Getting fast online WIFI can be a challenge when traveling. Tep Wireless provides a cheap and reliable way to get online in almost any country.
Anyone who has travelled abroad will know that staying connected can be a hassle. Sure we live in an age of WiFi, skype, and mobile phones, but often using the internet and talking to people back home can be difficult and expensive. The problem becomes even more difficult when you travel extensively and cross borders regularly. Roaming charges vary from country to country, and the sim card you bought in France won’t do you much good when you cross over to Germany.
Being the type of travelers that we are (traveling full time), this is a something which we find ourselves having to think about regularly. Reliable internet access is even more important to us as we need to it write, work, and keep in touch with friends and family back home. Most of the time we take full advantage of the WiFi provided by our hotels, apartments (and in other places like cafes), and go in search of a local SIM card. This generally does the job, but it is not always ideal solution. Especially if you need to connect while in route or are simply in a place with unreliable connections. Recently we found a better one – Tep Wireless.
TEP Wireless is a British start-up, which will lend you your own personal hotspot in the form of one of their wireless pocket devices. You simply work out which one is best for you, and they will ship it to you before you go away. You can then take it with you everywhere you go, and will only pay a flat fee no matter how much data you use and where you decide to visit. When you get home you just send it back to them through the mail, or if you are in London you can drop it off at any train station.
Now this is a convenient solution for anyone who is planning on moving around a lot. Crossing borders no longer means getting new SIM cards or having to work out what roaming fees your provider will charge in this specific country. It also means that wherever you have cell phone coverage, you should be able to access the internet – perfect for when you are traveling in more remote areas and there are no WiFi connected cafes to hand.
We were intrigued, and having a couple of cruise trips coming up (ones which would see us hopping from country to country), we seemed to have the perfect opportunity to test Tep Wireless out.
WiFi on cruise ships is notorious for being pretty bad, and with one or two day stops in each port we knew that we wouldn’t have the time to go out and find SIM cards. We also didn’t want to spend the precious hours that we did have in each destination sitting in a café just to get on the internet. We wanted to see the places! Now the signal won't always work while at sea or on the water, but while we were docked or close to shore, it was perfect.
Most people will want to rent the Tep device because they will most likely be going for a short holiday. For us however, the option to purchase one made the most sense as we are constantly on the move, and we knew that there would be more cruises and far off places in the near future. For $99.95 this seemed like a good deal – in a year we probably spend more than that on drinks in the cafés web visit for WiFi! It then costs $8 per day to connect (and you get three days free with your purchase), and you can choose to connect as little or as much as you like. Again, this seemed like a reasonable price to pay for the convenience and compared to international roaming charges. It all sounded good, but we wanted to try it out for real, and see if it was really worth the money. We quickly decided that it was.
The first thing you will notice is that it lives up to its name and is truly pocket size. It fits comfortably in your bag or pocket, and feels light and durable (of course, it’s an electronic device so that doesn’t mean you can throw it around). The second thing that hits you is that it is very easy to use – its menu is simple, and setting up a network to connect to takes no more than a minute or two of fiddling the first time you do it.
Once set up, we were able to connect all our devices and the coverage was as good as promised. No matter where we docked, we had no trouble getting instantly connected. We found the battery life to be more than sufficient for our needs (it lasts about 8 hours when being used), and thanks to its international travel adapter, it couldn’t be easier to charge. If this doesn’t sound like enough for you, it is worth noting that you can hire (or buy) spare batteries pretty cheaply.
We found that the speed was pretty good, and to be honest it beat many of the free WiFi hotspots that are available in public places. You should bear in mind however, that the more devices you connect to it at one time, the slower it will go. We also liked that fact that you can be confident that your data is secure and safe – unlike public networks.
If you find yourself tempted by Tep, a final thing to take into account is its range. When you rent the device, you have the option of choosing the global program or one of the continent-specific ones. If you plan on visiting all four corners of the world, you will want to make sure you go for the global option or you may find it doesn’t work for part of your trip.
While we never had any trouble connecting in any of the destinations on our trip (the list of countries it works in is extensive and includes everywhere that all but the most adventurous travelers will want to visit), however it doesn’t work offshore. This wasn’t too much of a problem for us, but if you want to use it during sea days on a cruise this is something you should know. Wherever you can get a cell phone signal, you can connect your Tep.
Tep has become an essential travel companion for us and we use it mostly while we’re on cruises . While we still use hotel WiFi when it is freely available, whenever we find ourselves unable to connect we just buy a day’s access and are online within minutes. It is comforting to know that we always have a reliable backup, and its cheap price means that it was more than worth the investment.
For more information about Tep Wireless, please follow the link below: