What Are Travel Routers? Everything You Need to Know

If you travel often, or if you're soon traveling as a group, then a travel router might be just the thing to make your trip easier and more pleasant.

Most of us don't travel these days without a full arsenal of gadgets. A phone, a tablet, a laptop, a Kindle, a Chromecast, the list goes on. If that's you, you'll also know that setting them all up on hotel Wi-Fi is a bit of a pain.

The solution is to throw another piece of kit into your bag: a travel router. But what exactly is this, and why do you need one? Let's take a look.

What Is a Travel Router?

Put simply, a travel router is a Wi-Fi router just like the one you've got set up at home, and it works the same way. It's just smaller and more portable, making it more suited for travel.

A travel router is designed to simplify the process of connecting and managing devices on public Wi-Fi networks, whether that means in a hotel, at the airport, or anywhere else.

Most major router manufacturers have travel versions in their product range, including Netgear, D-Link, and more. They can be pretty small, too. The TP-Link Nano routers are almost as small as a credit card, while many other models are comparable in size to a portable phone charger.

Benefits of Travel Routers

The most obvious benefit of a travel router is that it means you don't have to keep adding your devices to the new Wi-Fi networks that you want to use. You keep your devices connected to the travel router instead, and then you only have to connect the travel router to different networks.

This also has the effect of hiding all the devices you've connected to the network—technically, you've only connected one: the travel router. It brings potential security benefits, and it helps you to bypass any arbitrary limits the network owner might have placed on the number of devices you're allowed to connect.

But there are even more benefits.

If the router has an Ethernet port, it can turn a wired internet connection into a wireless one. Travel routers can create a shared network between your connected devices, and many have a USB port that you can use with a flash drive full of media content.

They can also work as wireless extenders that can remove any Wi-Fi dead spots wherever you are. You're unlikely to use this function on the road, but it's a good way to improve Wi-Fi coverage at home .

Drawbacks of Travel Routers

There aren't many downsides, but there are a few things to bear in mind.

First, many travel routers need an external power source, which will limit where you can use them. Second, most need an existing Wi-Fi internet connection to get you online, although some models are available with a built-in SIM card slot for mobile internet connections.

Most importantly, even though they offer some improved security to your devices, they won't protect any data you share over open public Wi-Fi networks. It's important to take the same precautions you would take if you'd connected your laptop to a public network directly.

Related: Dongles vs. Portable Hotspots: Mobile Internet Devices Explained  

What to Look for in a Travel Router

When you're shopping for a travel router, you should look out for the same kinds of features you'd look for in a standard wireless router. On top of that, you might also find a few extra features that will help when you're on the road.

Wi-Fi Standard and Band

As with any router, check what Wi-Fi standard it works on. Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is the latest and fastest standard, but if not, then 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) is absolutely fine, and 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4) is okay at a push. You should avoid anything older—they will be much slower, more prone to interference, and their age may also suggest they have less modern and less robust security protocols.

Whichever you choose, one that supports the 5 GHz band is preferable. 5 GHz has a smaller range than 2.4 GHz, but it's less susceptible to noise, so it gives you stronger and more reliable signals.

All Wi-Fi 6 routers support 5 GHz, as do those with 802.11ac. Some 802.11n routers are restricted to a single band and only offer 2.4 GHz.

Battery Power

If you want a truly portable solution, then get a travel router that runs off battery power. Unfortunately, many of them don't. If you can't find a suitable model that does, look out for one that can be powered via a USB port. That way, you can plug it into your laptop to use when you're on the road. It's far more convenient than having to search for a power outlet.

Ethernet and USB ports are essentials in a travel router. With Ethernet, you can turn a wired connection that can only be used with a single device (that has an Ethernet port of its own, like a laptop) into a wireless connection that you can use with multiple devices, including phones and tablets.

A USB port has several uses. The main use is for power: some travel routers can be used to charge other devices. Some routers enable you to insert flash drives or portable hard drives and share the media contents stored in them, just like a NAS system does.

Or you can insert a 4G dongle and share your 4G data plan across all your devices.

Some travel routers have a SIM card that you use for this as well. It's less essential, though, because you can use tethering on your smartphone  to do the same job. Just make sure your data plan allows for it.

Multiple Usage Modes

Travel routers have many usage modes that enable them to work in different ways. Not every model will have all of these modes, and they might not always have the same names, so just be aware of that. The five most common modes are:

  • AP mode:  Creates a wireless access point from a non-wireless internet connection via an Ethernet cable. For use in locations where there's only access to a wired connection.
  • Router mode:  The router connects to the network, and your devices connect to the router. They remain hidden on the network.
  • Repeater mode:  The router extends coverage of the existing wireless network. This is a good use for the router when you're at home.
  • Bridge mode:  Takes the existing network connection and broadcasts it with a separate network name and password, effectively splitting the network in two.
  • Client mode:  Gives wireless capability to any non-wireless device by way of a cabled connection.

You need to activate and configure each mode separately when you use them. Check out our guide on how to set up a travel router for more.

Is a Travel Router for You?

If you travel a lot and take many gadgets with you, it might be worth throwing a travel router in your bag.

Travel routers are great for getting lots of devices onto wireless networks without any hassle. They're ideal for hotel rooms that only offer wired internet. And if you pick the right model you can fill up a memory stick with your favorite movies and stream them to your devices as well.

You can also use your travel router at home. You can set one up as a wireless extender to remove any dead spots from the furthest corners of your house when you aren't at home. It's even possible to push Wi-Fi coverage out into your garden. Or you can use the router to turn your old printer into a rather more useful wireless version.

Now you just need to decide which travel router to buy.

  • Worldschooling Topics
  • Family Travel Resources
  • Destinations
  • Travel Tips
  • Responsible Travel
  • Family Gap Year Guide
  • Places and Destinations

The Wandering Daughter logo - family traveling the world

Best Travel WiFi Router (And 7 Tips for How To Use A Portable Router)

how does travel wifi router work

As a digital nomad family, one of the most useful tools for staying connected is a travel WiFi router. In this guest post, my husband, Clint Bush (who works full time as a software engineer), shares his reasons why you need a portable router for travel.

We’ve been working remotely since 2018. As a remote worker, it’s important to have consistent internet connection. Nothing is worse than being on a Zoom call (or leading a meeting, for that matter) and dropping out because of an unstable connection.

how does travel wifi router work

Even though we always get a local data SIM card, so we can use a WiFi mobile hotspot from our phone if the internet goes down, our travel WiFi router is by far one of the key tools in our digital nomad toolbox. Read this post to learn which travel WiFi router brands we prefer, and why you’ll want to travel with a portable WiFi router.

This post was written by Clint Bush and originally published on November 18, 2018.

This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase something. But don't worry, this will not result in any extra costs to you.

Table of Contents

Our top picks for a travel WiFi router

Want some quick tips for which travel WiFi router to choose? Here’s our top pick for a portable WiFi router, along with our pick for a mesh network and WiFi extender.

  • Travel wifi router: GL. iNet Slate AX (GL-AXT1800)
  • Mesh network: Amazon eero 6+ mesh Wi-Fi system (up to 4,500 sq. ft.)
  • WiFi extender: TP-Link WiFi Extender (up to 1,200 sq. ft.)

What is a travel WiFi router?

For those who might not know the function of a travel WiFi router, here's a quick IT lesson. Internet connection gets sent in analog form through a cable from the cable company into your hotel or home. The cable connects to a modem that converts it from an analog signal to a digital signal.

Two white Apple smart phones on a brick floor that uses a travel WiFi router - the one on the left is smaller than the one on the right, and is leaning on the larger phone at an angle.

A router then connects to the modem (or is built into the modem) via a cable. That router turns the internet signal into radio frequencies that are broadcast out. This is WiFi (short for wireless fidelity) - the radio broadcasting of internet signals.

Since the WiFi signal is a radio frequency, it is subject to interference that can be caused by other radio signals in the air, microwaves, concrete walls, etc. The point is if you only have a single router outputting a signal on one end of the house or hotel, and you are on the other end, how strong is the signal going to be?

For travelers, and especially digital nomads who rely on reliable internet for work, one quick fix is to carry a portable wireless router.

Travel WiFi router brands to buy

In terms of a good travel WiFi router, as well as a WiFi extender or a mesh network, there are several major brands out there. If you’re planning on using a virtual private network (VPN) such as ExpressVPN , they have a list of routers (such as the Netgear Nighthawk ) they directly work with, but I find them too bulky and expensive especially for travel. 

A travel WiFi router for international travelers

I prefer a more compact travel router that can run OpenVPN directly. While this involves additional setup and requires some network knowledge (Express VPN has a good walkthrough ), the small size of the travel WiFi router makes it convenient for travel.

If you want to try out Express VPN, snag my referral code to get 30 days free !

One major advantage of the bulkier Express VPN-approved travel WiFi routers compared to a mini wireless router for travel is speed. This is especially important when using a VPN. Our small travel WiFi router does a great job, but if we need to stream video the travel router WiFi can’t always handle that. VPN speeds can throttle quite a bit. Getting one of the bigger approved routers can increase your connection speeds and handle larger bandwidth loads better.

how does travel wifi router work

Ready for a change? Take the first step to living a life of full time travel.

However, if you’re traveling, you’ll want to focus on compactness, rather than bulk. Besides a travel WiFi router, you can also consider traveling with a mesh network (multiple travel routers that connect to the original router to act as a single network) or a WiFi range extender (that extends your WiFi signal). Here are the top brands of wireless travel routers that we recommend.

We like GL.iNet because their products perform consistently well. We traveled with the GL.iNet GL-AR750 (Creta) travel WiFi router in the past, as well as an older version of the GL.iNet GL-MT3000 (Beryl) wireless travel router. However, there are plenty of other travel WiFi routers from GL.iNet that you can bring for your travels.

The GL.iNet travel routers we recommend have a USB port and an ethernet port (or multiple ports) so you can plug into the device directly. Click the buttons below to look at these travel WiFi routers from GL.iNet.

Amazon eero

If you’re planning on staying somewhere that will give you direct access to the original router, then bringing along a mesh network might be more useful than a single travel WiFi router. Essentially, a mesh network is a set of routers that link to the main router to create a blanket network throughout the space, sending consistent wireless signals. This is ideal if you’re planning on housesitting or staying at someone’s house, as you’ll likely be able to directly connect with the main internet router.

One drawback of traveling with a mesh network is that you’re bringing multiple devices instead of just one item (the mesh network usually comes in sets of 3). Additionally, mesh networks tend to have a higher price point (because they’re multiple devices), so you’ll need to be careful when traveling with these expensive devices.

Check out these mesh networks from Amazon eero.

We have not personally used TP Link, but have read positive reviews of their devices. Like GL.iNet, they offer a travel WiFi router that travelers can use. And like the Amazon eero, they also have a mesh network option. 

TP Link also offers a dual band WiFi extender, which can help extend the range of WiFi signals from your Airbnb or hotel WiFi router, using both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies. This extender requires a United States outlet for its power supply, but you can carry a power adapter if you’re traveling overseas. 

One thing to note about using a WiFi extender, the strength of the signal will be weak at its farthest point of the extender range. 

Learn more about the amazing family travel resources we use for worldschooling!

passport, journal, and sunglasses

Benefits and tips for how to use a portable router

There are many benefits to carrying a travel WiFi router with you whenever you travel. Primarily, a travel WiFi router helps repeat the WiFi signal and minimizes the instances of spotty WiFi. Additionally a travel WiFi router allows for multiple devices to connect to the WiFi network, and allows for use of a VPN.

how does travel wifi router work

Once you know the benefits of having a travel WiFi router, it’s also helpful to know how to use a portable router. Here are some details of why a travel WiFi router is beneficial for travel, and how to use a portable router (and VPN) for travel.

1. WiFi repeating

This is the first benefit of your own travel wifi router: repeating the signal. Many routers these days have the ability to pick up an existing WiFi signal and extend or repeat that signal.

By placing an additional portable router closer to the WiFi signal, you can extend the distance of that WiFi signal. This increases your coverage across the house or hotel room. You will lose a bit of speed when you do this. Keep that in mind if you are trying to stream a video or play a game online.

2. Optional hard-wiring to skip spotty public WiFi

This tip will only help you if you are in a hotel that has an ethernet cable available to you. This is usually the case in business hotels, or if the home or AirBnB you are staying at has the router directly in the unit.

how does travel wifi router work

If either of these are the case, and you have the option to plugin an ethernet cable, then having a portable router can allow you to create your own WiFi network off of that wired connection. That means all of your devices can connect to a single WiFi source. This is way more reliable than the public WiFi available to you.

3. Easy connecting for multiple devices

One of my favorite reasons to use a portable router is the ease of connection setup when I get to a new location for all of our devices. Between our family we have multiple laptops, tablets, phones, and a Roku. Setting up each of these with new WiFi would be a pain in the neck.

My solution is to connect them to the WiFi network I created on the portable router. That way, I just set up the portable router at the new connection. Voilà one device setup and all devices are connected.

We’ve done this while we were slow traveling in cities like Jakarta , Indonesia and Guanajuato , Mexico.

Family travel resources for a famiy

Get weekly worldschooling tips sent to your inbox with my Worldschooling Wednesday  email series.

4. Running VPN directly through a router

If you are using a VPN (and you absolutely should be using a VPN when you're connecting to WiFi outside your home!), you usually run it through each device through an application or VPN configuration. This works perfectly fine for my wife and me, since we remember to turn it on before using the public WiFi.

how does travel wifi router work

My kids, on the other hand, they never remember. So if they jump on a device, they are accessing the internet without protection. Of course, they are not logging into bank accounts or sharing sensitive information so it’s not that big of a deal. However, for ease of mind, I still want to make sure they are keeping our information secure.

Read up on the other useful travel gear and tools we travel with around the world.

5. Using a VPN Connection with your travel WiFi router

When it comes to choosing between using VPN vs travel router, there actually isn’t a choice. You should be doing both to ensure that your personal and confidential information remains secure.

Having a travel WiFi router that allows for VPN connection directly through the router is the way to go. 

By running the VPN directly through the router, I now know that my kids are automatically connected to the VPN as soon as they start using their device.

6. Advantages of running a VPN through a router

There are several other advantages of running VPN this way too:

  • ExpressVPN and other VPN services usually limit your devices you can connect to the VPN at a single moment. ExpressVPN for example limits you to three devices at a time. Have two phone and two laptops between my wife and I alone, we already exceed that. By running the VPN through the router, it only counts as one device rather than four.
  • My work laptop can’t run a VPN application on it for a number of reasons, so using it through the router is the only option I have.
  • Roku and other similar devices usually don’t have a way to connect to VPN, so running them through the router that has VPN is the only way to go.

how does travel wifi router work

Get prepared for any emergency with the insurance made for digital nomads!

7. Setting up your travel WiFi router

The actual steps on setting up a portable router will vary from router to router, but here are some tips that helped me:

  • Find a spot that is centrally located if possible and sit the router mid-level or higher for best broadcasting.
  • Plug the router directly into the modem or existing router if possible using an ethernet cable. This will give you the best signal strength.
  • When repeating the existing WiFi signal, do some speed tests on the existing network to find the fasted available network to connect to. Sometimes that is only 1 network, so you won’t have any options there. If there are 5GHz vs 2.4GHz options, experiment with both to see which of the connections your router works best with. There’s a whole side discussion about 5GHz and 2.4GHz that I am going to skip for now, but hit me up if you have any questions regarding that.
  • Plug the router into a surge protector if possible. Since it will always be plugged in, there is a high risk of power surge. Protect your investment by unplugging at night or plugging into a surge protector.
  • Use a WPA-2 password key when creating your WiFi network on the router. This will give you the best protection.
  • Remember when using your portable router, your data is not encrypted unless you are using a VPN. Sometimes there’s a false sense of security because you are using your own router and not the existing Public WiFi. Always use a VPN.

Learn about our digital nomad worldschooling lifestyle .

Travel WiFi router: a must have for digital nomads

For those of you living a nomadic lifestyle, and even if you aren't, having a reliable internet connection while you travel is important. There’s no need to be standing by a window all day hoping that your cell phone gets a strong enough signal to hotspot! Those days are over!

how does travel wifi router work

With a travel WiFi router (or a mesh network or WiFi extender), you can ensure that you stay connected to the internet. And that’s an important tool to have to help you live the digital nomad travel life of your dreams!

Do you have recommendations for your favorite travel WiFi router? Send me a message and let me know which travel WiFi router you prefer.

Are you wondering what other tools you need to lead a full-time travel lifestyle with your kids? Get a copy of my ebook, Hey Kids, Let’s Go Travel! to get started on planning a family gap year.

Best travel WiFi router (and 7 tips for how to use a portable router) | The Wandering Daughter | Pinterest image of an open laptop on a blue table with a red mug next to it. Pin title and text is at the top of the image.

Need help thinking through how to budget for a family trip? My  Travel Budget Worksheet  is just the tool you need! Click  here  to receive your free copy by signing up for my newsletter.

how does travel wifi router work

Want to connect with me on social media? Find me on Facebook , Instagram , Pinterest , and Twitter. And for those of you who are dedicated to traveling more responsibly, sustainably, and ethically, join over 200 like-minded families on my Facebook group, Responsible Family Travel .

Sharing is caring!

Related Posts

how does travel wifi router work

Sign up to get travel tips in your inbox!

How-To Geek

Get a travel router to upgrade your hotel wi-fi experience.

You can upgrade your hotel Wi-Fi experience easily.

Quick Links

What's a travel router, why use a travel router in a hotel, which travel router should you get.

You might not have "travel router" on your vacation packing list, but after reading this article, you just might. Here's why we always pack a router with us when we're headed to a hotel.

A travel router is a small network router designed with an emphasis on portability and use in-the-field. While you could, in theory, use a travel router as an internet router in your home, it's not intended for that.

Instead, travel routers are meant to link together a smaller number of devices all congregated fairly close together. Think, your laptop and phone, your kids' tablets, and maybe even a streaming stick in a hotel room---not all those things plus a pile of computers, smart devices, and such spread out across your whole home.

They typically have a very small form factor, the size of a portable battery pack or even smaller. Speaking of that, many of them are portable battery packs, so you can use them to charge your phone while you travel in addition to their router function.

Further, unlike the router you have at home, travel routers have UI elements and even physical toggles that make it easy to quickly switch them between functions like router mode, hotspot mode, repeater mode, and so on.

That last part is crucial. You want a travel router that can easily connect to the hotel's internet in different and reliable ways. In some hotels, you can plug the travel router directly into a courtesy Ethernet connection in your room, which is easy peasy.

In other hotels, there's no physical internet connection, and you have to connect the travel router to the hotel's Wi-Fi and use it in hotspot mode, where it captures the Wi-Fi connection, and then all your local devices connect to the travel router instead of the hotel's Wi-Fi system.

You might be thinking, "Well, that's all very fascinating, but I have no idea why I would go to the trouble?" And that's certainly a fair question to have on your mind if you've never considered packing a router (no matter how small it might be) along with your toiletries and phone charger .

Historically, one of the best reasons to pack a travel router was that many hotels didn't have Wi-Fi (they only had an Ethernet port in the room for business travelers to plug in their laptops).

Later, when hotels started to get Wi-Fi, they had frustrating policies like only one or two devices per guest/room were allowed on the network. Even today, some hotel Wi-Fi systems still have such rules.

When you use a travel router, you can "log in" just the travel router to the hotel's system so, as far as they are concerned, there is only one device in the room. All the traffic of the other devices passes through the travel router.

Speaking of device traffic, you can also leverage the travel router to increase your privacy. Most travel routers support basic VPN protocols like PPTP or L2TP, and the more advanced ones support OpenVPN and WireGuard .

That makes it simple to tunnel right from your room to a third-party VPN or right back to your corporate or home VPN server. It also makes it easy to transfer files securely between your devices as the file transfer is happening over the micro network you set up, and the files never pass through the hotel's infrastructure in any way.

It also makes it much easier to use your devices in the fashion you're accustomed to. You could set your travel router's Wi-Fi credentials to match your home network's Wi-Fi credentials, for example. Not only does that make it dead simple to log in when you get to your hotel (as your phone and laptop already know the way "home"), but you can even toss your Chromecast or favorite streaming stick into your bag and use it in your hotel room. Forget the stupid "smart" TV interface hotels have, enjoy your streaming services the way you want without the lag.

Above all else, when you're shopping for a travel router (whether you pick one of our suggestions or forge out on your own to do some research), you need this feature: captive portal connectivity.

You know how when you first connect to a hotel's Wi-Fi there is usually a pop-up page where you accept the terms and conditions and/or login with your name and room number? That's the portal. You need a router that "capture" that exchange and mimics your initial login device (like your iPhone).

All of our picks below support easy captive portal exchanges, which makes the setup when you first get to your hotel room a breeze. Without that feature, you're left manually cloning your original login device's MAC address which usually works but can be hit or miss.

One of the most popular options on the market is the TP-Link N300 Nano Router . It's a steal at around $30, but it's starting to show its age.

It only supports 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4) on the 2.4 GHz band. But for only ten bucks more, you can jump from the N300 Nano Router to the TP-Link AC750 Nano Router .

TP-Link TL-WR902AC AC750

It's tiny, inexpensive, and our all-around top pick for best travel router. For most folks, it's the easiest solution.

The upgraded model features dual-band Wi-Fi, 802.11AC (Wi-Fi 5), and a really convenient switch on the side that makes it dead simple to change modes without logging into the router.

While we love the TP-Link Nano lineup, especially the newest models, and think they are the best fit for just about everyone, there are a few other options to consider.

If you want more advanced VPN solutions, you'll need to step beyond the TP-Link offerings and consider something like the GL.iNet GLMT300N ---it's roughly equivalent to the TP-Link N300 Nano Router but runs the popular OpenWRT router firmware and supports both OpenVPN and WireGuard.

And if you want a beefy upgrade over the TP-Link AC750 Nano Router consider the GL.iNet GL-A1300 .

GL-iNet GL-A1300

For power users that want passthrough connectivity for Ethernet devices and advanced VPN services like WireGuard, this travel router delivers.

It also runs OpenWRT firmware and robust VPN support like its smaller sibling, but includes two additional Ethernet ports, support for many more Wi-Fi devices, and more.

But whichever of our picks you go with, you'll become the master of your Wi-Fi destiny when you're on the road. Forget cruddy hotel Wi-Fi or frustrating Wi-Fi rules. Plug in your own router and go. And hey, if you're in the upgrade mood, here are some other travel gadget upgrades worth looking at.

How Do Portable Wifi Routers Work

Copy to Clipboard

  • Internet & Connectivity
  • WiFi & Ethernet



Welcome to this article, where we will explore the fascinating world of portable WiFi routers. In today’s fast-paced, connected world, staying online is essential, whether it’s for work, travel, or simply keeping in touch with loved ones. Portable WiFi routers have become a game changer, allowing us to access the internet on the go without relying on public WiFi networks or draining our mobile data plans.

A portable WiFi router , also known as a pocket WiFi or mobile hotspot, is a compact device that provides internet connectivity to multiple devices simultaneously. It acts as a bridge between a cellular network and our devices, allowing us to access the internet no matter where we are.

In this article, we will delve into how portable WiFi routers work and the key elements that make them such a convenient tool for staying connected. We will discuss the WiFi connection, SIM card compatibility, battery power, signal range, and provide tips for setting up and using these devices effectively.

So, whether you’re a frequent traveler, digital nomad, or simply someone who needs reliable internet access wherever they go, join us as we uncover the inner workings of portable WiFi routers.

What is a Portable WiFi Router?

A portable WiFi router is a compact device that allows users to create a personal WiFi network, providing internet connectivity to multiple devices simultaneously. It acts as a bridge between a cellular network and your devices, enabling you to access the internet on the go without relying on public WiFi networks or consuming your mobile data plan.

These small and lightweight devices have become increasingly popular among travelers, remote workers, and individuals who require a reliable internet connection outside of their homes or offices. With a portable WiFi router, you can easily set up a secure and private network wherever you are, ensuring seamless internet access for all your devices.

Most portable WiFi routers offer the convenience of being able to connect multiple devices at once, such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and even smart home devices. This allows you to stay connected and productive, no matter where your adventures take you.

One of the significant advantages of a portable WiFi router is its ability to provide a secure connection. Unlike public WiFi networks, which can be vulnerable to hackers and data breaches, a personal WiFi network created by a portable router offers enhanced security and encryption.

Furthermore, portable WiFi routers are compatible with various cellular networks and service providers, allowing you to choose a plan that suits your needs and preferences. Whether you opt for a pay-as-you-go SIM card or a monthly data plan, you have the flexibility to customize your internet access based on your usage and budget.

Overall, a portable WiFi router serves as a convenient and reliable solution for staying connected on the go. With its compact size, versatility, and ease of use, it has become an essential gadget for those who value seamless internet access wherever they roam.

How Does a Portable WiFi Router Work?

A portable WiFi router works by connecting to a cellular network and creating a local WiFi network that enables devices in its range to connect to the internet. Let’s take a closer look at the essential components and functions that make a portable WiFi router function:

  • WiFi Connection: The portable WiFi router connects to the internet via a wireless or wired connection. It can receive internet signals from sources such as a cellular network, Ethernet cable, or public WiFi network.
  • SIM Card: To establish a connection to a cellular network, most portable WiFi routers require a SIM card, similar to the SIM card used in smartphones. The SIM card provides the router with access to the cellular network’s data services.
  • Battery Power: Portable WiFi routers are equipped with a rechargeable battery that powers their operations. The battery allows the device to function wirelessly, providing internet access for an extended period, even when there is no external power source available.
  • Signal Range: The range of a portable WiFi router refers to the distance over which it can transmit its WiFi signal. The signal range varies between different models, but generally, it can cover a range of a few meters up to several hundred meters, depending on the router’s specifications.

Once the portable WiFi router is powered on and connected to a cellular network, it will create a local WiFi network with its unique network name (SSID) and password. Users can connect their devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops, to this network by entering the correct password.

When a device connects to the router’s WiFi network, it can access the internet through the cellular data connection provided by the SIM card. The portable router acts as a bridge between the connected devices and the internet, forwarding data packets between them.

The portable WiFi router also offers features such as encryption and password protection to secure the connection and prevent unauthorized access to the network. Some routers even allow for advanced settings like parental controls, VPN support, and guest WiFi networks.

Overall, portable WiFi routers provide a seamless and convenient way to stay connected to the internet while on the move. With their ability to create a personal WiFi network and connect multiple devices, they have become an indispensable tool for travelers, remote workers, and anyone in need of reliable internet access away from home.

WiFi Connection

The WiFi connection is a crucial component of a portable WiFi router. It allows the router to connect to the internet and provide wireless internet access to connected devices. Here’s how the WiFi connection works in a portable WiFi router:

1. Receiving the Internet Signal: The portable WiFi router receives the internet signal from a source such as a cellular network, Ethernet cable, or public WiFi network. This signal serves as the primary source of internet connectivity for the router.

2. Converting the Signal to WiFi: Once the router receives the internet signal, it converts it into a WiFi signal. This signal is then broadcasted as a local WiFi network, allowing devices within range to connect to it and access the internet.

3. WiFi Standards: Portable WiFi routers typically support various WiFi standards, such as 802.11n, 802.11ac, or the latest 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6). These standards determine the speed, range, and overall performance of the WiFi connection.

4. WiFi Security: To ensure the security of the WiFi connection, portable WiFi routers employ various encryption protocols like WEP, WPA, or WPA2. These protocols encrypt the data transmitted between the connected devices and the router, protecting it from unauthorized access.

5. Wireless Channels: WiFi routers operate on different wireless channels to avoid interference from other nearby WiFi networks. They automatically select and utilize the least crowded channel to provide the best possible signal quality.

6. WiFi Range: The range of the WiFi signal depends on the router’s design and specifications. It can vary from a few meters to several hundred meters. Factors such as obstacles, interference, and the router’s power output also affect the signal range.

7. Multiple Device Connectivity: One of the significant advantages of a portable WiFi router is its ability to connect multiple devices simultaneously. Whether it’s smartphones, laptops, tablets, or smart home devices, all can join the router’s WiFi network and access the internet simultaneously.

Portable WiFi routers have simplified and enhanced our ability to stay connected on the go. By converting the internet signal into a WiFi signal, these routers provide a convenient and secure wireless network for our devices to access the internet smoothly. With their compatibility with various WiFi standards, robust security measures, and the ability to connect multiple devices, portable WiFi routers ensure reliable internet connectivity wherever you may be.

A SIM card plays a vital role in the functioning of a portable WiFi router. It is a small card that stores information and allows the router to connect to a cellular network. Here’s how the SIM card works in a portable WiFi router:

1. Cellular Network Connectivity: The SIM card provides the portable WiFi router with access to a cellular network. This enables the router to establish a connection to the internet using the data services provided by the cellular network.

2. Inserting the SIM Card: To use a portable WiFi router, you typically need to insert a SIM card into the router’s SIM card slot. The slot is usually located on the side or back of the router. The SIM card contains information such as the unique identifier of the cellular network (IMSI) and the subscriber’s account details.

3. Network Compatibility: Portable WiFi routers are compatible with various cellular networks and different types of SIM cards. Depending on the router model and specifications, it may support 2G, 3G, or 4G/LTE connectivity. Some advanced routers even support 5G networks, offering faster internet speeds.

4. Data Plans and Services: The SIM card used in a portable WiFi router is associated with a data plan provided by a cellular service provider. These data plans come in different packages, offering various data allowances, speeds, and validity periods. Users can choose a plan that best suits their needs and budget.

