Best Mobile WiFi Hotspot for International Travel – 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? Here we take a deep dive into the best mobile wifi hotspots for international travel, how they work and how to connect to the internet while traveling.
How do WiFi 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!
Hotspots are portals that connect to the internet using a wireless local area network, or WLAN. WiFi Hotspots work using cell towers to connect to the internet.
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 an internet connection 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, update your Facebook status, or even check who unfriended me on facebook 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.
Visit Safe Websites
This advice is applicable for any Internet browsing, but might be especially relevant when using a mobile hotspot connected device. Stay off any websites that seem non-secure, or any websites that prompt you for personal information that you don’t want to give. You need to take special precautions, especially on a network that may not be fully secure in the first place. It’s all about common sense when using the Internet, whether it’s on a WiFi network, a mobile network, or a home network. As long as you follow our tips above, and exercise common sense, then you can use the Internet in a safe manner.
How to use your phone as a mobile hotspot
You might be wondering “how do WiFi hotspots work on a 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 like Verizon, T Mobile, AT&T, and Straight Talk 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.
Best Mobile Hotspot Apps
The Best mobile hotspot 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
Below are a couple of our favorite apps related to WiFi hotspot technology. Each app performs a different function, and both make it easier and safer to use a WiFi hotspot, let’s check them out:
HotSpot Shield and VPN App
The HotSpot Shield and VPN app is a good way to protect yourself while using a WiFi hotspot. As we mentioned above, WiFi hotspots are prone to security concerns, and your data is often vulnerable when travelling through these networks. This VPN app addresses those concerns.
A VPN, or “virtual private network”, allows you to extend a private network over a public network. In other words, it secures your data, and keeps your privacy, while also allowing you to use the public network.
HotSpot Shield allows you to browse and stream while using its VPN servers. It keeps your info secure, and also offers a password manager, robo-call blocker, and more.
Unfortunately, the utility of this app will depend on whether there’s a VPN server available in your area. Currently, it’s available in over 115 locations across the USA, UK, Australia, and more, but hopefully that continues to expand.
Also note that the app requires a subscription, and it’s not particularly cheap. If you purchase a year’s subscription, you can pay $8/month.
WiFi Map TripBox
WiFi Map TripBox is a great way to find, access, and organize your various WiFi networks and hotspots.
WiFi Map helps you find WiFi hotspots in your area, even while offline. The app maintains a map of known public WiFi hotspots, and shows you where they are on a detailed interface. The app also has a detailed bank of public WiFi passwords. All you need to do is open the app, allow it to access your location, and it will search for known WiFi hotspots in your area. When available, it will show you password data as well.
WiFi Map also lets you access certain VPN servers available in your area, giving you the most secure connection possible.
The useability of this app depends mainly on where you are. It has more detailed information for certain cities (generally more populous metro areas). It’s worth adding to your phone, and testing out in different areas while you travel. It is a free app, but there’s an optional subscription model with expanded capability.
Best Mobile WiFi Hotspot for International Travel
The Best Mobile WiFi Hotspot for International Travel 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.
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.
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.
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 Device
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
Best Mobile WiFi Hotspot for International Travel
Now for my favorite solution and the Best Mobile WiFi Hotspot for International Travel – 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 cellular 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 Cellular & 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 Hotspot Devices:
- Must be set up using a Wifi connection from somewhere else
Alternative: Travel WiFi Router
If you’re all about the travel lifestyle, and want to bring a more “permanent” WiFi fixture with you wherever you go, then a travel WiFi router is a great alternative.
A travel router functions the same as a WiFi router you have at home. This means you’ll need a connection to a WiFi network, generally via an ethernet port. They’re meant to bring with you to hotels, hostels, AirBnBs, and more.
The devices themselves are built for portability. They’re easy to pack, and take up minimal space in your bag. Often, they’re small enough to fit inside a pocket!
The primary advantage of a travel WiFi router is that your devices save the router info, and can instantaneously connect. All you need to do is connect the router to an Internet network, and your devices will connect automatically (if they’re set to do so). This avoids a major headache, especially if you’re a frequent traveler.
It also might be the case that you’ll get a faster, more secure Internet connection with a wireless router. Of course, this will depend on the quality of router that you buy, and how it compares to the existing router in your hotel room.
We recommend the TP Link Wireless Travel Router. The TP Link is small (can fit in a pants pocket), and utilizes Dual Band AC750 WiFi for a strong, fast connection. The device is built to keep up with HD streaming on all your devices.
So there you have it the Best Mobile WiFi Hotspot for International Travel
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.
Thanks for reading, and happy travels!
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