As a travel blogger staying connected is imperative. I mean, how else am I going to show you the world of a wanderer, via Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, if I have shoddy or non-existent WiFi? I can’t! And that’s just not ok. Right?!
But, besides staying connected to the social world, I need to be able to have access to more functional things such as Google Maps, a translator, and the internet to pull up information on the fly while traveling abroad. If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you know this is not always an easy or cheap feat. Relying on hotels, restaurants or shops that provide free WiFi is not always ideal nor convenient. There’s, seemingly, always a Starbucks on every block, until you actually need one. You can purchase a SIM card in whatever country you’re in, but even that gets expensive, and it’s not always best value. And, let’s not even talk about roaming charges if you decide to use your cell phone internationally without some sort of global phone plan.
So, what’s the best option for staying connected while traveling internationally? Well, I recently discovered the Skyroam portable Wifi hotspot device and it has been an absolute lifesaver during my recent move to Madrid, Spain. Below I will detail all you need to know about this nifty travel gadget and my experience with it.
What is Skyroam and how does it work?
Skyroam is a portable, pay-as-you-go, Wifi hotspot that provides unlimited data services. It’s a pocket-sized device that allows you to connect up to 5 devices for unlimited usage. So you, your family and/or friends can connect your wireless phones, tablets, laptops and etc. while you’re on the go without the hassle of SIM cards and hunting down free Wifi.
The device uses a technology called Virtual SIM that allows Skyroam to connect to local cellular networks in 100+ countries. Even if you’re traveling across multiple countries, Skyroam will still connect to the local tower and provide you coverage. It doesn’t require any type of special subscriptions, accessories, or anything of the sort. Just turn on the device, connect, and go! It’s that simple.
How Much Data Do You Get?
Skyroam provides unlimited data within a 24-hour period. These 24-hour periods are considered day passes. How this works is from the time you activate 1 day pass, you will have unlimited data for 24 hours from that time. For example, If I activate a day pass at a 11:33 a.m., I will have unlimited access until 11:33 a.m. the following day. Once that day pass expires you can simply activate another day pass, or wait until you actually need the service again and then activate it.
Data speeds typically start at 4G. However, if there is high usage, within 24 hours, the connection speed will be reduced to 2G speed. This is still sufficient for things like surfing the net, checking emails, social media, apps, calling, texting, etc.
How much does Skyroam cost?
You have 2 options with Skyroam. You can either purchase the device outright, or you can try before you buy aka rent it. If you’re only going to be traveling for a short trip, say a week or two, I would recommend renting a Skyroam hotspot. For $9.95 a day you get unlimited internet. If you buy 5 day passes or more, the price is reduced to $8 per day.
For long-term or frequent travelers, I would recommend buying a Skyroam hotspot for $99, which also includes 3 free day passes. You will also get the reduced rate of $8 per day when you purchase a pass bundle. What I like most about this option is that you are not charged a daily rate, whether you use WiFi or not, like you would if you rent the device. When you buy a Skyroam hotspot device you only pay as needed.
Another thing you never have to worry about is any hidden fees or charges. Whether you rent or buy the device, you pay your flat fee and that’s all!
What is the Battery Life Like?
Battery life is super important, because what good is a device if it dies every couple of hours? With Skyroam you get a battery life of 8 hours. The device comes with a micro USB cable, which you can easily connect to your laptop or other USB portals in order to charge it.
Skyroam currently gives you global coverage in 100+ countries. Check out the full list here.
My Experience with Skyroam
As I mentioned earlier, I recently moved to Madrid. It has been a whirlwind, but thanks to the folks at Skyroam for lending me a device to use during my travels, being able to stay connected was one less thing I had to worry about. Honestly, it was a lifesaver!
Let me explain.
Arriving in Madrid I opted to stay in an Airbnb until I found a flat of my own. However, searching for a flat this time of year was atrocious! All the university students are looking for flats, all the Native English Teachers in various programs are looking for flats. So, yeah. It was tough, to say the least. A couple of newfound friends and myself literally took to the streets to look for fliers and phone numbers on apartment buildings to try to find a flat. This absolutely would not have been possible without Skyroam. When my sub-par Spanish failed me, I was able to use my translator. When my poor sense of direction got me off track, I could use Google maps to steer me back in the right direction. I could surf apartment rental websites while wandering the streets of Madrid, and it even worked underground while I was on the subway. Even after I decided to get a SIM card after a few days of being here, I still resorted back to using Skyroam because said SIM card provider’s service was/is absolutely horrible and set me back 20 euro for only 2 GB of data.
It has been awesome! I love it because it’s sooo easy to use! Literally, power it on, activate a day pass, and you’re all set. You seriously can’t beat unlimited WiFi. I used the device all day, virtually everyday and never had any problems with connection, speed, or battery life, even when there were multiple devices connected to it. At night, I would charge my gadget and it would be ready to go for the next day.
Overall, the Skyroam hotspot is a great investment when you’re looking to stay connected while traveling internationally.
How to Buy
To rent or buy your personal Skyroam visit the Skyroam website HERE.
You can now pick up your Skyroam device at select airport vending machines! Simply, place an order at Skyroam’s online rental shop for your trip dates, select “Pick Up” in the United States at one of the following vending machine locations:
- SFO International Boarding Area G
- ATL Hartsfield airport at Concourses A and E
- Houston IAH at Terminal D and the D/E Connector