5. Swapping SIM Cards: One of the advantages of a portable WiFi router is its flexibility to switch between different SIM cards. This allows users to use local SIM cards while traveling abroad, taking advantage of local data plans and avoiding expensive international roaming charges.

6. Activating the SIM Card: When you insert a new SIM card into a portable WiFi router for the first time, it may require activation. Activation typically involves contacting the cellular service provider to register the SIM card and activate the data plan associated with it.

7. Managing Data Usage: Most portable WiFi routers offer features for managing data usage, including data usage monitoring, setting data limits, and notifications when nearing the data allowance. These features help users keep track of their data consumption and avoid unexpected charges.

The SIM card is an essential component of a portable WiFi router, enabling it to connect to a cellular network and provide internet access to connected devices. Whether it’s for local connectivity or international travel, the option to use different SIM cards gives users the flexibility to stay connected and enjoy reliable internet access wherever they go.

Battery Power

The battery power of a portable WiFi router is a crucial aspect that determines its usability and convenience. It provides the necessary energy to keep the router functioning, allowing users to stay connected to the internet even in situations where there is no external power source readily available. Here’s what you need to know about the battery power of a portable WiFi router:

1. Rechargeable Battery: Portable WiFi routers are equipped with rechargeable batteries that can be charged using a power adapter or a USB cable. The battery capacity varies depending on the router model, but it is typically measured in milliampere-hours (mAh). Higher battery capacity allows for extended usage without needing a recharge.

2. Battery Life: The battery life of a portable WiFi router depends on various factors, including the router’s power consumption, cellular network conditions, connected devices, and usage patterns. On average, the battery life can range from a few hours to a full day of usage before requiring a recharge.

3. Power Saving Features: Many portable WiFi routers come with power-saving features that help extend the battery life. These features automatically optimize the router’s power consumption by adjusting the WiFi signal strength , turning off idle connections, or entering sleep mode when not in use.

4. Charging Options: Portable WiFi routers can be recharged using different methods. Some routers come with a dedicated power adapter, while others can be charged through a USB port on a computer or a power bank. This versatility in charging options makes it convenient to recharge the router while on the go.

5. Battery Indicator: Most portable WiFi routers have a battery indicator, either in the form of LED lights or a digital display. This indicator shows the remaining battery life, allowing users to monitor the battery level and plan recharging accordingly.

6. External Power Source: In addition to the battery power, some portable WiFi routers have the capability to function as a power bank, allowing users to recharge other devices such as smartphones or tablets using the router’s battery power.

7. Using the Router While Charging: In situations where the router’s battery is running low, users can continue to use the portable WiFi router while it is being charged. This ensures uninterrupted internet connectivity without having to wait for the battery to recharge fully.

The battery power of a portable WiFi router is a critical aspect to consider when choosing a device. Longer battery life and efficient power management allow for extended periods of use without needing to recharge. Whether you’re traveling, working remotely, or attending outdoor events, a reliable and long-lasting battery is essential for uninterrupted internet connectivity on the go.

Signal Range

The signal range of a portable WiFi router refers to the distance over which it can transmit its WiFi signal. It is an essential factor to consider when choosing a portable WiFi router as it determines the coverage area and the ability to connect to devices within that range. Here’s what you need to know about the signal range of a portable WiFi router:

1. Router Specifications: The signal range of a portable WiFi router is influenced by its design, antenna configuration, and transmission power. Higher-end routers often have more powerful antennas and higher transmission power, resulting in a more extensive signal range.

2. Obstacles and Interference: The signal range can be affected by physical obstacles such as walls, furniture, and other structures. These obstructions can weaken or block the WiFi signal, reducing the effective range of the router. Additionally, interference from other electronic devices or neighboring WiFi networks can also impact the signal strength and range.

3. Indoor vs. Outdoor Range: The signal range of a portable WiFi router can differ between indoor and outdoor environments. In an open outdoor space, with minimal obstructions, the signal range can typically be more extensive compared to using the router indoors where walls and barriers may limit the signal range.

4. Signal Strength: The signal strength is another factor to consider alongside the signal range. Even if the router has a long signal range, a weak signal strength may result in slower internet speeds or intermittent connections at the fringes of the range.

5. Signal Boosting: In some cases, it may be possible to boost the signal range of a portable WiFi router using external antennas or signal amplifiers. This can help extend the coverage area and improve the signal strength in areas with weak connectivity.

6. Mesh Networks: Some portable WiFi routers are part of a mesh network system, where multiple routers are used to extend the signal range throughout a larger area. This setup ensures seamless connectivity and eliminates dead spots within the coverage area.

7. Optimizing Signal Range: To maximize the signal range of a portable WiFi router, it is recommended to place the router in a central location within the intended coverage area. It should be positioned away from physical obstructions and sources of interference for optimal signal propagation.

When choosing a portable WiFi router, considering the signal range is essential to ensure that it can cover the intended area and provide a reliable WiFi connection. Understanding the factors that influence the signal range allows users to make an informed decision and select a router that meets their connectivity needs.

Setting Up a Portable WiFi Router

Setting up a portable WiFi router is typically a straightforward process that can be done by following a few simple steps. Here is a general guide on how to set up a portable WiFi router:

1. Unbox and Power On: Start by unboxing the portable WiFi router and ensuring that all the necessary accessories are present. Plug in the router to a power source using the provided power adapter or USB cable, and turn it on.

2. Insert SIM Card: If your router requires a SIM card for cellular connectivity, locate the SIM card slot and insert the SIM card. Ensure that the SIM card is inserted correctly and securely into the slot.

3. Connect to the Router: On your device (such as a smartphone, tablet, or laptop), navigate to the list of available WiFi networks. Look for the WiFi network name (SSID) displayed on the router or packaging. Select the WiFi network and enter the corresponding password.

4. Configure Router Settings: Once connected, open a web browser and type in the router’s default IP address (e.g., to access the router’s web-based interface. Follow the instructions provided in the router’s user manual to configure additional settings, such as changing the network name (SSID) and password, enabling security features, and adjusting advanced settings if desired.

5. Test the Connection: After configuring the router settings, perform a quick connectivity test by accessing a website or using a web-based application on your connected device. Ensure that you can browse the internet and that the connection is stable.

6. Connect Additional Devices: If you plan to connect multiple devices to the router, repeat step 3 for each device. Make sure to enter the correct WiFi network password to establish a secure connection.

7. Power Off and Store: When you’re finished using the portable WiFi router, it is good practice to power it off and store it in a safe place. This helps conserve battery life and protects the router from damage during storage.

Keep in mind that the setup process may vary slightly depending on the specific model and manufacturer of the portable WiFi router. Consult the user manual provided with your router for detailed instructions tailored to your device.

By following these steps, you can quickly set up and configure your portable WiFi router, allowing you to enjoy reliable internet connectivity wherever you go.

Tips for Using a Portable WiFi Router

Using a portable WiFi router effectively can enhance your internet connectivity experience and ensure a seamless connection wherever you go. Here are some tips to optimize your usage:

1. Choose the Right Data Plan: Select a data plan that suits your usage needs. Consider factors such as data allowance, validity period, and coverage to avoid unexpected charges or running out of data during crucial times.

2. Position the Router Appropriately: Place the portable WiFi router in a central location within the coverage area to achieve the best signal range. Keep it away from obstructions and sources of interference to optimize the WiFi signal strength.

3. Enable Network Security: Set a strong password for your WiFi network to protect against unauthorized access. Utilize encryption protocols like WPA2 to ensure secure connections between the router and connected devices.

4. Regularly Update Firmware: Check for and install any firmware updates released by the router manufacturer. These updates often include performance improvements, bug fixes, and security patches to enhance your router’s functionality.

5. Monitor Data Usage: Keep track of your data usage to avoid exceeding your plan’s limits. Most portable WiFi routers provide data usage monitoring features, allowing you to visualize and manage your usage effectively.

6. Use Power-Saving Settings: Enable power-saving features on your router to conserve battery life. Adjust settings such as sleep mode, idle connection duration, and WiFi signal strength to optimize power consumption.

7. Disconnect Unused Devices: When not in use, disconnect devices from the WiFi network to reduce network congestion and maximize bandwidth for connected devices.

8. Protect the Router: Safeguard your portable WiFi router from physical damage and theft. Store it in a secure place when not in use and avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or moisture.

9. Consider External Antennas: If you require an extended signal range or have connectivity issues, consider using external antennas or signal boosters compatible with your portable WiFi router to enhance signal strength and coverage.

10. Disconnect if Unnecessary: When not actively using the internet, disconnect from the WiFi network to save battery life and reduce data usage. Reconnect when needed to conserve resources.

By incorporating these tips into your usage habits, you can optimize your portable WiFi router’s performance, extend battery life, and enjoy uninterrupted internet connectivity on the go.

Portable WiFi routers have revolutionized the way we stay connected to the internet while on the move. These compact devices offer the convenience and flexibility of creating a personal WiFi network, allowing us to access the internet on multiple devices simultaneously, regardless of our location.

In this article, we explored the concept of portable WiFi routers and how they work. We learned that these routers connect to a cellular network, convert the signal into a WiFi signal, and create a local network that enables devices to access the internet. The use of SIM cards enables compatibility with various cellular networks, giving us the freedom to choose the best data plan for our needs.

We also discussed essential aspects of portable WiFi routers, including their signal range, battery power, and WiFi connectivity. Understanding these aspects helps us make informed decisions when choosing a router and optimizing its performance.

Setting up a portable WiFi router is generally a straightforward process, involving unboxing, powering on, connecting devices, and configuring the router settings. Following a few tips, such as choosing the right data plan, positioning the router correctly, and monitoring data usage, can enhance the overall experience.

In conclusion, portable WiFi routers have become an indispensable tool for those who require reliable internet access outside of their homes or offices. Whether you’re a frequent traveler, remote worker, or someone who simply needs connectivity on the go, a portable WiFi router provides the convenience, security, and flexibility to stay connected no matter where you are.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • Crowdfunding
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Digital Banking
  • Digital Payments
  • Investments
  • Console Gaming
  • Mobile Gaming
  • VR/AR Gaming
  • Gadget Usage
  • Gaming Tips
  • Online Safety
  • Software Tutorials
  • Tech Setup & Troubleshooting
  • Buyer’s Guides
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Gadget Reviews
  • Service Reviews
  • Software Reviews
  • Mobile Devices
  • PCs & Laptops
  • Smart Home Gadgets
  • Content Creation Tools
  • Digital Photography
  • Video & Music Streaming
  • Online Security
  • Online Services
  • Web Hosting
  • WiFi & Ethernet
  • Browsers & Extensions
  • Communication Platforms
  • Operating Systems
  • Productivity Tools
  • AI & Machine Learning
  • Cybersecurity
  • Emerging Tech
  • IoT & Smart Devices
  • Virtual & Augmented Reality
  • Latest News
  • AI Developments
  • Fintech Updates
  • Gaming News
  • New Product Launches

Close Icon

Learn To Convert Scanned Documents Into Editable Text With OCR

Top mini split air conditioner for summer, related post, comfortable and luxurious family life | zero gravity massage chair, when are the halo awards 2024, what is the best halo hair extension, 5 best elegoo mars 3d printer for 2024, 11 amazing flashforge 3d printer creator pro for 2024, 5 amazing formlabs form 2 3d printer for 2024, related posts.

14 Best Portable WiFi Router for 2024

14 Best Portable WiFi Router for 2024

13 Best Hotspot Router for 2024

13 Best Hotspot Router for 2024

12 Amazing Sim Card Router for 2024

12 Amazing Sim Card Router for 2024

10 Best Access Point Router for 2024

10 Best Access Point Router for 2024

14 Best Portable WiFi Hotspot For Travel for 2024

14 Best Portable WiFi Hotspot For Travel for 2024

11 Best VPN Routers For Wireless Internet For 2024

11 Best VPN Routers For Wireless Internet For 2024

10 Amazing Router VPN Client For 2024

10 Amazing Router VPN Client For 2024

13 Best Portable Router for 2024

13 Best Portable Router for 2024

Recent stories.

Learn To Convert Scanned Documents Into Editable Text With OCR

Fintechs and Traditional Banks: Navigating the Future of Financial Services

AI Writing: How It’s Changing the Way We Create Content

AI Writing: How It’s Changing the Way We Create Content

How to Find the Best Midjourney Alternative in 2024: A Guide to AI Anime Generators

How to Find the Best Midjourney Alternative in 2024: A Guide to AI Anime Generators

How to Know When it’s the Right Time to Buy Bitcoin

How to Know When it’s the Right Time to Buy Bitcoin

Unleashing Young Geniuses: How Lingokids Makes Learning a Blast!

Unleashing Young Geniuses: How Lingokids Makes Learning a Blast!


  • Privacy Overview
  • Strictly Necessary Cookies

This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognising you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting and useful.

Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.

If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.

Independent Travel Cats

Savvy Travel Advice

Best Travel Routers for Internet while Traveling

Last updated: April 14, 2024 - Written by Jessica Norah 224 Comments

These days most travelers want to be able to get online regularly while traveling to check email, get directions, check hotel and restaurant reviews, upload photos, update social media, and stay in touch with those back home. Travel routers can help with this.

It is definitely easier to stay connected as wireless Internet is now widely available in most parts of the world but there are still a number of situations when it can be tricky (or expensive) to connect.

As travel bloggers who regularly have to manage our business on the go, it is often really important for us to be able to get online on a regular basis while traveling and it can be very frustrating when we are in a hotel with weak Wi-Fi, we are being restricted from using multiple devices on one Internet connection, or we would like more security when using an unsecured public hotspot.

A travel router is a compact little device which solves these common Internet issues and offers a number of features to the on-the-go traveler who wants to stay connected. In this post we’re going to go through some of the best travel router options available on the market today based on real-world testing and personal experiences, so you can pick the right option for you.

best travel routers for Internet while traveling strengthen WIFI signal Netgear Trek N300

Table of Contents:

Basic Information on what a Travel Router Does

If you are new to travel routers, also known as portable WIFI routers, this section will help you understand what they do and whether they might be a good fit for your travels or not.

We understand that a lot of the terminology can be somewhat opaque, so Laurence has put his years of experience as a software engineer to use to help explain everything you need to know.

What is a Travel Router?

A travel router is a wireless range extender designed for people who are on the go and need to connect to the Internet when they are away from home. It also performs the functions of a wireless access point.

Just like you would use a home WiFi router to connect your devices to the Internet at home, you may also want to consider having a portable router to use when traveling.

best travel routers for travel wi-fi extenders mobile routers

What does a Travel Router do?

Different wireless travel routers have different features, but the main feature is that they increase the range of existing wireless Internet networks. So for example, if you are in a hotel with a weak wireless signal that you are having difficulty connecting to with your laptop or phone, the travel router will amplify the signal so you can connect more easily.

Here is an overview of the main features of a travel router:

  • A travel router can extend the range of wireless networks , meaning you can connect to a network somewhere that you might not have been able to connect to with your device because the signal is too weak. The powerful antenna of a travel router can pick up this weak signal and amplify it so your devices can connect to it.
  • The travel router also creates a secure wireless network at a public hotspot to better protect your devices . Often when traveling the networks we connect to are unsecured and unencrypted, which means anyone could in theory grab hold of passwords or other data that we send to and from the internet. Travel routers feature a firewall which protects your personal devices from known DoS attacks and port scans from the Internet, giving you a more secure internet connection. However, it is still not recommended that you share sensitive information over a public connection. 
  • A travel router allows you to connect multiple devices to a network , even with a single login. The travel router is seen by networks as a single device, so if you are only given one login, you can still use multiple devices. You just login once from the travel router via a web browser (or in some cases a provided smartphone app), and then all your devices can be connected to the network created by the travel router.
  • Some travel routers can also be used as a WiFi bridge . These have Ethernet ports so you can connect Ethernet-enabled devices wirelessly to an existing WiFi network. These can include Internet-ready TVs, Blu-ray players, and gaming consoles.
  • Other features of travel routers may include the ability to connect to a wired network and turn that into a wireless network, to provide USB charging power to devices such as phones. to work without power, and even to act as an SD Card reader or media hub.
  • Some travel routers (including one on our list) can also act as mobile hotspots, but this is not common. See our guide to mobile hotspots for more options in this area.

How much do travel routers cost?

Travel routers range in price from about $20 to $130, although more expensive models with more features are available. We’d recommend that most people look at ones in the $30 to $70 range, as these will work for most users.

If you have a small budget, you can get a decent travel router for around $30. See our recommended travel router list later in the article; they are listed in order by retail price. But beware of ones that are really cheap as they may not work well as advertised.

If you need a travel router that also acts as a mobile hotspot or has other specialized features, then you will pay extra. Some of these can be upwards of $200.

best travel routers for traveling Laurence Norah

The Best Travel Routers 2024

There are a number of travel routers on the market today, which range in price and features. All the below models would make for a good choice, and the model you choose will depend on your budget and required features.

We currently use a GL.iNet GL-MT1300 which replaces our previous and now discontinued Netgear Trek N300 (PR2000).

We also use the Netgear Nighthawk M1 on some trips when we need access to the Internet as this functions primarily as a mobile hotspot, but it can also be used as a travel router.

Below are our current favorite recommendations:

1. GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 (Mango) Mini Travel Router

This is the first of a few GL.iNet routers that we recommend in this post. We like them for a number of reasons. First, they’re based on the OpenWRT software, which is a Linux based operating system that receives regular updates. GL.iNet keep on top of regular firmware updates, so the routers stay secure and get new features. This is unfortunately not as common as you might think, but it is super important to keep your devices safe.

As an example, the GL.iNet routers we list have all been upgraded to include support for WPA3, the latest wireless security standard. Regular updates and support for new features is definitely a benefit when it comes to a travel router, and means it will likely be more future proof.

Whilst this may all sound quite technical, the good news is that you don’t need to really worry about it if you’re not an advanced user. The devices have a simple interface and are easy to setup, and upgrades are just a single click option. If you want to dive into more advanced options you can, but the device works great out of the box, with setup via a simple web interface.

All the GL.iNet routers in our list also all support VPN credentials (see why you need a VPN for travel here ). This means that if you have a VPN account for more secure browsing like NordVPN , all your devices will connect through that when using this device.

how does travel wifi router work

The MT300N-V2 model, also known as Mango, is one of the more entry level options in terms of price and features, but if you’re looking for a small device that will do pretty much everything you are likely to need from a travel router, it’s a great option.

You get 300Mbps 2.4Ghz WiFi support, WPA2 and WPA3 support, and two 100 Mbps Ethernet ports for sharing a wired network. It’s also very privacy-focused. As well as the aforementioned VPN support, it also comes with built-in support for Cloudflare’s DNS over TLS. This basically means your internet connection is going to be pretty secure and hard for anyone to snoop on.

Another great feature is that if you have a smartphone with tethering support, or a 3G/4G data dongle, you can plug this smartphone into the USB 2 port on this router, and share the phone’s data over the router’s WiFi network.

The device is powered by USB, so any USB power source can power it, including a power bank or smartphone charger.

The reviews are positive and it’s available at a great price for a travel router that supports 300Mbps and only weighs 1.41oz. It is not as fully featured as some of the other options, in particular it only operates on the 2.4GHz band and the ethernet ports are 100Mbit rather than gigabit. However for most users this likely won’t make a significant difference.

If you are after a lightweight great value travel router with VPN support, this is a solid option.

Price: Check latest price on Amazon here

2. TP-Link TL-WR902AC Router

The TP-Link TL-WR902AC wireless travel router is another small, value option that is worth considering.

how does travel wifi router work

This weighs just 2oz, is powered by USB and supports the 802.11ac standard, which offers speeds up to 433Mbps. We’re not sure this speed will make much difference in the real world, as you’re always limited by the speed of the network you connect to, it is good to have.

It also has a USB port that you can connect a USB drive to for file sharing, or to charge a smartphone or other USB powered device. There’s also a 100Mbps ethernet port. It doesn’t have a built-in battery, so it does need to be powered from either a USB battery pack or a wall adaptor.

This is definitely an option if you’re looking for a small travel router at a good price, but be aware the software is not updated as regularly as the GL-iNet and it doesn’t have as many features such as VPN support.

Price: Check the latest price on Amazon here

3. NewQ Filehub AC 750

If you’re after a travel router with a few more features and great functionality, then the NeqQ Filehub AC750 is a good choice. It may also allow you to replace some of the other devices you typically travel with to pack less.

how does travel wifi router work

As well as offering a fast 433Mbps network with support for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, this device features a 6700mah battery so it works without needing power, and can also be used to charge your devices.

It also features an SD Card reader and a USB port, so you can transfer files from memory cards to your hard drives or computer. It also has DLNA compatible media serving capabilities, although it is missing built in VPN support.

The latter means you can plug in a hard drive or memory card with your movies on, and stream them directly to your TV, laptop, or mobile phone. There’s a lot of functionality for the price and it weighs under 7 ounces!

Price: Check the latest price on Amazon here .

4. GL.iNet GL-A1300 (Slate Plus) Travel Router

The GL-A1300 from Gl.iNet is the latest version of the travel router we currently use. The GL-A1300 supports 400Mbps on the 2.4Ghz channel, and up to 867Mbps on the 5Ghz channel. It also supports up to 40 devices simultaneously, thanks to a relatively fast processor and lots of RAM.

Like the other GL.iNet routers it also gets regular updates and includes support for features like IPv6 and WPA3, as well as lots of other advanced features that make this perfect for both travel and at home use.

how does travel wifi router work

Now, to be honest, most WiFi networks you connect to aren’t going to offer internet speeds which this router can take advantage of. However, if you happen to connect to one that is that fast, this device will let you take full advantage of it! It also means when you’re not travelling you can use it at home as a fast network option to extend an existing network.

You also get three gigabit ethernet ports, a faster USB 3.0 port with media server capabilities, a micro SD slot for storage, and a USB-C port for power. As with the other GL.iNet devices in this list, If you have a smartphone that supports tethering, you can plug it into the USB port and share your smartphone data as well. Or, if you have a USB 3G/4G modem, you can plug that into the USB slot and share that data.

This router is also specifically designed to provide good support for a wide range of VPN services as well as support for IPv6, making this one of the most future proof travel routers we’re aware of on the market. It weighs 6.3oz, so it’s not the smallest option, but it’s still very compact and offers a lot of functionality for the price.

5. GL.iNet GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX)

Launched in December 2022, this travel router takes the speed crown from our previous fastest travel router, the GL.iNet GL-MT1300 (Beryl) , and as the name suggests, is an upgrade over the 1300 Beryl model.

how does travel wifi router work

If you want one of the fastest and most future proof travel routers on the market, this is the model to go for. It’s one of the few travel routers we know of currently that supports the latest WiFi 6 standard, with speeds of up to 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz channel and a blazing fast 2402Mbps on the 5Ghz channel.

It also has an incredibly fast dual-core CPU and double the RAM of the previous Beryl model, meaning it can support up to 70 connected devices simultaneously.

You also get a USB 3 port for tethering support and 2 LAN ports. One of those LAN ports offers gigabit speeds whilst the other is 2.5 gigabits, which is about as fast as you can get, and ideal if you also want to use this at home with a fibre connection.

It otherwise has the same features as the other GL.iNet products, so you get regular updates and support for VPN connectivity if you have a VPN account. If you do have a VPN, this router offers WireGuard speeds of up to 300Mbps, which is incredibly fast compared to other travel routers on the market.

To be honest, this router is probably a bit much for most general travel needs. However, If you have a lot of devices to connect, or just want the fastest option with all the features, and support for USB 3, this is the one to go for. At 7oz, it’s not the lightest option out there but you do get incredible performance.

Price : Check latest price on Amazon here .

6. Netgear Nighthawk M1

If you are looking for a product that is both a mobile hotspot and a travel router, the Netgear Nighthawk M1 (MR1100) is an option to consider. This is for people who know they are going to be traveling in places without Internet access.

how does travel wifi router work

As well as offering travel router capabilities like extending an ethernet or wireless network, this device also lets you put a 4G LTE SIM card into it, and use it as a mobile hotspot when you are away from wireless or ethernet.

It has a 5040mAH built in battery which you can use to charge your phone, media streaming support, can connect up to 20 devices, and supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11ac wireless networks.

Note that this can work on multiple bands around the world, but it doesn’t support all bands around the world. Check to make sure it will work where you need it to work before purchasing. The device should come unlocked and be able to work with any compatible SIM card.

This is definitely a more premium product, but may be a good option for more frequent travelers, those who work remotely, and those who need to get online in more remote locations like RVs or rural settings. For more convenient travel, there are cases you can purchase for it to keep the router and cords, such as this one .

If you are looking for an even faster mobile hotspot that also doubles as a travel router, then you might consider the newer versions which support 5G, including the Netgear Nighthawk M5 (MR5200) and the Nighthawk M6 (MR6150 & MR6500).

These offer 5G compatibility, a touchscreen interface, and can support up to 32 devices. They are significantly more expensive than the M1, but worth considering if you have a larger budget and want a more future-proof router that supports 5G. The M6 series additionally supports WiFi 6.

Note that there is also a M2 version of the router available in certain markets like the United Kingdom and Europe. This one also offers more features like a touchscreen interface but it doesn’t include 5G support.

Price: Check latest price here

You can see and compare most of the travel routers above in one place on Amazon here .

What We Like about Travel Routers

Our primary use for our travel router has been to extend existing Wi-Fi connections. We have often encountered the situation when we are happy to learn that a wireless Internet connection exists in a hotel, bus, cafe, or airport but are then disappointed that the connection is too weak to connect to or is very slow.

Our travel router can then be pulled out to help strengthen the signal so that we can get online using our phone, tablet, and/or laptops. Although not always possible, it is also great in those situations where you can extend a Wi-Fi range from a hotel lobby to your room or from an indoor space to a patio.

The device also partially helps with the security issue of using public Wi-Fi hotspots by providing a firewall and some protection from common Internet threats; however, you should still be cautious about providing sensitive personal information over a public connection.

Travel Routers are also great in other traveling situations beyond just extending an existing wireless connection. There are situations where you might only be given a password to connect one device at a time on a wireless network or may have to pay for additional devices. Obviously, since we are traveling as a couple with two cell phones, two laptops, and two Wi-Fi enabled cameras between us, one Internet connection is not enough and we hate to pay for Internet!

So by whipping out this device, it will allow you to connect multiple devices to a wireless network using a single login. You just login once from the travel router via a web browser or the provided smartphone app, and then all your devices can be connected to the travel routers network, where they should all work simultaneously.

Also, if you are in a hotel or other location that only offers wired Internet access in your room, you can plug the Ethernet cable into the travel router and create a wireless connection that can be used for all of your WiFi-enabled devices.     

Interestingly we have ended up using our travel router as much, if not more, at our apartment verses while traveling.  When we lived in California, we had a good wireless Internet connection in our apartment but it became weaker when trying to use a laptop or phone outside on the deck.

We’ve set up the travel router to extend the range of our home wireless network to be able to blog more efficiently on the deck which was one of my favorite spots to blog . We have also used the USB ports on our router to charge cell phones and other devices and to plug in our USB hard drive for use as a network attached storage device to be shared on our home network.

We also like that most of these travel routers are powered through a micro-USB port, so you can actually power them from a laptop or USB power bank if you don’t have easy access to a power point.

Netgear Trek N300 Travel Router and Range Extender

Limitations of Travel Routers

Travel routers are not a mobile hotspot, so they cannot create an Internet connection if one does not already exist. So if you are wanting to actually use the Internet in place where there is no or very poor Internet, you’ll probably want to consider something like a mobile hotspot rather than a router or range extender product.

The Netgear Nighthawk M1 is a combo router and mobile hotspot, and so this could be an option as well if you need a hotspot.

For those wondering how to get online or how to find an Internet connection while traveling, see our travel guide to getting online when traveling . It also covers things like mobile hotspots, SIM cards, international data plans, VPNs, etc.

Sometimes despite the power of a travel router’s antenna, the signal will still be too weak to connect. In a few situations we have spent too much time trying to get a connection to work when the signal is simply just too weak.  Some routers can also take a few minutes to connect to a network which can leave you wondering if it is just taking awhile or if it isn’t working. 

Be sure to check before you buy to make sure the travel router is compatible with your devices! This should not be an issue for most newer devices but some may not work as well with older devices or those using older operating systems.

best travel router mobile hotspot Netgear Nighthawk M1

Do you Need a Travel Router?

Overall, we have found travel routers to be a benefit to our travels. They are generally easy to use once configured, and are compact and easy to travel with.

Given that many hotels only allow you to join a network using one device at a time (or charge extra for multiple devices), having a travel router makes it possible for us to use all our WiFi enabled devices at once without extra fees.

We currently use ours both at home to extend the range of our own home Internet and while traveling to extend wireless Internet connections, to login multiple devices using one password, and to add a little security while using public WiFi hotspots.

girl using laptop black bikini Netgear Trek

What issues do you have related to using the Internet while traveling? Have you used or would you consider using a travel router? As always, we’d love to hear any advice, tips, or questions you may have!

A travel router is a compact little device that solves common Internet issues while traveling and offers a number of features to the on-the-go traveler who wants to stay connected. It can act as a wireless range extender, WiFi access point, and help provide extra security to your Internet connections when traveling. We review the best travel routers to help you decide which is for you! #travelrouter #WiFirouter #traveltips #digitalnomad #travel #router

Share this Post!

There are 224 comments on this post.

