There are possibly three essential things digital nomads and seasoned travellers cannot live without: solid tech equipment like my awesome new MacBook Pro, other like-minded nomads aka a great community and the possibly most important one above all: a stable Internet connection!
But what if you are currently working out of a camper van, on a boat, in the mountains, where there are no cafés around or the wifi is ridiculously expensive or even worse limited to 30 minutes use for each single cup of coffee you purchase – should you brace yourself and scuff down a cup of caffeine every half hour and pay enormous sums of cash to actually get your work done?
Mobile Router To The Rescue!
I have been long on the hunt for a smart device that can keep me connected on the road, no matter where I am, which is not bound to a specific country – like local SIM cards. Which I still get almost everywhere I go. Something that has more capacity than just a few hundreds kilobytes before ridiculously slowing down your connection, that lets me upload all the photos and videos I want without a limit. Because I Insta Story a lot…
After travelling through Portugal in a campervan for two weeks at the start of the year and working entirely out of the van for this time, I was totally sold on the idea of a mobile wifi router. Unlimited wifi across all my devices here I come!
What Is Skyroam Mobile Wifi?
So I got this neat little wifi hotspot device from Skyroam. Fits in your pocket and it’s said to work in over 100 countries worldwide, I have tried it in a handful and yes, it always found a way to connect me!
It’s also great to know that you can connect 5 devices at the time, which is good when I am by myself as I already have 3 devices that like to be hooked up to the wifi. Even though I could get by with only having my Mac hooked up to it. I guess if you’re working with a group of friends you may hit limits but I guess that really depends on you.
It’s definitely so much better than hot-spotting yourself off your smartphone, hell yeah!
Where To Get Skyroam And How It Works
I recommend you buy a device online as it’s very affordable and yours forever, but if you just want to try it out for a trip, you can also rent a Skyroam Global Hotspot as you simply order it online and they send it out to you and you send it back at the end of your trip. They also now have vending machines in some airports across the US.
You can now also get the Skyroam Solis, which is a round portable wifi device but with the different that it functions as a power bank at the same time!
Now, it’s simply a matter of turning the mobile router on, pressing connect and you have unlimited wifi anywhere!
Is Skyroam Expensive?
You only ever pay for what you use, which is great as I don’t like contracts. You simply pay a daily flat rate of $8 which gives you unlimited juice for 24 hours. If you don’t use it, you don’t pay for it.
There are no extra roaming fees, you don’t need to buy a local SIM card or configure anything on your phone.
Agreed, if you do the maths and use the hotspot for a whole month, it will work out to be $240 for 30 days, which I agree is a bit steep.
However, I am guessing you won’t be using the device only for months and months non-stop. It still beats the competition I have seen in pricing though.
Right now here in Australia, I use it mostly in emergency situations, which do seem to happen quite a bit… like that day when the power was off for a whole 8 hours on the Gold Coast or that time a tree feel onto the power lines and I couldn’t do anything for 3 whole hours.
In Australia, I also like to work from cafes as there are so many nice ones with great food and coffee and many don’t normally offer free wifi, it’s just what it is in Australia, wifi is scarce and expensive FULLSTOP.
In the first place, I got so annoyed as I just wanted to sit down in a lovely space by the beach and do some work. Until I found Skyroam. I switched it on at the cafe, was immediately connected and could get my work done in a breeze. Such a good feeling!
Mobile Wifi Router Vs. Local SIM Card
Think about it this way: if you buy a local SIM card, most of the time you get data packages which are between 1-5 GB, sometimes more, sometimes less. And those can go really quickly, especially on a trip where you like to upload photos, Insta Stories, use Google Maps to find routes and restaurants and many other apps.
And then many countries like I’ve seen it in Thailand, don’t even allow you to hotspot another device as they simply limit it from the card. Yep, so if you are travelling with a friend or two, you will all have to get SIM cards – or you fight over the wifi all the time, ha.
With Skyroam you can simply all hook up to the wifi and you share the cost. Also, unlimited data packages are (outside the US) not very common or come at a very high price tag. Like here in Australia, finding a mobile phone provider offering unlimited mobile data can easily set you back $60/month and more. And then you are mostly locked into a long-term contract, which is the last thing you want on a trip!
Lastly, think about the language barrier, which I had more than enough on my travels, getting the data package you want without overpaying is especially a challenge when you don’t speak the local language and the locals try to help with broken English.
Is Skyroam The Right Thing For You?
I guess the biggest plus to get a mobile router is that you don’t have to work on open, public wifi networks and potentially get you into trouble. I mean security-wise. Because if you don’t use a VPN but work with sensitive information, you’re definitely prone to security threats. And that can happen quickly as you just want to book that hotel room last minute from the airport.
As a solo traveller that I mostly am, when friends or family don’t come along, it is vital to have wifi from the minute I land, to order myself a safe Uber ride to the accommodation, and so I know where the next ATM is to get money and to let my family know I arrived well and they know where I am so nobody is worried.
Another plus: The battery of the device lasts about 8-10 hours, depending how many devices are connected and if you are using it non-stop, it might be a bit less. I also have a spare battery so it’s basically twice as much which is a whole waking day.
To me as a seasoned traveller and digital nomad, having a mobile wifi router at hand has been invaluable whenever I landed in new places, didn’t know my way around or there was simply no SIM cards to be found right there.
It has also saved me in emergencies when I had to hold a deadline with work or had a client call on the go. Skyroam easily fits into any bag, is simple to get connected without having to commit to contracts or paying for roaming fees when using your home phone, if it finds a connection in the new country at all that is.