We’re a family of five and all of us have phones or other devices that use data, so when we travel internationally, data and roaming fees can really add up. During our most recent trip, which took us through Iceland for ten days, we tried something new: a GlocalMe WiFi hotspot. For an initial investment of about $150-260, depending on the device you choose, you get the hotspot, which you can then load with varying amounts for different destinations. Or, you can rent the device from Roaming Man, which is how we tried it out.
I spent $20 for 3 GB of data in Iceland, which would ‘turn on’ (for lack of a better word) when I got to the country, and expire after 22 days. The hot spot can connect up to five devices (hey, perfect for us!) and you can add data at any time, either by ‘topping it off’ or buying a second package.
As I noted above, we use WiFi sparingly when we travel, preferring to enjoy the freedom from screen time (for the most part). We turned on our hot spot for about 30 minutes each day to check email, upload photos to Facebook and Instagram, and text, plus a few extra times to navigate when we needed directions, and our package of 3 GB easily lasted us 10 days. So instead of $50 per day for unlimited use we didn’t want, we paid $20 total for all of us to have a little bit of WiFi per day.
The hotspot worked really well the whole trip, with no lag connecting to the internet and super fast loading of all pages we accessed. It works best for simple uses like checking and responding to emails or editing webpages…in other words, work stuff. While we used it for directions and mapping, we did so sparingly. The hotspot is not intended for streaming video or downloading TV (it will, or at least will try, but it uses tons of data quickly). I actually was glad of this, as it kept us all honest: we used the hot spot to get necessary tasks done, and little more. This is a perfect solution for us, and we plan to use the GlocalMe hot spot on many more trips.
How to load the hot spot with data:
Once you have a hotspot, go online to GlocalMe and register. It will ask you for your device’s registration number. Once you’re registered, you can add money by scanning the list of countries (I didn’t see any missing that were within the realm of visiting) and choosing a package or pay-as-you-go option. You can monitor your usage and add money with the free app or with the website. The device itself shows your data usage so you can monitor it there, too. The hot spot recharges with a standard USB cable (included) but during our 10 days, we never ran out of battery life.
How to buy:
The actual GlocalMe device is a one-time purchase of about $130-250, depending on where you buy. We recommend Amazon for the best deal.