How to Get Internet While Traveling
Whether you’re traveling within the country or internationally, there’s nothing more frustrating than slow-loading pages and delayed app responses while you’re traveling.
Instead of staring at blank pages with “reloading” symbols, we’re sure you’d much rather spend your journey watching your favorite movie or surfing the web.
Luckily, we’ve put together a guide that will provide you with helpful tips on how to get fast-working internet while traveling.
In this article you will find out...
- Buy an External Wireless Card
- Use a Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot
- Purchase a Prepaid SIM Card
- Don’t Forget a VPN
Buy an External Wireless Card
For those of you who frequently use Wi-Fi on the road, we’re sure you’re aware of the slow speed and weak connections that seem to burden all your online activity.
If you’re using a laptop, buying an external wireless card can give you a high-speed internet connection. The highest quality options offer powerful transmitters and better antennas that reach much further than the one in your laptop—giving stronger, more reliable connections.
To use them, simply plug the external wireless card into your computer via USB and let you choose from a set of wireless networks in your settings.
Use a Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot
A portable WiFi hotspot is a small mobile router that you can transport and set up as an internet connection.
This tool lets you get all your devices online, making it a great option for traveling families.
Using a portable Wi-Fi hotspot is arguably the easiest way to receive internet access while traveling. Additionally, you can choose to either rent one for the occasional trip, or you can buy a mobile hotspot.
Rent a Hotspot
Depending on where you’re traveling and how much data you require, renting a hotspot can vary.
In most cases, rentals cost anywhere between $7 and $12 per day of travel for unlimited access. However, since many providers often suppress speeds after a certain amount of internet usage per day, you should review the terms and conditions of your rental agreement.
To make the searching process easier, we’ve provided three high-quality and reliable providers. Depending on the region or country you plan on visiting, prices for each may vary.
This provider offers 4G data speeds in various countries. Additionally, MyWebspot includes a favorable usage policy of 1 GB in the USA and Europe; 2GB in Mexico; and unlimited 4G in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia.
For high 4G speeds, prices are usually $11 per day. They also include several ways you can receive the device before your trip, most of which offer free delivery.
TepWireless offers competitive rates, starting at just $9 per day for 3G speed, and $11.50 per day for 4G speeds. Similar to MyWebspot, TepWireless also offers free deliveries to your home before departing for your trip.
To receive an additional 15% on their prices, use the code “tepon.” Additionally, this provider includes the option to purchase the device immediately, then pay for data as your journey progresses.
For travelers looking to visit Europe, Hippocketwifi offers a great hotspot rental service. Hippocketwifi currently offers various payment packages, depending on your budget and data requirements.
For high 4G speeds, prices start at around $8 per day for a two-week rental, with a daily data usage cap of 1GB. For unlimited data, they also offer more expensive plans.
Buy a Hotspot
If you’re taking an extended trip or more than one trip, it might be worth considering purchasing a hotspot, then adding data as needed.
To buy a hotspot device for travel, prices can range anywhere from $50 to $300, depending on your travel needs.
Compared to other competitors, Boost’s coverage area isn’t as far-reaching, but the budget-friendly price makes this option more a popular choice for mobile hotspots.
The Boost Mobile device can support up to 10 devices, making it an ideal option for traveling families. Offering 4G speed and a long-lasting battery life of eight hours, this Boost unit is a reliable choice.
The unlocked Reliance Router Hotspot works with the majority of providers (except Verizon). With 4G connectivity and a 4.5-star Amazon rating, this hotspot works ideally for European, Latin American, and Caribbean travel.
You’ll need to obtain a SIM card to activate this hotspot. After setup, users can connect over 30 devices. However, it’s worth considering that this results in slower speeds.
Operating with most providers, the portable KuWFi Hotspot unit comes unlocked, ready to use, and an included SIM that pops out so you can use your own.
The device supports 10 devices, but this does slow down the 4G/150 Mbps. For travelers visiting the Americas and the Caribbean, the KuWFi unit is a reliable choice.
Purchase a Prepaid SIM Card
Another way to get the internet while traveling is by purchasing a prepaid SIM card. While this option is typically more pricey, it’s convenient, great for light to moderate data use, and unlimited texts and calls are more common on modern plans.
Depending on where you’re going, buying a prepaid SIM card might be the most effective way to get the internet while traveling.
Once the SIM card is in your phone, you can use this for your data needs. For it to work, you need an unlocked handset. To check if your handset is unlocked, you can ask your provider for assistance.
Once your device is unlocked, you can now place any desired SIM card into your phone. This option has the advantage of receiving the maximum speeds available in whatever country you’re in since the provider will be local.
Serving as one of the top providers in the US, T-Mobile offers several great prepaid SIM cards for travel within the country. T-Mobile’s best offer with unlimited data includes this T-Mobile PrePaid SIM Card.
If you’re planning to visit Canada or Mexico, users can use up to 5GB of data, but at a restricted speed of 3G.
Additionally, users can have an unlimited amount of texts and calls as they travel within the USA, Canada, and Mexico.
Depending on where you are, this T-Mobile plan offers valid credit for up to 30 days. This prepaid SIM card also doubles as a mobile hotspot with a restricted 3G speed.
If you’re planning on traveling to or throughout Europe, the Three Prepaid SIM Card with 12GB data is one of the best prepaid SIM card options, available globally (including the USA).
Headquartered out of the United Kingdom, travelers can activate this SIM card anywhere, anytime. The plan also offers 12GB of data in up to 71 countries across the world.
While this Three Prepaid SIM card does allow calls and texts, additional information shows that these services are only offered in the UK and Europe—not the USA.
Once you’ve activated the card, the data is valid for 30 days. To recharge the card, you may only do so if you have a UK credit card. Because of this, the Three Prepaid SIM card is ideal for travelers who plan on visiting the US for a short period.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that you can’t use this SIM card as a mobile hotspot.
If you plan on staying in the US for an extended visit, you can still choose to buy a Three SIM Card with 12GB data and 1-year validity. That being said, SMS credits and calls are not available with this prepaid SIM card.
As another major telephone carrier in the USA, AT&T offers a prepaid SIM card with 22GB of data that is operable within the USA, Mexico, and Canada.
Compared to the T-Mobile prepaid SIM card, AT&T does allow complete usage of the data allowance in Mexico and Canada, making this an ideal option for those traveling outside the US. The data in these countries also use the network of 4G connectivity—allowing for faster speeds.
Along with a large amount of data, this SIM card plan allows users to conduct an unlimited amount of calls and texts within the previously stated countries. Additionally, the allowed data is valid for 30 days.
However, this AT&T prepaid SIM card doesn’t function as a personal hotspot, and it isn’t available in all regions.
Overall, for travelers visiting Mexico and/or Canada, this option is one of the highest-rated US SIM prepaid cards with data.
Don’t Forget a VPN
Whichever option you decide to choose to obtain internet access while traveling, we advise you to use a secure VPN connection to keep your data safe and protected—especially when connecting to WiFi networks in public areas.
While this tip might seem less than significant, it’s a good habit to start irrespective of how you decide to connect to the internet.
Hackers are always on the move, and you don’t want to be susceptible to any attack or exploitation of your personal data. Using a VPN will shield you from malware or hackers looking to take advantage of your data, like banking information or important passwords.