These days you can’t throw a stone without hitting an article (or open your Facebook or Twitter news feed) recommending that we all need a digital detox. That may be true, but the harsh reality is that most of us, even when on vacation, are expected to check our inbox regularly. Bosses inevitably need things that you, and only you alone, can do. It’s doubly important for me to stay connected while traveling – not only do I often need up to type up an urgent communication for my university job while traveling, but I also have a responsibility to share what we’re up to on social media when we’re working with partners to showcase a destination or activity.
Obviously, staying connected while traveling means two things: access to voice communications and access to internet. I place less importance on voice communications because there are so many solutions to voice…so long as you have internet. I have a global data plan with Verizon Wireless and when I first moved to Italy, my unlimited international data plan was a perfect solution to needing to be connected and easily accessible. That unlimited plan sadly no longer exists and I pay a higher rate for a meager 250MB of international data each month. It also only allows me to be connected while on my iPhone and sometimes, as amazing as the iPhone is, I need a computer to get done what I need to.
What the heck is a MiFi? It’s a genius little portable broadband device about the size of a cell phone that lets you connect multiple devices to your own personal 3G or 4G network. Basically it’s like having your home modem in your pocket.
I tried out a MiFi rental on a conference trip and loved that I wasn’t burning through my 250MB of global data while simultaneously draining my iPhone battery while roaming. I didn’t have to stress out about not being about to connect the notoriously awful, or often non-existent, conference center wifi while thousands of others tried to email, tweet, and Facebook the pearls of wisdom of the speakers. Best of all, I wasn’t receiving the dreaded text messages from Verizon reminding me that global data coverage is $20.48/MB once I exceeded my 250 MB in my plan.
I loved the rental so much, that I came home an bought my own MiFi device (the Huawei E5331 21Mbps Mobile WiFi Hotspot pictured above). While the rental is great for an occasional traveler, I would have needed to rent one several times a month. In the long run, it made more sense for me to buy my own and track down a SIM card in each country I plan to visit.
Why Rent a MiFi
A fun little factoid: America and Canada are just two of an extremely small group of nations that support CDMA. When it comes to global communications, GSM is the winner. What that means in layman’s terms is that there’s a good chance that your current phone can’t even be used internationally.
Service providers like Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T offer only a small selection of global ready phones that have a SIM card and can be used internationally…if you’ve signed up for a global plan. Think you can beat the system and just pop a SIM card in your GSM capable phone? Think again. Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and other service providers “lock” their phones so that they can only be used on their unique networks.
That’s why MiFi rental services like Tep Wireless make staying connected while traveling easy peasy. Rent your MiFi in 3 easy steps: select your destination, select your plan, and enter your details to have it shipped to you. (You can also pick up your Tep Wireless MiFi at select airport locations. When you’re done, just drop it in the pre-paid envelop and send it back.
Tep Wireless Mifi rentals are available with service in the following locations:
Africa: South Africa
Asia: China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Sri Lanka and Thailand
Europe: Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom
Middle East: Egypt and the United Arab Emirates
We want you to be able to stay connected on your next trip, so we’re giving away a 2-week 150MB per day Tep Wireless MiFi rental. Use the entry form below to enter to win. You can get up to 4 entries for signing up for our free monthly newsletter and following us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. This giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Europe with a permanent mailing address where your Tep Wireless MiFi rental can be shipped.
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Psst… please do us all a favor and drop your hottest tips for staying connected while abroad down in comments below!