We updated our TravelWifi review as it was rebranded from TEP Wireless a few years ago to TravelWifi, so our post refers to the rebranded TEP Wireless as the TravelWifi Portable Hotspot.
If you are planning a trip abroad and want to stay connected to your friends, family, and even your job back home, then you’re probably wondering what’s the best solution for Wi-Fi for international travel. And as much as we love to use our time traveling as an opportunity to disconnect and relax, the truth is that many situations you’ll face on the road are made easier by having fast, reliable internet.
These days it’s relatively easy to get reliable Wi-Fi in coffee shops and hotels no matter where you are in the world. But what about when you’re out exploring a new city? Or if you’re going to be traveling around a country in a rental car?
We’ve been living and traveling abroad for the past three years, and while working on the road, we’ve experienced our fair share of internet challenges. We recently had the opportunity to try out the TravelWifi Portable Hotspot by TravelWifi during a 3-month trip to Iceland, Portugal, and the UK.
We hope that this review of TravelWifi helps you decide if this is the right internet solution for your next trip abroad. And if you want to order TravelWifi use the coupon code “WHEATLEY10” to get 10% off your order!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).
Wi-Fi Options While Traveling Abroad
Option 1: Purchase a SIM Card in the Country You’re Visiting
Some countries like Vietnam and Thailand have incredibly cheap SIM cards that you can slip into your phone (as long as it’s unlocked). For example, in Vietnam, you can get 30 days of data for as little as $10 USD. If we’re going to be spending several weeks or months in a country, this often works out to be the best option for us.
Data prices, however, aren’t as cheap outside of SE Asia. For example, in Iceland, you’ll pay about $25 for 10GB of data.
There are a few downsides to changing out your SIM card every time you arrive in a new country. The most obvious challenge is that your phone number will be constantly changing.
Many apps and services use 2-factor authentication to verify your identity as a part of the login process. You may need to receive an authentication code via SMS to be able to log into your bank’s website or maybe even just to access your e-mail account. If your phone number is changing very often, you’ll constantly be updating your contact info for all your online accounts.
A second drawback to using a local SIM card is that if you’re on a short holiday you probably don’t want to use your precious vacation time finding a local cell phone shop and purchasing a SIM card.
And finally, if you’re phone is not unlocked for international use this won’t even be an option for you. Many new phones are “locked” to a specific mobile carrier such as AT&T or Verizon. You’ll need to contact your mobile phone company before your trip and ask about having your phone unlocked if you plan on using a different SIM card while traveling.
Option 2: Add an International Phone Plan
Adding an international plan to your regular cell phone plan can be quite expensive, and it’s never been an option that we have chosen for ourselves. But it certainly may be an option for you, especially if you are only going on a short trip and want to keep things simple.
International phone plans can be confusing because you probably won’t be sure how well your data and phone plan will work in the country that you are visiting. And whether or not you’ll incur roaming charges for various actions – such as texting and making or receiving phone calls – can be unclear. Plus, you’ll need to upgrade your phone plan for the entire month, even if you’re only away for a few days.
Option 3: Tep Global Travel Adapter
On our most recent trip to Europe, we needed to find a new solution. We were working on a two-week project in Iceland and having reliable internet was going to be key to keeping our blog up-to-date during our trip. But we were going to be camping in a motorhome on this trip so we wouldn’t have access to any free hotel or restaurant internet.
Luckily, we found the TravelWifi Portable Hotspot. These pocket-sized, personal Wi-Fi devices are available in over 100 countries and provide unlimited on-the-go internet.
Our TravelWifis allowed us to stay connected in Iceland and throughout the rest of our time in Europe. Even when we were holed up in our campervan in the most remote parts of Iceland, we were able to continue working thanks to our TravelWifi devices.
And you can use our TravelWifi discount code, “WHEATLEY10” to get 10% off your TravelWifi order.
TravelWifi Review: Is it the Best Wi-Fi Hotspot for Travelers?
TravelWifi – Usability Overview
The TravelWifi offers a compact Wi-Fi device that is super easy to set up and even easier to use. The TravelWifi Portable Hotspot has just a single power button on one side. Once you hit the power button, the TravelWifi automatically connects to the internet and you can connect up to 5 devices so your phone, laptop, and iPad can all seamlessly connect at once. You’ll find your network name and password on the back of your TravelWifi device.
The front of the TravelWifi Portable Hotspot has three indicator lights above a row of four dots. The first indicator light shows where your Wi-Fi is currently enabled and the other two show your signal strength and battery level.
Once you have powered up your TravelWifi Portable Hotspot, just tap the power button once to see your battery level. Each of the four dots represents 25% strength. Tap the power button again to see your signal strength.
The TravelWifi Portable Hotspot battery lasts for about 13 hours. We would actually leave them on all day, and we were often surprised at how long they lasted on a single charge. Recharging a TravelWifi Portable Hotspot device takes about 3.5 hours. Your device will also come with a micro USB connector and a universal travel adapter so no matter where you’re headed in the world, you won’t need to purchase any extras to charge your device.
What Comes with the TravelWifi Portable Hotspot
Your TravelWifi Portable Hotspot device will include the following:
- TravelWifi Portable Hotspot
- Travel pouch
- Universal adapter
- Micro USB charging cable
- User guides
- 24/7 customer support
TravelWifi Pricing Plans
All of TEP’s plans include unlimited internet so once you’ve consumed all of the data from your high-speed plan, your connection speed slows down to 256KBPS. So you can still browse the internet and social media, as well as send and receive emails.
Pricing plans for travel to European countries are as follows:
Should You Rent or Buy your TravelWifi Device?
Whether you should buy or rent your TravelWifi Portable Hotspot device depends on how long you plan on traveling. If you travel quite a bit and want to stay connected wherever you go, you’re better off buying a device and then using the pay-as-you-go service to activate while you’re away.
And if you purchase your TravelWifi Portable Hotspot, it will be super easy to re-activate it for future trips abroad. Even if it’s just for a couple of days outside of your home country!
TravelWifi Internet Coverage
One of the best parts about owning a TravelWifi Portable Hotspot is just how many countries it will work in. TravelWifi has coverage in over 100 countries, including locations like Latvia, Morocco, Egypt, Bolivia, Myanmar, Vietnam, The Philippines, and even Kazakhstan! You can see their coverage map here.
Other Cool Services from TravelWifi
TravelWifi also offers a couple of other cool services that you’ll likely want to take advantage of if you’re going to be traveling abroad:
- Call and Text Abroad: Download the TravelWifi mobile app to get great rates on international calls and texts. Their VoIP technology uses 9x less data than other mobile VoIP technologies.
- TravelWifi Membership: Your TravelWifi Membership allows you to unlock exclusive deals and up to 60% savings for hotels, car rentals, and flights.
TravelWifi is always rolling out new services. Make sure you check their extras page to see their latest service offerings.
Our Experience with TravelWifi
We’ve loved having our TravelWifi devices during our time in Iceland, the United Kingdom, and Portugal! They allowed us to stay connected while wandering around big cities or hiking out in the middle of nowhere. And since they’re small enough to keep in our pocket or throw in our purse, we always kept them with us.
There were even a few times when the Wi-Fi in our hotel rooms was terrible. So, we relied on our TravelWifi devices to keep us online and working hard. The best part is we now have our TravelWifi Portable Hotspot devices. On our next trip, we’ll just have to purchase a data plan on our TravelWifi account.
TravelWifi Discount Code
We have partnered with TravelWifi to offer our readers 10% off of your purchase. Just use our TravelWifi discount code, “WHEATLEY10” when you checkout!