The Best Portable WiFi Hotspots for International Travel

You're finally in your dream destination, exploring ancient Maya ruins, soaking up the sun on a tropical beach, or wandering charming cobblestone streets. But wait... how are you going to share those amazing photos with friends and family? And what about finding the best restaurant recommendations in the area if the internet is not that great?

You don't necessarily have to let that slow and unreliable public WiFi ruin your adventures. You can just use a portable WiFi hotspot instead.

These little gadgets will keep you connected wherever you are so you can share your experiences, navigate easily, and make the most of your trip. But which one should you choose among the many portable WiFi devices in the market?

We've done a ton of research on the best portable hotspots to find the ones that are easy to use, reliable, and won't break the bank. So, let's dive in and find the one you need for your next nomad trip!

Top 5 Best Mobile Hotspots For International Travel

  • Image: /content/images/size/w1600/2024/03/simo-solis-lite-4g.webp
  • Title: Simo Solis Lite
  • Description: Best Overall for Travelers
  • Target: 1-simo-solis-lite-4g-best-overall-for-travelers
  • Price: 159.99
  • Link: https://soliswifi.co/products/solis-lite-hotspot?rfsn=7506940.acb928&ref=freakingnomads.com
  • Image: /content/images/size/w1600/2024/03/roamwifi-r10.webp
  • Title: RoamWiFi R10
  • Description: Best Battery Life
  • Target: 2-roamwifi-r10-4g-best-battery-life
  • Price: 249.99
  • Link: https://amzn.to/3TuRjzM
  • Image: /content/images/size/w1600/2024/03/glocalme-g4-pro-4g-1.webp
  • Title: GlocalMe G4 Pro
  • Description: Most User-Friendly
  • Target: 3-glocalme-g4-pro-4g-most-user-friendly
  • Price: 169.99
  • Link: https://amzn.to/3WOBbuS
  • Image: /content/images/size/w1600/2024/03/netgear-m6-mobile-wifi-hotspot.webp
  • Title: Netgear Nighthawk M6
  • Description: Best for SIM Card Users
  • Target: 4-netgear-nighthawk-m6-5g-best-for-sim-card-users
  • Price: 699.00
  • Link: https://amzn.to/3Pi61re
  • Image: /content/images/size/w1600/2024/03/keepgo-1.webp
  • Title: Keepgo
  • Description: Best Pay-As-You-Go Hotspot for Flexibility
  • Target: 5-keepgo-best-pay-as-you-go-hotspot-for-flexibility
  • Price: 129.00
  • Link: https://www.keepgo.com/products/keepgo-lifetime-mobile-travel-wifi-hotspot?ref=freakingnomads

1. Simo Solis Lite 4G: Best Overall for Travelers

Simo Solis Lite 4G, a portable wifi hotspot for travel

The Simo Solis Lite is the total package for budget-minded travelers who need reliable connectivity in a huge range of countries (over 135!). This device always has your back in any adventure thanks to its free (though limited) data plans, its battery that lasts all day, and its integrated power bank that lets you charge your other gadgets in a pinch. And if you need more data, you can always upgrade easily with their flexible plans. It's the absolutely perfect no-fuss, dependable buddy for staying connected during your travel adventures, and we love it.

Key Features:

  • Free Lifetime Global Data Plan (1GB/month)
  • Works in over 135 countries
  • 16-hour battery life
  • Can charge other devices
  • Connects up to 10 devices simultaneously

How To Use This Mobile WiFi Hotspot?

  1. Start by giving the Solis Lite a full charge before your trip
  2. Download the Solis mobile app for either iOS or Android for a quick and easy setup process
  3. Once set up, pick a data plan from within the app that fits your needs
  4. Now, just turn it on and connect your phone, laptop, or other gadgets to the device's WiFi just like any other WiFi network you've connected to.

Pros and cons:

What we like
  • Won't break the bank, especially with that free data plan
  • Keeps you connected all day long
  • Super handy as an emergency power bank
  • Great for traveling with a group or techy family members
What we don't like
  • That free data might not be enough for heavy internet use
  • 4G speeds mean it's not ideal for streaming video nonstop
  • Fewer device connections than some of the fancy models
🎁
If you are in the US/Canada: We've got a discount for you!
Use the coupon code FREAKINGNOMADS at the checkout to get 15% OFF the Solis WiFi official website.
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Solis is currently shipping its Solis Lite from their site only to the USA and Canada. So, if you are located outside of these countries, you can purchase it only on Amazon.com.

