While backpacking through Europe, travelers become dependent on free WiFi offered at cafes and hostels. While on business trips, travelers pay top dollar for international phone plans and 24-hour access to hotel WiFi.
I’d be lying if I said I haven’t picked a spot to grab lunch simply because of a “free WiFi” sign in the window.
Staying connected while traveling can be
inconvenient and expensive.
Thanks to my friend and fellow travel blogger, Matt of Expert Vagabond, I was introduced to Tep Wireless. With Tep Wireless, I’m able to access WiFi whenever, wherever and with up to 5 devices. Their wireless devices create a mobile hotspot that you can use to access the internet.
You can connect your phone, computer and tablets to WiFi just like you would from any other WiFi connection.
It’s a travel blogger’s dream come true!
International Roaming 101
Unfortunately, international cell phone service and data are not typically included with a normal service plan. With my AT&T plan, I can pay an additional $30/month for 120MB of data with an international package.
The average person might use anywhere from 100-150MB of data each day on their smart phone. So within a day I’d probably deplete my entire monthly data allowance.
If I didn’t get that package and used my phone as normal while I was abroad, I would pay $19.97/MB. That means it would cost me almost $60 just to pull up my blog from my mobile phone in Paris. I think my blog is awesome and all, but probably not worth it.
For those of you who didn’t come here for math…
let’s just say roaming becomes insanely expensive.
Your best bet? Notify your service provider that you’d like your data turned off during your travel dates, keep that iPhone on airplane mode (or take out your SIM card) and use your WiFi connection to ensure data doesn’t try to connect while abroad.
If you don’t, you can easily rack up a $1,100 cell phone bill like this LA Times writer. YIKES!
Renting a WiFi Device
Currently, Tep devices are only available for rent. But, with overnight shipping and free return shipping, even the most spontaneous travelers can get their hands on one. You can rent a Tep WiFi device for $7/day and get 150MB of data per day. So, for a week-long trip to London, you’d pay $49 and get WiFi just as if you had cell phone service.
Tep also offers 250MB/day and unlimited data plans depending on your internet needs. As an internet hog myself, I need an unlimited plan. But, for someone who would only need it to check social media and emails a few times a day, you can easily get away with a lower data plan.
Speed and Coverage
Typically, you should see download speeds of at least 1.30 MBPS and upload speeds of at least 0.50 MBps if you’re in an area with decent coverage. Tep works off local mobile service providers, so it can only work as fast as a cell phone does. That being said, it might not be a solution for remote or off-the-beaten-track trips.
The best part about Tep Wireless is their expansive coverage areas. Traveling from Italy to Germany and then to Greece? No problem! Your Tep will work seamlessly without you having to do a thing.
Check out everywhere Tep Wireless has coverage.
Is Tep Wireless Right for Me?
Tep Wireless devices are ideal for 1-2 week trips, business travel and for people who need to stay connected no matter where they go (like me)! They might not be cost-effective for solo travelers or long-term nomads, simply because of the nature of the rental.
Use Tep While Traveling For:
- Exploring a new city with Google Maps
- Sharing WiFi with friends (split the cost of the service if you’re traveling with someone else!)
- Posting your travel photos to Facebook
- Working on your laptop while traveling by train or from a bench in the park
If you are traveling with friends, you can easily split the cost of the service and connect up to 5 devices at a time! I know I’ll be taking my Tep on The Yacht Week this summer.
9 girls sailing in Italy? No problem.
Tep Wireless might not be for every traveler or every trip, but it’s a great product that offers an affordable solution to international roaming fees.
Get connected with Tep Wireless and say, “so long” to roaming fees!
This article was written in partnership with Tep Wireless. Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. All opinions, as always, are my own. I recommend Tep Wireless because I personally use their service and believe it is a great product. I would never recommend anything I don’t love. If you would like to try Tep Wireless and would like to support this website in some way, using these links will help do exactly that. If you have any questions about Tep, please comment below. I’m always happy to answer questions!