Please scroll to the end to leave a comment

Andrew Scott Post author

April 13, 2024 at 6:37 am

I’m so overloaded with reviews and information that I decided I’m going to get something you use or recommend. Best review is one where someone recommends something they actually use. Now, you use the GL.iNet GL-MT1300 but Amazon says it’s no longer available. I think it said “try this instead” but I’m wondering if you’d recommend its apparent replace, whose model I can’t remember, or if you’d switch up/to one of the others you recommend/reviewed. Thanks in advance.

Jessica & Laurence Norah Post author

April 14, 2024 at 1:44 am

Yes, it looks like our Beryl router (MT1300) is showing as unavailable, so it looks like it is either out of stock or has been recently discontinued. GL.iNet has been updating and making new routers pretty regularly over the past several years. So based on that one, we would recommned the GL.iNet GL-A1300 (Slate Plus) router . It’s offers pretty much the same feature set as the MT1300, but with improved VPN support. It’s also at roughly the same price point as the one we bought.

If you want support for more recent network technology, then the MT3000 (Beryl AX) would be the option to go for. The Beryl AX (MT3000) is the same model as we have with more advanced technology but at a higher price point. For most travel needs though, the A1300 should work fine.

Either of the above models should work fine for you. We have had good luck with our GL.iNet travel routers and they offer free customer support as well as free returns on Amazon. I would say they are the most reliable brand out on the market right now for regular travel routers. You can, of course, also ask us any questions you may have about routers and we are happy to try to help.

Hope this helps and wishing you happy travels!

Best, Jessica

March 24, 2024 at 1:16 pm

This is a follow-up to my first comment but unable to reply to unapproved comments hence this one.

Just realised that since they are invariably powered via USB, rather than buying one with a built-in battery, you could just use a power bank to power them. The trick would be knowing what size of power bank you’d need for a given travel router.

March 25, 2024 at 4:25 am

Yes, Internet on cruises can be challenging. I think it will depend on the Wifi signal (if it is only available in the cruise cabins) if it will reach to other public areas or not.

The majority of the travel routers we recommend accept a USB input for power so many can be charged/powered by battery. The main thing is to check that the battery bank puts out an output that matches the input of the travel router. Most travel routers accept a 5V 2amp, 3amp or 4amp input, which should work with most battery banks. However, some higher powered routers require a higher voltage, so just check the specifications to be sure.

In terms of size, a 15,000 to 25,000 mah battery bank such as this one by INIU should provide many hours of operation.

Hope that helps and hope you have a wonderful cruise!

Best, Jessica & Laurence

March 24, 2024 at 1:06 pm

We’re looking at one for use on cruises since we learned we can’t hot-spot the WiFi each of phones will have access to. Thought we’d only be able to use it in our room until I read about the one that is battery powered. That would allow us to use it beside the pool or in some other public area. THAT would be extroflexible.

March 25, 2024 at 4:16 am

See our response to both of your comments above to your second comment.

Kelly Post author

December 28, 2023 at 9:24 am

Hi – we sure appreciate the great info!

I was hoping to learn if you thought a travel router would be a good choice to replace our router in Mexico so that we are able to access US streaming through our VPN? It would become our new permanent router there. And/or would we able to use 2 routers with the same VPN, one for other travel and one for our Mexico residence?

December 28, 2023 at 1:54 pm

Happy to try to help with your travel router and VPN questions. So it sounds like a permanent router would be best for your Mexico home and most home routers by GLiNet, Netgear, and many other brands will support a VPN. So for example, this one by GL.iNet should work find as a home router with a VPN service. A home router is going to be larger (so not ideal for travel) but is going to generally perform better overall than a small travel router and have more features, so best to stick to that for home use.

It sounds like you also want a more portable travel router for when you travel internationally to other locations outside of Mexico and the USA? And in that case, most of the midrange and above travel routers support VPN services. You just want to avoid the really cheap ones. Any of the GLiNet travel router options we recommend above such as the Slate or Beryl models should work fine with most VPN services and they are really good travel routers as well. Just see our recommended list above.

And yes, you should be able to use the same VPN service across your home and travel routers. If you stick to the same brand across your routers, it might be a bit easier with configuration but it probably doesn’t make too much difference.

It sounds like you probably already have a VPN service for traveling, but if not, Laurence made a guide and a list of VPNs for traveling here that might be useful.

Hope that helps but just let us know if you have any further questions!

December 28, 2023 at 4:49 pm

Big thanks, Jessica – all VERY helpful information to make my learning curve more bearable.

I will look further into supporting your sites.

Much appreciation,

December 29, 2023 at 6:32 pm

You’re very welcome, and just let us know if you have further questions as you do any further research on routers and VPNs!

Patricia Post author

September 18, 2023 at 9:00 am

Do I need any cabling to use these travel routers with an iPad Pro. Looking at the photos they seem to have Lan connectors and usb sockets , but at the moment at least iPads don’t have either of these. Please advise. I need the router to connect to Wi-Fi when the signal is weak but I would also like it to be as secure as possible thank you. Great reviews

September 18, 2023 at 9:55 pm

Hi Patricia,

No, you don’t need any cables to be able to use any of the recommended travel routers with your iPad Pro, they all can be used with WiFi with your devices. However, most also allow for LAN Ethernet connectivity if you need a wired connection and many also have USB ports. But most people just use their devices over WiFi so you would be fine with any travel router if you are just needing to mainly connect your devices for security, easier connectivity, and extending existing WiFi.

Bob Simmons Post author

July 2, 2023 at 10:05 am

Thanks for the great article. My issue is with WiFi that requires payment after entering password. Also each device requires payment. On a cell phone, after logging in, it pops up a window (browser?) where you enter the credit card info. Do any of these travel routers have that capability, to enter payment information? Reading the user manuals it appears the answer is no. In your travels maybe you have encountered this issue.

Laurence Post author

July 4, 2023 at 9:34 am

It’s our pleasure, and we will do our best to try to help you.

So the window that pops up to take payment is called a captive portal, and it’s the same thing you often encounter even with free Wifi where it might ask you to enter your name or e-mail address to access the internet. All the travel routers on our list support this, so you can log in and pay if necessary for internet access. A window will pop up on the first device you connect with where you can pay. A pop-up blocker or ad blocker might stop it from happening but in our experience a browser window normally just appears to log in with.

Let us know if you have any more questions!

Laurence & Jessica

Luke Post author

May 25, 2023 at 5:08 am

Just want to say thanks for the sharing informative article, very helpful in choosing the best travel router for our next trip!

June 2, 2023 at 4:39 am

You’re very welcome and glad to hear you found the best travel router for your upcoming travels! And thanks for taking the time to comment.

B.Balakrishnan Post author

May 19, 2023 at 4:04 am

This blog post on the best travel routers for the internet while traveling in 2023 is a lifesaver! Staying connected on the go is crucial, and these router recommendations are just what I needed. Thank you for the helpful insights!

May 21, 2023 at 9:50 am

Hi there, So glad you found our travel router review helpful. Just let us know if you have any questions!

Arnold Machel Post author

April 23, 2023 at 9:08 am

Thanks for the great article. I’ve used a travel router for years and found them super helpful, especially in situations where I want to use a portable Chromecast, but the hotel WiFi security settings won’t it allow to connect directly to the hotel WiFi.

I am now using a laptop that needs a high wattage charger (ideally 65 watts) and would love to finde a travel router with that kind of charging capability, but I can’t seem to find the technical stats on most of them. Any thoughts?

April 24, 2023 at 1:28 am

Glad to hear you have found a travel router useful on your travels. So it sounds like you are looking for a travel router that doubles up as a powerbank that you can use to charge your laptop? Unfortunately, we aren’t aware of any travel routers on the market which offer that level of output, most travel routers which have the facility to charge devices have fairly small batteries and don’t offer high wattage outputs. The ones that offer the ability to charge a device, are more designed to top up a smartphone rather than to power a laptop.

So if you want a portable device to help charge your laptop on the go, I would look at powerbanks like this one that are speciically designed to charge laptops.

Hope that helps! Jessica

April 24, 2023 at 6:34 am

Thanks Jessica. Too bad. Was just hoping to get one device to do both. Good luck with the blog.

April 26, 2023 at 2:19 am

You’re very welcome. Yes, unfortunately I don’t think there is a device that would be able to do both those things well. Feel free to come back and let us know what travel router and charging device you decide to use on your next trip as it may be helpul to furture readers wanting to do the same thing.

Sherry Duvall Post author

March 6, 2023 at 6:46 am

Thanks for this great article! I have just discovered travel routers and am intrigued as to whether this would be something that would work for my family. I would like to know if any of these would work on a cruise ship? We have to pay for each device, or log off and login on them which is such a pain. Cruise ships are huge so will it work when you are far away from your room, and if so, which one would you recommend? Thank you for any help!

March 6, 2023 at 8:44 am

Our pleasure! So to the first part of your question, yes, this should work to allow you to use multiple devices with a single login. The travel router will appear as one device to the cruise ship network, and then you would be able to connect your devices to the travel router’s network without needing to keep logging in and out.

For the second part of the question, travel routers have a variable range but it won’t cover a whole cruise ship unfortunately. It would work in your room and then nearby, but all the walls etc would reduce the range. So it wouldn’t cover the whole ship sadly. But any of the travel routers on the list work in a very similar way in terms of login and would cover your room.

Hope this helps!

March 6, 2023 at 9:41 am

Thank you very much…guess I will save my money!

QBM Post author

March 1, 2023 at 9:21 pm

This article from Independent Travel Cats’ blog is a comparison and review of the top portable WiFi routers for travellers. This post does a good job of researching and comparing the features, benefits, and cons of each router. Personal anecdotes and experiences from the bloggers’ travels are also included in the article. In sum, if you are a frequent traveller in need of a dependable and transportable router, you will find this article to be a gold mine of information.

March 2, 2023 at 4:14 am

Thanks so much for the very kind summary and recommendation of our travel router review article!! If you have any questions about portable routers, feel free to ask!

Daniel W Post author

February 24, 2023 at 8:33 pm

I appreciate what you did with this blog post, especially the way you keep it updated. It is the best online resource for people looking for information on travel routers, thanks!

February 27, 2023 at 7:12 am

Thanks for the kind words and glad you found our travel routers review article useful! If you have any questions about choosing the best travel router for you, just let us know. Happy to try to help!

Karen Arnauld-Bakelaar Post author

January 20, 2023 at 10:21 pm

This i8s so incredibly useful – thank you! Can you help me sort out which might be the best option for me? I mainly work in South Africa, which means we have long spells without power, so anything that runs on battery would be nice to have. I’m in a rural area, so even while working from home I often have trouble getting a wifi signal, especially in bad weather.

I need the signal to be strong enough for Zoom meetings, etc – and often it’s not.

I also need a portable option for when I travel, but I don’t know if I need something to boost a signal or to hotspot – can you help me with this?

All internet here is wifi – I have a home plug-in router with a SIM card in it, and a small portable router as well, but they don’t always do the job!

January 23, 2023 at 7:22 am

It’s our pleasure. So it sounds like you need a mobile hotspot rather than a travel router. A travel router can only extend an existing WiFi signal.

A mobile hotspot works over cellular networks (like a mobile phone). However this can be affected by bad weather, so would basically be the same situation as you are in as your plug-in router likely works the same way. The only difference is that a mobile hotspot has a built-in battery.

So in bad weather situations, there may not be anything more you can do as strong weather can affect the overall signal which could affect the signal for any kind of devices using WiFi or mobile signals. But you might try a hotspot to see if that helps as it works with a different type of signal (cellular signal versus WiFi).

Monte Post author

December 23, 2022 at 3:10 pm

Is there a travel router best suited for offline multiplayer gaming? My wife and I often wind up in areas with no internet. A normal home router constantly nags us with the “you aren’t connected” screen. We know! That’s why we’re playing Minecraft!

December 24, 2022 at 6:48 am

Happy to try to help. So I am guessing the home routers you are referring to are ones that are not your own but ones you stay in while traveling?

So none of the travel router models we recommend are specifically designed for offline gaming. However, we think any of the Gl.iNet routers on the list would work in this scenario, allowing you to create a local WiFi network that your devices can connect to without needing to connect to another WiFi network. However, we have not tried this specific scenario so it is hard to say if one or another router on this list would be better suited to the task. But the more advanced ones offer more features and more future proofing.

Another option to try might be to see if one of your computers (or smartphones if playing on them) allows you to set up a WiFi hotspot. Some Windows 10 and Windows 11 laptops for example have the option to allow you to set up a local WiFi network, which you could then connect your other device too. This may be another possible solutation you could check out.

Anyway, hope that helps and we’d love to know what solution you come up with that solves your issue as it may be useful to future readers.

Virag Post author

November 28, 2022 at 8:22 am

Hi, Thank you for this amazing article. I travel quite a lot and work at the same time and I would need something that I can use to boost the available public wifi (like in hotels or coffee shops). Which one would you recommend in this case?

Thank you in advance, Virag

November 28, 2022 at 9:38 am

Glad you found our travel routers guide useful. So any of the routers listed in our guide would work for that purpose but the GL.iNet routers with the antennas, such as the Slate, Beryl, or the Slate AX models, would have the best performance. We personally use the Beryl model . So I’d recommend any of those three models or a similar travel router to those.

I believe Amazon has been offering discounts on most of the routers for the past week so I would definitely compare prices as you can sometimes get one of the newer models for a good price when they are running discounts.

Hope that helps, and just let us know if you have further questions.

Steve Brown Post author

October 31, 2022 at 11:45 pm

Thank you for sharing the list. I really needed one. I have dead wifi zones with which the travel routers could help.

November 1, 2022 at 9:19 am

It’s our pleasure, glad you found our list useful. So whilst a travel router can work to resolve dead zones, you might prefer to purchase a WiFi extender instead, especially if you plan to use this at home. They tend to be a little bit cheaper because they don’t need as much functionality.

Another option to solve dead zones would be to upgrade to a mesh WiFi network – see our guide to the best home WiFi routers for ideas in that area. The mesh system can help make it so that the WiFi is able to extend throughout your home.

Hope that helps and just let us know if you have any questions!

AJ Post author

October 21, 2022 at 5:01 pm

I purchased two of these items ( #1 and #3) but since I am not tech savvy at all, they were impossible to use. I tried reading and rereading the instructions. I tried the company websites. I tried many youtube videos. I sat between Carls Jr and Walmart, who both have free wifi. I was able to scan each one with a success response. BUT NO WIFI.

This sucks. When someone in an actual store can hook me up and show me how to use it, and provide an actual phone number I can call when I am on the road (which I always am), then I’ll buy one. But reading reviews and going to amazon, and returning said items to amazon, is not my cup of tea.

October 21, 2022 at 5:09 pm

Sorry to hear that you are having issues with using your travel router while traveling. So most travel routers require a little bit of setup.

Have you tried using them inside where you know the WiFi was a good strength and working properly? If you were sitting outside the stores, the public signal might not have been strong enough for instance to really work.

If you have already gotten the manufacturer’s instructions (GL.iNet has some really detailed ones online you can get), you can also try contacting their customer support. If you want in-person support, you could also try going to a local tech store near you (or a chain like Best Buy) that sells travel routers and might be able to troubleshoot with you and help you.

Hope you are able to get it to work!

David Post author

October 1, 2022 at 10:31 pm

For travelers who need access to the internet while traveling, this device sounds very useful. In our everyday life we cannot think of going a day without internet. Thanks for sharing for your valueable information.

October 3, 2022 at 6:55 am

Yes, travel routers can be very useful for those who need to be connected while traveling. If you have any questions about travel routers, just ask!

Chris Post author

September 7, 2022 at 1:54 am

I’m having trouble backup my extender settings, it takes saying that backup is done but can’t find the file??!!

September 7, 2022 at 5:08 am

Many travel routers do allow you to back up their settings, and save the settings to a file. But you will want to check the manual for your specific travel router model to see if it has that functionality and how to do that.

When you backup something as you did, it should give you the option to choose the file location when you do so. So if you check your browser downloads folder it should be there where you set it to save. Or check your manual for the default location.

Hope that helps, Jessica

Jason Post author

August 1, 2022 at 7:32 pm

Hello. Thanks for all the great info. I have been researching travel router setup, but am not sure if it’s possible to do what I’m attempting. I hope you can help me out.

I have an “older” ASUS Dual-Band router that was replaced when we upgraded our home to Eero Mesh router. What I’d like to do is set up the old ASUS router with the same SSID & password as my current home router (the Eero), so that I can take the ASUS on family vacations, connect it to the hotel/condo/house/etc. WiFi, and then all of our devices will automatically connect to it (since they have the same SSID/pswd already saved from our Eero router), without having to sign in all of our devices to the hotel/condo/house/etc. WiFi.

I’ve found some articles that explain how to set up 2 routers with the same SSID & pswd, but they all require connecting the router to a laptop for the initial setup/configuration. So, the real question/problem is: I don’t want to take my laptop on vacation, just to connect my old ASUS router to the vacation home’s WiFi. So, is it possible to set up my old ASUS router at home, and then plug it directly into the vacation hotel/condo/home router via ethernet cable, or will I need to bring my laptop to open a web browser and complete the setup?

August 2, 2022 at 12:10 am

It’s hard to really give specifics without knowing the type of router and equipment. But if the main step that is required is to connect to the Asus router via a web browser over the WiFi connection, then you shouldn’t need a laptop specifically to do that as you can just use the web browser on your smartphone to achieve the same thing. So that part of it should work.

I would definitely test this setup at home first to see if you can extend your existing network with your old Asus router to see if it works as you intend. If you can’t get it to work at home, I would not recommend taking it on vacation. If you can’t get it to work, I would just recommend getting a new travel router that will do what you need it to do for your trip.

Best, Laurence

David Paker Post author

July 4, 2022 at 1:34 pm

Wow! You guys are doing an amazing job. Following your tutorials, I learned so much !!

July 5, 2022 at 2:38 am

So glad you found our articles helpful. If you have any questions about travel routers, just ask!

May 12, 2022 at 10:42 pm

Thanks for the review. I’ll definitely look into it. It really is frustrating if the signal is slow. . I’ll be willing to carry extra weight if it would boost connection,.

May 13, 2022 at 2:07 am

Yes, a travel router may definitely be able to help with that. It does require packing something extra but travel routers are designed for travel and many of the models are pretty small and lightweight these days so won’t add a lot of extra weight! But I would recommend keeping the dimensions and weights of each model in mind when choosing the best travel router for you.

Ryan J Post author

May 11, 2022 at 6:19 am

Thank you for such a thorough and informative writeup! I also read your Best Mobile Hotpots review and was inspired to purchase the Nighthawk M1100, especially considering it’s added ability to be a travel router and boost a current wifi signal. Will be travelling to Europe and staying at many AirBnb’s. Just in case any of them have a weak wifi signal, I’ll be prepared! Now that I have the device, I can’t seem to find instructions on how to use it as a travel router specifically. I’ve searched everywhere online, and there seems to be different wording out there “turn the m1100 into a modem, use it with a modem, etc. Saw one video on how to use the nighthawk with another router (boosting that router’s signal), but it requires connecting an ethernet cable from the router to the Nighthawk. Is that the process of using it as a travel router? Ideally, I’d like to be able to avoid using the ethernet cable, especially if on a public network (i.e. train) that I need to connect to but is weak. Or staying somwhere that I don’t have access to the broadcasting router. Any specific instructions on using the Nighthawk M1100 as a travel router without using an ethernet cable? Thanks in advance.

May 11, 2022 at 9:28 am

So yes, the Nighthawk M1100 is mainly used as a mobile hotspot, but it can also be used as a travel router. So it is definitely possible to set up the MR1100 as a travel router to share a WiFi network, but the manual is not super helpful. We remember this ourselves when we set it up.

The section you are looking for calls it called WiFi data offloading. If you load the MR1100 manual on this page ( https://www.downloads.netgear.com/files/GDC/MR1100/MR1100_UM_EN.pdf ) – you are looking for the instructions on page 30, titled “offload your mobile internet connection”. There are sections here on setting this up for either Wifi offloading or ethernet offloading. You are looking for the instructions on Wifi offloading.

Hope that helps, but just let us know if you have any further questions. We have used both the Nighthawk M1 and M2 and have set them up to work as a travel router ourselves so happy to help!

May 12, 2022 at 6:34 pm

Amazing. Would have never found that out on my own. Thank you! Will let you know how it goes. My wife and I are being “digital nomads” for the first time having worked remote in the States for the past 20 years. Will be travelling to Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Croatia, Switzerland, Germany, UK, and Ireland over the course of 5 1/2 months. Leaving next week and super excited!

May 13, 2022 at 2:06 am

Glad that helped and you should be able to test it out before you leave. Having the ability to use it both as both a travel router and a mobile hotspot (when you don’t have WiFi) is nice for a long trip like that.

Enjoy your time working as digital nomads in Europe!

Paul Post author

April 30, 2022 at 2:16 pm

Hi, we’re staying at a place that requires us to re-log in every 24 hours. Are there travel routers that will automatically take care of that for you?

May 1, 2022 at 5:33 am

So we aren’t aware of any travel routers that would be able to automatically do this out of the box. With a travel router there is the advantage that you only have to do this once, rather than once for each device you connect to the travel router. So you should be able to just do the necessary daily login once and then all the devices connected to your router should not have to do the log-in.

Depending on how technically minded you are, it is worth pointing out that the GL.iNet routers are based on the OpenWRT software, which allows technically-savvy users to install extra packages if they want and run custom code. However, this is beyond the scope of most users (and not necessary or recommended in most cases). However, if that does describe you though, then that’s an option as you may be able to write code (or find code written by someone else) that would be able to do the auto log-in each day.

Pasu Post author

April 28, 2022 at 9:24 pm

“A travel router allows you to connect multiple devices to a network, even with a single login. The travel router is seen by networks as a single device, so if you are only given one login, you can still use multiple devices. You just login once from the travel router via a web browser (or in some cases a provided smartphone app), and then all your devices can be connected to the network created by the travel router.”.

That’s exactly what I need. Connecting to a WiFi and giving the signal to other devices.

But sorry, which if the mentioned models can do this?

Thank you for your help

April 29, 2022 at 3:51 am

All of the travel routers we mention in our article can do this as this is one of the main features of most travel routers. The one we are personally currently using is the GL.iNet Beryl model above, but as noted, any of the above models can do this.

For instance, we often use it with the WiFi in a hotel to connect all our devices at once without having to log in each one. It can also help get around device limits imposed by some hotels as you just need to connect the travel router.

Travel routers can also make your connection more private and secure, and you can also use most of them in conjunction with most VPNs.

Hope that helps and just let us know if you have any further questions.

April 20, 2022 at 8:43 am

Thanks for this article, but it wasn’t clear to me if any of these support what I want to do: I want to be able to connect a baby monitor to a hotel network (for instance, so a babysitter can keep an eye on the kids from a living room), but my baby cams don’t support connections to captive networks. I’ve gathered that this is where the travel router comes in, allowing me to create my own network after connecting to the hotel’s wifi. What I am hoping to find though, is a travel router that does NOT require an Ethernet connection to make that initial connection to the hotel’s wifi, as not all hotel rooms come with Ethernet ports. It looks like the HooToo TM-02 does this, but I also note that that model is getting a bit long in the tooth at this point. Do any of your recommendations support what I am trying to do? Thanks!

April 20, 2022 at 10:03 am

So none of the travel routers on our list require an ethernet connection to make the first connection, they all work over WiFi (although some can work via ethernet as some have ethernet ports as we note). The way it works is that you turn on the travel router and connect your phone or laptop to the travel router’s WiFi network. Then you use a web browser to configure the travel router to connect to the hotel WiFi network, and if necessary login through the captive portal.

In our experience, the GL.iNet products are the currently the more reliable and most regularly updated options. So those would be our top recommendations, but any of these should work. But newer models are more future proof.

Just a note that setting up cameras or using surveillance devices in hotel rooms is illegal in many countries if any person filmed is unaware of their presence (so if the babysitter or other hotel staff were filmed without their knowledge). So just something to be aware of.

Shannon Post author

February 1, 2022 at 12:02 pm

Hello, I’m currently at a campground with about 4mbps Wi-Fi. I need 200 mbps to do my job and i need help finding the right option. I need something that works with any internet provider and will give me a minimum of 200mbps. Can you help?

February 2, 2022 at 2:39 am

Hi Shannon,

So 200 mbps is very very high and you are unlikely to get that unless you are able to access a 5G mobile network AND a very good cellular signal. The average download speed for 4G is 8-10 mbps. Do you possibly mean 20 mbps that you need for work?

A travel router can help increase a connection but it is not going to make it much faster in most cases. The connection speed at the campsite may be 4mbps at its max and if so, there is nothing you can do to increase that. Especially not 5X or 50X!

If the campsite does have a very fast connection but you are too far from the signal then a travel router can help, but it will likely not make a very big difference, it will generally just make the connection more reliable and secure. But if you travel a lot for work then a travel router like the Beryl one we list above is probably one you would want to have. But you still need to be in places that have a decent connection.

So your best option would be to look into mobile hotspots. These connect over a mobile network and can give you either 4G or 5G speeds depending on the type, and you would need a SIM card to go in them as they are similar to phones in that regard. Of course, you still would need a good cellular network reception for them to work. You can see our guide to mobile hotspots here .

So the best advice is to make sure to do some research before you head to a new place to see what its WiFi connection speed and mobile signal is so that you can see if it a place that you would be able to work from or not. If so, then if you have a travel router and/or mobile hotspot, it should help you work remotely when needed.

Looking to the future, a better option might be something like the Starlink satellite internet which can provide fast internet via low orbit satellites anywhere in the world.

Sage Post author

June 19, 2022 at 11:36 am

Hello! To follow up on this reply (and I am not a techie 🙂 ) I was planning on working from France through a hotel’s WiFi but maybe I should use my cellphone, which is verizon 4G LTE and can be a hotspot? In general, are cellular networks faster than a hotel wifi? I guess it depend on their carrier?

Also, do you recommend a VPN whichever way we access the internet – via cellphone hotspot or hotel wifi?

June 20, 2022 at 4:07 am

So the answer as to whether the hotel WiFi is faster than your cellphone 4G is a difficult one to answer. WiFi is definitely capable of being faster than 4G, but this depends on a number of factors, including the speed of the internet connection the hotel has, how far from the router your device is, and how many other people are using it. 4G also has similar issues, depending on factors like how far away the nearest mast is, if your room is near to a window (walls can weaken a signal), and so on.

In most cases, I’d say that hotel wifi is likely to be faster, but this is definitely not always going to be the case. In general, in your situation, I’d probably say to go with the less expensive option. This is likely to be to get a travel router and use the hotel WiFi (the travel router can then be used on future trips as well). But it depends on the cost of your international data plan.

If you decide to get a travel router (and use hotel WiFi), just be sure to read the instructions and test it out locally before your trip so you know how to set it up and use it before you get to France. Any of the routers we list should work for your situation, our favorites are the ones by GL.iNet.

When it comes to a VPN, VPNs can definitely provide more protection. However, if you are going to use a travel router or cellphone hotspot to connect, it is probably not necessary. Cellphone hotspots or a travel router are going to be more secure because it’s just you connecting to your connection, and mobile networks are a lot harder to hack.

The security concerns over public WiFi networks are not as great as they used to be now that the majority of the web has moved to https. That means the data that is sent from your device to the web and back again is encrypted end to end, so it’s a lot harder for people to snoop on it. In the old days of unencrypted websites and public hotspots, it was fairly easy for someone to hack into someone’s connection, but this is much harder today, especially if you stick to secured websites.

There are still advantages to using a VPN though. Obviously, there is the additional peace of mind, but also some websites block users from specific countries and some countries may block access to certain websites. So a VPN can usually get around that for travelers who need to access websites from their home country. One of the advantages to surfing the web with a VPN in France we’ve found is that it keeps all the websites from constantly redirecting you to the French versions.

Note that some jobs require employees doing remote work to use a VPN or only sign into accounts using some sort of secure connection. This is especially the case if you deal with client data or other sensitive information. So be sure to check your job’s remote work policy regarding security.

We have a post that reviews VPNs for travel here , if you decide you want to use a VPN.

Hope that helps, and feel free to follow-up if you have further questions. Wishing you a great trip to France.

Will Pearce Post author

December 17, 2021 at 8:28 am

I’ve had a HooToo HT-TM05 for about 5 years, and was initially very happy with it. Increasingly, though, I’m encountering web logins on hotel wifi–a situation that I’ve not been able to handle with the HooToo.

I’m aware that some travel routers can be configured with the web login credentials so that they’re able to establish the wifi connection, but it’s not clear from your review which of your recommended devices can do that.

Could you clarify that, please. Also, if you know of some way to get the HooToo to handle this situation, I’d be glad to hear it.

December 17, 2021 at 1:15 pm

Sorry you are having issues with your travel router. Hotel log-ins can be tricky. So the HooToo HT-TM05 should be able to handle the situation you describe (and HooToo noted this in their old FAQ section), as that’s a common scenario for using a travel router. You would normally connect to the Hootoo network with your smartphone or laptop, login to the Hootoo and select the hotel network, and then open up a new browser page from your phone or laptop and try to use the web. This should launch the hotel login page.

Sometimes though this might not work, and it’s possibly because the Hootoo is an older device as that model is now several years old. There are various reasons that it could fail, including a custom DNS setup on your device, use of a VPN, or trying to navigate to some https pages. It’s hard to troubleshoot without seeing the error message you are getting. How far into the process are you getting? Are you getting any error messages?

