Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written and evaluated by experts who know these products inside out. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. See our advertising policy here where we list advertisers that we work with, and how we make money. You can also review our credit card rating methodology.

The 7 Best Portable and Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspots for Travel in 2024

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
Amar Hussain's image

Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

790 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
Keri Stooksbury's image

Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3228 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

Whether you want to update your Insta on the go or need to keep in touch with the office, losing your internet signal can be very frustrating.

But it’s annoying (and can be unsafe) to rely on public Wi-Fi signals in every coffee shop you visit, and sometimes when traveling to remote locations, public connections are just not available.

Instead, you can invest in a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot to ensure safe, secure, and reliable internet access anywhere you go. Here’s what you need to consider when choosing the best one for you.

What Is a Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot?

A Wi-Fi hotspot is a battery-powered wireless router that travels with you. Designed to be compact and lightweight enough to slip into your purse or pocket, a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot device brings the internet to your phone, tablet, or laptop, no matter where in the world it finds you.

These gadgets are a big bonus for anyone traveling away from public Wi-Fi or those looking for a secure connection. A bit like a cellular device, your Wi-Fi hotspot provides access to invisible signals in the sky, all of which can help you to upload pics or receive your emails on the move.

You will need to pay for the data you use, which can be done in the form of packages or day passes that offer unlimited access for a set period of time.

Bottom Line: Using 3G or 4G (and maybe even 5G in the coming months), these smart little devices emit a reliable and incredibly useful Wi-Fi signal that you can hook your favorite gadgets and devices to while away from home.

Things To Look For in a Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot

Battery Life

Most batteries will run happily for between 5-6 hours at a time. If you are traveling somewhere with easy access to electricity, you should be able to charge overnight to ensure your hotspot works when you need it for your daily adventures. If you spend a disproportionately large amount of time online, you may want to look at a device that offers a longer battery life.

Size and Weight

Your Wi-Fi hotspot should be small enough to be carried everywhere with you. After all, if it’s not entirely portable, what exactly is the point? Slimline, lightweight, and often smaller than the smartphone you are trying to connect to, these devices are compact and clever.

Wi-Fi Support

Because some mobile internet providers are better than others, the coverage you receive from any Wi-Fi hotspot can also vary. For example, 2.4GHz gives coverage at a more extended range but will transmit the data at a much slower speed. A 5GHz band, on the other hand, will provide less range with data transmitted at a much faster speed.

Display

Though they may be small, they are still mighty, and most hotspot devices will have a built-in display. At the very least, the display should indicate remaining battery life and current Wi-Fi signal strength. Others may offer bonus features like SMS messages or touch screen modes.

Card Reader

Some portable Wi-Fi hotspots come with the capability to read MicroSD memory cards, which can be used to store and access files from your laptop or home computer. You can also share your stored files with the people who use your network when you want them to have access.

MicroSD memory cards are not typically included with the purchase of a Wi-Fi hotspot, but they are a useful addition that allows you to send and receive SMS messages and save images, music, and other data-heavy files.

Frequencies Explained: The Difference Between GSM and CDMA

Mobile data is delivered using 1 of 2 types of cellular signals in different countries and regions around the world. These cellular standards allow for communication between individuals; without them, we would not be able to keep in touch on such a global scale.

Known as GSM and CDMA, each standard converts both incoming and outgoing radio waves in entirely different ways. Before you buy a hotspot, you need to understand its function and where you’ll be able to use it.

GSM

Global System for Mobile Communication is used in most countries around the world. In the U.S., only AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. GSM uses Time Division Multiple Access (or TDMA), which allocates time slots to multiple conversation streams and alters how phones transmit their information. Doing this requires a SIM card (or “subscriber identification module” card).

It is the SIM card that holds all the information you need to make calls, use mobile internet, and store your contacts. The SIM card tells the device what services you have access to and is vital for GSM communications on the go.

CDMA

CDMA is used in countries including Russia and the U.S. (Sprint, Verizon, and US Cellular), and it grants users full access to a wide spectrum of bandwidth, meaning more users can connect at any one time. It also encodes each signal, meaning that every conversation remains protected and filtered.

CDMA does not rely on SIM cards as the device has the technology built into it from the carriers’ networks. This once meant that if you wanted to change carriers, you would need to buy a new device altogether. These days though, many CDMA devices offer the capability to use a SIM card too, especially for those on LTE networks.

Bottom Line: Different countries (and different carriers) use different technologies. In the U.S., Sprint, Verizon, and US Cellular use CDMA, while AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. When it comes to purchasing a hotspot, make sure you understand what type you’re buying, what countries it will work in, and what providers it will function with.

The 7 Best Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspots for Travel

1. Keep in Touch Wherever You Are Using the GlocalMe 4G LTE Network

GlocalMe DuoTurbo 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

With a global SIM-free connection, you can quickly and easily access the internet without worrying about a local SIM card or roaming charges. The 4G LTE high-speed network connects up to 10 devices at a time. Enjoy an innovative GlocalMe app that uses a dedicated security protocol to ensure your Wi-Fi connection is always safe.

You can also easily manage your data usage from anywhere in the world. With an initial 1.1 GB of global data and 8 GB U.S. data included to see you on your way, you can easily top up your data using the GlocalMe app, which is specifically designed to work in a variety of different countries and regions.

Bottom Line: With 1 Nano SIM card slot and the ability to connect to unlocked Wi-Fi hotspots wherever you are, the G4 will provide you with up to 12 hours of nonstop usage from a single charge.

2. Rapid Download Speeds and Superfast Internet on the Go

Huawei E5577Cs-321 4G LTE Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot

Huawei’s Wi-FI hotspot is both affordable and reliable — and it’s good enough to give some of the more prominent brand alternatives a real run for their money.