If you want to learn more about this device, read our Simo Solis Lite review below:

SIMO Solis Lite Review: The Best Mobile Hotspot for Travel?
Discover if the SIMO Solis Lite is the ultimate portable WiFi for travelers. Read our comprehensive review on performance, features, and ease of use.

2. RoamWiFi R10 4G: Best Battery Life

RoamWiFi R10, a portable wifi hotspot for travel

Imagine never having to worry about running out of juice mid-trip, leaving you stranded without directions or the ability to share those amazing photos. All at a great value for money. The RoamWiFi R10 makes that dream a reality. This portable WiFi keeps you connected throughout long travel days and exploring sessions, perfect for those late-night searches for the best local bars or early-morning commutes with podcasts and playlists aplenty.

Key Features:

  • Up to 18 hours of battery life
  • Global Wi-Fi connectivity (160+ countries)
  • Connects up to 10 devices
  • High-speed 4G LTE
  • Easy-to-use interface

How to Use This Mobile WiFi Hotspot?

  1. Get the RoamWiFi R10 ready by giving it a full charge for a long-lasting battery
  2. Head then to the RoamWiFi website or download their app to choose
  3. Purchase a data plan that works for wherever you're traveling
  4. Power it up and connect your travel gadgets to its WiFi network like you would with any regular WiFi connection.

Pros and cons:

What we like
  • Great price point for their device
  • Perfect if you hate worrying about running out of juice mid-trip
  • Works in loads of countries so you don't have to stress about local SIM cards
  • Good for groups traveling together
  • Fast speeds keep your internet life running smoothly
What we don't like
  • You have to buy data plans, there's no free option
  • Data plans can get pricey depending on how much you use
  • A little clunkier than some of the super-slim models

3. GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G: Most User-Friendly

GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G, a portable wifi hotspot for travel

Think of the GlocalMe G4 Pro as that super helpful, tech-savvy friend who can fix any problem. The difference is that this device can always be in your pocket. No complicated setup here, just easy-to-understand instructions and a super intuitive app. It offers a reliable connection and makes navigating the tech side of travel seem the easiest thing ever. Plus, if you're traveling with others, this mobile hotspot can easily share its connection with multiple devices at once.

Key Features:

  • Super easy to use app to set up and manage
  • Global 4G LTE connectivity in 140+ countries
  • Supports up to 8 devices
  • Extremely pocket-sized and lightweight

How to Use This Mobile WiFi Hotspot?

  • Charge the GlocalMe G4 Pro before you venture out
  • Download the GlocalMe app (iOS or Android) to help you get set up and manage the device
  • From within the app, purchase a data plan that makes sense for your destination and how much data you'll need
  • Then, it's as simple as powering it on and connecting your devices to the designated WiFi network.

Pros and cons:

What we like
  • Great if you're not the best with tech – the app helps with everything
  • Works around the world for hassle-free travel
  • Portable and fits in your bag without weighing you down
What we don't like
  • Requires data plans for use
  • Might not be the fanciest model with all the bells and whistles
  • Limited to 8 devices when some hotspots handle many more

4. Netgear Nighthawk M6 5G: Best for SIM Card Users

Netgear Nighthawk M6 5G, a portable wifi hotspot for travel

If you're all about those SIM-based data plans, the NETGEAR Nighthawk M6 5G is your perfect match. It's designed with SIM cards in mind, so you know it'll work flawlessly if that's something you prefer. Plus, it offers fast 5G speeds (where available in your destination) and can connect up to 32 devices – ideal for sharing with a big group or if you're traveling with a ton of gadgets. Expect a long battery life and easy control with its trusty touchscreen.

Key Features:

  • Designed for use with SIM cards
  • High-speed 5G and 4G LTE connectivity
  • Connects up to 32 devices for large groups or many gadgets
  • Impressive battery of 5050mAh
  • LCD touchscreen

How to Use This Mobile WiFi Hotspot?

  • Insert a compatible SIM card from your carrier and make sure you have a suitable data plan before you start using the NETGEAR Nighthawk M6
  • Power on the device and connect your gadgets to its designated WiFi network
  • You can use their handy LCD touchscreen or download the NETGEAR app for easy management and changing settings.