If this occurs in more than one hotel, and you can’t get it working, I’d recommend contacting HooToo for support. They list the following info on their website: Tel: 1-888-456-8468 (Monday-Friday: 9:00 – 17:00 PST) and email [email protected]

It looks like the company has not updated information on HooToo HT-TMO5 for a couple of years now and it may be that the company is no longer supporting the device. We also just saw that it has been removed from Amazon.

If nothing is working, it is probably that you just need to upgrade the device. I’d recommend upgrading to one of the newer GL.inet, TP-Link, or Netgear travel router models. We’ve used both the GL.inet Beryl and Netgear M1 in hotels recently without incident.

Hope that helps and just let us know if you have any further questions!

Pipps Post author

November 18, 2021 at 2:45 am

Thanks for the great guide and clear recommendations👍

November 18, 2021 at 2:13 pm

Thanks Pipps for taking the time to leave a comment. Glad our travel router guide was helpful and just let us know if you have any questions!

November 19, 2021 at 2:18 am

My pleasure, you definitely got the Amazon referral 👍

Nikki Mag Post author

October 14, 2021 at 10:12 pm

Thank you for this wealth of information, greatly appreciate it. I am not tech savvy whatsoever and was hoping you had some information to share.

My employer requires an ethernet connection from a modem/router to the company laptop. We are unable to directly connect to wifi. As of today, is there a recommended travel router that I can connect via ethernet cable? I apologize if youve answered this already and I missed it.

October 15, 2021 at 6:35 am

No problem, and happy to try to help!

All the GL inet travel routers we recommend come with at least two ethernet ports. For instance, the Slate router has three Ethernet ports and a lot of other features. So you can connect to the router via an ethernet cable, and then configure the router to connect to either a WiFi network, or to another network with the other ethernet port on the router. This is fairly plug and play so shouldn’t be too tricky, and the instructions that come with the devices are quite easy to follow as well.

You may also want to talk to your company’s IT department as well about the issue since it sounds like they require a certain level of security to be in place for use. If you, for instance, need to use a VPN to connect to your work data, the Slate router is compatible with over 30+ VPNs but may not be compatible with all VPNs.

Hope that helps, and just let us know if you have any other questions!

jack Post author

October 9, 2021 at 7:48 pm

thanks for the awesome article I am looking for a mobile hotspot and a travel router, I need it very much. I found your article. Very beautiful and will come in handy for me.

October 10, 2021 at 4:53 am

Glad it was helpful and hope you found a travel router that works for you. If you are looking for a device that can be both a travel router or wireless hotspot, then the Netgear Nighthawk router is probably your best bet. If you are looking for two separate devices, then you can also check out this article about choosing a mobile hotspot .

But do let us know if you have any questions about travel routers or mobile hotspots.

Joao Post author

October 6, 2021 at 7:41 am

Thank you for this great article.

I’m looking for a travel router, just with the intention of better capturing public networks.

Which of these routers do you think provides a better increase in signal strength on public wireless networks?

October 7, 2021 at 1:31 am

So we’d recommend either the Gl.iNet AR750S ( https://amzn.to/2Quyhsb ) or the GL.iNet MT1300 would be our suggestions. These both have little external aerials which mean they are able to get improved range compared to other options in the round up.

October 7, 2021 at 3:10 am

Hi Jessica,

Thank you for the reply.

Do you think the gain in signal strength is worth it for the price difference for the GL.iNet GL-AR300M16 for example?

October 8, 2021 at 1:44 pm

The more powerful travel routers should be able to provide a stronger signal, but I think you would also be paying more for extra features (not just signal strength specs) as well on the more expensive routers. Whether it would improve the signal strength over some of the lower priced GL.iNet routers is probably going to depend on the particular situation and place in which you use it. You might consider buying the lower priced and test it out to see if it works as you need it to. If not, you could return it and purchase the more expensive router with the better signal strength.

For more technical questions about signal strength and the differences between models, you might want to reach out to the GL.iNet customer service and let them know how you specifically plan to use it and they can probably give you a more technical answer since we have not tested the two routers at the same time.

Alice Post author

August 9, 2021 at 7:50 am

Great information here on travel routers. Which of the Glinet routers would you recommend for a first time user? Interested in using it for working on laptop at coffee shops and for travel (domestic and international). Not super tech savvy so something that is pretty easy to use and will last.

August 9, 2021 at 8:35 am

Thanks very much! I appreciate we go into a bit of detail with the GL.iNet routers and their advanced features, but the good news is that you don’t need to be technical to use them, they work well out of the box with a simple web interface to set them up. Any of the ones listed should actually meet your needs.

So the MT300N-v2 (Mango) is a good option if size and budget are the key constraints. It is small, lightweight, and the least expensive. Its small size and weight make it perfect for travel.

For a more future-proof solution, then the two higher-priced GL.iNet models (Slate and Beryl) offer a faster WiFi network with support for the 5Ghz band, which tends to be less congested and therefore faster in public situations. The Beryl model (which we have), is the most powerful with the fastest processor inside, but it’s honestly not going to make a huge difference between that and the AR750 (Slate) unless you have a need for the USB 3 port or want to connect to very fast networks (which most public wifi networks in our experience are not!).

Hope that helps, and let us know if you have any further questions!

August 4, 2021 at 1:25 pm

First off, I say thank you for this information. I will say that I used to use the Netgear Trek N300 before I left it in a hotel (doh). So when I saw that you used to use it as well and saw the information on Juplink EC3-750, I was sold.

I haven’t been able to connect to hotels with it since most hotels have a login screen. I can’t seem to get the setup right on the Juplink to actually be able to pull up the screen to login. How do you set yours up to use in hotels so I can get my setup right. Thank you in advance.

August 5, 2021 at 4:59 am

Yes, the Netgear Treks were great and I wish they would have continued to make and update those. The Netgear Nighthawk M1 is good, but expensive if you are not using it for a mobile hotspot as well as a router.

So the interface for the Juplink can be a bit confusing as it has the different modes and functions. You should be able to get it set up as follows.

First, put the router in repeater mode, then plug it in (if you’ve set it up previously, hold down the reset button on the side for five seconds to start over).

Once the router is on, you should be able to connect your device to the Juplink WiFi network, which doesn’t have a password. You will then be able to login to the router via the url router.juplink.com, the default username and password is admin for both.

From the admin page, press the “repeater wizard” option. This should bring up a list of all the WiFi hotspots, and you would choose the hotel network option. Here you can also specify the network name, this will be your network name. If there is a security password on the network, the network you create will start off with the same password.

The router will restart, and when it comes back it should present you with the new wireless network to connect to. If you connect to this and then try to use the internet, you should be presented with the network login screen.

For added security, I’d recommend changing the password of the created network to a password of your own choosing. You can do this by going to router.juplink.com, logging in again with the username and password, and then going to the WiFi settings. Here you can change the name and password on the WiFi settings.

Hopefully that will work for you, but if not feel free to let us know!

August 6, 2021 at 3:15 pm

It doesn’t work. The hotel sign in page never comes up to sign in.

August 7, 2021 at 9:01 am

I am sorry to hear that isn’t working. I would reach out to Juplink’s customer service to see if they can help as that is the process that we have followed in the past.

If you can’t get it to work after reaching out to Juplink, I’d recommend returning it for one of the recommended GL.iNet or TP-Link travel routers. We have found that GL.inet keeps their software the most updated in recent years so can be the best for the kind of issues you are having.

Let us know what happens as it may be that it doesn’t work well (or is difficult to configure) at certain hotels and we will consider removing it from our list if that is the case.

August 9, 2021 at 6:37 am

We have done more testing with our Juplink and we were able to replicate the issue you are having with a network sign-in page. So for now, we are removing this router from our list and have reached out to Juplink’s customer service to see if Juplink has a solution to fix this issue. It is still working fine as an extender/router but it seems to have issues with log-in screens. Laurence is not sure if this is a hardware or software issue.

In the meantime, we would recommend returning the Juplink and getting a GL.iNET travel router or similar – we have not had the log-in page issues with the GL.iNet router (we have the Beryl one specifically) and are showing it able to load log-in pages when the Juplink one cannot when using them both at the same time. Sorry for the inconvenience as we have had the Juplink for over a year but our travels have been pretty limited due to Covid so we were not able to test it as much as we normally would and it worked fine in our initial uses.

Tiara Post author

May 3, 2021 at 6:42 am

Great, informative article! And it’s awesome that you guys are still making responses after two years.

I’m looking for a travel router that can help me for my remote contact center work. I’m interested in traveling to national parks or otherwise and am looking for routers to secure a good connection on the days I have to work. I know hotels and whatnot near parks can still be somewhat slow, and this is also for general travel. What would you recommend?

May 3, 2021 at 10:33 am

Yes, we aim to try to reply to all comments and email questions related to travel and photography – and have been trying to do so for 10 years now 😉

So a travel router can certainly help improve a connection by making it more consistent and secure. However, it can’t turn a really slow connection into a fast one. Any of the travel routers on this list can help with extending Wifi, making your connection more secure, and allowing you to use it with more devices more easily. So it just depends on if there are any features you’d need (e.g., Ethernet ports) and buying one that works with faster speeds will make it more future-proof.

However, the reality is that in and around many national parks and state parks, the WiFi speed is not great. This is especially the case in the Western and rural parts of the USA.

Now if you have a poor Wifi connection but good mobile phone signal strength, then a mobile hotspot will work. This will do the same things as the travel router but it will also help you extend the mobile signal to connect your other devices (e.g., laptop, tablet, etc.) that you need to use. So you might check out the Netgear Nighthawk M1 device we recommend above in the article which can act as both a travel router and a mobile hotspot – we have this one and have used it on places like boats and rural areas where we have phone signal but there was no Wifi access.

For those who work in remote areas with both poor Wifi access and poor mobile phone signals, they often need to rely on satellite access but these devices are not currently travel-friendly or budget-friendly. A mobile hotspot can only help where there is some mobile signal.

So I would investigate the places you are thinking of spending time and need a faster connection and see what the Wifi access and mobile signals (for your specific carrier) are in those areas. That can help you assess what type of device might be best for you and also if you should plan to work in certain places or just visit them when you don’t need to work.

Hope that helps, and let us know if you have any further questions! Jessica

Patti Hackney Post author

April 14, 2021 at 9:40 am

We are looking for a travel router that we can plug into a strong antenna that we wired outside our boat. Our paid for wifi is pretty far away, but the antenna works great to connect; however only on one device (our laptop) if the antenna is plugged into it. Do you know of any travel routers that have the ability to connect an external antenna to pick up the wifi signal? Thank you for any information you can give us. Patti

April 15, 2021 at 7:18 am

The Netgear M1 / M2 can support an external antenna but it’s only for improving a 4G LTE signal rather than a WiFi signal. So I don’t think that would work for you given your situation.

There are some travel routers that support external antennas. Some versions of the GL.iNET GL-AR300M , for example, have an external antenna which you can connect your own antenna to them. But you would want to check if it is the same connector type as your existing antenna so that they are compatible.

But a travel router may not be the best fit for you, given your situation, so you may want to ask a networking/router specialist at a Best Buy or similar to ask about options that would work with your boat Wifi signal/external antenna situation. An access point, standard router, or bridge may be a better option.

YL Hu Post author

March 30, 2021 at 10:14 am

Very practical and interesting topic. I am currently looking at a mobile router, Ryoko. Would hope to hear from anyone who has been using it. Thanks. YL

March 30, 2021 at 10:24 am

This more of a hotspot than an actual travel router which is what my post is about. The is a 4g router and requires a SIM card to use.

I have not heard of or used the Muama-Ryoko mobile routers before. They only have a 3.1/5.0 rating on TrustPilot and a lot of mixed and bad recent customer reviews. So I would really read the reviews there before making a decision.

If you are just looking for a travel router (not a mobile hotspot), I would consider one of the other ones we list above as they are actual travel routers. If you need something that also functions as a mobile hotspot, the Netgear Nighthawk M1 functions as a router and extender but you can also add a SIM card and use it as a mobile hotspot as well.

Jum Post author

April 8, 2021 at 5:37 am

It’s very difficult to find genuine reviews. Apart from Trust Pilot, the rest of the review websites on Google are extremely suspicious. They all 100% recommend and offer a link direct to Muama-Ryoko. The company seems to have a complete stranglehold on any info. I would avoid.

Melissa Post author

January 27, 2021 at 9:16 pm

I am not the most tech savvy person but I am looking for a way to use Chromecast in hotels when I travel overseas. The Wifi is usually horrible in these hotels so I’m not sure that Chromecast would work without some help. Can you recommend something easy to use that could help in this situation? Also, do I need a sim card or anything for these mobile routers or am I thinking of a hotspot?

Thanks so much!

January 30, 2021 at 5:13 am

Hi Melissa,

A travel router could definitely help in this situation, and it would also make setting it up each time easier. As you know the Chromecast needs a WiFi network to connect to, and if you use a travel router then you can setup the Chromecast to connect to the WiFi network that the travel router creates. This means you won’t need to reconfigure the Chromecast every time.

In addition, the travel router should be able to deal with spotty hotel wifi more reliably than the Chromecast. Being stuck behind the TV means it will get worse reception in general, whereas you can place the travel router in a better location.

You don’t need a sim card for these travel routers as they just extend an existing network – you are indeed thinking of a mobile hotspot. That is also an option, but for streaming it would work out quite expensive as streaming uses a lot of data. So a travel router that improves the WiFi reception is your best option. Any of the options we list should work well for your purposes.

Sparkles Post author

June 2, 2021 at 8:43 pm

The problem with chromecast on hotel wifi is the login access page since it doesn’t have a built in browser without a travel router logging in requires spoofing the mac address of a different device to match the mac address of the chromecast.

Pondorosa Post author

January 21, 2021 at 1:52 pm

Great insight on travel routers, VPN’s and other stuff I did not know of. Thank you!!!

January 23, 2021 at 8:34 am

You’re very welcome Pondorosa – if you have any further questions about travel routers just let us know!!

Thomas Bash Post author

December 21, 2020 at 3:46 am

Thanks for sharing this informative blog, I think the Tp-Link travel routers are best.

December 22, 2020 at 11:02 am

You’re very welcome, and thanks for taking the time to share your views on travel routers with us!

Julie Post author

December 3, 2020 at 11:21 am

Wow! This was exactly the article I needed. Thank you. I’m trying to convince my employer to let me take my remote, on-line job on the permanent road (RV). Their concern is that I occasionally need to take credit card information for orders. I also do video calls with customers, so speed is important. I go through a VPN at home with a wired, ethernet connection. I could easily create a mobile hotspot where needed with my phone, so is the GL-iNetGL-AR750S all I really need? Or is it necessary to go up to the NetGear Nighthawk?

December 4, 2020 at 4:56 am

Glad you found our article on travel routers helpful.

So if you are confident of phone reception, usually you would set up the VPN connection on your phone and then set it up as a mobile hotspot. The only reason you’d need a travel router in this case is to extend the range of the WiFi network that your phone creates. So a regular travel router (like the GL.iNet one ) is probably good to have for this purpose and it can also provide extra strength and extra security when you do use public WiFi networks. Since you need VPN, that is probably a good one for you.

Something like the NetGear Nighthawk (which is a router + mobile hotspot) is only necessary if you’re going to be connecting multiple devices at higher speeds than your phone can handle since you already are able to create a mobile hotspot with VPN on your phone. So you can test that out in advance to see if you would need a mobile hotspot or not, or if your phone connection is enough.

However, my main concern would be around cell reception, which will obviously depend on where you plan to be traveling. Remote and rural parts of the USA might not always have great cell reception and if you are an avid RV traveler, you’ll know there are some big dead zones for networks here and there. The only solution to this is to investigate satellite options – for example the Starlink system is coming online in the USA at the moment, which offers fast speeds at a reasonable price (compared the other offerings at least!). So it may take your subscribing to something like this to convince your boss if they are worried about you always being able to be online, or making sure you only travel to places with good phone signals. A mobile hotspot won’t work in places where there is no signal of some kind.

Anyway, hope that helps and just let us know if you have further questions!

Matt Post author

October 29, 2020 at 5:54 pm

Hi Jessica, your article was great. It was very helpful and much needed information. Your article was clear, consistent, and well-researched. Thanks.

October 30, 2020 at 5:01 am

Hi Matt, Glad you found it helpful. We have tried to keep it updated over the years as technology and manufacturers have changed for travel routers! Just let us know if you have any questions. Best, Jessica

Dwayne Post author

July 25, 2020 at 3:01 pm

I’m at a hotel and would like a secure connection the room does not have a ethernet port, I connect to the internet on a log in screen and most of the times the screen doesn’t come up and connects itself. I have theTP-LINK TL-WR902AC AC750 WI-FI TRAVEL ROUTER set at hotspot mode and plugged to my laptop. The power and wireless lights are lit, but the internet light blinks, the hardware is version 3. I have tried the range extender mode and could connect to internet at all. Is there something I’m not doing in the router setup page. I have not had any answers yet with the tplink support staff. This is a really good site. Thanks

July 26, 2020 at 4:05 am

Sorry to hear you are having issues logging into your router at the hotel.

So could you clarify, you are in a hotel and you are connecting to the TP-Link WiFi network, but the internet is not working? Normally what should happen is the first time you want to connect to a new network you have to visit http://tplinkwifi.net , login with the username and password (the default is admin for both), and then follow the quick setup instructions which will allow you to choose a network. Then, if you try to browser to another website, the hotel login page (if there is one) should come up.

The router should be in hotspot mode as you say, but it doesn’t need to be plugged into your laptop. Normally the internet light only blinks in access point or router mode so you might want to check the mode switch is in “share hotspot” mode.

Let us know if you were able to get it fixed or if not, happy to try to help further. But hopefully you got through to the Tp-Link staff as well.

July 27, 2020 at 12:43 pm

Hello Jessica, I got connected to internet with my router on saturday, I just kept playing around with the tplink setup page and got it work. I am also using the hotspot shield free vpn, I did a speed test my upload and download mbps is under 1 at 0.56mbps. and sometimes the download gets to 1.07 Is there something I can do to get the speed faster? Thanks

July 28, 2020 at 4:31 am

Glad you got connected. So if the Internet speed is just slow where you are, there is nothing really you can do to make it faster, unfortunately. But the travel router should not slow it down. Travel routers can help strengthen a signal but they don’t really affect speed.

However, VPNs can slow down speeds (particularly free services) so you might want to test the speed without the VPN to see if that is the case. If you do find it is the VPN, you might want to consider trying a different VPN or connecting without it. You can see our list of the recommended VPNs for travelers .

If you find that the Wifi speed where you are is just too slow to perform what you need, then your only other real choice might be to consider a mobile hotspot as these create an Internet connection. However, these are more expensive and rely on a mobile network, so best to see if you can get things to work with the travel router if you can since there is an existing connection where you are.

Evan Bell Post author

May 8, 2020 at 4:08 pm

I had a Netgear travel router but it recently broke and need a new one to connect to the internet when away. This is a great resource on travel routers, I appreciate!

May 8, 2020 at 4:28 pm

Great to hear you found our travel router review article helpful. We’ve had good experience with Netgear devices, it is too bad they never made an update to the Netgear Trek, but there are several good options out there by TP-Link, GL.iNet, and RavPower. Just let us know if you have any questions.

Tim Post author

April 27, 2020 at 7:45 am

Great info about the internet during travelling and using travel routers. Is there other things I should do to keep info and passwords secure while travelling and avoid hacking attacks? Thanks.

April 27, 2020 at 9:15 am

Yes, there are lots of other things you can do to further protect your data:

-Make sure all your devices (phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) are secure and protected with passwords and identify verification -Make sure your operating systems on your devices are updated with most recent updates and patches – you should also have firewall/virus protection -Use a VPN when traveling. For more info you can see our guide to choosing a VPN . You’ll want to make sure your travel router is compatible with a VPN -Avoid accessing sensitive accounts or data while on public Wifi – you should try to access important accounts (e.g., banking) as little as possible when traveling to avoid identify theft and people getting your password details. -Make sure you have backup copies of important data and info stored at home before your trip -Never give out your account passwords to anyone while traveling -Avoid providing any information on unsecured websites -Be cautious about downloading files, especially if you are not absolutely sure of their source

Hope that helps, and do let us know if you have any questions about choosing a travel router!

Sam Johnson Post author

March 24, 2020 at 6:16 am

I have Linksys WTR54GS Wireless-G Travel Router . This comes with a built-in access point and an Ethernet port used to connect to a wired network or to other computers. For a secured connection, this device has an encryption capability. This has its own power supply and an antenna. Included in the package is a case for easy safekeeping.

March 24, 2020 at 6:29 am

Thanks for sharing which travel router you use and glad that one has worked well for you. That is an older model which is why its not included on our list as it doesn’t support the latest WiFi standards, but should still work for most people!

Jeff Post author

February 12, 2020 at 6:15 pm

I have a tp-link nano travel router today. But the problem with it is that it does not play well with the captive portal system that hotels use. Every time I try to set up the router in a new hotel it takes multiple efforts to get the travel router to recognize the hotels wireless network. And then even after it does, it quite often will not show me the captive portal login page. It is very frustrating. What is your experience with these travel routers you recommend and their ability to play well with hotels captive portal?

February 13, 2020 at 6:50 am

Usually when we have this problem the issue is because the wifi network signal is so weak that even the travel router struggles to connect. However, normally we don’t have any problems with the captive portal – the routers are designed to be able to handle them, and should pass it through to your device so you can login. When you say it won’t show you the captive portal screen, do you mean after you have connected your travel router to the network, and connected your device to the travel router, that it’s just not loading the screen? Does it load anything at all?

If you are consistently having these problems, you might want to reach out to TP-Link for support as it’s possible the router has a fault, or it might need a firmware update.

Hope that helps! Laurence

February 13, 2020 at 10:12 am

>”When you say it won’t show you the captive portal screen, do you mean after you have connected your travel router to the network, and connected your device to the travel router, that it’s just not loading the screen?”

Correct. Most times (not always) the captive portal screen will never display. I repeat the setup process over and over to have the router scan for the hotel’s wifi signal and about half the time after several tries the captive portal login screen might appear.

>”Does it load anything at all?”

When it doesn’t show a screen, usually what happens is a message pops up stating something like “The network you are using may require you to visit it’s login page.” And that’s it. No login page appears.

I am done with this travel router. I’m tossing it. But I don’t want to purchase a different travel router only to have this same problem persist.

February 13, 2020 at 12:03 pm

It sounds like you know what you are doing and have tried a lot of things. Although it can take a little time to get to the captive login screen, you should be able to get there if the signal is strong enough and it is set up, so it is likely a hardware or firmware issue, so our only recommendation would be to ask TP-LInk about the issue and see if they have specific guidance on your model. We have not encountered this issue with the routers we have used.

Tlynnk Post author

July 15, 2020 at 11:06 am

I absolutely HATE my TP Link nano. Thank goodness it was cheap. It’s going straight to the trash. After two years of problems, I give up.

James Post author

January 8, 2020 at 2:45 am

I am using a travel router from one of the top-notch brands but its speed is far below the committed numbers. Which other routers do you suggest which can deliver at par speeds that we get at our homes/ offices? Thanks in advance.

January 8, 2020 at 10:13 am

So we usually find when we travel that the speed of the internet is often slower than at work or home (depending on your home connection speed). When I talk about the speed of the internet, I mean the connection speed that the hotel or guesthouse network offers. If there connection is slow, then the travel router won’t be able to improve upon that.

Most travel routers offer speeds in the region of 300Mbps, which is more than fast enough for streaming even very high definition content, and faster than most networks. So I think that no travel router will really improve that speed so any of them will pretty much give you the same speed. The only option would be to invest in a mobile hotspot, which bypasses the wifi entirely and connects over a 4G network which could deliver faster speeds. If these are available in the country you are traveling in, they can be faster than WiFi in some cases.

If you decide you’d prefer a mobile hotspot, you can read about them more in this article and it includes some of our suggestions if you decide you want to rent or buy a hotspot.

Tony Post author

January 16, 2020 at 11:18 am

My entire career has been designing digital networks all over the world, so I think I can help explain why what you’re asking for is currently impossible. First, don’t confuse network “speed” with network bandwidth. Public WiFi utilizes Broadband technology, which can be best visualized by comparing it to a regular pipe. No available technology can increase the size of a pipe in order to increase the rate of flow. Rather, a bigger pipe must be installed!

Likewise, no current technology can take a Public WiFi with a bandwidth (pipe) of 150mpbs and increase the bandwidth to 300mbps. What the best Travel Routers do is boost and extend a weak network signal into a much stronger network signal, which in turn decreases network latency, which improves the overall quality AND quantity of the flow of digital information to your laptop or tablet.

Steve Post author

January 5, 2020 at 11:37 pm

Everyone should choose a strong router at an affordable price especially while traveling. Many on this list of routers that will be a great choice. I use a TP-link router that is quite good while traveling.

January 6, 2020 at 1:16 pm

Hi Steve, Yes, the TP-Link ones are a great choice and well-priced. They also seem to keep updating the technology in them every couple of years which is good! Best, Jessica

O.G. Post author

September 23, 2019 at 2:33 pm

This was a great informative post about usig the internet during travelling and using travel routers. If you want to use the internet while travelling then you must buy a wireless mobile router because its signal range are large with the secure password nd also send a message to the user if someone try to hack a password, otherwise you feel trouble during travelling! I use them mostly because of the added security as I don’t feel safe using the internet in public places for private things and banking while traveling without having extra security. Thanks.

September 26, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Yes, travel routers are probably primarily used to increase signal strength, but yes, the extra level of security is definitely an additional featured added by travel routers. They can help make public WiFi networks a bit more secure.

Glad our article was helpful to you! Jessica

Brad Post author

September 16, 2019 at 2:34 am

Thanks for bringing our eye on this great device as we all know many hotels out their provides free internet service but the speed is ridiculously slow, show it could be of great use ( but the pricing can be a little lower in my opinion)

September 16, 2019 at 9:35 am

Hi Brad, Yes, a travel router can definitely help if you have a slow (or unsecured) connection at a hotel. If you are looking for the most budget-friendly option, the RAVPower Filehub Tripmate Nano is one to take a look at. Best, Jessica

Kimi Post author

September 11, 2019 at 1:34 am

Routers are great, as you can connect to the internet whenever you want. I mostly use it while I’m out on the beach, to listen to music or to watch some cool videos. But I’m still concerned about the safety and certain restrictions in certain countries, so I also use Nord VPN, so that my holiday would as comfortable as it can be. So, your own router and NordVPN are my best travel buds!

September 11, 2019 at 10:10 am

Hi Kimi, Yes, a VPN can be great, especially if you are traveling in lots of places with unsecure Internet (although a travel router can help secure your connection) and countries with lots of online restrictions. A VPN doesn’t work so great with some travel routers, but it sounds like you have found a good system for you! Best, Jessica

Sam Post author

August 27, 2019 at 9:03 pm

thanks @travelcats for the article. However, I am still a bit on the fence with these devices because I don’t find many hotels that use the Ethernet cable anymore in each room, so if I want to set up my own “room network”, I would need a device that acts as a Hotspot and the models mentioned in the article are Not that. Is this correct? If so, can you recommend some or have you already covered that subject in another article that you can post a link to?

August 28, 2019 at 7:25 am

Yes, so travel router devices can either extend an ethernet network into a WiFi network, or extend a weak WiFi signal into something your devices can connect to. Of course this only works if there is a wifi connection to extend.

If you want to connect when there is no WiFi connection, you would need a mobile hotspot, you can see some options here . Or you can get a device like this Netgear Nighthawk device that can function as both a travel router and mobile hotspot.

For more about mobile hotspots and getting online when traveling, this article may be useful: https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/how-to-get-online-when-travelling-away/

Hope that helps, and let us know if you have further questions!

Bob J Post author

July 8, 2019 at 8:17 pm

Can any of these routers act as a wireless Ethernet bridge? I want to connect net gear router to our resort WiFi and was wondering if a travel router would be reasonably priced way to do that

July 11, 2019 at 2:30 pm

That is a good question. Some of these routers may be able to do that but that is not really what they were designed to do. I would check the specs of the devices and contact the specific manufacturer of the one(s) you are interested in and ask them specifically if they can do this and how you would do this. If not, I would look for a device designed more to do this, I am sure Netgear could recommend one. Best, Jessica

Tex Post author

July 4, 2019 at 12:01 pm

It sounds like you can use either an app or a browser on a laptop to configure the Trek in case it needs a password to connect to the hotel’s wifi, am I understanding that correctly? Because if that is the case, then $35 for a way to boost the WiFi signal is a bargain. So many hotels advertise free WiFi but deliver very slow connections

July 6, 2019 at 2:30 pm

Hi Tex, Yes, that is correct, you can usually use them to get around hotel minimum device issues as well as to boost exisiting WiFi signals. They also add a bit more security. Netgear is not making the Trek any longer so they are hard to find, but you might be able to find one on Amazon or ebay or secondhand. But other routers work in a similar way and they pretty much all do the same thing so you can also check out the other devices. Best, Jessica

Jimmy Chang Post author

July 1, 2019 at 5:42 am

Ravpower Filehub Plus slow down internet speed more than 50% makes it unusable in most case. Although the device’s small size and has it’s own battery is a huge plus. I bought one, really like it, but I return the product due to the internet performance disappointment.

July 1, 2019 at 5:58 pm

Hi Jimmy, Yes there are pros and cons to all of the travel routers. Sorry to hear the Ravpower Filehub Plus was not a good fit for you, but there are several other options out there that you can try. Best, Jessica

Adam Post author

June 9, 2019 at 2:32 am

Alright so this list needs updated badly. No WiFi AC options = bad. Which there are enough of to warrant an update.

