A short travel story
If you have traveled a lot, like me, I'm sure you can recognize yourself in the following situation:
After traveling for over 24 hours, you finally arrive at the airport of your destination, 2 hours late, after your plane was delayed for several hours. You are really tired and just want to get to your hotel room and go to sleep. However you failed to write down the name and address of the hotel you were staying at and because of the delay it's now after 1 AM in the morning, all the shops in the airport are closed and you can't get that local SIM card you were planning on buying directly after you landed!
To make matters worse, the free WIFI in the airport is non-existing and so you're stuck trying to find someone with a data connection on their phone, willing to share their connection so you can access that email with the name and address of your hotel.
One hour later, you finally arrive at your hotel and crash on the bed!
In the morning you are back up, bright and early because you still haven't got any mobile internet, so you need to find a store somewhere to get that SIM card you so desperately need! So you find a local coffee shop, not to get a coffee but so you can use their WI-FI to find a store that can help you out with that SIM card.
Before you know it, you lost half a day chasing that data connection and tell yourself: Never Again!
This is exactly what happened to me last year when I visited Iceland for the first time.
I there and then decided to be more prepared next time and make sure I had my own private hotspot that would work anytime, anywhere!
And so my search began for the most portable WiFi in Europe!
Going the MiFi Route ...
At first, I was thinking of getting my own MiFi router so I would have my own portable WIFI hotspot, separate from my phone.
MiFi is a brand name used to describe a wireless router that acts as a mobile Wi-Fi connected to a cellular network via a local SIM card that you put in the device. I actually used a MiFi device before when I was on a blogger trip in Spain and I remembered how handy it was to be connected to WIFI all the time.
However, when I was looking at all the different brands of MiFi devices, it suddenly hit me! Keeping in mind my Iceland experience, a MiFi router wouldn't be a solution since I would still lose a lot of time chasing down a SIM card evertime I would arrive in a new country!
Also, while roaming rules in Europe have changed lately, making it easier and cheaper to use your local SIM card abroad, there are still the countries outside of the European Union (like Norway and Switzerland) that still charge you exorbitantly for roaming! (As my friend found out recently after he used roaming on the ferry ride to Norway and ended up paying €120 for that privilege 😮 )
The whole process of using separate SIM cards for each country I visit just seems so ancient and above all A BIG HASSLE!
So I went looking for a better solution...
Teppy to the rescue!
This is where my new Teppy comes in!
Teppy is a pocket-sized personal WiFi hotspot from TEP Wireless, that keeps you connected while on the road.
However, unlike most MiFi routers and modems, who require a separate SIM-card everytime you get to a new country, the Teppy uses patented virtual SIM technology to allow seamless connectivity all over the world without the need of a separate SIM!
When you power Teppy on, it will automatically figure out what country it’s in, and choose the best network operator for you, via a bank of SIM cards it can access in the cloud.
Even better, you can simply rent the device for a fixed period and then return it as soon as you arrive back home.
Or you can just get your own, like I did!
This means you can travel the world with your smartphone, laptop, tablet etc., knowing that you can securely and reliably connect all of your devices to the internet, whenever you want.
Putting the Teppy to the test for the first time ...
I must admit, I wasn't very impressed after my first hands-on experience with the Teppy!
After I charged the batteries I took it out with me on a walk around the provincial park "Het Vinne", close to where I live and while I could easily connect to the mobile hotspot, the connection I got was really awful! 🙁
After that bad first impression, however, I rebooted the device and after doing that everything went way smoother!
I actually got a better data connection (12 Mbps) than via my 4G-connection on my iPhone!
However it still is "only" 4G, so don't expect broadband connection speeds!
The value of convenience
The advantages of having a mobile WIFI hotspot in your pocket.
While at first, it might seem like a lot to pay for mobile data ( if you buy a Teppy it will cost you €95 for the device itself + 7€ for a day of data use) it's actually not that bad. If you need to buy a coffee at Starbucks just to use the internet for a couple of hours, you are better off with a Teppy you can use anytime, anywhere!
Also, one of the advantages of using a separate mobile hotspot is that you can share the data connection between multiple people and devices, lowering the cost per person!
But the BIG advantage of using a device like the Teppy is no more hassle of trying to find a local store that sells SIM cards! You just turn on the device ... Et voila! You're connected!
So while I'll still be using regular WIFI connections whenever possible ... with the Teppy by my side as a backup, I'm sure that I'll have an internet connection!