Wifi… a definite need when I travel and not just wifi that you get at the Apple store or the hotel lobby, it’s something that I want to get on-the-go. It’s like a requirement for all hotels to provide complimentary wifi now in the rooms and when I don’t get that, I’m like meh….
Before I head off on our holidays, I like to do a quick check of the different data-roaming plans/ rates offered by our Telco first. Some of the fixed daily rates are quite competitive or perhaps I’m just lazy to go find out what’s cheaper out there, so I normally just activate the data-roaming plan.
This is until I discovered Pocket Wifi which fits into my needs perfectly! Well, I don’t need people to call me while I’m on holiday plus I don’t really need to receive my SMSes too unless I’m doing my internet banking. All I needed when I’m overseas is pretty basic – checking of emails, to remain connected on my social media platforms as well as chat with my friends on What’s App.
In case my mombie-brains fail me, I thought it would be nice to share some of the affordable wifi options that you can get from these countries that we have recently been to and what we used for the trip.
EspressoWifi in Italy was used by our friends when we were up in Milan and Tuscany last October. It could connect up to 10 different devices so I basically just tapped and used their wifi whenever we were together. To be honest, I only thought the usage of pocket wifi is commonly used in Japan, so I was pleasantly surprised at the rental of such devices that I could now get online without fretting where I should head to tap on free wifi when we travel.
Which brings me to this – pocket wifi in Japan seriously rocks! There are several providers in Japan and a friend recommended that we check out eConnect which was what we used when we were in Fukuoka last year. They offer really competitive price plans and the site was easy to navigate. I ordered my pocket wifi 3 weeks in advance and even received a 15% discount off my total bill. This works well if you are an organised traveler who plan your itinerary well in advance.
For us, the Man made some changes to our itinerary last minute and mentioned in passing to me. I totally forgot about this until I rang the first hotel to check on the shipping of some items and was horrified to learn that we are no longer going to be staying with them (ie: they couldn’t find the booking). Luckily, I managed to email the folks at eConnect with details of our new hotel and they changed the shipping in time.
When we arrived at our hotel in Yufuin, I was happy to see the eConnect package sitting on the table. Ripped it apart almost immediately and put it to use.
Verdict? Works pretty well and had strong 3G/ 4G connection when we were in the city / town. At mountainous areas or when we were driving along the roads, the wifi connection was a lot weaker. I guess given the price, this works pretty ok. Plus it was such a breeze to return the device! All I needed to do is to pop the wifi device and the charger into the prepaid envelope and get the hotel concierge to help me send it out via post. It’s that easy!
Another pocket wifi company that my friend used in Japan is Japan Mobile Rental, charges look a lot higher than eConnect but she shared that she had strong connectivity on the internet throughout her trip. She was in the city though so couldn’t quite share if connectivity would be the same if she was on the roads or up in the mountains.
For our recent trip to UK and France, I was contemplating to get a pocket wifi device but after searching online and given that I will be going to both UK and France, the charges for the rental of the device does seem to be on the higher side. Here are some companies that I managed to find:
- Hip Pocket Wifi
- My Webspot
- Overseas Wifi from Changi Airport : Even though this looked like the most promising of the lot because I can just pick it up at Changi Airport and drop it off upon my return, I decided not to rent it because the per day charges don’t seem attractive plus usage is capped at 400MB per day which I feared I may just bust checking Instagram alone.
In the end, after doing the research, I decided not to get a portable wifi device because we were moving from place to place and I was worried that I would not be able to receive the device by post on time. Asked around and Mama Libby also suggested that I might be better off just buying a SIM card and using the data-plan attached to the SIM card from the telco provider. So this was what we did.
Upon arrival into London, we walked past a kiosk selling SIM cards. I told the sales assistant my requirements – basically, data for surfing in the UK and France. He then recommended this plan from Three which fulfilled my primary need of data thrown in with text messages and talk time. For GBP35, I had unlimited data in the UK and up to 12GB of data in France. I was pleasantly surprised that I could also surf in Geneva and Italy when we did short stop-overs before/ after France. One point to note is that we couldn’t activate the Personal Hot-spot sharing when we were in Europe so the Man couldn’t share my wifi.
Just thought I share what some of my friends did prior to our trip in Europe was to purchase this pocket wifi device from Huawei in Singapore first. When they arrived in France, they then purchased a 2GB data card in one of the tobacco shops which cost them under 20 Euros (if I’m not wrong) for the entire trip. This was handy as we could tap and share the wifi when we are in a group.
Hope you found this simple guide that I’ve compiled useful for your upcoming holidays. If you have other providers or tips on where to tap on wifi on-the-go, please do share them here so I can add them on this list.