June 9, 2019 at 2:08 pm

Thanks for your input! We do keep this list as up to date as we can, and there are not that many travel routers on the market that support this speed.

Some of our recommendations support the 300Mbps speed, and AC is only 433Mps, so the difference is not that great. In addition, in our experience most networks when we travel don’t offer speeds anywhere near close to maxing out even a 150mbps travel router. So there are very few places where you would encounter public Wifi AC at this time, therefore, there is not much of a compelling reason for most people to need this feature.

However, we’ll certainly review the post and update this list to ensure the best options are still represented ????

Beri Post author

May 28, 2019 at 3:46 am

I found a list of some more routers suitable for a VPN setup, have you had any experience with setting it up? I’m subscribed to this VPN but I’m a little uneasy about the technical part of configuring a router.

May 28, 2019 at 11:50 am

Hi Beri, Yes, as you know, not all routers will work with a VPN. But if you have a travel router that does, you will just need to follow the directions of that router to use it. It should work the same as without a VPN unless otherwise indicated. Best, Jessica

Tobias Claren Post author

May 21, 2019 at 4:09 am

Is it possible to use such Wireless Travel Router with a Wifi with voucher code (entry in web browser)?

May 21, 2019 at 5:23 am

Hi Tobias, Yes, it is. Once you have connected the travel router to the network, you should be able to access the voucher page from your device as you normally would. Best, Laurence

John Stafford Post author

May 16, 2019 at 6:43 am

Could you advise how these travel routers deal with the invariable web page sign in that most Hotels require you to fill in before allowing you on their WiFi network?

May 16, 2019 at 7:01 am

Hello John,

All the routers we recommend support the sign-in page that some networks require – they usually just forward it to the device you first access the network from. So say you are using a smartphone, you first connect the travel router to the hotel network using the configuration tool on your smartphone, and then when you try to access the internet, you will be redirected to the web page to sign in.

The advantage of using a travel router is that you should only need to sign in once, then any other devices you connect to your travel router will not need to sign in again. It also carries the advantage that if the hotel restricts access to one device, you can circumvent that as the hotel sees the router as the one device, and you can connect as many of your devices to the router as it supports.

Hope that helps! Jessica & Laurence

Stanley Post author

May 17, 2019 at 8:59 am

I have purchased TP Link Nano and configured to hotel WiFi. Unfortunately, it is not opening up the sign in page automatically. Hence I am not able to use the internet for my devices. What could be the possible reason?

May 17, 2019 at 10:57 am

Hi Stanley,

This can happen sometimes if your device is configured in a certain way, for example if you have a VPN running. If you connect the same device to the hotel wifi directly (without the router), does the login page come up?

Do you have another device you can try? If so, I’d logout and disconnect and try a different device.

The TP Link definitely does support this when you connect a device to it, but specific configurations can cause issues with your client devices. It’s hard to troubleshoot though as there are different possible causes.

Mark Post author

May 12, 2019 at 10:38 pm

Thanks for writing a great article about travel routers! I wish more routers/extenders would include software to function in this way.

Question: I have a particular use-case and I was wondering if any router that you’ve come across has the necessary functionality. Do any of these or any >$100 devices save the credentials of the wireless networks that you have to before and auto connect when they are available?

My wife and I travel to the same places often for work. We used the Airport Express for this for a while but we’re looking for a new solution and Apple has sadly dropped the product(one of the best smart routers out there for a long time).

Also when the local WiFi is slow we use the hotspots on our iPhones/iPad. We even have different mobile providers for different areas so one of us always has signal.

If we always had a common WiFi for all our devices that used the best signal or just auto-joined the hotspot when it was turned on we would be ecstatic!

May 13, 2019 at 8:58 am

Thanks very much!

So in our experience the travel routers we have used for this purpose (originally the Netgear Trek, although this is sadly no longer on sale) did remember the networks it had previously connected to, and would automatically reconnect to these. So we would think this would be standard for most of these. However we aren’t 100% sure as we mostly use the Trek still – the best thing might be to either contact the manufacturer of the one that sounds the best. Or just try the router that has the features you need, and then see if it works. If not, you should be able to return it for a refund.

Sorry we couldn’t be of more help. If you find out more about this in researching these routers, please let us know and we can add that to our article.

Alan Smith Post author

May 9, 2019 at 2:19 am

Thanks for sharing.

May 12, 2019 at 11:44 am

Hi Alan, glad you enjoyed the post. Just let us know if you have any questions about travel routers. Best, Jessica

Emani Post author

April 23, 2019 at 7:07 pm

Since there is no “like” button, I just wanted to quickly leave a comment to say thank you for writing this article because it was extremely helpful to a computer layman like myself. I greatly appreciate it 🙂

April 24, 2019 at 6:55 am

Hi Emani, Glad you found our article helpful, and just let us know if you have any questions about travel routers or what they do. Best, Jessica

Jacqueline Post author

April 21, 2019 at 3:54 pm

Hello I have a quick question I’m just looking for something I can get for my teenaged girls to watch Netflix and play games while on the road we do a lot of traveling and they want to watch movies and play games on there tablet and laptops do u know which router fits my family best thanks for this article by the way

April 22, 2019 at 3:08 am

Hi Jacqueline,

So the main question would be whether or not you need internet access while out and about, or just looking to extend coverage and use multiple devices at hotels etc. A travel router like these in this post can only extend an existing wireless network, so won’t help if you are in a car for example that does not have WiFi access.

If the device is primarily for use in hotels or near existing wireless networks, then any of the devices on this list would be a good fit. I’d recommend looking at the TPlink N300 or the GL iNet AR300.

If you are also looking for WiFi, then in that sort of situation you would want a wireless hotspot type device like the TEP wireless or Glocalme hotspot . You can read more about Internet access solutions while traveling in this article .

Alternatively, if you are traveling domestically, your phone may also allow you to create a wireless hotspot and share the connection with the other devices around you.

The only thing about these options is that it will depend on your daughters usage – streaming movies for example uses quite a lot of data, and most wireless hotspot services tend to restrict speeds after around 1GB of data, which is less than your average film.

Hope that helps, but do let us know if you have further questions! Laurence

Todd Post author

March 23, 2019 at 9:13 am

I just returned my new TP-Link N300 Nano after a couple of very frustrating days trying to connect it to my iPhone 6. Their helpdesk agent was friendly but couldn’t find a solution. I found a resolution in their community forum and flashed new firmware onto the device to solve the issue. Sadly, the router would lock up after a few minutes of use. I let it hang twice before declaring it useless and boxed it back up to send to Amazon.

It’s such a shame because it probably could be a good router. But who can afford to be upgrading software while on the road 🙁

March 23, 2019 at 11:39 am

Hi Todd, Thanks for taking the time to comment. Sorry to hear that this did not work out well for you, although glad you had good customer service experience. I hope you are able to find something that works for you. Best, Jessica

March 2, 2019 at 7:39 pm

Thanks for a great article. I wish I could find a device that does everything the RAVPower FileHub does, along with VPN. I need a router that does wired, wireless bridge, USB port for external HDD, Video streaming, and hopefully VPN. Any suggestions?

March 3, 2019 at 5:37 am

Hi Chris – that would be a great device indeed! We’ve taken a look around though, and we can’t find one that does everything you need – either they have VPN and don’t have file sharing, or vice versa. The best solution we can offer is something like the RAVPower FileHub, with setting up a VPN on your laptop or mobile phone. We know this is an extra step for each device, but right now we don’t know of a product that has all 5 of those features. Hopefully one will be available soon! Best, Jessica

January 31, 2019 at 6:01 am

My company has production plants all over the world. As such, there has been and will continue to be the opportunity for me to spend extended time abroad. This past year alone, I spent four weeks in Italy which is the reason I’m now searching for some sort of wifi booster. The hotels in Italy had wifi that would operate a laptop, iPhone, et cetera, but the signal was not strong/reliable enough to use my Chromecast. This meant I spent a lot of evenings looking at my iPhone 7 to watch Netflix. Not optimal!

What I need to know is will a product like this allow me to stream Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, whatever, to my Chromecast in such an instance? There is a very good chance that I might be spending weeks-on-end abroad again very soon. I would like to be able to address this issue before I leave. Any thoughts on this?

January 31, 2019 at 10:32 am

So this is not a question we can 100% answer. A travel router can boost signal and provide more secure Internet browsing, but it depends ultimately on the speed of the hotel’s connection.

First, the Internet speed in general in the location you are visiting will need to be fast enough to support streaming. It sounds like this has generally been the case in hotels you’ve stayed in, as you were able to stream to your iPhone. In that case, if your iPhone is able to stream across the WiFi, then a travel router should strengthen the signal sufficiently for the Chromecast to also work. However, we can’t guarantee it will work in every instance, so this might not be a guaranteed fix.

If you are able to download any films or TV shows we’d recommend doing this. I know Netflix lets you download some shows to supported devices. You might then be able to stream these more easily.

Alternatively, with something like the RAVPower router we mention, that acts as a streaming hub that your Chromecast should be able to stream from, if you have a hard drive or memory card with some shows on.

We think a travel router should help, but we can’t guarantee it in every situation!

Sajjad Ahmad Post author

January 23, 2019 at 1:17 am

Thanks for sharing this is such a very nice post and review of available travel routers. thanks for spending time on it. i found it very useful.

January 23, 2019 at 2:46 am

Hi Sajjad, You are very welcome and just let us know if you have any questions as you check out the different travel routers. Best, Jessica

Business Traveler Post author

December 13, 2018 at 6:49 am

great article, very helpful as a business traveler!

December 13, 2018 at 7:34 am

Thanks, glad you found it helpful! Just let us know if you have any questions about choosing a travel router. Best, Jessica

Gary Post author

December 2, 2018 at 10:39 pm

This is a very good article and comparison of different travel routers, as so far I’ve read several articles. Thank you!

December 3, 2018 at 6:00 am

Hi Gary, Thanks for taking the time to comment and glad to hear you found our travel route article helpful. Do let us know if you have any questions. Best, Jessica

Shah Post author

September 28, 2018 at 2:03 pm

This was a great informative post you have shared on this page about the internet during travelling and using travel routers. If you want to use the internet while travelling then you must buy a wireless mobile router because its signal range are large with the secure password nd also send a message to the user if someone try to hack a password, otherwise you feel trouble during travelling! Thanks.

September 29, 2018 at 8:05 pm

Hi Shah, Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, and hope you choose the best travel router for you. Wireless routers can definitely help you get online while traveling and also help keep you more secure when away from home! Best, Jessica

Bella Johsan Post author

September 28, 2018 at 2:05 am

Many wireless routers available in the market which is helpful during the travel like np15 and so many. We always want a good speed router during our travels, regarding best router I found this post really helpful.

September 29, 2018 at 7:01 am

Hi Bella, Glad you found this helpful in choosing a travel router and wishing you the best on your future travels! Best, Jessica

Sam Billings Post author

September 6, 2018 at 12:00 am

Netgear Trek is a small router for those travel a lot or whose work is to travel. This device is easy to handle and it does not need a lot of space. I really like it!

September 6, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Hi Sam, Yes, we like the Netgear Trek as well and it is a great size for travel. It is just a shame that Netgear stopped making them now. I am hoping that will come out with an updated or new travel router product that is similar to that one. Best, Jessica

pamela Post author

September 4, 2018 at 10:02 pm

TP-Link Nano travel routers N150 and N300 are so aesthetically pleasing. I have N150 and don’t have anything bad to say about it, except the price could be lower. Btw, I use Nordvpn with it, and I’d say it’s a perfect match.

September 5, 2018 at 4:06 am

Hi Pamela, Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and for your experience with the N150 travel router. Glad that you have had a good experience with it. We recommend NordVPN as well for those that need a VPN service. Best, Jessica

Jean Post author

August 11, 2018 at 3:07 pm

Hi. I’m looking into purchasing the TP-Link N300 Nano Travel Router to use at a lakeside resort. The lodge at the resort has free wi-fi but the nearby cottages do not. They last time we were there, we were able to pick up in our cottage a weak signal from the lodge. Would the TP-Link N300 Nano server to strengthen that signal. We use Mac laptops, if that matters. Obviously, we don’t know much about travel routers. Any information you can provide will be very helpful. THANKS!

August 13, 2018 at 12:53 am

Hi Jean, Yes, that is the sort of situation that the router is designed for and it should strengthen your signal and make it stronger than what it would be with only your laptops. It may not be a “strong” connection, but it should certainly be stronger. As long as you have relatively recent model laptop (last several years) most routers will work fine with most modern laptops, tablets, and phones. Wishing you a wonderful vacation at the lake! Best, Jessica

Stive Smith Post author

July 27, 2018 at 4:42 am

What a helpful technical post on travel routers! I think Wireless Router is the best one to achieve uninterrupted WiFi while blogging. I had some issues with my router which I was unable to fix on my own. Then, I got Netgear Support which was truly helpful in fixing all my router issues.

July 27, 2018 at 4:44 am

Hi Stive, So glad you found our travel routers post helpful. And yes, if you need help with a Netgear product, Netgear Support is a great place to get help with your travel router! Best, Jessica

Christina Post author

January 19, 2017 at 11:13 am

It’s nice to have WiFI while traveling and I appreciate the design and functional features of the device. The Netgear Trek’s initial function, increasing the range of existing wireless networks, sounds great.

January 20, 2017 at 3:19 am

Hi Christina, Yes, we still take the Netgear Trek travel router with us on most of our travels as it often comes in handy when we need to connect while on the road. Just let us know if you have any specific questions about the device that are not answered in the review. Best, Jessica

January 13, 2017 at 9:47 am

It’s nice that the included antenna can amplify the weak signal. Many people would find this product useful.

Harry Post author

January 3, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Thanks for the response. I”m back at home now but will try this at the next hotel. Great review. If this pans out, this truly is something that has been needed for quite a while and it will become my “go-to” solution when traveling.

travelcats Post author

January 3, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Hi Harry, We find that sometimes it does take a bit of patience and fiddling but we have been successful in using it as we described. Best of luck and please let us know how it works on your next trip! Best, Jessica & Laurence

December 30, 2016 at 9:34 am

I was led to understand the netgear N300 would allow you to use the hotel “captive portal” wifi with multiple devices. It doesn’t look like that is the case as your commenter above states. I see no option in the http://www.routerlogin.net netgear page for this to happen. It requires you to put in an ssid for the hotel network and a password. The problem is, with “captive portal” pages, there is no “password”. They ask for your room number and you to accept the user agreement.

What is needed is to be able to sign in to the netgear n300 and then open a browser and try to get on the internet and then the hotel page pops up and you enter your room number and any other required info and you are on the web.

I don’t see that capability in the netgear N300

Also, I think you may need the ability to “clone” the mac address of your laptop so your mac address isn’t always telling the hotel that you are probably using a “router” type device to get around their “one or two device” rules. If the mac address says “I’m a netgear router”, it would be easy for the hotel to not allow such mac addresses.

December 31, 2016 at 3:07 am

Hi Harry, In our experience the N300 router has allowed us to do this. You can enter the hotel SSID without a password, and then the router will forward your browser to the hotel page to log in, after which point you can browse with multiple devices. We’ve definitely used it in this situation and not had any problems at several hotels.

For the MAC address spoofing, we’ve never encountered a hotel set up intelligent enough to do this, and we suspect we never will – the effort to do so isn’t really worth the rewards we suspect.

Hope this helps, and I would message or call Netgear Support if you are having further difficulties. Best, Jessica

John-Paul Post author

October 12, 2016 at 3:24 pm

NetGear has been horrible in trying to answer my question.

I was told that I can connect in places like Starbucks that require me to click on ACCEPT their terms or a location like a hotel that might require me to enter other information on a log in screen.

I have not been able to make that happen. I select the network (such as Starbucks) and the system spins for a couple minutes and then says it can’t connect. It doesn’t take me to the needed screen to accept terms.

Is the function I want available and, if so, how is it supposed to work.

October 12, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Hi John-Paul, I am sorry to hear you have not had a great response to your question from Netgear. Um, have you gotten the Netgear to first work at your home? We were normally able to connect in public places, and have used it in hotels and coffee shops. It should first connect to the Netgear and then you should be able to then sign into the store or public screen wi-fi. Are you able to sign into the public wifi screen once you turn of the Netgear Trek? ~ Jessica

October 12, 2016 at 8:10 pm

No trouble logging on to NetGear at home and retransmitting my home network.

I was at a hospital with a public network. I was able to log on to their network (after accepting their terms on a pop up page) on both my computer and my iphone. However, when I selected the hospital network in the NetGear menu it tried to connect a couple of times but said they could not connect. It never gave me the sign on screen from the hospital.

So. The normal process should be

1) Connect my laptop to the NetGear network created by my device. 2) Go through the netgear menu and select the desired network from the available list. 3) Hit the Go/Enter/Next button (don’t remember which it’s called) 4) Any signon screen from the network should automatically come up??

It’s step 4 that isn’t happening

October 12, 2016 at 8:45 pm

Hi John-Paul, Yes, it sounds like you are doing it correctly. I don’t know what may be happening – it could be something to do with the hospital network in combo with the Netgear. But if you have had this problem at other places, it is probably the Netgear. Have you had it working in any public places you have tried? If contacting Netgear support isn’t working the best, you might try contacting them via social media such as sending them a Tweet (@Netgear) and feel free to tag me on it (@TravelCatsBlog) and I can monitor to make sure you get a reply. Sorry I can’t be more helpful but I hope Netgear can help you out. Best, Jessica

October 13, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Good news. I finally got it to work.

I’m very happy as now that we are retired this is going to be extremely useful in all the timeshares we stay in.

October 13, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Great, glad you got the Netgear Trek working! ~ Jessica

Mary Tarris Post author

February 22, 2016 at 4:38 pm

I use it to bring wifi to my laptop in various parts of the house from my desk, where it sits cabled to a broadband modem that itself is cabled to the internet. The big problem is that very often it shows up as not connected to the internet, although I can usually get it to function OK after turning various bits of kit off and then on again. Has anyone else had this hassle?.

February 24, 2016 at 4:34 am

Hi Mary, We have generally not used the device on a daily basis, but we have had issues where it disconnects itself and we have to reconnect the connection to get it rebooted. Another issues may be that since you may be in areas of the desk where there is a weak connection, it may be losing the wifi signal at times. I am not sure if there is anything you can do other than what you are doing. Anyone else have advice? ~ Jessica

Gary Jackson Post author

February 4, 2016 at 3:24 am

I am also using NETGEAR TREK since December 14. It helps me to connect multiple devices and let me do my work on the fourth flour. Its an excellent device!

February 6, 2016 at 11:04 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Netgear Trek. I am glad that you have found it helpful!

Gil Hale Post author

October 21, 2015 at 1:02 am

We have begun to use a DropCam camera (now a Nest product) as in some hotels we have had some items taken from our room (not Marriott). But, I found the DropCam would not connect directly to the Marriott provided WiFi in our room. I tried to use our iPad as a hotspot, but the connection was not reliable. I ended up investing in a Netgear Trek N300 WiFi router and was able to log that unit onto the Marriott WiFi with no problems, then connect our devices to the N300. Perfect…

October 24, 2015 at 6:58 am

Hi Gil, Sorry to hear about the taken items, but I am glad that you have found the Netgear Wifi router helpful during your travels! We are actually using it right now in Rome!! ~Jessica

Tom Post author

August 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm

I’ve had spotty results with the Netgear Trek. The Internet connection is flaky and it resets itself a few times each day, even when it seems to pick up a strong signal from a hotel or RV park. Did you run into that problem, too?

August 11, 2015 at 11:59 am

Hi Tom, We have not experienced the flakiness so much but we have had it reset when we have it on for a long time, but not quite that often. Maybe contact Netgear and see if they have any tips? ~Jessica

July 13, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Great review! I, too, am in the market for a travel router. Thus, I have a question: Can this be powered via a USB-powered port on my laptop or by A/C only?

July 13, 2015 at 8:27 pm

Hi Todd, thanks! Yes, you can power this via a plugged in USB cable or via the AC cord. If you use the Netgear Trek, please feel free to share your experience!

Adelina Post author

February 26, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Interesting. I’ve thought of maybe getting one of these for my own home! There are corners that just have such weak connections. It does seem a bit bulky though to be carrying it when traveling. How heavy is it?

March 4, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Hi Adelina, yes we use it both at home to extend our wifi to our patio and also sometimes while traveling. Here are the size and weight specs from the Netgear website:

Dimensions: 3.39 in x 3.31 in x 1.30 in (86.5 mm x 86.2 mm x 32 mm) Net Weight: 0.355 lb (161 g).

So it is fairly compact and not that heavy but if you are like me, every little bit can matter when trying to squeeze more things into one’s luggage so we generally just travel with it when we know we’ll be experiencing bad wi-fi. Hope that helps and feel free to ask more questions if you are deciding to buy.

Marisol@TravelingSolemates Post author

February 23, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Thanks for the review. I’ll definitely look into it. It really is frustrating if the signal is slow. . I’ll be willing to carry extra weight if it would boost connection,.

March 9, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Yes, just let me know if you have any questions about the Netgear trek Marisol!

Em... Post author

February 23, 2015 at 11:35 am

Gone are the days of combing an area for a dodgy internet cafe in order to e-mail friends and family about travels. Now you can use gadgets like this and blog away… Big innovations in just even a decade!

March 9, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Isn’t it amazing how fast Internet availability and speeds have changed in just the past 5-7 years!

Jess Post author

February 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm

My greatest frustration when traveling is places that advertise wifi when it’s too slow or unreliable to be usable – I’m fine when they just don’t have it, but I hate spending so much time trying to make it work. I think I could use one of these.

March 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Hi Jess, yes I agree. Better to not advertise Internet than to have Internet that is impossible to use:) This can help when there are weak signals.

Corinne Post author

February 22, 2015 at 3:38 am

Great review…as we all know living without good Internet is a killer!

March 9, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Indeed Corinne:)

Lyn (aka) The Travelling Lindfields Post author

February 22, 2015 at 1:47 am

This sounds like a very useful device for people who need the internet when they travel.

March 9, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Indeed, we find it both useful for home and for traveling!

Paula McInerney Post author

February 22, 2015 at 1:21 am

Interesting, We use netgear at home and love it. Gordon will look into this.

March 9, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Great, and just let me know if you or Gordon have any questions!

Leah | KidBucketList Post author

February 21, 2015 at 11:32 pm

I love the idea of SECURE access to public hotspots when travelling. My only concern is it’s size. It seems so big!

March 9, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Yes, it is also a pro and con when adding something extra to one’s luggage. Here are the size and weight specs from the Netgear website:

AwesomelyOZ Post author

February 19, 2015 at 9:11 pm

That’s very cool – I haven’t used this but it’s good to know it’s a reliable product. My mobile phone is a hotspot so if anything, we can connect multiple devices to it as well. It’s REALLY handy to have that functionality because it also doesn’t require any extra gear, just my phone. 🙂 Have a great one Jessica! -Iva 🙂

February 20, 2015 at 8:44 am

That sounds great and I wish I could use my cell phone as a hotspot, but it is quite expensive. Mobile hotspots are definitely very cool. The great thing about the Trek is that it is a very low cost option ($35 one time cost) for locations that have WiFi (or Ethernet) and you’d just like to make a stronger, safer, and more reliable connection.

Anda Post author

February 19, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Looks like an excellent device, I’ll be glad to look into it. The only downside is that you still need to carry a router from what I understand, which is an extra weight in the luggage…

February 20, 2015 at 8:42 am

Hi Anda, yes the Netgear Trek is a very neat device. It is pretty compact, but you do need to have the device with you to connect and increase the wifi range so it is going to take up some precious luggage space unfortunately.


February 19, 2015 at 5:39 am

i was very interested in your take on this product. However I use an android tab when i travel and there was no mention made of that possibility in the specs. I research further and found that is does work with android and ios operating systems too. I am seriously looking at purchase. Thanks for bringing this device to our attention!

February 19, 2015 at 9:14 am

Yes, for some reason Netgear does not list it under the written system requirements, but the Netgear Trek works well with our Android phones and devices. Let us know if you have any other questions! ~ Jessica

February 18, 2015 at 7:52 pm

It sounds like you can use either an app or a browser on a laptop to configure the Trek in case it needs a password to connect to the hotel’s wifi, am I understanding that correctly? Because if that is the case, then $35 for a way to boost the WiFi signal is a bargain. So many hotels advertise free WiFi but deliver very slow connections.

Thanks for a great review!

February 19, 2015 at 9:09 am

Yes, that is correct. Similar to going to a coffee shop, it will bring up the Netgear page and you will choose the network you want and then connect to it as needed (if there is a password or something to click). Yes, we think the $35 is a very good value which is why Laurence bought his own so we now own two of the devices:)

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of replies to my comment (just replies to your comment, no other e-mails, we promise!)

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter where we share our latest travel news and tips

We only ask for your e-mail so we can verify you are human and if requested notify you of a reply. To do this, we store the data as outlined in our privacy policy . Your e-mail will not be published or used for any other reason other than those outlined above.

What Is A Travel Router

What is a Travel Router, Types, and How Do They Work?

Are you traveling soon with an insane volume of office work breathing down your neck? If yes, you might want to throw yet another gadget into your backpack before heading out. Yes, you guessed it right, a portable travel router.

Portable, sleek, and multi-faceted! This is what a travel router feels like. But what exactly is it, from a technical perspective? Well, it isn’t anything complicated but a more compact version of a standard router.

It still does the same job of connecting multiple devices to the network or internet, depending on availability. Now that you know a bit about travel routers , here are some of the important features to look for, before you can consider investing in one:

  • Sleek form factor
  • Battery-run setup
  • Adequate number of ethernet ports
  • Latest wireless standard
  • MU-MIMO support
  • Proper ventilation
  • VPN support
  • SIM-card support
  • Customizability

While the list continues to grow, these are some of the vital traits that you must look for in a travel router, provided you want it to cover every base and manage every form of professional workload.

Table of Contents

1. Repeaters

2. access points, 3. sim-based routers, 5. client mode routers, pros & cons of a travel router, different types of travel routers / networking devices.

The type of travel networking device you want to purchase depends on several factors, including the nature of your work, the number of devices you want to connect, availability of the internet at a given location, the number of non-wireless products around, nature of the primary internet supplying device, and even the security safeguards you prefer.

Depending on these requirements, here are the travel routers that need to be considered:


If you have a steady wireless connection around and you simply want to bring it straight to your devices, a repeater or a portable Wi-Fi extender seems like a good choice. Purchasing this form of the router makes sense if you want something for your office or home but do not want to allocate a lot of space to place a full-fledged extender.

Access Point

Some travel routers need to have several ethernet ports, preferably WAN, for them to haul internet from non-wireless devices, like modems. Therefore, if you are moving to a place at only has active internet for basic tasks, a travel router capable of working in the AP mode can help you pull internet connectivity for your smart devices.

SIM Based Router

Can travel routers work if the place you are heading towards doesn’t have a dedicated internet connection in the first place? Well, it still can if your travel router has a SIM card slot to make use of the 4G LTE connection, thereby working as a portable hotspot of sorts.


If you want to connect multiple networks together, especially to get hold of a completely separate and secure network for your devices to work with, you are better off investing in a bridge-like travel router.

Client Mode Router

In case you only have non-wireless devices around or a laptop with a broken wireless adapter, you would want a travel router that can work in the client mode, courtesy of the multiple ethernet ports for each.

In addition to these variants, you can even consider investing in single and dual-band travel routers, completely wireless routers with battery backup, and other models, based on individual preferences.

You can even select routers based on the wireless standard. While a Wi-Fi 6 router is always the best option, Wi-Fi 5 devices aren’t bad either. Still, if you just want to focus more on the coverage and less on speeds, Wi-Fi 4 or 802.11n routers can be considered. 

Finally, it is important for the travel routers to be flexible when it comes to the power source. While most routers still come with adapters, you can even opt for battery-run ones or devices with PoE or Power-over-Ethernet functionality.

How do Travel Routers Work?

Travel routers, inherently, have the same skill sets as traditional routers. However, they are just way more portable and exceptionally good at connecting to existing public wireless networks and eventually extending the same to smart and non-wireless devices.

Depending on the type of router you purchase, you can either:

  • Extend the existing public Wi-Fi network as a private network
  • Bridge the same for getting hold of a newer network
  • Connect to non-wireless devices
  • Connect directly to the public wireless device as an access point.

Also, once you have a travel router with you, your devices need not establish a direct connection with the main internet source, thereby saving you a lot of time and effort.

Your router becomes the hub, which then secures the network and even allows the connected devices to share data between them, in case the router has NAS functionality in the first place.

Certain devices, mostly with OpenWRT firmware , offer VPN integrations and a wide range of other open-source functionalities that allow you to secure the device further.

  • Ability to add multiple devices to a single routing setup
  • Secure private network
  • Portability
  • Ability to stay even more secure over hotel networks with VPN support
  • Some travel routers even offer WPA2 encryption 
  • Can support both wired and wireless connectivity
  • Some routers allow data sharing over networks
  • Can work as a wireless extender when at home
  • The external power supply can be a bottleneck
  • Coverage can be an issue at times
  • Single-band routers compromise on near band throughput
  • Not all come with app support
  • Not meant for gaming and 4K streaming

Now that you know a fair bit about travel routers, you need to ask yourself a simple question, i.e., Are travel routers cut out for you?