This hotspot offers rapid download speeds of up to 150 Mbps 4G LTE and 43.2 Mbps 3G download, connection for up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices, 6 hours of working time, and a whopping 300 hours of standby time.

Bottom Line: The TFT-LCD screen with 2D Barcode secure connection is easy to use, and the device itself is unlocked for all networks — you can even choose your SIM card if you want to.

3. Best for Professionals Who Need To Keep Connected

Huawei E5576-320 4G LTE Mobile Wi-Fi Router

This high-speed mobile router and multi-mode wireless terminal is for use in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

The hotspot offers 16 Wi-Fi connections at a time, and the unlocked carrier connection means you can use 3G signals from any provider. Controllable via the innovative Huawei Mobile Wi-Fi app, you can enjoy uploads and connectivity for up to 6 hours using the 1500 mAh battery.

Bottom Line: While this device model will not work in the Americas or the United States, it is an affordable solution for those traveling to other parts of the world.

4. A Powerful Global WI-Fi Hotspot for Use in Over 160 Countries

RoamWiFi 4G LTE WiFi Mobile Hotspot Router

The RoamWiFi Mobile Router is a powerful global Wi-Fi hotspot with super-fast 4G LTE speeds that can be used in over 160 different countries and shared to 5 connections. Sleek and stylish, the simple orange hotspot can be stored in your carry-on luggage and will be easy to find when you get there.

By far, the most impressive feature of this particular model is the whopping 18 hours of battery life. 500MB of data can be purchased for as little as $2.90 per day.

Bottom Line: All-in-all, this is a tremendous little Wi-Fi hotspot for your next adventure.

5. Compact and Capable Offering 18 Hours of Battery Life

Netgear Unite Explore AC815S Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot

This slim 4G LTE-capable device provides super-fast internet and as much as 18 hours of battery life on a single charge to as many as 15 Wi-Fi devices on the go.

Super easy to use, the color LCD screen shows you all the network info you need, as well as displaying battery life and connectivity levels.

Bottom Line: Made by one of the most trusted names in communications, the Unite Explore is a reliable Wi-Fi hotspot for travelers looking for longer battery life.

6. Superfast Connectivity in Over 135 Countries

SIMO Solis Lite 4G LTE WiFi Mobile Hotspot

With no contract or SIM card required, this convenient little device will ensure you’re always connected on the go. The virtual SIM technology is compatible with most major carriers, and you can control everything through the handy Solis WiFi app.

You can connect up to 10 different devices with up to 16 hours of battery life on a single charge. As well as keeping you connected, this mobile hotspot doubles up as a power bank, so you’ll never run out of charge.

Bottom Line: With SIMO Solis, users can enjoy day pass Wi-Fi, pay as you go access by gigabyte, or monthly and yearly subscriptions.

7. Connect 10 Wi-Fi Enabled Devices With This Verizon Jetpack

Verizon MiFi Jetpack 4620L

Brought to you by the communication experts at Verizon, this MiFi Jetpack offers superior connectivity and speedy internet access virtually anywhere in the world. With the ability to connect up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices in 4G and up to 5 devices in 3G, this is one of the most effective LTE hotspot devices on the market.

Compatible with all major operating systems including Windows, Mac OSX, Android, and iOS, you can quickly and easily connect your phone, tablet, or laptop. The interactive OLED display shows you when you are connected, as well as the connection status and how many users are connected. It can even alert you when you receive a new SMS message.

Bottom Line: With up to 5 hours of usage available from a single charge, this impressive MiFi mobile Wi-Fi device is one of the most effective LTE hotspot devices on the market.

Final Thoughts

With a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, you are no longer at the mercy of unsecured, cumbersome, and often super-slow public Wi-Fi signals when you take to the road. Your very own Wi-Fi allows you to download data, upload images, and keep in touch with civilization, no matter how far away you go.

Before you commit to a connection, look for a mobile Wi-Fi device that is compact and portable with a large enough battery to last you all day. Your new Wi-Fi hotspot should also be simple to use, easy to connect to, and ideally able to offer a connection to several different devices (especially if you’re traveling with friends).

Lastly, don’t miss these other tech-related product reviews to level up your travel game!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for travelers?

Our vote is for the GlocalMe G4 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot.

With a global SIM-free connection, you can quickly and easily access the internet without worrying about a local SIM card or roaming charges. The 4G LTE high-speed network connects up to 10 devices at a time. Enjoy 50Mbps upload speeds and an innovative GlocalMe app that uses a dedicated security protocol to ensure your Wi-Fi connection is always safe.

Do mobile hotspots work internationally?

Many mobile hotspots do work internationally, but this would depend on what plan your device is on. Many plans include a set amount of international data, while others offer unlimited usage for a set fee.

Can mobile hotspot replace home Wi-Fi?

Although mobile hotspots can be used in place of home Wi-Fi, it usually carries higher usage costs. If you are a heavy downloader or video streamer, you would likely be better off registering for a home Wi-Fi service.

Which is better Wi-Fi or hotspot?

Hotspots usually offer slower speeds and less security than Wi-Fi; however, it is convenient if you’re on the move, and there are no guarantees that you will be able to access a Wi-Fi connection.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

INSIDERS ONLY: UP PULSE

Deluxe Travel Provided by UP Pulse

Get the latest travel tips, crucial news, flight & hotel deal alerts...

Plus — expert strategies to maximize your points & miles by joining our (free) newsletter.

We respect your privacy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. Google's privacy policy  and terms of service  apply.

Deluxe Travel Provided by UP Pulse
DMCA.com Protection Status