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If you’ve ever thought about travel wifi devices, likely you’ve thought that travelers use them mostly overseas to avoid roaming charges. Or maybe travelers use travel wifi devices for a cruise where the cruise costs can be astronomical. And you wouldn’t be wrong. However, have you thought about having a travel wifi hotspot on a road trip?
Sure, you could use your phone as a hotspot while traveling on the road. I’ll go into the pros and cons of that in a bit. But I would recommend getting a portable travel wifi device that powers all your devices while traveling on the road.
What is a Travel WiFi Hotspot Device
First things first, if you’ve never traveled outside of the country, you may not know what a travel wifi hotspot device is. Essentially, it’s a wallet-size device that broadcasts a wifi signal. You connect to it the same way you would your home network. Recently I partnered with Travel Wifi to test out their device, called a Teppy. I did test it on a cross country road trip and all opinions are my own.
Since the device is small and easy to hold, it’s highly portable.
Why You Need a Travel WiFi for a Road Trip
We road trip. A lot. And my gut tells me that many people are turning to road trips during the 2020 global pandemic. Even though you might be on the road traveling in the US, you should still consider getting a portable wifi hotspot.
It’s perfect for camping.
Campgrounds may or may not have wifi. Even if they do, depending on your site, it may not be as reliable. When you have a personal Travel Wifi device such as a Teppy, you’ll be the only ones using that Wifi and therefore have a better, stronger signal.
Distance learning, homeschool, virtual classrooms, whatever they may be called in your world, it doesn’t mean you need to be at home to homeschool. This is a perfect time to get out and explore the country around you and get the hands-on history, botany, and geography lessons, plus more. Getting a portable wifi device ensures that you stay connected when it is time for online learning.
Work from Home
Just like with the kids’ online learning, if you’re working from home, having wifi on a road trip means you can work from anywhere.
Why Not Use Your Cell Phone’s Hotspot?
That’s a valid question.
For us, in order to save money on our cell phone bills, I use StraightTalk Wireless. It’s a low price plan, bring your own phone, that does not have a hotspot. I could add one, but the savings compared to renting or buying a TravelWifi device was not significant. The kids have TracPhones. Our phones do everything the big name brand services do, with the exception of the hotspot.
If you do have a big name brand cell service, depending on the plan you’re on, you do get mobile hotspot capabilities. Check with your carrier, but this likely goes against your data plan. And even if your data is unlimited, it’s usually limited to the higher speeds for a certain amount, and then reduced to 3G service.
Your cell phone plan may be better depending on how much you use or need for a road trip. However, a Teppy device may be the more affordable long term option.
What You Need to Get Travel WiFi
Let’s go through what you need to get wifi for your road trips or other travel options.
You can rent or buy a Teppy device. At the time of this writing, renting is $6.95 a day. To buy outright it’s $149. If you think you’ll use a Teppy Travel Wifi device for more than 21 days, it’s better to buy. Bonus, once you buy the device, you can connect to matter what cell phone, laptop, or tablet devices you have for life. No need to set it up again.
The portable Teppy device holds a charge for a long time. Using it on and off for over two weeks and I did not have to recharge it once.
The next thing you need is a Sapphire account and app on your phone. This is what powers the Wifi on your Teppy device. You can add balances, check usage, and disconnect devices.
Sapphire does work in over 130 countries, and prices may vary, depending on your location. Also, note that your data plan may only be valid for a certain amount of days. Since you’re using it only while traveling, don’t buy more than what you think you’ll need. You can always add more. Current prices are in the photo below.
Our Review of the Teppy Travel Wifi
Overall, this worked perfectly for us. I was able to connect while on the road and the kids played games together via their phones. I used it while on vacation to get a stronger signal in order to work outside or around a campfire.
Travel Wifi provided us with 5 GB to use and we used about 2 GB. We traveled from Florida to Michigan and back. We didn’t keep it on the entire time as often the kids would be reading or doing puzzles in their workbooks. Plus, we did have it on for a few hours in order to boost the signal at our vacation destination. The kids even used it to stream with their friends.
It lasted for us for a good amount of time. We had no problems connecting. Overall I would use it again, especially on the road.