Well, if you are a professional who needs to work even while traveling, a travel router is a necessary investment. They let you connect several devices to the internet with ease and even let you extend the internet at home.

Regardless of whether you need one or not, it is still better to keep an updated one handy to ensure that you never run out of internet, even while traveling to the remotest of places.

Chris Gustafson

Chris loves technology, specifically smart home technology! With both hands-on and executive leadership experience in his corporate career, Chris stays abreast of emerging technology and solutions and immerses himself in BCCA when not in the office.


  • Mobile WiFi
  • WiFi Routers
  • WiFi Extenders
  • Home Network

Best Portable WiFi Options for Travelers 2024

NETGEAR Logo White Black Background


In the past, people travelling with laptops and tablets relied on public WiFi hotspots and smartphones for internet access, but there is a better way. A portable WiFi hotspot, such as the NETGEAR Nighthawk M6 or M6 Pro, can deliver unsurpassed travel router speeds, adaptability, and security for all your WiFi-enabled devices.


What makes a Portable WiFi Hotspot the Right Option?

Use cases for portable wifi routers for travel, how do portable wifi hotspot devices work, benefits of 5g mmwave technology, reasons to choose a nighthawk mobile hotspot, nighthawk m6 and m6 pro for travelers.

Although a portable WiFi hotspot can be suitable for home internet connections, most people use them when away from home. Portable WiFi hotspots provide on-the-go mobile WiFi flexibility with unlimited or prepaid plans, making them ideal for local and international travel for business or leisure. All you need is access to an cellular internet service provider (ISP) for a WiFi connection that can provide complete peace of mind wherever your travels take you. The best NETGEAR portable WiFi systems of today are as capable as their contemporary wired networks and WiFi router.

  • • Portable WiFi for Work Travel: Stay connected and boost productivity with portable WiFi on business trips, ensuring seamless access to cloud services, video conferencing, and secure file sharing anywhere you go. Even share your WiFi connection with travel companions, or even a conference room.

how does travel wifi router work

  • • WiFi for Camping and Outdoors: Keep your devices connected to the internet even in the heart of nature, allowing for GPS navigation, weather updates, and emergency access while enjoying the great outdoors.
  • • Portable WiFi for Field Reps & Job Site access: Enable instant data reporting, access to construction plans, or customer information for field representatives and construction sites, ensuring efficient workflow and client communication.
  • • Portable WiFi for Family Hotels: Make travel with family smoother and secure with a portable WiFi router, offering entertainment on the go and easy planning for your next adventure, from booking to navigation.
  • • Portable WiFi Airbnb & Vacation Rentals: Enhance your vacation rental experience with your own secure WiFi network, guaranteeing high-speed internet access for streaming, remote work, or online gaming, and avoiding the pitfalls of shared connections.

The most advanced NETGEAR portable WiFi hotspot devices connect to the 5G network. These dedicated mobile hotspot routers provide a secure WiFi network on par with the best home WiFi systems. They avoid the risk of security breaches associated with public WiFi hotspots in libraries, airports, and other locations where people gather in large numbers. NETGEAR Nighthawk M6, M6 Pro, and earlier Nighthawk M1 4G LTE hotspot routers are powerful enough to stream your favorite shows and stay in touch with family and friends from the comfort of your Airbnb or hotel accommodations.

how does travel wifi router work

  • • Mobile WiFi router data plans – Unlimited data would be best
  • • Service or wireless network availability in your expected travel area
  • • The number of connected devices
  • • 4G and 5G network capabilities
  • • Battery life of the WiFi hotspot device – do you need an extra battery?
  • • Additional features needed such as Ethernet ports and USB ports
  • • Wireless carrier limitations

how does travel wifi router work

Nighthawk M6 and M6 Pro mobile hotspots offer multi-gigabit speeds and low latency even in crowded WiFi areas. Nighthawk hotspots are the ideal companion while on the road. Here are 11 good reasons to choose a Nighthawk 5G mobile hotspot for your next journey.

  • 1. WiFi 6/6E 24/7 mobile connectivity at the resort, Airbnb, or while on the road.
  • 2. International roaming for streaming, conferencing, working, or posting on social media.
  • 3. mmWave cellular technology and Ultra-fast WiFi in over 125 countries. (M6 Pro)
  • 4. 5G mobile security to protect sensitive data and files.
  • 5. Adaptable performance modes with seamless connectivity at home and while away.
  • 6. Extended WiFi range and coverage with the optional omnidirectional 5G MIMO external antenna.
  • 7. More options for wireless or wired connections with high-speed USB and 2.5gb Ethernet ports.
  • 8. Unlocked Flexibility that gives you the freedom to select the carrier of your choice.
  • 9. Suit your specific needs with a prepaid SIM card or mobile hotspot data plan.
  • 10. Choose a preferred carrier such as AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon.
  • 11. Highest Performance Capabilities to deliver powerful and secure WiFi every time.

Nighthawk M6 Pro 5G mmWave WiFi 6E Mobile Hotspot 5G Router

how does travel wifi router work

Nighthawk M6 5G WiFi 6 Mobile Hotspot 5G Router

how does travel wifi router work

NETGEAR portable WiFi for travelers is as fast and powerful as most home router systems. With the M6 and M6 Pro, you can connect to dozens of WiFi devices simultaneously on the 4G LTE, 5Ghz, and 6GHz wireless networks. NETGEAR hotspot routers are for people who enjoy ultimate comfort and network connectivity wherever, whenever.

Related Stories

how does travel wifi router work

Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Routers Compared

how does travel wifi router work

Give the Gift of Unstoppable Mobile WiFi Performance With NETGEAR Nighthawk M6 Pro and M6

how does travel wifi router work

5G mmWave: Delivers Low Latency for Enhanced Performance

Digital Advisor

Best Travel Routers – 2023 Round-up


Digital Advisor is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

If you’ve ever found yourself using the free wifi at a coffee shop or logging into the connection at a hotel and wondered about how secure the connection is, you’re not alone.

These days, you can’t be too careful. That’s why having a travel router is essential for anyone who spends a lot of time online while away from home.

At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Travel Routers

  • RUNNER-UP: GL.iNet GL-AR750
  • GL.iNet GL-AR300M16 Portable Router

Comparison of the Best Travel Routers

What to look for when buying a travel router.

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a travel router. Here are a few things to consider.

When it comes to the internet, speed is important. When you’re traveling, there’s a good chance you want to be able to stream movies or music, so you need a fast connection. Look at the specs of the router you’re considering and make sure it’s capable of doing what you need it to do.

how does travel wifi router work

  • External power supply
  • Pocket-sized for portability
  • 300 Mbps wifi speed, 2.4GHz band
  • 2-year warranty, 24/7 tech support
  • JD Power Award for customer satisfaction
  • Difficult to configure
  • May not reach promised speeds

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users report that this router is effective and does what it promises. A lot of people mention they use this when traveling for work and that it works great in hotel rooms. That said, a few people - even those who claim to do IT for a living - had a difficult time configuring it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love how quickly you can use this router to set up a portable hotspot that you can share with family and friends. In addition to having multiple modes, it’s also fast enough to work with streaming video, including from a Chromecast or Amazon Fire Stick. The security encryption is great, too, so you can rest assured that your data is protected.

It’s a travel router, so it’s going to be small, but we still love how easily it slips into your backpack or purse. This router also comes with a lot of useful accessories, including a power adapter, nano router, Ethernet cable, USB cable, resource CD, and installation guide.

Bottom Line

This is a great choice if you’re looking for a travel router that’s convenient enough to fit in your pocket. It has multiple modes, advanced encryption security, and is covered by a two-year warranty.

Runner-up: GL.iNet GL-AR750

  • 1-year warranty
  • Compatible with 3G/4G USB modems
  • OpenVPN and WireGuard pre-installed
  • Dual-band router with wireless speeds up to 300 Mbps
  • 3 Ethernet ports, 128 MB RAM, USB port, and MicroSD slot
  • Setup can be tricky
  • Cannot handle too many devices at the same time

For the most part, people are pretty happy with this router. Setup can be a bit of a headache, but once it's up and running, users were satisfied. That said, there were a few complaints about service cutting out or slowing down when too many devices were connected.

This router converts either wired or wireless networks into a secure wifi signal that you can share with your friends and family. OpenVPN supports more than 20 service providers, and it has impressive data encryption so you can feel comfortable about your data and security.

We were impressed by this router’s external storage. It supports microSD up to 120GB and has 128MB of RAM and a 16MB Flash. There are three Ethernet ports, too, so you can attach multiple devices.

Another great thing about this router is that it can use a laptop or power bank as the power supply, a great feature to have when traveling.

This programmable router is a good choice for someone who wants something they can customize. With three Ethernet ports and a flexible power supply, this router is an ideal travel companion.

Best for the Money: GL.iNet GL-AR300M16 Portable Router

GL.iNet GL-AR300M16 Portable Router

  • Affordable choice
  • Has 4 modes
  • 300 Mbps data transfer speed
  • Larger storage capacity
  • Supports over 30 or more VPN providers
  • Has only 2 Ethernet ports
  • Compatibility issues at first setup
  • Lesser-known manufacturer

According to recent buyers, the GL.iNet GL-AR300M16 Portable Router is one of the best travel routers in the market, and it can handle anything you throw at it. With 4 modes – Router, Repeater, HotSpot, and AP plus two Ethernet ports, this little device will keep you connected no matter where you are.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The GL.iNet’s GL-AR300M16 Portable Router boasts whopping data transfer speeds of up to 300 Mbps, which is an incredible feat for a travel pocket router with such as compact size.

This tiny powerhouse unit comes with a larger storage capacity of 128 MB RAM, making it perfect for busy households, dynamic travel vloggers, researchers, or small businesses. 

In addition, it supports over 30 VPN providers so that you can keep your browsing and streaming habits totally private. Whether you’re at home or outside, this router delivers anywhere you go.

This portable router is for anyone who wants a combination of affordability and high-quality performance. While a lesser-known manufacturer makes the GL-AR300M16, it's still one of the best travel routers on the market today for users who want to stay connected all the time.

Upgrade to the GL-AR300M16 to enjoy faster speeds plus more extensive and more reliable storage capacity. This router is tailored for professionals, small businesses, and travel vloggers who are always moving around and require a stable internet connection anytime and anywhere.

Best Travel Router for Hotels: TP-Link TL-WR902AC

  • 2-year warranty
  • 750 Mbps data transfer rate
  • Unlimited 24/7 tech support
  • Uses a micro USB adapter to charge
  • Dual-band wifi for a reliable, fast connection
  • Tricky to set up
  • Poor instructions

For the most part, people are really happy with this product. The signal is great, and the speed is impressive. There were some mentions that the device didn’t work as a repeater as well as people had hoped. Some people also felt it was a little tricky to set up and that tech support wasn’t very helpful.

The small size and mini USB power supply are convenient and ideal for travel. It uses the fastest wifi technology which makes it a great choice for streaming and running multiple applications at the same time.

We also like that this router can work as a portable charger, splitting power so it’s easy to recharge multiple devices while on the go. It has multiple modes and functions as a range extender, access point hotspot, and, of course, a router.

It’s also covered by a two-year warranty, which is a good sign that the company is willing to stand behind its product.

Here’s another great option if you’re looking for something multifunctional, which is a safe bet when you’re traveling. It has multiple modes and works fast and reliably. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a two-year warranty.

Best Wireless Travel Router: GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2

  • Works as a WiFi hotspot
  • Compatible with 3G/4G modems
  • Open source and programmable for versatility
  • Pre-installed OpenVPN client compatible with more than 30 VPN providers
  • Open VPN unreliable
  • Unreliable customer service

A lot of people were honestly surprised by how well this product worked, especially considering how affordable it is. Setup is easy and most people agreed that it performs reliably. Others mentioned that it worked great for a while but didn’t have the longevity they were hoping for.

The thing that stood out to us the most about this product is the price tag. It’s extremely affordable, and better yet, it works. Since it has OpenVPN and Wireguard, it supports more than 30 popular OpenVPN service providers, making set up pretty easy.

This product is small, lightweight, and easy to use. You can connect it to public Ethernet, an existing wireless network, or an access point. It’s open-source and programmable so you can tweak it if you have some IT skills. Plus, it’s covered by a one-year warranty.

If you’re looking for a device that’s affordable and has all the basic features you’re looking for, this is a great product to try. We love that it’s open-source and programmable but also easy to set up at the same time.

Best Travel Router for Chromecast: TP-Link N300 Portable Router

TP-Link N300 Portable Router

  • Budget-friendly option
  • Supports a wide range of OS
  • Chromecast-enabled unit
  • Swift data transmission speeds
  • Check device compatibility before buying
  • Has only 1 Ethernet port
  • Plenty of used items on sale

A consumer reported that this is a very versatile travel router. The device is so tiny that it can be packed away when not in use. It has an easy-to-use software program for switching between modes of operation, making this product perfect for traveling.

The TP-Link’s N300 Router is an excellent budget-friendly option for various users such as students, educators, professionals, and mobile gamers working within a target budget.

This device has incredible versatility as it can support a wide range of operating systems such as Linux, Windows, Mac, and UNIX, making it great for both personal and business use.

Additionally, it’s Chromecast-enabled, making it easy to stream from your smartphone to larger LED television screens for your favorite movies at home or professional presentations at work.

This tiny router is perfect for people on the go. It has a 2-year warranty and has only one Ethernet port, so you can be sure it will last. Whether you're using it at home or on the road, this router is an excellent option for anyone who needs internet access anytime and anywhere.

The TP-Link N300 Router is Chromecast-enabled, making it easy to stream your favorite shows and movies without any frustrating buffering delays. On the other hand, it is vital to check the portable travel router’s compatibility with your current devices before you buy.

What is a Travel Router?

A travel router is just like the router you use at home, only it’s smaller and meant to be taken with you for convenience. Instead of using the internet coming into your home from your internet service provider, a travel router is meant to use public wifi, providing you with an extra layer of security.

There are a lot of options for travel routers out there. Some perform the basic functions of a router while others are multifunctional and can come in handy while you travel.

how does travel wifi router work

When the tech company I worked for restructured and I ended up jobless, I decided to put the wealth of knowledge and management skills to use somewhere new. I’d checked out a few buyer’s guides on the site in the past and reached out to the previous owner. A few months later, here we are. Now, I get to be behind the scenes, helping people find the best tech.

  • Get One: Tornado Alert Apps
  • The Best Tech Gifts Under $100

The Best Wireless Travel Routers of 2024

Pocket routers for Wi-Fi networking on the road

how does travel wifi router work

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .

  • The Ultimate Router Buying Guide

Frequent travelers battling poor cell service, dubious security, and excessive hotel and airport Wi-Fi fees can benefit from a good travel router when working away from home.

The best wireless travel routers avoid these hassles by letting you set up a private bubble of Wi-Fi anywhere you happen to land, whether in a conference center, hotel room, or airport lounge. 

Most people should buy the TP-Link TL-WR902AC  - it's small enough to chuck in a backpack and can even double as a Wi-Fi range extender. If you also want a cellular connection as backup, the Netgear Nighthawk M1 is for you, as it doubles as a mobile hotspot for your hotel room or car.

What to Look For in a Travel Router

Best overall, tp-link tl-wr902ac travel router.


Compact size is ideal for frequent travelers

Doubles as a Wi-Fi extender

Included cables are short

TP-Link's TL-WR902AC is one of the fastest travel routers we've seen, which is especially impressive at this size and price. Measuring 2.64 x 2.91 x 0.9 inches and weighing in at only 8 ounces, it's small enough to carry in a pocket, briefcase, or backpack, so you'll be ready to set up your own Wi-Fi bubble anywhere.

For such a small device, the TL-WR902AC offers impressive dual-band Wi-Fi performance. It's also really versatile since it can be not only be used as a router or access point to create a wireless network but also as a range extender, private Wi-Fi hotspot, or even as a bridge to connect a wired device to a Wi-Fi network by using its built-in Ethernet port in the opposite direction. 

A built-in USB port lets you share files and media from a removable USB storage device, and it can also provide up to 2A of passthrough power to charge your smartphone or tablet. The only real downside is that the port layout can be awkward since the USB and micro USB power ports are on the opposite side of the Ethernet port. 

Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: WPA2 | Standard/Speed: AC750 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: No | Beamforming: No | Wired Ports: 1

Best Splurge

Netgear nighthawk m1.

Great choice for heavy internet users

Supports up to 20 Wi-Fi devices at once

Long battery life

Doubles as a mobile hotspot

Very expensive

Can occasionally overheat

While it's not the most affordable option on our list, it's well worth the splurge if you need to get several devices onto the internet anywhere at blazing-fast speeds.

With support for up to 20 simultaneous devices, Netgear's Nighthawk MR1100 can quickly handle your whole family or project team, and unlike most travel routers on this list, the one works as a 4G LTE mobile hotspot too. This means you'll be able to connect to its Wi-Fi network and get online even when there's no other Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection. It's also the first mobile hotspot to support Gigabit LTE , with 4X4 MIMO and four-band Carrier Aggregation. Hence, it can provide internet speeds rivaling your home broadband connection.

It's not just about LTE, though—the MR1100 also works as a traditional portable router. Just plug a standard internet connection into the Ethernet port to share access to your Wi-Fi devices. A large 2.4-inch color LCD screen also ensures that you can keep track of the router's status and how much data you're using. The rechargeable battery can keep you going for up to 24 hours before you need to charge it, and in a pinch, you can also use some of that capacity to charge your smartphone or other mobile devices. 

Wireless Spec: 802.11ac / 4G LTE | Security: WPA2 | Standard/Speed: AC750 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: No | Beamforming: No | Wired Ports: 1 

TP-Link TL-WR802N N300 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router

Fast single-band Wi-Fi performance

No USB port

Not the fastest internet speeds when connected to multiple devices

TP-Link’s TL-WR802N is an older single-band router that offers a surprisingly great range in its small package. While the single-band N300 rating won’t break any speed records, it still provides enough performance for lag-free 4K Netflix streaming and uninterrupted video conferences on Zoom. 

Like most travel routers, the TL-WR802N is designed for use by one or two users when you’re on the go, and the 300Mbps 802.11n speeds will likely be faster than the internet connection at most hotels and conference centers you find yourself in. This little pocket-sized router offers exceptional coverage, so you won’t need to worry about staying connected while roaming the boardroom. 

The N300 draws its power via a micro USB port that can connect directly to a wall charger or laptop, so you won’t have to worry about how to power it. It can also function as a repeater, Wi-Fi client, or extender for a public WISP hotspot. The only downside is that, unlike its dual-band sibling, the TL-WR902AC, it lacks a USB port, so you won’t be able to use it for sharing files. 

Wireless Spec: 802.11n | Security: WPA2 | Standard/Speed: N300 | Bands: Single-band | MU-MIMO: No | Beamforming: No | Wired Ports: 1

Best for Road Warriors

Gl.inet mudi gl-e750.

Works as a 4G LTE mobile hotspot

Open source

Excellent VPN support

No external antenna

The GL.iNet GL-E750 router is an excellent choice for road warriors who must stay connected securely and reliably anywhere they land.

With WireGuard encryption, support for multiple Open Source VPN protocols, and even Tor anonymous network routing, this router ensures that you can always have a secure and private connection to the internet if you're a relatively advanced user. Whether that's over your hotel's shared network or your carrier's LTE network, all your traffic will be encrypted, and you can even have an always-on tunnel back into your home or office network. 

It's not just for mobile LTE access, however; it's also a capable Wi-Fi access point, with dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz support with 733Mbps throughput across both bands, along with a built-in battery that offers up to eight hours of use and a USB port and microSD card slots that can be used for sharing files with your connected devices. Since it's designed to be used from anywhere, it also features a built-in rechargeable battery that promises up to eight hours of use on a single charge. 

Lifewire / Andy Zahn

Most of the routers on the market are big and bulky devices. If you're parking them in a corner at home, this is a manageable problem, but they're not suited for taking the road with you.

This has given rise to a whole new category of travel routers: devices that are specifically designed to be highly portable—often small enough to be carried in a pocket—and run from internal batteries or a simple USB-powered connection that lets you plug them into a laptop or portable battery pack to create your own personal Wi-Fi network. 

Most importantly, since public Wi-Fi hotspots are usually insecure, a good travel router can also offer additional peace of mind by providing a private, encrypted Wi-Fi network for your traffic, securing the connections not only between your devices and the router but also making sure the traffic leaving the router is also encrypted. 

This means that you can take them just about anywhere you happen to land, whether it's between your home and the office, to a coffee shop where you might want to have more secure Wi-Fi, or on the road with you to use in hotels, conference centers, and airport lounges.

Bandwidth and Performance

When shopping for a router for your home, you're looking for enough range to blanket your home with the strong Wi-Fi signal you need to support streaming and gaming from multiple devices. 

Travel routers are different. You may find that even an entry level router—one that offers 802.11n support at 150Mbps speeds—is more than enough.

Wireless Frequencies: Single-Band vs Dual-Band

Like other wireless routers, travel routers come in single or multi-band versions, which refers to their frequencies. A single-band router works only on the 2.4GHz frequency, while a dual-band router offers both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies on two separate bands. 

Security and Privacy

As a bare minimum, every modern wireless travel router should include support for the Wireless Protected Access 2 (WPA2) encryption standard. This is even more important in a travel router you'll use in more public spaces.

While this probably isn't such a big deal if all you want to do is stream movies from Netflix, if confidentiality is essential, we strongly recommend using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when connecting through a travel router. While you can do this directly from your devices, you'll probably find it even simpler to pick up a travel router with built-in VPN support so that your connection is automatically encrypted as soon as you plug it in.


Almost all travel routers offer the same connectivity as your home router—turning a wired connection into a Wi-Fi network. However, as more hotels offer guest Wi-Fi networks instead of Ethernet jacks, you'll probably find getting a travel router that can also connect to a public Wi-Fi network is more beneficial.

There's also a category of travel routers that can act as mobile hotspots to offer internet access for your mobile devices over an LTE cellular network.

Even though most hotels already offer free Wi-Fi, it’s often struggling under the load of many people using it, so having a travel router can provide better performance, especially if you can plug it into a wired connection in your room. Plus, most public Wi-Fi hotspots are completely insecure, allowing your traffic to be easily intercepted by anybody else on the same Wi-Fi network. Using a router plugged into ethernet will also often save you money as you won't have to pay for the usable 'premium' internet package.

The best travel routers offer industry-standard WPA2 encryption—the same type of security used by your home router—which means that all of your wireless traffic is safe from prying eyes. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are open networks that use no encryption at all but keep in mind that if you’re using a travel router as a wireless extender for a public Wi-Fi hotspot, your traffic will still be unencrypted between your travel router and the hotspot. For the best security, use a wired connection or a VPN wherever possible.

Even if you use your travel router in your hotel room, internet traffic still travels over the hotel’s network. While most sensitive sites and services like email and online banking use SSL encryption, this won’t prevent the hotel or other public hotspot provider from seeing where you’re going; they just won’t be able to know what you’re doing. If you want to ensure your connection is as private and secure as possible, we recommend using a travel router with built-in VPN support.

Get the Latest Tech News Delivered Every Day

  • The Best Wi-Fi Range Extenders of 2024
  • The Best Mesh Wi-Fi Network Systems of 2024
  • The Best Netgear Routers of 2024
  • TP-Link TL-WR902AC AC750 Travel Router Review
  • The Best Long-Range Routers of 2024
  • The Best Cable Modem/Router Combos of 2024
  • The Best Parental Control Routers of 2024
  • 5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Wireless Router
  • The Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters of 2024
  • Phones You Can Use With VoIP
  • The Best Asus Routers of 2024
  • How to Get Wireless Internet Access in a Hotel
  • Can Two Routers Be Used on the Same Home Network?
  • The 4 Best Ways to Get Free Internet in 2024
  • The Best Cable Modems of 2024
  • Guide to Laptop Networking Features
  • Best Mac Apps
  • Unknown Caller

What are portable Wi-Fi hotspots, and how do they work?

John Alexander

A dedicated portable Wi-Fi hotspot can be a good alternative if you’re in need of an internet connection while you’re on the go, allowing you to connect several Wi-Fi-enabled devices at one time and share Wi-Fi with friends and family.

What is a portable Wi-Fi hotspot?

How do portable wi-fi hotspot devices work, 5 things to consider before buying a wi-fi hotspot device, frequently asked questions.

If you’re interested in a portable Wi-Fi hotspot but aren’t sure where to start, you’re in the right place. This article will explain what a Wi-Fi hotspot is, how it works, and some things to consider before buying one.

Side note: all three of the major wireless carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon) offer wireless hotspot allowances with their phone plans, and also sell separate portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices and data plans.

  • What is an eSIM? Here’s everything you need to know
  • Wi-Fi not working? How to fix the most common problems
  • What is Wi-Fi calling, and how does it work?

A Wi-Fi hotspot is one of two things. It can either be a dedicated device that takes a mobile cellular connection and rebroadcasts it as Wi-Fi to multiple devices wirelessly, or you can use your smartphone to act as a mobile hotspot in the same way. In either case, you get to leverage a single mobile connection for several devices that only have Wi-Fi.

Although you can create a hotspot for home internet use , most people use them as secondary connections for when they’re away from home. Portable Wi-Fi hotspots provide more flexibility by letting you connect while on the go. You’ll just need access to a network through a cellular carrier, with some offering fully unlimited and simpler prepaid plans.

Internet speeds on portable Wi-Fi hotspots are typically the same as what’s available to a smartphone on the same network, which can reach over 2000 mbps on 5G .

A portable Wi-Fi hotspot device uses a 4G or 5G internet connection to create a Wi-Fi network for multiple devices, including tablets, phones, and computers. You can tap into the network to stream your favorite shows, complete school assignments, and do other activities without worrying about loading data onto individual devices.

In essence, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot is a smartphone without a screen or advanced operating system — it only has the ability to take a mobile connection, and create a Wi-Fi network. Portable hotspots have their own battery (of varying sizes), and typically recharge the same way smartphones do over USB.

Do portable Wi-Fi hotspots work anywhere?

To create a mobile hotspot network, you’ll need a cellular data plan from a network provider . That means you’ll only get coverage in places where that specific carrier has a network. Nowadays in the U.S. that’s just about anywhere, outside of the most rural places in the country.

Be sure to check your desired carrier’s coverage maps before buying a hotspot from it. Make note that carriers have different coverage areas depending on whether you’re looking to get 4G or 5G speeds.

Are you planning to buy a Wi-Fi hotspot device ? If so, there are a few things you should know before deciding on a particular device. These factors include:

  • Wireless carrier limitations
  • Service or wireless network availability
  • The number of connected devices
  • 4G and 5G capabilities
  • Battery life of the Wi-Fi hotspot device

1. Check limitations with your wireless carrier

If you want to enjoy a quality internet connection, try to choose a provider with the best coverage in your area and the most ample data plans. Wireless carriers offer portable hotspot plans with varying features and coverage. For instance, some data plans come with monthly caps that limit your usage. At the same time, some carriers may offer unlimited data but will cap or throttle your internet speeds after a certain point.

It’ll be easier to choose a hotspot device as long as you’re aware of these conditions or limitations. Just make sure to read the fine print of your data plan, particularly if you plan to engage in data-intensive online activities (e.g., video streaming). You may detect a drop in video quality if your wireless carrier throttles the connection after reaching a certain data limit.

2. Consider the service availability of your wireless carrier

Depending on your wireless carrier, a portable hotspot may not be the right option. Remote areas generally suffer from sporadic network coverage, making it difficult to establish a stable internet connection using a portable Wi-Fi hotspot.

It’s a good idea to check your carrier’s network availability map to determine whether you can get adequate coverage in specific remote or rural areas. Thankfully, major network providers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have near complete coverage of the U.S.

3. Check the battery life of your Wi-Fi hotspot device

To ensure you can meet all your internet needs, you’ll want to choose a hotspot device with a long-lasting battery. Some Wi-Fi hotspots are small and sleek, but usually have much shorter battery life as a result — as little as a few hours. The more data you use, and more devices you have connected, the weaker your battery life will be as well.

You may also need to invest in a high-quality power bank to keep your device powered up while on the go. Wi-Fi hotspots charge the same as smartphones, over USB, so you can use a phone charger or battery to keep them going.

4. 4G/5G capabilities

The connectivity capabilities of portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices vary. Some devices can handle 5G connections, while others are only compatible with 4G. These differences in wireless internet technology can also determine the price of the device and plan.

Cheaper Wi-Fi hotspots, like those from prepaid carriers, can often be limited to just 4G or simple 5G networks. They’ll be good enough for  most tasks, but will be outpaced by the latest hotspots with 5G connections.

If you invest in a 5G hotspot device, you can enjoy even faster upload and download speeds for all connected devices on your mobile network. This type of wireless technology is more reliable, but you can expect to pay a significantly higher price for a 5G Wi-Fi hotspot device. While 4G hotspot devices are available for less than $100, you may spend several hundred dollars for a 5G version .

5. How many devices you plan to connect at once

Most Wi-Fi hotspots can handle connecting at least five Wi-Fi devices at once, but higher-end models can handle 10 or more at a time. Most people will be just fine with having only five, though, as battery and bandwidth considerations start to be important beyond that point. If you are going to add several devices to a single hotspot, keep in mind that that will greatly decrease the available data speed for each one. You’ll want to make sure you’re using a 5G hotspot if so.

How much does a portable Wi-Fi hotspot cost?