Pros and cons:

What we like
  • Ideal if you rely on SIM-based data plans
  • Powerful performance and fast speeds
  • Great for sharing with larger groups or heavy internet users
  • Long battery life for full days out and about
What we don't like
  • Can be pricey depending on your carrier's data plans
  • Bulkier than some other portable WiFi in the market

5. Keepgo: Best Pay-As-You-Go Hotspot for Flexibility

Keepgo, a portable wifi hotspot for travel

The Keepgo is the mobile hotspot for commitment-averse travelers. It's the perfect device for slow-travelers who don't travel constantly but still want a reliable internet backup when they do. With pay-as-you-go data packages, you only pay for what you need – no wasted data or monthly bills. Plus, Keepgo gives you options: use a convenient virtual eSIM or pop in a regular SIM card for ultimate versatility. It's small, light, and works wherever your chosen data package lets you roam, making it a great addition to your travel gear.

Key Features:

  • You can buy data packages as you need them
  • Chance to use either a virtual eSIM or a regular SIM card
  • Works internationally (depending on your data package choice)
  • Small and light for easy travel

How to Use This Mobile WiFi Hotspot?

  • You can start by inserting a physical SIM card into your hotspot if you're planning to go that route. Alternatively, you can purchase an eSIM plan directly from Keepgo's website
  • Choose a data package for your trip, taking into account where you're going and how much data you might use
  • Turn on the hotspot and connect your devices to its WiFi network as you usually would.

Pros and cons:

What we like
  • Avoid monthly subscriptions and unnecessary data charges
  • Flexible for infrequent travelers or short trips
  • Compatible with both eSIM and physical SIM cards
  • Compact and won't weigh you down
What we don't like
  • Data can be more expensive than monthly plans for heavy users
  • Requires a little more setup if you're using a physical SIM card
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Special Discount: Use our link or the coupon code FREAKINGNOMADS to get 10% OFF the Keepgo portable WiFi and their eSIMs!

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The Best Portable WiFi Devices for Travel: Our Buying Guide

Portable WiFi hotspot on a laptop

Okay, you've seen the contenders, read about their strengths and quirks, but now how do you actually pick the perfect device for your travels? Don't worry, we've got your back with this handy buying guide. Let's break it down into simple terms to help you make the best choice for your adventures.

What is a Portable WiFi Router?

A portable WiFi router is a nifty little gadget that creates your own personal WiFi network wherever you go. It uses a cellular connection (just like your phone does) or a wired internet source to give you the freedom to connect your phone, laptop, tablet, or any other travel tech while on the move.

Why Do I Need a Portable WiFi Hotspot When Traveling?

Portable WiFi Hotspot with Bangkok in the background

A portable WiFi hotspot is your secret weapon against those pesky travel tech frustrations like weak public WiFi, sky-high roaming charges when you use your phone's data, and the stress of not being able to get connected when you need to.

Plus, it's a lifesaver when you're traveling with kids, colleagues, or a group, letting you share the connection with everyone. Imagine having reliable internet to check flight updates, book taxis, stream a little entertainment during downtime, or upload those epic vacation photos without a worry in the world. Well, that's the actual power of a portable WiFi hotspot!

How Do Portable WiFi Routers Work?

Alright, let's dive into the techy side of things (don't worry, we'll keep it simple). Portable WiFi routers are sort of mini cell towers that fit in your pocket.

They use cellular data networks (you know, like 4G or 5G) to create a WiFi bubble around them. Your devices connect to this bubble just like they would to your home WiFi or a cafe's network.

A portable WiFi device basically acts as a go-between, fetching data from the internet via the cellular network and delivering it to your connected devices. Pretty nifty, right?

Are Portable WiFi Routers Better Than The Phone Hotspot?

Hotspot vs. Portable WiFi Router

We heard many times travelers asking: "Wait, isn't my phone's hotspot feature the same thing?" Well, yes and no.

While your phone can create a WiFi network, it's not really built for that.

Portable WiFi routers, on the other hand, are designed specifically for this job. They often have stronger antennas, better battery life, and can handle more devices without breaking a sweat.

Plus, using your phone as a hotspot can drain its battery faster than you can say "where's my charger?".

So, if you need a reliable, long-lasting WiFi connection for multiple devices, a portable router is definitely the way to go.

Do Portable WiFi Need a SIM Card?

