In my two years of living nomadically, there are only really two things I’ve needed: my laptop and a WiFi connection. The latter can be surprisingly hard to find at times – step in a number of pocket WiFi services!

There are several major mobile WiFi rental companies out there, and I’ve tried many of them. Even though they all provide the same thing – a portable WiFi hotspot – they’re all slightly different.

Here’s my guide to choosing the best portable WiFi for your needs and what to look out for.


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What is portable WiFi?

A portable WiFi device is exactly what it sounds like – WiFi that you can take anywhere. It’s basically a hotspot in your pocket, meaning you can connect your phone, tablet or laptop wherever you happen to be.

Each portable WiFi set-up is slightly different, but most allow you to connect multiple devices at once. It’s a bit like carrying your home WiFi around with you, only it comes from a tiny pocket-sized device.

Benefits of portable WiFi rental

The internet has made travel a zillion times easier. Thanks to the mini computers in our pockets, we can now access maps, download itineraries and pull up our hotel booking in a click. Well, as long as we have internet access… 

We’ve probably become a little too dependent on the internet, but that’s a whole other post. Dependent or not, being able to connect helps save precious travel time and save tress because we no longer print everything. 

The only trouble is when we can’t find a connection – which is when your pocket WiFi will come in most handy. That’s not all, though. There are plenty of other reasons why I use a portable WiFi device:

It’s more secure than connecting to public WiFi. Even if you have a VPN (which you totally have, right?), having your own personal WiFi connection takes the stress out of using public WiFi.

It’s more reliable. Renting a WiFi hotspot gives you the best chance of getting (and staying) connected in a new destination.

You can connect multiple devices. If you’re staying somewhere long term, that means you can use it as a household hotspot. No need to waste time setting up WiFi.

It covers more remote areas than most mobile networks. If you’re heading off on a road trip, you can make sure you always have WiFi access.

It doesn’t need to be plugged in. If you’re camping, you won’t have to leave your tent to log on.

It’s affordable. Renting a portable WiFi hotspot is usually much cheaper than using mobile data, especially if you’re travelling as a group and can split the cost.

Unlimited really means unlimited. Unlike some of those pesky mobile plans, you don’t need to worry about your provider capping your pocket WiFi.

Portable WiFi rental

Types of portable WiFi

They’ll all help you connect, but every pocket WiFi device is slightly different.

Choosing the best WiFi rental for you will depend on where you’re going, how long you’ll be using it for and a number of other things. 

LocationProbably the most important thing of all to consider when choosing your pocket WiFi is where you’ll be using it.

Some mobile WiFi devices only work in a single country, while others work in one continent. If you’re planning a round-trip or travelling long-term, a global WiFi device might be the best option!

How long you need it for: Another deciding factor when choosing the best mobile WiFi will be how long you’ll be using it for.

Some portable WiFi rentals can be pricey when used for a day or two, but work out cheaper than the rest when used for a month or longer.

How much data you need: Finally, you’ll need to have an idea of how much data you’re likely to need.

If you’re just using your portable WiFi device for maps, browsing and any unexpected emergencies, you probably won’t need a whole lot.

If you’re going to be uploading photos and videos (that’ll be me!), you might want to look into a pocket WiFi with unlimited data options.

Portable WiFi rental vs purchase

While most people will only need to rent WiFi for a single trip, there might be times when it makes sense to buy a portable WiFi device of your own.

If you travel a lot, work online or need WiFi at short notice, it may be worth investing in a device you can keep. Then, you can either top-up your WiFi device like you would top-up a phone, or subscribe to a package that gives you unlimited data in the countries you’re travelling to.

If you only need the device for a single trip, it’s probably better to look at portable WiFi rental services. With these, you rent the WiFi device for a set amount of time and return after your trip.

Then, if you need to rent WiFi again for another trip, you can choose the one that’s best for your next destination when you go.

SkyRoam Solis mobile WiFi rental

The best pocket WiFi brands 

As I said, I’ve used a whole bunch of mobile WiFi rental services over the year. Here are the ones I’ve tried and tested, and when I’d recommend them.

TEP Wireless

My ‘Teppy’, the cute name given to the TEP Wireless WiFi hotspot has been used more than other over the years. Even though the battery life isn’t great (my record is 5 hours), it’s a reliable device that allows 1GB of data before slowing down every day.

Where it works: TEP has multiple devices available for different regions of the world. Unless you’re planning on visiting multiple continents or buying your own Teppy device, it’s best to rent the WiFi hotspot that’s specific to the region you’ll be visiting. 

How much: TEP Wireless prices are pretty straightforward, ranging from $8.95 for 1GB/day of 3G to $12.95 for 3GB/day of 4G connectivity. You can also buy a Teppy WiFi device for $129 and save up to $3/day on the usual rates. If you subscribe to a monthly plan ($99-139/month), you can also get a Teppy free of charge. 

Best for: Frequent fliers. TEP Wireless now offers free WiFi on a number of airlines, including American Airlines, Lufthansa, Etihad and more.

Solis X

After testing out plenty of portable WiFi rentals, SkyRoam is nearly always my device of choice. As a full time traveller, I love that I can take my SkyRoam device with me and not worry about.

SkyRoam recently released a brand new portable WiFi device: the SkyRoam Solis X. More than just a pocket WiFi, this handy 2-in-1 doubles up as a portable charger too.

Where it works: The one size fits all SkyRoam Solis device (both old and new) works in 130+ countries. That means you can use the same device for round-the-world trips, if you’re lucky enough to have one planned! 

How Much: You can rent the SkyRoam Solis X for $9.95 per day (plus shipping). You can also buy the WiFi device for $179.99 ($149.99 for the older device) giving you access to better rates and savings. You can save up to 15% with the code ALAJODE.

Best for: Ease and convenience. With the ability to return the device from your country of choice or drop it off at one of 150+ worldwide collection points, the SkyRoam Solis X makes mobile WiFi rental as easy as can be.

iVideo Pocket WiFi 

A great budget option, iVideo pocket Wifi is another one of my favourites for single trips. iVideo’s portable WiFi hotspots are usually country-specific (rather than global or continent-specific) but they’re great when you’re heading to a single country. Unlike other providers, they won’t reduce your speeds or charge you extra.

Where it works: Although they offer continental devices on their site, their best products are the WiFi hotspots for Japan, Taiwan and Australia.

How much: Depending on your destination, you can get connected from as little as $1.63 per day or $10 per month. They also always have great offers on their site.

Best for: Since each portable WiFi device only works in one country or continent, iVideo is best for single trips and one-off use. It’s hard to beat if you want reliable WiFi in a specific country that you can return at the end.

There are plenty of other mobile WiFi rental companies out there, but these are easily my three favourites. I’ve used them all personally and they’ve saved me more times than I can count!

If you’re still not sure about renting a WiFi device for your next trip, I’ve also been hearing a lot about this new universal SIM card. I’ve yet to try it myself, but it sounds pretty ideal for digital nomads.

Rather than being attached to any one provider, it connects to a different mobile network in every country – a bit like buying a local SIM card but without needing to do anything!

I’ll be trying it out soon to see what it’s all about, but would love to know if you’ve tried it. 

Alajode UK travel blog and vlog by a female digital nomad
Jodie Marie Dewberry

Jodie has been travelling the world full time since 2017, sharing the most unique places in the world along with tips for living as a digital nomad. She is a passionate wildlife photographer and has worked with a number of prominent travel brands, including airlines, tourism boards, hotels and tour operators.

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