Portable Wi-Fi hotspots can cost anywhere from $50 for a basic 4G-enabled unit all the way up to nearly $1,000 for an ultra-fast 5G mmWave-enabled device. Most of the midrange (and perfectly capable) portable WI-Fi hotspots from the wireless carriers (Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T) cost between $250 and $300, however.

Are portable Wi-Fi hotspots worth it?

Portable Wi-Fi hotspots are 100% worth it if you need a reliable internet connection for your devices while you’re on the go, and don’t want to drain your phone plan’s data allowance. All of the major cell phone carriers sell portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices and data plans, often at very reasonable prices.

What’s the difference between a mobile hotspot and portable Wi-Fi hotspot?

A mobile hotspot is a wireless connection from your phone, while a portable Wi-Fi hotspot is a separate, dedicated hardware device that provides an internet connection. If you rely heavily on a wireless connection to power your computer, tablet, or other devices while on the go, it may be worth looking into buying a dedicated portable Wi-Fi hotspot. That way, you don’t have to burn through your phone plan’s monthly hotspot data allowance.

Editors' Recommendations

  • iPhone not holding charge? How to replace an iPhone battery
  • The 10 best apps for a second phone number in 2024
  • What the green and orange dots on your iPhone really mean
  • If you really want to, here’s how to cheat in Words With Friends
  • How to reset default apps on an Android phone or tablet

John Alexander

We receive a lot of important information via text. Whether it’s a date you need to set or important work-related info, you might find yourself wanting to save a text message. Modern smartphones all offer a way to back up your core data and transfer it to another device. However, transfers sometimes don’t include your text messages unless you save them ahead of time or are transferring across the same mobile operating system.

Here's how to save your text messages in Android and iOS. How to save your text messages on iPhone There are multiple ways to backup your iPhone text messages. Here are the easiest. How to make iPhone text message backups using iExplorer The most universal method of saving your iPhone text messages is via the iExplorer program.

If you're like most people, you've probably amassed a drawer of unused electronics over the years. Many of these are probably smartphones -- after all, carriers offer great promotions nowadays, giving you a chance to upgrade your device every two years without paying hefty fees. However, instead of letting your old smartphones collect dust (or worse, throwing them away), consider turning them into a makeshift security camera.

There are plenty of great iOS and Android apps available that help turn your old smartphone into a security camera. These work by using your old smartphone's built-in cameras to provide a live stream to your new smartphone. Best of all, many of these are affordable (or free) and work with just about any phone you might have purchased over the last decade.

  • Audio / Video

If you want to see the best shows on Netflix, the best way to do so would be through a Netflix free trial. But do they have one, and if not are there other ways to get the streaming giant for free? We investigate. Is there a Netflix free trial?

Netflix does not have a free trial. Netflix does not do free trials.

an image, when javascript is unavailable

  • facebook-spy
  • twitter-spy
  • pinterest-spy

Livin’ That Van Life? Check Out the Best Compact Travel Routers For Accessing the Internet Anywhere

By Tyler Schoeber

Tyler Schoeber


TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router

  • Share This Article

Life on the road has its downfalls — but zero access to the internet doesn’t have to be one of them. Travel routers have been around for a bit now to help people all over the globe access the internet for work and play in places they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

Accessing the internet in a hotel, Airbnb or even a Starbucks can be a bit of a mess. WiFi speed will often slow down due to so many users being on the same router, which means for those trying to get work done in a timely manner, it can become kind of a struggle. Travel routers are perfect for the on-the-road type of person who finds themselves constantly traveling from place to place for work, or, more recently, the kind of person living in a renovated sprinter van, school bus or SUV. This might sound weird to some of you, but van life is growing tremendously in popularity due to remote work becoming easier and easier for most millennials and older Gen-Zers.

So, if you find yourself constantly in a situation where you desperately need WiFi to get some work done away from the place you call home, you’re going to need a travel router.

What is a Travel Router?

A travel router is a router like the one you have set up at home. Instead of it being a stationary entity you never touch until it stops working for whatever reason, travel routers are smaller, portable routers meant to go with you on trips. They simplify the process of connecting devices to public networks in hotels, airports, Airbnbs and more. Some can even be considered the best routers for gaming and streaming movies.

Related Stories

Netgear’s m6 pro mobile hotspot is a must-have for frequent fliers, passkeys are the future of internet security, here’s how dashlane can help, how do travel routers work.

Travel routers work by plugging into the wall at a hotel, airport, coffee shop or wherever else you might be working. You will need access to a place with internet access already, so sadly you can’t technically use this on the road — it’s more of a portable stationary option. So, it’s not always like your average hot spot (but occasionally can be), it’s more like your best WiFi router .

What Are the Benefits of Using a Travel Router?

By using a travel router, you won’t have to spend copious amounts of time trying to connect to the internet every time you need it. After the very first time you connect, all of your devices previously connected will recognize the router and automatically connect no matter where you connect the travel router to. Travel routers are also less spotty than public WiFi, and, it’s entirely private to you. Travel routers are much faster than the guest WiFi floating around wherever you may be and are tiny enough to pack in most small bags.

If you’re constantly on the road or find yourself in hotel rooms and airports more regularly than the average person, check out the best travel routers below and make your life a little bit easier.

1. TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router

The TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router is one of the highest-rated travel routers on Amazon. It has a travel-sized design that’s small enough to throw in your carry-on or under-seat bag, making it incredibly convenient to those constantly on the road. WiFi is consistently fast and powerful enough to allow users to watch crystal clear HD content on all of their devices. It also can allow you to connect to outdoor WISP Access Points in public areas to work as a hotspot when you might need it most.

TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router

$37.90 $39.99 5% off, 2. gl.inet gl-mt300n-v2 wireless mini portable travel router.

This tiny travel router is so tiny that it can fit in your back pocket without a problem. It has super-high security protocols to ensure your information is safe no matter where you’re at, offering an extra layer of protection wherever you have the ability to connect. As you’d imagine, it’s great for giving users a stronger, more reliable internet service in a wireless setting in both hotels and airports. Additionally, users will be able to connect to existing wireless networks without a cord, such as WiFi services in cafes. Hotspot usage is also available, too.

GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 Wireless Mini Portable Travel Router

$23.90 $29.90 20% off, 3. netgear nighthawk m1 mobile hotspot 4g lte router.

Safely, swiftly and easily connect up to 20 devices in total with the NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot 4G LTE Router and have each and every one of them work like magic. This travel router brings public WiFi into a private setting for everyone you’re on the road with. It connects with every mobile carrier securely providing fast internet for phones, laptops and tablets. It has a long battery life so you can use it on the road without even plugging it in, too.

NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot 4G LTE Router

$199.99 $349.99 43% off, 4. tp-link n300 wireless portable nano travel router.

TP-Link has a couple of travel routers to be reckoned with, hence why this is the second time we’re throwing one in here for you to check out. This travel router is perfect for slipping in your pocket and bringing with you wherever and creating a secure WiFi hotspot in a matter of seconds. You’ll get lag-free HD video streaming each and every time the same way you would on a secure network at home. It has advanced security and industry-leading support with a two-year warranty.

TP-Link N300 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router

5. gl.inet gl-ar750s-ext gigabit travel ac vpn router.

With the GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext (Slate) Gigabit Travel AC VPN Router, you’ll get OpenVPN and WireGuard pre-installed for maximum security. If those two aren’t your style, this travel router is also compatible with more than thirty other VPN providers. It’s compact and lightweight, making it perfect for frequent travelers. By using this travel router, you will also have the ability to connect to multiple workplaces without a problem, whether they’re at your work-from-home desk or at your office computer. It’s great for the kind of person who is extra reliant on security.

GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Gigabit Travel AC VPN Router

Tyler Schoeber joined SPY in 2020, after working at TripAdvisor as Photo Intern-turned-Production Specialist. Tyler's editorial background is heavily focused on e-commerce journalism and…


Sign up for SPY news straight to your inbox every day

Most Popular

Billie eilish would like to reintroduce herself, anne hathaway says 'gross' chemistry test in the 2000s required her to make out with 10 guys: that's the 'worst way to do it' and 'now we know better', vince mcmahon lists final tko shares for sale, you might also like, kristi noem doubles down on story about killing her dog from memoir: ‘i decided what i did’, nicole kidman’s afi life achievement award ceremony highlighted by keith urban’s story of recovery and meryl streep’s witty adoration, detroit sets nfl draft attendance record at 2024 event, meet hollywood power couple david and jessica oyelowo, what pippa middleton’s royal title will be when william & kate become king & queen.

Copyright © 2024 Penske Business Media, LLC. All Rights reserved.


You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Your browser does not support JavaScript. Please turn it on for the best experience.

  • All Support
  • Download Center
  • Support Videos
  • TP-Link Community
  • Contact Technical Support
  • Online Stores
  • Distribution Partners
  • Reseller Partners
  • Solution Partners


AC750 Wireless Travel Router 1

/ 4 Download

AC750 Wireless Travel Router

  • Transforms any internet connection into a private AC750 dual-band Wi-Fi network*
  • Incredibly compact router fits easily in your pocket, purse or bag, perfect for traveling
  • Works with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz devices, including Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Stick
  • USB port lets you share files or conveniently charge any device with up to 5V/1A of power
  • Flexible powering options let you connect to an external adapter or USB port


How to install and configure your portable router(TL-WR902AC)

Fast Wi-Fi Travels with You!

Portable and compact.

The incredibly compact TL-WR902AC is the world’s first AC750 travel router. Take it with you to create a personal Wi-Fi spot anywhere internet is available. It fits easily in your pocket, purse or bag and is perfect for use while traveling. Watch movies over private dual-band Wi-Fi at a hotel.

Dual-Band AC for Fast Wi-Fi Speeds

The travel router creates fast AC750 Wi-Fi over dual 2.4 GHz (300 Mbps) and 5 GHz (433 Mbps) bands. Dual bands allow for more devices to be connected to your personal network and provide reliable Wi-Fi access so you can enjoy what you love without interruptions.

802.11n 2.4G 300Mbps

802.11ac 5G 433Mbps

 Multiple Wi-Fi Modes for Any Situation

Whether you need a private Wi-Fi network while away or something to boost your Wi-Fi at home, the TL-WR902AC has a mode for you.

During Travel

1. router mode.

Plug the travel router in to your hotel room's Ethernet port to create a private Wi-Fi network for internet access without needing to compete with other guests.

2. Hotspot Mode

Connect to an outdoor WISP Access Point, enjoy a private Wi-Fi hotspot for your devices in public areas.

3. Range Extender Mode

Extend your existing Wi-Fi network to maximize coverage and eliminate dead zones.

4. Client Mode

Allow devices that require a wired connection to access an existing Wi-Fi network.

Desktop or Game Console

5. Access Point Mode

Create a wireless network for Wi-Fi enabled devices.

Multifunctional USB Port for File Sharing and Charging

A The travel router comes with a built-in USB 2.0 sharing port. Connect a USB storage drive to share access to files, download movies and back up recent photos. Connect your smartphone cable and the router doubles as a 5V/1A charging station for one device.

*Maximum wireless transmission rates are the physical rates derived from IEEE Standard 802.11 specifications. Range and coverage specifications along with the number of connected devices were defined according to test results under normal usage conditions. Actual wireless transmission rate, wireless coverage, and number of connected devices are not guaranteed, and will vary as a result of 1) environmental factors, including building materials, physical objects and obstacles, 2) network conditions, including local interference, volume and density of traffic, product location, network complexity, and network overhead and 3) client limitations, including rated performance, location, connection quality, and client condition.

Actual network speed may be limited by the rate of the product's Ethernet WAN or LAN port, the rate supported by the network cable, Internet service provider factors and other environmental conditions.

We have updated our Policies. Read Privacy Policy and Terms of Use here. This website uses cookies to improve website navigation, analyze online activities and have the best possible user experience on our website. You can object to the use of cookies at any time. You can find more information in our privacy policy .

Basic Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be deactivated in your systems.

accepted_local_switcher, tp_privacy_base, tp_privacy_marketing, tp_smb-select-product_scence, tp_smb-select-product_scenceSimple, tp_smb-select-product_userChoice, tp_smb-select-product_userChoiceSimple, tp_smb-select-product_userInfo, tp_smb-select-product_userInfoSimple, tp_top-banner, tp_popup-bottom, tp_popup-center, tp_popup-right-middle, tp_popup-right-bottom, tp_productCategoryType

__livechat, __lc2_cid, __lc2_cst, __lc_cid, __lc_cst, CASID


Analysis and Marketing Cookies

Analysis cookies enable us to analyze your activities on our website in order to improve and adapt the functionality of our website.

The marketing cookies can be set through our website by our advertising partners in order to create a profile of your interests and to show you relevant advertisements on other websites.

Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager

_gid, _ga_<container-id>, _ga, _gat_gtag_<container-id>

Google Ads & DoubleClick

test_cookie, _gcl_au

cebsp_, _ce.s, _ce.clock_data, _ce.clock_event, cebs

OptanonConsent, _sctr, _cs_s, _hjFirstSeen, _hjAbsoluteSessionInProgress, _hjSessionUser_14, _fbp, ajs_anonymous_id, _hjSessionUser_<hotjar-id>, _uetsid, _schn, _uetvid, NEXT_LOCALE, _hjSession_14, _hjid, _cs_c, _scid, _hjAbsoluteSessionInProgress, _cs_id, _gcl_au, _ga, _gid, _hjIncludedInPageviewSample, _hjSession_<hotjar-id>, _hjIncludedInSessionSample_<hotjar-id>

lidc, AnalyticsSyncHistory, UserMatchHistory, bcookie, li_sugr, ln_or

  • Skip to content
  • Skip to search
  • Skip to footer

How does a router work?

How Does a Router Work?

Learn how routers securely connect your small business to the rest of the world and connect your devices, including laptops and printers, to each other.

  • Watch video (3:40)
  • Discover routing solutions

Contact Cisco

  • Get a call from Sales

Call Sales:

  • 1-800-553-6387
  • US/CAN | 5am-5pm PT
  • Product / Technical Support
  • Training & Certification

What does a router do?

Routers connect computers and other devices to the Internet. A router acts as a dispatcher, choosing the best route for your information to travel. It connects your business to the world, protects information from security threats, and can even decide which computers get priority over others.

Why do you need a router?

A router helps you connect multiple devices to the Internet, and connect the devices to each other. Also, you can use routers to create local networks of devices. These local networks are useful if you want to share files among devices or allow employees to share software tools.

If you don’t have routers, your business's data won’t get directed to the right place. For example, if you'd like to print a document, you need a router to help get that document to a printer—not to another computer or a scanner.

How do modems differ from routers?

A modem connects your business to Internet access via your internet service provider (ISP). A router, on the other hand, connects many devices in a network—including modems. With a router in place, modems and other devices can transfer data from one location to another.

Get started with a free trial of Cisco Meraki cloud networking

  • Try Cisco Meraki for free

You may also like:

  • What is a switch vs a router?
  • How to set up a router
  • How to setup a network
  • How does a router work
  • Getting to know the RV160 Router
  • Getting to know the RV260 Router
  • Getting to know the RV340 Router

What are the different types of routers?

Wired routers.

Wired routers usually connect directly to modems or wide-area networks (WANs) via network cables. They typically come with a port that connects to modems to communicate with the Internet.

Wireless routers

Routers can also connect wirelessly to devices that support the same wireless standards. Wireless routers can receive information from and send information to the Internet.

How routers route data

Routing, defined.

Routing is the ability to forward IP packets—a package of data with an Internet protocol (IP) address—from one network to another. The router's job is to connect the networks in your business and manage traffic within these networks. Routers typically have at least two network interface cards, or NICs, that allow the router to connect to other networks.

Speeding data across networks

Routers figure out the fastest data path between devices connected on a network, and then send data along these paths. To do this, routers use what's called a "metric value," or preference number. If a router has the choice of two routes to the same location, it will choose the path with the lowest metric. The metrics are stored in a routing table.

Creating a routing table

A routing table, which is stored on your router, is a list of all possible paths in your network. When routers receive IP packets that need to be forwarded somewhere else in the network, the router looks at the packet's destination IP address and then searches for the routing information in the routing table.

If you are managing a network, you need to become familiar with routing tables since they'll help you troubleshoot networking issues. For example, if you understand the structure and lookup process of routing tables, you should be able to diagnose any routing table issue, regardless of your level of familiarity with a particular routing protocol.

As an example, you might notice that the routing table has all the routes you expect to see, yet packet forwarding is not working as well as expected. By knowing how to look up a packet's destination IP address, you can determine if the packet is being forwarded, why the packet is being sent elsewhere, or whether the packet has been discarded.

Managing routers

When you need to make changes to your network's routing options, you log in to your router to access its software. For example, you can log in to the router to change login passwords, encrypt the network, create port forwarding rules, or update the router's firmware.

How routers can help your business

Sharing applications.

Routers help give employees access to business applications and therefore improve productivity—especially for employees who work remotely or outside main offices. Routers can also enable specialized services such as VoIP, video conferencing, and Wi-Fi networks.

Speeding access to information

With routers in place, your business can improve responses to customers and enable easier access to customer information. These are real benefits at a time when customers demand fast answers to questions, as well as personalized service. By using routers to build a fast and reliable small business network, employees are better able to respond rapidly and intelligently to customer needs.

Reducing operating costs

Routers can have a positive impact on your bottom line. Your small business can save money by sharing equipment such as printers and servers, as well as services such as Internet access. A fast and reliable network built with routers can also grow with your business, so you don't have to keep rebuilding the network and buying new devices as the business expands.

Improving security

Routers can help you protect valuable business data from attacks if they offer built-in firewalls or web filtering, which examines incoming data and blocks it as needed.

Enabling secured remote connections

Routers help your business provide secure remote access for mobile workers who need to communicate with other employees or use business applications. This is a common scenario for many businesses that have virtual teams and home-based telecommuters who need to share critical business information at any time of the day or night.

Creating small business networks with routers

Invest in business-grade switches and routers.

Consumer or home networking products won't keep pace with the challenges of business growth.

Build networks that can grow over time

This way, you can add features and functionality when needed, such as video surveillance, VoIP, integrated messaging, and wireless applications.

Choose routers designed with reliability and redundancy

This provides the business continuity you'll need to bounce back quickly from unforeseen and disruptive events, like natural disasters.

Want to learn more?

View all small business resource center security articles

Our resources are here to help you understand the security landscape and choose technologies to help safeguard your business.

View all small business resource center collaboration and unified communication articles


These tools and articles will help you make important communications decisions to help your business scale and stay connected.

View all small business resource center networking articles

Learn how to make the right decisions for designing and maintaining your network so it can help your business thrive.

View all small business resource center networking articles

Resource Center

Get how-to’s, checklists, and other tips to help you meet those demands and to help your business scale and thrive.

how does travel wifi router work

Everything You Need to Know About Wifi for Your RV

a man sitting at a table in an RV on a laptop

Not all camping is driving miles down a dirt road, secluding yourself from society, and singing Kumbaya around the campfire (although I wish it was.) In this age of hyper-connectivity, more campers are hitting the road full-time with their mobile RV WiFi, outdoor tech , and adorable dogs in tow, working remotely while checking off all 59 national parks or visiting long-forgotten state parks in far-off corners of North Dakota .

For many, it’s the dream. And while it can be difficult to balance working on the road with visiting all the marvelous wonders along the way, RV WiFi makes it easier than ever to stay connected to your friends, family, or work.

With so many options, it can be pretty confusing to even know where to start. Between various cell phone carriers, satellite internet, and WiFi boosters, it’s a labyrinth of connectivity options. We’re here to break it all down and help you figure out what the best RV WiFi is for you.

You’ll need WiFi for a lot of reasons. When searching for a campground though, you don’t need WiFi with The Dyrt PRO . With the upgraded version of The Dyrt app, you can access campgrounds, maps, and photos for offline use.

Here Are Your Options for Setting Up RV WiFi

a laptop on a table in an RV

If you’re wondering what your options are for RV WiFi, you’re not alone. Our Facebook Campfire community created a thread to identify the best type of mobile WiFi—73 comments later it turns out some options work better than others, depending on your lifestyle and needs. While it’s not surprising, it doesn’t get you closer to a solution, either.

In order to figure out the best RV WiFi for you, determine your biggest WiFi use. Do you work remotely ? Do you download documents? Stream Netflix? FaceTime your daughter in the Peace Corps?

Streaming Netflix movies in regular definition will pull about 1GB of data per hour (high definition videos average 3GB per hour). By contrast, uploading a photo to Instagram will use about 2-4MB of data. Over time, however, Instagram can pull loads of data from your plan (especially if you’re obsessive like me and use upwards of 12GB on Instagram alone per cycle).

There are three main options for RV WiFi while you’re living on the road: using your phone as a hotspot, adding a hotspot router to your existing mobile plan, or satellite internet.

Using Your Phone as a Hotspot

a cell phone plugged into a renogy charger perched on a rock cliff

Image from The Dyrt camper Megan W.

Using your phone as a personal hotspot is a great option for trips of a week or less, when having data isn’t critical, but you would like to stream an episode or movie on Netflix. You’re basically turning your phone into a wireless access point, making it possible to access the internet on other devices with WiFi capability, but it will use your phone’s data.

Each carrier offers its own unlimited plan but not all carriers are ideal for mobile living, based on factors like text and call coverage, LTE coverage, and high-speed caps on data. Without a WiFi booster (more on that at the bottom of this page), you need to have the best data coverage possible if you’re going to use your phone as a hotspot.

Depending on your mobile phone plan, you may also find that speeds are ‘throttled’ after you use a certain amount of data, meaning that the provider slows down your speeds.

It’s also important to note that not all phones are capable of sharing a hotspot, however, most smartphones have the function built-in. Here’s how to find your phone’s hotspot:

iPhone : Settings> Personal Hotspot Android : Settings> Network & Internet> Hotspot & Tethering

So how do major carriers compare for using your phone as a hotspot?

Want an adventure of your own? Find free camping near you

Did you know that almost all states in the US have free camping? 

Although, some of it is not-so-great and can be hard to find.

There is an easier way:

  • Hand-picked free campsites 
  • Pre-saved to your phone
  • The best in all 50 states

It’s the only hand-picked list of 5,000 free camping locations that you will find anywhere. 

It comes with a bunch of other features like last-minute camping texts, offline maps, etc.

You can check it out for free today by starting a free 7-day trial. After the 7-day trial, the membership is just $35.99 for a full year of access — well worth it if you camp more than 2 times per year.

Verizon is one of the most popular plans used by full-time vanlifers and RVers. Their unlimited plan offers three different tiers: GoUnlimited, BeyondUnlimited, and AboveUnlimited. On the GoUnlimited plan, users get unlimited talk and data plus an unlimited hotspot at 600 Kpbs. To test what that meant in real life, I tethered my computer to my Verizon phone and typed “Netflix” into my browser to test the signal. The page took about a minute to load (full disclosure, I had about 13 tabs open), but once it did the video streamed clearly—though nothing like HD.

GoUnlimited Verizon plan by the numbers:

  • $65/month + taxes and fees (roughly $8-$10/month) per line for two lines
  • Unlimited mobile hotspot at 600 Kpbs
  • Mexico and Canada talk, text, and data included

“I believe you would be satisfied with a Verizon jetpack at $65 a month (pre-paid.) I stream 1080 HD all the time and [have] never been throttled. It is UNLIMITED.” — Lyle, Facebook Campfire member

In their most recent push, T-Mobile stretched their coverage far and wide across the United States. Before switching to Verizon in the fall, I fangirled over T-Mobile. Their international plan blows every other carrier out of the water. If you’re not looking to stream or surf the web in wild and remote places, T-Mobile provides coverage in populated areas and there’s a good chance it will cover the campground you’re staying at. They offer a simple unlimited plan that includes everything, even taxes and fees.

T-Mobile One plan by the numbers:

  • $60/month per line for two lines
  • Standard Netflix included with 2 or more lines
  • Unlimited mobile hotspot at 512 Kpbs
  • Unlimited texting and 2G data in 210+ destinations
  • Free texting via Gogo when you fly

Many of the users in The Dyrt’s Facebook Campfire sing AT&T’s praises; it offers enough coverage to go from California to Maine on an epic road trip. It’s Unlimited &More Premium plan gives users live TV, unlimited talk, text and data, and a 15GB hotspot. Note that with the basic Unlimited &More plan, tethering is prohibited.

AT&T Unlimited & More Premium plan by the numbers:

  • $75/month per line for two lines (taxes and fees may apply)
  • Unlimited mobile hotspot at 15GB per line
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data
  • Subscription to HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, YRV, Amazon Music, or Pandora

“Get [Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot] and a prepaid account. No contract, no throttling. Works great.” — Patrick, Facebook Campfire member

Sprint and T-Mobile recently joined forces to expand each of their networks. While the plan won’t unfold until this spring and won’t be fully functioning for another year or two, it’s bound to make Sprint a more competitive RV WiFi option. Sprint offers three unlimited plans: Basic, Plus, and Premium. For $60 a month on the basic plan, users get unlimited talk, text, and data, as well as a subscription to Hulu, DVD-quality streaming (480p), and a 500 kpbs hotspot.

Sprint Basic plan by the numbers:

  • $60/month per line (taxes and fees may apply)
  • 500MB LTE mobile hotspot (Plus offers 50GB, Premium offers 100GB)
  • Subscription to Hulu

Cricket is perhaps the least well-known provider on this list, but it is highly praised for its widespread coverage across the U.S., with nearly uninterrupted coverage east of Colorado. Our Facebook Campfire users sing Cricket’s praises and by looking at their phone plans, it’s easy to see why. Unlimited plans start at $55/month and are heavily discounted the more lines you add to the plan. In fact, they offer an unlimited plan for $100 that includes four lines. However, data speeds are limited to 3 mbps—by comparison, 4G generally operates between 5 and 12 mbps. While the unlimited plan doesn’t automatically include a mobile hotspot, you can add it for $10/month.

Cricket Unlimited by the numbers:

  • $55/month, with additional discounts per added line (taxes and fees may apply)
  • Additional $10/month for unlimited hotspot (speed are slowed to 128 Kbps after 10GB of hotspot data usage)
  • Data access and unlimited calls from Mexico and Canada

“Best coverage and signal, Cricket… $60 EVERYTHING UNLIMITED.” — Regiena, Facebook Campfire member

Mobile Hotspot Routers

Mobile hotspots are devices that recognize and retrieve cell phone signals without doing all the texting and scrolling that your phone does. It acts as a mobile modem, bringing WiFi into your RV without the cords and cables of a home office.

Mobile hotspots are essentially like having a cell phone plan for a standalone modem. The device receives the same signal as a cell phone, without the capability for incoming or outgoing phone calls.

Each mobile carrier offers its own version of a hotspot, so if you already have a mobile phone plan, they can likely add the hotspot onto your plan as an additional line. You will also have to purchase the hotspot device itself. But, it’s important to keep in mind that your hotspot is only as good as the coverage of your carrier.

Signal Boosters and Satellite Internet

Campers in the Facebook Campfire and those I’ve met on the road all agree that remote working from an RV or van requires a signal booster. While the signal booster won’t give you access to RV WiFi, which can only come from a cell phone, WiFi network, or satellite plan, it will amplify the signal to your phone service for increased WiFi speed.

Essentially, boosters like Weboost amplify cell phone signal up to 32x. The antenna bounces off other cell phone towers to bring your service closer to home. WiFi boosters are pretty pricey (Weboost Connect 4G costs $549.99), but if you’re working on the road and need reliable RV WiFi, it’s the best way to ensure you’ll have service in remote places.

Amazon has a mix of cheaper options, some with good reviews. These boosters generally amplify the service by about half of what Weboost does; depending on how far you are from a signal, that might be all you need.

Another RV WiFi option is satellite WiFi, which offers internet in the far reaches of the desert or remote alpine locations. The benefit, obviously, is having the internet wherever you go. The downside? Exorbitant cost.

For tripod-mounted satellite WiFi, costs average around $1,000-$3,000 for installation. For rooftop mounts, anywhere from $6,500 to $16,000. If you’re living in your RV full-time, it might be worth the initial investment. You’ll also have access to other TV services when you’re on the road, even in areas where the signal is hard to come by. In the end, your choice all depends on how you use your WiFi and where you like to camp.

Related Campgrounds:

  • Hersey Campground , Hershey, PA
  • Baby Doe Campground
  • Lake Perris , Perris, CA
  • Appalachian RV Campground , Shartlesville, PA

Popular Articles:

  • Get the Latest 2023 Camping Travel Trends
  • How To Find Free Camping in National Forests
  • The Checklist Every First Time RVer Needs
  • Find Free Camping With The Dyrt Map Layers
  • The Ulimate Boondocking Guide To Free Camping
  • Everything You Need To Know About Wifi For Your RV
  • 7 of The Best Overland Routes in North America
  • 14 Wilderness Survival Tools You Should Have in The Backcountry
  • Here's What To Add To Your Primitive Camping Checklist

Megan Walsh

Megan dreams of one day being a professional recreationalist, and welcomes any and all tips on how to get there. When she isn’t climbing, skiing, or enjoying shavasana, she’s drinking coffee and furiously typing away at her computer––or watching Netflix. Her work has been featured in Climbing Magazine, Utah Adventure Journal, and on Moja Gear.

More Articles

Best RVs for Families

The 7 Best RVs for Families

Whatever time of year, camping with the family is a great way to explore the outdoors together. But convincing everyone to leave the comforts of…

climber makes her way up an outdoor rock wall in the daytime

Why Campers and Climbers Love Kentucky's Red River Gorge

Looking for Red River Gorge camping and more in Kentucky? Search more than 350 campgrounds in Kentucky on The Dyrt. Scenic and rugged, the Red River…

Do you want an early hotel check-in? Here's what is happening behind the scenes.

how does travel wifi router work

Joy Felicitas’ bed-making skills are an art form. 