This is where things get a little tricky. Some portable WiFi routers, like the ones we mentioned in this review of the best portable WiFi hotspots, come with built-in SIM cards or eSIMs. These are like digital SIM cards that are already programmed into the device.

Others have a slot where you can insert your own SIM card from a local carrier in your destination. And some others can work with both instead!

It all depends on the device and your preferences: built-in SIMs are super convenient, but they might be more expensive in the long run. On the other hand, bringing your own SIM card can save you money, but it requires a bit more setup work. It's all about finding the right balance for your travel style and budget.

Do Portable WiFi Devices Work Anywhere I Travel To?

Portable WiFi Devices with the Philippines in the background

Now, you might be thinking, "This all sounds great, but will my portable WiFi work wherever I wander?" The answer is... it depends. Most portable WiFi devices work in a wide range of countries, but it's important to check the specifics before you jet off.

Some portable WiFi devices have global coverage, while others are limited to certain regions. And even within a country, coverage can vary depending on the local cellular networks. But if you actually want to be triple sure, be aware that most devices come with handy coverage maps or guides to help you plan your connected adventures. Just do a little research before you pack your bags, and you'll be good to go.

Does Portable WiFi Work Without Service?

Portable WiFi routers need some kind of cellular service to work their magic. They're not like those satellite phones you see in movies (though those are pretty cool too). If you're in an area with no cellular coverage, your portable WiFi will be pretty much useless.

But here's the good news: most popular travel destinations have pretty decent cellular coverage these days and worldwide 5G and LTE coverage is growing fast, as shown by data from Statista.

LTE, 5G and All 3GPP Cellular Technologies

On top of that, if you're really going off the beaten path, you can always check coverage maps or ask your device provider for advice. Just remember, a little preparation can save you a lot of frustration later.

Are Portable WiFi Hotspots Worth It Then?

Well, my travel-loving friend, that depends on your needs and preferences. If you're a digital nomad who needs reliable internet to work from anywhere, a portable WiFi device is a lifesaver. This is also true if you're traveling with a group or family and want to keep everyone connected without breaking the bank on roaming charges.

So, if you just want the peace of mind of knowing you can always get online when you need to, a portable WiFi router is a small price to pay. But if you're a casual traveler who's happy to rely on the occasional cafe WiFi or hotel network, you might not need one.

Ultimately, it's all about weighing your needs, your budget, and your travel style. But if you do decide to invest in a portable WiFi hotspot, we promise you won't regret it!


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Are There Any Alternatives to Portable WiFi Hotspots For Travel?

Portable WiFi Hotspot Alternatives

Portable WiFi hotspots are not the only way to stay connected while traveling and you surely have some alternatives. These are most popular ones:

1. eSIMs

eSIMs, which stands for "embedded SIMs", are like digital SIM cards that are built right into your device. If your phone or tablet supports eSIM technology, you can simply download a local data plan from your destination and activate it when you arrive. No physical SIM card required! This is a great option if you want to avoid carrying extra devices and don't mind using your phone as a hotspot for your other gadgets.

Learn more here:

How to Use eSIMs While Traveling (iPhone + Android Guide)
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2. Local SIM Cards

If your phone is unlocked, you can always buy a local SIM card when you arrive at your destination. This gives you access to local data plans, which can be cheaper than international roaming charges. Just pop the SIM card into your phone, and you're ready to go. The only downside is that you'll have a different phone number while you're using the local SIM, which can be confusing for friends and family trying to reach you.

3. Public WiFi

Of course, there's always the old standby: public WiFi. Many cafes, hotels, and airports offer free WiFi to customers, which can be a lifesaver for many travelers who need an internet connection. However, public WiFi can be slow, unreliable, and even insecure if the network isn't properly protected. Plus, you'll need to stay within range of the WiFi signal, which can be limiting if you're on the go.

4. Coworking and Coliving Spaces

If you're a digital nomad or remote worker, coworking and coliving spaces can be a fantastic alternative to portable WiFi hotspots. These spaces are designed specifically for people who need reliable internet and a comfortable place to work while traveling. They often offer high-speed WiFi, dedicated workspaces, and even networking events and community activities. Plus, you'll be surrounded by like-minded travelers and professionals, which can be a great way to make new friends and connections on the road.

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Ready To Expand Your Travel Gear with a Portable WiFi Hotspot?

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