fi
Not very long ago, Google released its own platform for using data overseas.
Remarkably affordable and pushing the envelope in terms of technology, the service has turned many heads since it first launched.
As a result, despite being available only on a select (but growing) number of Android phones, Project Fi has become quite popular with certain sectors of the population.
Google’s Project Fi features a single $20 monthly payment plan that can be enhanced with a $10 fee for extra data.
Luckily, this extra payment is capped at $60 a month.
After making the respective payment, users are able to access the internet in more than 170 countries worldwide.
Additionally, it provides incredibly cheap voice calls when traveling overseas.
As if that wasn’t enough, the service allows users to add five people to their account for a mere $15 every month (per person).
Pros of Google’s Fi
• Very affordable.
• Allows users to share the account with others.
• Allows phones to be used as hotspots overseas.
Cons of Google’s Fi
• Only compatible with certain Android cellphone models.
Keepgo International Roaming SIM Card
Keepgo is a company that creates global connectivity solutions for broadband devices and the Internet of Things.
The company’s solutions use physical SIM cards along with a variety of virtual SIM card types.
People like Internet developers or broadband application creators can use the company’s management console and connectivity API across multiple different carriers and types of connectivity technology, so the time to market is sped up.
Keepgo is partnered with Vodafone, Telefonica, and AT&T.
The company has connected more than a hundred thousand devices to 500 unique cellular networks throughout 150 countries.
Products are used not only in international travel, but also in the home broadband, GPS tracker, smartwatch, smart bag, automotive, and smart wearables industries.
There are branches of the company in Israel, the Netherlands, and the USA.
One of the company’s products is a Smart Watch SIM card that connects smartwatches to 2G and 3G networks in more than 110 countries.
This means you can use Messenger, GPS tracking, and other apps downloaded to your smart watch without needing your phone nearby.
The kit includes three pieces: a Nano SIM card, a standard SIM adapter, and a micro SIM adapter.
There’s also a global data SIM card that’s specifically formulated for international travelers.
It allows you to connect to networks without receiving data roaming charges, and you don’t have to swap out your SIM cards whenever you enter a new country.
The kit comes with a nano SIM card, standard SIM adapter, and micro SIM adapter.
The company’s last main product is a mobile WiFi hotspot device.
With it, you can create a secure WiFi network that allows you to connect your wireless mobile devices.
Up to 16 devices can be connected including tablets, laptops, and smartphones.
Once again, you don’t have to worry about data roaming charges.
Without a doubt, there are great options out there for those who are looking for data plans that work in every country.
Hopefully, this brief guide will help you choose the right one for you.