Moving swiftly, Felicitas pinched the pillows in half with her forearm so they slid smoothly into the pillowcase. She flung the double-sized mattress up as if it didn’t weigh over 50 pounds and tucked the sheet under. She folded the topsheet at the foot of the bed, allowing extra room for taller people. She slipped the comforter into the duvet cover without a hitch. The final touch was a few hot water spritzes to smooth out wrinkles. It was over in the blink of an eye.

Then again, Felicitas has made hundreds of beds in her lifetime. As one of over 100 housekeepers at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina in Hawaii, Felicitas is part of what is often a hotel’s biggest – and arguably, most important – department. 

Most people know housekeepers to spruce up our room daily, sometimes even at night for a turndown service. But behind the scenes, housekeepers do much more to ensure guests have the seamlessly luxurious experience expected on vacation through grueling labor.

Housekeepers not only accommodate specific guest requests, like using eco-friendly cleaning products, as they clean, but they also anticipate unexpressed needs, like providing extra towels if there’s a family with young children, according to Felicitas. They are also responsible for cleaning any trace of a previous guest before the next one arrives. 

Learn more: Best travel insurance

Their work touches every single department in a hotel, from washing coats for the chefs to keeping public areas immaculate. And they do this all without guests noticing. 

“We’re the silent team people never see,” said Terry Marks, senior director of housekeeping at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. “We’re able to communicate with the guests through our work, our actions.” 

Ever wanted to ride an airport bag belt? You can't, but we can show you where they go.

How intensive is housekeeping?

Felicitas makes bed-making look easy, but housekeeping is back-breaking – and often unappreciated – work. 

To get rooms to pristine condition, not only are housekeepers cleaning everything – from the shower curtain to each window shutter – they’re also making sure the pillows stand up nicely and phone-charging cords are neatly coiled. Then there’s pushing the supplies cart that can easily weigh over 60 pounds from room to room. (The Four Seasons replaced the heavy carts in 2016 with smaller wagons that are lighter and easier to maneuver and don’t damage the carpets.) 

“Hello, the amount of steps they get each day, having to lift the beds and the mattresses, going back and forth to the bathroom, you have to get down on your hands and knees to scrub the floor, the showers and they do it right … You give them the time to take care of these, but yeah, it’s a very tough job,” Marks said. 

What many people don’t know is housekeepers are also strategizers. 

“Housekeeping, we would clean rooms, and so they weren’t considered a skilled worker,” Marks said. “COVID is really one of the areas that brought to light how important housekeeping is, and they need to be intelligent.” 

Typically, housekeepers are assigned a specific timeframe to clean each check-out room to prepare for a new guest, based on data gathered by each resort. At the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, a guest room featuring double beds is granted 73 minutes for turnover.

Since housekeepers manage the same sets of rooms, they take ownership. If check-out is the following day, they can prep the room as best they can the day before, so turning over the room is a little faster, Marks said. They also make sure their carts are properly supplied so they can avoid going back and forth to the linen closet, filled with fresh linens and amenities, on each floor to avoid running back to the housekeeping department.

However, things don’t always run smoothly. If there’s a family with kids versus a couple or an early check-in, it can be a time crunch to get the room cleaned to standard. “Expect the unexpected,” said Sonia Hara, a housekeeper of 18 years at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Oahu’s largest resort with 700 workers in the housekeeping department and part of the Local 5 union, which advocates for better working conditions and equitable pay.

At the start of each day, Hara does mental math to see how many linens and new shower curtains she has to add to her cart to be efficient, although that can result in a heavy cart. To finish her 12 rooms in time, Hara often ends up skipping lunch. “Sometimes it’s a really hard job,” she said. 

The demanding labor can also take its toll. Hara has gotten injured while working, like when a guest turned off the bathroom lights and she slipped on spray-on sunscreen that was all over the floor. She also went to physical therapy for six months after pushing the heavy cart caused her back to “become crooked.”

Despite the physically taxing work, Hara is proud. “I take pride in my work and I love what I’m doing.”

Do housekeepers pay attention to guests’ behavior?

Housekeepers also read their guests. They take mental notes of a guest’s behavior, like if someone typically sleeps in, they’ll start coming to clean their room later. They also look at “visual signals,” as Marks puts it. “So this gentleman, every time you know, I put the hairdryer back, they move it back over to the right, so I'm going to start leaving it on the right, and increase his consistency.” 

At the Four Seasons, housekeepers cater to guests' needs before they even realize it. It can be as small as leaving distilled water in a room if someone uses a CPAP to sleep or slipping a bookmark into an open book. “We go into the rooms a lot of the times without seeing the actual guests, we're being invited into their home away from home,” Marks said.

How is the hotel kept clean without guests noticing too much?

To keep an entire resort with 370 guest rooms, for example, and multiple public areas looking unblemished, the behind-the-scenes at a resort like the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina is a massive operation. Over 100 housekeepers are managed by a team of three supervisors, who worked their way up from housekeeper. Public attendants take care of common areas, like lobby restrooms. House attendants help run items for housekeepers or to guest rooms, like an extra toothbrush.

Down the service elevator, the basement of the Four Seasons is where the office for the housekeeping coordinators. The team of three coordinators is on until 11 p.m. They’re the ones who answer when you call for an extra pillow and manage the cleaning schedule for all the housekeepers, including figuring out late check-out and early check-in. Housekeepers are in constant communication with the coordinators. At the Four Seasons, the coordinators use iPod-like devices to stay in touch and heat sensors to tell if a guest is in the room or not. 

“In my humble opinion, (housekeeping) is the most important department,” Marks said. “You can’t check guests into rooms if they’re not clean ... We’ve got to be on our game, making sure we’re communicating properly.”

Turning the corner of the Four Seasons’ downstairs housekeeping department are towering stacks of boxes containing hundreds of linens. The tremendous amount of linens the resort goes through are outsourced to a third-party washer and returned the next morning. There are also shelves of linens washed in hypo-allergenic detergent. 

Then there’s a giant chute that the dirty towels and bedsheets changed out by housekeepers from each floor empties into. One worker sorts through the hulking pile all day, wearing heavy-duty gloves in case something sharp is caught in the sheets. 

How can we be better hotel guests?

Besides trying to keep their room somewhat orderly, there are a few ways hotel guests can help make their housekeeper’s role easier. Hara prefers her guests opt into daily housekeeping to make her check-out days faster, and that the “Do not disturb” sign can sometimes throw her schedule off.

Communication is also key. Letting the hotel know a preferred time for daily housekeeping and turndown service can help housekeepers stick to their schedules. It can also give guests the best chance for early check-in and late check-out. 

Hotels try their best to accommodate late check-out and early check-in, even turning over a room in 60 minutes or less at the Four Seasons (which may include a supervisor or second housekeeper being called in to help). The more information guests can give the hotel before arrival, the better, Marks said, to allow the coordinators to go through arrival times and prioritize cleaning schedules. Sometimes, if there are too many check-ins, it just isn't possible.

Taking the time to get to know the housekeeper also goes a long way, not only in making their job easier but also because of the pride they take in their work. Hara loves it when her guests interact with her or leave thank-you notes. Some guests even request certain housekeepers or rooms because of the housekeepers. (On that note, consider sending a quick email to the hotel to give kudos to the housekeeper, which Hara said is “very uplifting.”) 

“That's really the thing; the people who are here really care about the guests,” said Marks. “And it amazes me just how much they do interact, and the comments that I get from the guests that’s ‘I felt like family... Joy, or whoever it was, you know, really took care of us.’”

Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at [email protected] .

GOBankingRates works with many financial advertisers to showcase their products and services to our audiences. These brands compensate us to advertise their products in ads across our site. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site. We are not a comparison-tool and these offers do not represent all available deposit, investment, loan or credit products.

Here’s How To Become a Travel Agent and Earn $3,000 Monthly

Caitlyn Moorhead

Commitment to Our Readers

GOBankingRates' editorial team is committed to bringing you unbiased reviews and information. We use data-driven methodologies to evaluate financial products and services - our reviews and ratings are not influenced by advertisers. You can read more about our editorial guidelines and our products and services review methodology .

20 Years Helping You Live Richer

Reviewed by Experts

Trusted by Millions of Readers

No matter the type of travel you enjoy doing travel planning takes attention to detail mixed with a bit of the spirit of adventure. Every once in a while when the stars align you can take what you love to do and turn it into a living. It’s time to pack your go bag and explore the travel agency world .

See Also: 6 Unusual Ways To Make Extra Money (That Actually Work)

How To Become a Travel Agent

Just because someone has travel experience does not mean they can automatically become a travel agent. However, if you are interested in becoming a travel agent there are many programs you can take to help you become one, or even start your own business. Skills you will learn include how to organize travel arrangements, business ethics, customer service, itinerary planning and the ins and outs of travel insurance.

No matter your career goals, whether you want to focus on luxury travel or more of a local tour operation, the following programs and certifications, which can be done in person or remotely, can get you started on the right path.

  • Departure Lounge: Learn how to navigate the hotel industry as an independent contractor as well as get tips on tour operating.
  • Premier Cruise Lines: Many lines such as Virgin Voyages, Cunard or Ritz-Carlton Yachts provide training programs for travel agents to help them sell their products and services more efficiently.
  • Get Certified: When your training and coursework are complete a certification helps distinguish you in the field with these designations. Some popular ones include the International Air Transport Association, Cruise Line International Association or Travel Industry Designator Service. Be sure to research which certification makes the most sense for you as it will imply different things for your business.

How Much Do Travel Agents Make?

The median pay for what travel agents get paid in the United States is estimated to be about $46,400 annually which is over $3,000 monthly. This may seem underwhelming, but this is an estimate by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics which means is only based on what full-time employees make and not self-employed people. In other words, you can make a lot more money as an independent travel advisor as opposed to working for a host agency. 

Travel agents make money by earning commissions on trips they book as well as charging fees such as booking or service fees. This is a great way to also set your own schedule and only choose the gigs you like. 

Final Take To GO: Love To Travel?

When it comes to starting as a travel agent, a good rule to follow is to try to sell and book trips you yourself would want to take. If you already love to travel this could be a natural next step in your career or a budding side business. 

A great way to sell yourself as a travel agent is to define your unique selling point. Essentially what is it about you that will make people want to book trips with you? It also helps to optimize your website, create high-quality content from trips you’ve booked or been on and leverage your social media platforms. Once you have your foundation firmly established, everything else is booking a day at the beach. 

  • Full-time travel agents make roughly $46,400 a year which is over $3,000 a month. However, there is a chance to make more money than this estimate by starting your own travel agency and working for yourself. This way you can set your own schedule and don't have to worry about splitting your commissions.
  • You don't need a specific degree to get started as a travel agent, but finding a training program and getting certified with varying destinations does help distinguish you as a trusted travel agent to your potential clients.
  • Selling yourself as a travel agent, much like with any job or small business, starts with defining your unique selling point. Essentially what is it about you that will make people want to book trips with you? It also helps to optimize your website, create high-quality content from trips you've booked or been on and leverage your social media platforms.
  • Get Certified: When your training and coursework are complete a certification helps distinguish you in the field with these designations. Some popular ones include the International Air Transport Association, Cruise Line International Association or Travel Industry Designator Service. Research which certification makes the most sense for you as it will imply different things for your business.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy .

  • Condé Nast Traveler. 2023. "How to Become a Travel Agent—Because, Believe It or Not, the Industry Is on the Rise."
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2024. "Travel Agents: Occupational Outlook Handbook."
  • Host Agency Reviews®. 2024. "How Much Do Travel Agents Make? | 2024 Travel Agent Salary."

Share This Article:

  • Best Side Gigs
  • Best Side Hustle Ideas
  • Best Online Side Hustles
  • Best Games That Pay Real Money
  • Best Games That Pay Instantly
  • Best Money-Making Apps
  • Best Ways To Make $1,000 Fast
  • Best Things To Sell To Make Money

Related Content

50 Top Money Tips From Suze Orman To Apply to Your Finances Today

50 Top Money Tips From Suze Orman To Apply to Your Finances Today

April 26, 2024

Here’s the Living Wage a Single Person Needs To Live Comfortably in Florida

Here's the Living Wage a Single Person Needs To Live Comfortably in Florida

April 27, 2024

9 Valuable American Nickels in Circulation

9 Valuable American Nickels in Circulation

Tony Robbins: 5 Step Plan To Turn Your Business Idea into Millions

Tony Robbins: 5 Step Plan To Turn Your Business Idea into Millions

April 25, 2024

Rachel Cruze: This Book Changed How I Think About Money

Rachel Cruze: This Book Changed How I Think About Money

How Hiring Women Can Help America’s Infrastructure


How Hiring Women Can Help America's Infrastructure

The Four Most Important Skills Your First Job Teaches You

The Four Most Important Skills Your First Job Teaches You

3 Ways Entrepreneurs Create Financial Success from Everyday Problems

3 Ways Entrepreneurs Create Financial Success from Everyday Problems

5 Places Single People Are Moving for a More Affordable and Higher Quality of Life

5 Places Single People Are Moving for a More Affordable and Higher Quality of Life

5 Ways Your First Job Is Key to Setting You Up for Success in Life

5 Ways Your First Job Is Key to Setting You Up for Success in Life

How To Pay for Your Child’s Wedding Without Touching Your Retirement Savings

How To Pay for Your Child's Wedding Without Touching Your Retirement Savings

See the Median Salary of Americans Your Age in Every State

See the Median Salary of Americans Your Age in Every State

Here Are 5 Things You Should Only Pay For in Cash

Here Are 5 Things You Should Only Pay For in Cash

I’m a Financial Educator: Here Are 8 Steps You Need To Take To Build Wealth

I'm a Financial Educator: Here Are 8 Steps You Need To Take To Build Wealth

Dave Ramsey: 5 Ways To Buy A Car Without Going Into Debt

Dave Ramsey: 5 Ways To Buy A Car Without Going Into Debt

How Much Gen Z Earns in Every State

How Much Gen Z Earns in Every State

how does travel wifi router work

Sign Up For Our Free Newsletter!

Get advice on achieving your financial goals and stay up to date on the day's top financial stories.

By clicking the 'Subscribe Now' button, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy . You can click on the 'unsubscribe' link in the email at anytime.

Thank you for signing up!

how does travel wifi router work


See today's best banking offers.

how does travel wifi router work

Sending you timely financial stories that you can bank on.

Sign up for our daily newsletter for the latest financial news and trending topics.

For our full Privacy Policy, click here .



Supported by

Could Trump Go to Prison? If He Does, the Secret Service Goes, Too

Officials have had preliminary discussions about how to protect the former president in the unlikely event that he is jailed for contempt during the trial.

  • Share full article

Several men and women wearing dark suits standing around an airport tarmac.

By William K. Rashbaum

The U.S. Secret Service is in the business of protecting the president, whether he’s inside the Oval Office or visiting a foreign war zone.

But protecting a former president in prison? The prospect is unprecedented. That would be the challenge if Donald J. Trump — whom the agency is required by law to protect around the clock — is convicted at his criminal trial in Manhattan and sentenced to serve time.

Even before the trial’s opening statements, the Secret Service was in some measure planning for the extraordinary possibility of a former president behind bars. Prosecutors had asked the judge in the case to remind Mr. Trump that attacks on witnesses and jurors could land him in jail even before a verdict is rendered.

(The judge, who held a hearing Tuesday morning to determine whether Mr. Trump should be held in contempt for violating a gag order, is far more likely to issue a warning or impose a fine before taking the extreme step of jailing the 77-year-old former president. It was not immediately clear when he would issue his ruling.)

Last week, as a result of the prosecution’s request, officials with federal, state and city agencies had an impromptu meeting about how to handle the situation, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

That behind-the-scenes conversation — involving officials from the Secret Service and other relevant law enforcement agencies — focused only on how to move and protect Mr. Trump if the judge were to order him briefly jailed for contempt in a courthouse holding cell, the people said.

The far more substantial challenge — how to safely incarcerate a former president if the jury convicts him and the judge sentences him to prison rather than home confinement or probation — has yet to be addressed directly, according to some of a dozen current and former city, state and federal officials interviewed for this article.

That’s at least in part because if Mr. Trump is ultimately convicted, a drawn-out and hard-fought series of appeals, possibly all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, is almost a certainty. That would most likely delay any sentence for months if not longer, said several of the people, who noted that a prison sentence was unlikely.

But the daunting challenge remains. And not just for Secret Service and prison officials, who would face the logistical nightmare of safely incarcerating Mr. Trump, who is also the presumptive Republican nominee for President.

“Obviously, it’s uncharted territory,” said Martin F. Horn, who has worked at the highest levels of New York’s and Pennsylvania’s state prison agencies and served as commissioner of New York City’s correction and probation departments. “Certainly no state prison system has had to deal with this before, and no federal prison has had to either.”

Steven Cheung, the communications director for Mr. Trump’s campaign, said the case against the former president was “so spurious and so weak” that other prosecutors had refused to bring it, and called it “an unprecedented partisan witch hunt.”

“That the Democrat fever dream of incarcerating the nominee of the Republican Party has reached this level exposes their Stalinist roots and displays their utter contempt for American democracy,” he said.

Protecting Mr. Trump in a prison environment would involve keeping him separate from other inmates, as well as screening his food and other personal items, officials said. If he were to be imprisoned, a detail of agents would work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, rotating in and out of the facility, several officials said. While firearms are obviously strictly prohibited in prisons, the agents would nonetheless be armed.

Former corrections officials said there were several New York state prisons and city jails that have been closed or partly closed, leaving wings or large sections of their facilities empty and available. One of those buildings could serve to incarcerate the former president and accommodate his Secret Service protective detail

Anthony Guglielmi, the spokesman for the Secret Service in Washington, declined in a statement to discuss specific “protective operations.” But he said that federal law requires Secret Service agents to protect former presidents, adding that they use state-of-the-art technology, intelligence and tactics to do so.

Thomas J. Mailey, a spokesman for New York State’s prison agency, said his department couldn’t speculate about how it would treat someone who has not yet been sentenced, but that it has a system “to assess and provide for individuals’ medical, mental health and security needs.” Frank Dwyer, a spokesman for the New York City jails agency, said only that “the department would find appropriate housing” for the former president.

The trial in Manhattan, one of four criminal cases pending against Mr. Trump and possibly the only one that will go to a jury before the election, centers on accusations he falsified records to cover up a sex scandal involving a porn star. The former president is charged with 34 counts of felony falsifying business records. If convicted, the judge in the case, Juan M. Merchan, could sentence him to punishments ranging from probation to four years in state prison, though for a first-time offender of Mr. Trump’s age, such a term would be extreme.

If Mr. Trump is convicted, but elected president again, he could not pardon himself because the prosecution was brought by New York State.

Under normal circumstances, any sentence of one year or less, colloquially known as “city time,” would generally be served on New York City’s notorious Rikers Island, home to the Department of Correction’s seven jails. (That’s where Mr. Trump’s former chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, 76, is currently serving his second five-month sentence for crimes related to his work for his former boss.)

Any sentence of more than a year, known as state time, would generally be served in one of the 44 prisons run by New York State’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

The former president could also be sentenced to a term of probation, raising the bizarre possibility of the former commander in chief reporting regularly to a civil servant at the city’s Probation Department.

He would have to follow the probation officer’s instructions and answer questions about his work and personal life until the term of probation ended. He would also be barred from associating with disreputable people, and if he committed any additional crimes, he could be jailed immediately.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

William K. Rashbaum is a Times reporter covering municipal and political corruption, the courts and broader law enforcement topics in New York. More about William K. Rashbaum

Our Coverage of the Trump Hush-Money Trial

News and Analysis

The criminal trial of Trump featured vivid testimony about a plot to protect his first presidential campaign  and the beginnings  of a tough cross-examination  of the prosecution’s initial witness, David Pecker , former publisher of The National Enquirer. Here are the takeaways .

Dozens of protesters calling for the justice system to punish Trump  briefly blocked traffic on several streets near the Lower Manhattan courthouse where he is facing his first criminal trial.

Prosecutors accused Trump of violating a gag order four additional times , saying that he continues to defy the judge’s directions  not to attack witnesses , prosecutors and jurors in his hush-money trial.

More on Trump’s Legal Troubles

Key Inquiries: Trump faces several investigations  at both the state and the federal levels, into matters related to his business and political careers.

Case Tracker:  Keep track of the developments in the criminal cases  involving the former president.

What if Trump Is Convicted?: Could he go to prison ? And will any of the proceedings hinder Trump’s presidential campaign? Here is what we know , and what we don’t know .

Trump on Trial Newsletter: Sign up here  to get the latest news and analysis  on the cases in New York, Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C.


  1. Benefits of Portable Wi-Fi Router and How Does It Work

    how does travel wifi router work

  2. How Wi-Fi Works

    how does travel wifi router work

  3. 9 Best Wireless Travel Routers in 2021 For Ultimate Mobility

    how does travel wifi router work

  4. How Travel Wifi internet router works

    how does travel wifi router work

  5. The 6 Best Wireless Travel Routers for 2019

    how does travel wifi router work

  6. What is a WiFi Router and How Does it Work ?

    how does travel wifi router work


  1. How Does WiFi Work? Breakdown of Wireless Internet Technology

  2. Why do Wifi routers have 3 or 4 antennas?

  3. Discover the Best Travel WiFi Router

  4. 三频WiFi RouterTP-LINK Archer AX90开箱

  5. TOP 5: Best Travel Router [2022]

  6. Travel Router


  1. What Are Travel Routers? Everything You Need to Know

    Image Credit: TP-Link. A travel router is designed to simplify the process of connecting and managing devices on public Wi-Fi networks, whether that means in a hotel, at the airport, or anywhere else. Most major router manufacturers have travel versions in their product range, including Netgear, D-Link, and more.

  2. Best Travel WiFi Router (And 7 Tips for How To Use A Portable Router)

    Once you know the benefits of having a travel WiFi router, it's also helpful to know how to use a portable router. Here are some details of why a travel WiFi router is beneficial for travel, and how to use a portable router (and VPN) for travel. 1. WiFi repeating. This is the first benefit of your own travel wifi router: repeating the signal.

  3. Get a Travel Router to Upgrade Your Hotel Wi-Fi Experience

    It's tiny, inexpensive, and our all-around top pick for best travel router. For most folks, it's the easiest solution. $35 at Amazon. The upgraded model features dual-band Wi-Fi, 802.11AC (Wi-Fi 5), and a really convenient switch on the side that makes it dead simple to change modes without logging into the router.

  4. How Do Portable Wifi Routers Work

    Here's how the WiFi connection works in a portable WiFi router: 1. Receiving the Internet Signal: The portable WiFi router receives the internet signal from a source such as a cellular network, Ethernet cable, or public WiFi network. This signal serves as the primary source of internet connectivity for the router. 2.

  5. Best Travel Routers: Get Stronger Internet while Traveling!

    A travel router is a compact little device that solves common Internet issues while traveling and offers a number of features to the on-the-go traveler who wants to stay connected. It can act as a wireless range extender, WiFi access point, and help provide extra security to your Internet connections when traveling. We review the best travel routers to help you decide which is for you!

  6. 7 Best Travel Routers for Digital Nomads

    If you can afford the price tag, this is one of the best portable routers that money can buy, and luckily, you can often find discounts on this product on Amazon. Click here to learn more about the NETGEAR Nighthawk M1. 5. GL.iNet (Beryl) VPN Wireless Little Travel Router. Photo Credit: GL.iNET.

  7. What is a Travel Router, Types, and How Do They Work?

    Different Types of Travel Routers / Networking Devices. The type of travel networking device you want to purchase depends on several factors, including the nature of your work, the number of devices you want to connect, availability of the internet at a given location, the number of non-wireless products around, nature of the primary internet supplying device, and even the security safeguards ...

  8. Best Portable WiFi Options for Travelers 2024

    Use Cases for Portable WiFi Routers for Travel • Portable WiFi for Work Travel: Stay connected and boost productivity with portable WiFi on business trips, ensuring seamless access to cloud services, video conferencing, and secure file sharing anywhere you go. Even share your WiFi connection with travel companions, or even a conference room.

  9. Best Travel Routers

    View Latest Price →. TP-Link TL-WR902AC. Best Travel Router for Hotels. Makes use of dual frequency bands of 2.4 and 5Ghz. Can be used for a variety of connection options. View Latest Price →. GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2. Best Wireless Travel Router. Made with a durable construction to last longer.

  10. What is portable WiFi router and how to use one

    A portable WiFi router is just like your internet box at home, but instead of being attached to a phone cable, they have a SIM card inside instead. If you get an 'unlocked' portable WiFi device, this means you can use any SIM card, from anywhere in the world, inside it. The benefit of this is that you can therefore always get the lowest rates ...

  11. What Is Pocket Wifi & How It Works

    Pocket Wi-Fi, Mobile Wireless Fidelity (MiFi), or travel Wi-Fi are portable routers that convert telecommunication signals into Wi-Fi. It gives travelers, digital nomads, and remote workers a means to broadcast wireless signals to multiple devices while on the move. Pocket Wi-Fi features. Common features you'll find with portable travel ...

  12. The Best Wireless Travel Routers of 2024

    The best wireless travel routers avoid these hassles by letting you set up a private bubble of Wi-Fi anywhere you happen to land, whether in a conference center, hotel room, or airport lounge. Most people should buy the TP-Link TL-WR902AC - it's small enough to chuck in a backpack and can even double as a Wi-Fi range extender.

  13. What are portable Wi-Fi hotspots, and how do they work?

    In essence, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot is a smartphone without a screen or advanced operating system — it only has the ability to take a mobile connection, and create a Wi-Fi network. Portable ...

  14. The 5 Best Travel Routers for On-the-Go Connection in 2021

    3. NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot 4G LTE Router. Safely, swiftly and easily connect up to 20 devices in total with the NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot 4G LTE Router and have each and every one of them work like magic. This travel router brings public WiFi into a private setting for everyone you're on the road with.

  15. 15 Best Travel Routers of 2024

    Best Travel Routers by Category. Best Travel Router for Frequent Travelers. 1. Best Overall: TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router. 2. RAVPower FileHub (RP-WD009) AC750 Wireless Travel Router. Best Wireless Travel Routers. 3. Best Wireless Travel Router: HooToo Tripmate Titan.

  16. Best travel routers 2024

    Equipped with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, as well as all the latest compatible WiFi 6 technologies, the GL iNet Slate tops our list of the best travel routers currently on the market. With MUMIMO, OFDMA, and BSS color, the GL iNet Slate can also connect up to 120 devices simultaneously, which makes it on par with some of the best routers for ...

  17. Pocket WiFi Explained (+Buyers Guide)

    Battery life: A pocket WiFi device with long battery life is ideal for those who are always on the go. Look for a device with a battery life of at least 8-10 hours. Weight: A lightweight device is easier to carry around, especially if you plan on using it for long periods. Look for a device that weighs less than 100 grams.

  18. TL-WR902AC

    Portable and compact. The incredibly compact TL-WR902AC is the world's first AC750 travel router. Take it with you to create a personal Wi-Fi spot anywhere internet is available. It fits easily in your pocket, purse or bag and is perfect for use while traveling. Watch movies over private dual-band Wi-Fi at a hotel.

  19. How Does a Router Work?

    Routers figure out the fastest data path between devices connected on a network, and then send data along these paths. To do this, routers use what's called a "metric value," or preference number. If a router has the choice of two routes to the same location, it will choose the path with the lowest metric. The metrics are stored in a routing table.

  20. Everything You Need to Know About Wifi for Your RV

    Mobile Hotspot Routers. Mobile hotspots are devices that recognize and retrieve cell phone signals without doing all the texting and scrolling that your phone does. It acts as a mobile modem, bringing WiFi into your RV without the cords and cables of a home office. Mobile hotspots are essentially like having a cell phone plan for a standalone ...

  21. GL.iNet Opal Travel Router Review: You Didn't Know You Needed This!

    The Opal can push wireless speeds up to 300 Mbps on a 2.4 Ghz band or 867 Mbps on a 5 Ghz band. I was able to get 30 Mbps download on the 2.4 Ghz band and about 50 Mbps download on the 5 Ghz one. Off my actual router at work, the unsullied Wi-Fi connection hits about 120 Mbps download. That seems to be a good representation of the speed of the ...

  22. How does late check-out work? Here's how hotel housekeeping works

    "Hello, the amount of steps they get each day, having to lift the beds and the mattresses, going back and forth to the bathroom, you have to get down on your hands and knees to scrub the floor ...

  23. Here's How To Become a Travel Agent and Earn $3,000 Monthly

    No matter the type of travel you enjoy doing travel planning takes attention to detail mixed with a bit of the spirit of adventure. Every once in a while when the stars align you can take what you love to do and turn it into a living. It's time to pack your go bag and explore the travel agency world. See Also: 6 Unusual Ways To Make Extra Money (That Actually Work) How To Become a Travel Agent ...

  24. Millions in the Midwest under storm watches as Nebraska and Iowa ...

    One day after destructive tornadoes plowed through Nebraska and Iowa, millions of people in parts of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma were under tornado watches Saturday evening.

  25. Could Trump Go to Prison? If He Does, the Secret Service Goes, Too

    The U.S. Secret Service is in the business of protecting the president, whether he's inside the Oval Office or visiting a foreign war zone. But protecting a former president in prison?