Ok so you’re traveling for work or going on your dream vacation. Now how do you make sure that you can connect to the internet while you’re out globetrotting?
Unreliable internet connections are common when traveling but the latest travel routers can create a simple reliable way to connect to the net.
Wifi travel routers can also do much more than simply connecting your devices to the internet but with all the bells and whistles, it’s tough to figure out exactly what you need and what’s a waste of money.
Right now I’ll go through all the things you need to know. From devices that create a fast, secure connection abroad to streaming movies right from the router.
The Best Wifi Travel Routers For 2018
>> HooToo Titan (Editors Choice)
The HooToo Titan travel router has been called the “swiss army knife” of travel gadgets. It allows you to connect to the internet and stream media to your devices.
It’s portable and can double as a charge station allowing you to recharge your phone and other devices while on the go.
Connecting it to more than 4 devices at a time can slow it down though, so if you’re connecting many devices at once you might consider a different travel router.
This wifi travel router does many of the same things that the HooToo titan can do but it has a faster connection.
It comes with a dual band antenna whereas the HooToo only comes with one.
It also has a built in SD card reader so if you want to easily transfer files from a camera to your iPhone, you can use this device to accomplish that.
The downside compared to the Titan is that it is equipped with a smaller battery so if your main purpose is to use it when you’re away from your hotel you might want to get the HooToo.
This thing is blazing fast compared to all the other routers in this review.
It comes with a 2.4ghz and 5ghz antenna built in giving you an outstanding 750 mbps throughput. To give you a comparison… most travel routers are in the range of 150-300 Mbps.
You might not need all that speed though. If your hotel is only running a 40 mbps connection it might be overkill, but it’s there if you can take advantage of it.
It also has a smaller battery than some of the other routers so thats something to consider.
This router is not portable right out of the box like the others. If you want to take it out with you, you would need to purchase a separate portable battery and attach it to the device.
If you don’t care about portability this is a great option.
It has fast speeds (300 Mbps) and with this USB enabled model you can connect all your USB devices like portable hard drives etc.
It also has a repeater mode so when you aren’t traveling you can use it at home to boost the wifi signal for your smart devices and computers.
The Netgear travel router works much like the Tp-link w/usb but it has an external antenna for a more reliable connection.
In general you’re just paying for the name here… and you’re paying a lot… Like 60% more.
Usb Port - You can plug in external devices like portable flash and hard drives.
This allows you to free up space on your phone by transferring videos and pictures. You can also load up a bunch of movies to watch on the trip.
Ethernet Port - Many hotels only have a wired connection allowing you to plug in just one device (if that device has an ethernet port like an old laptop).
With the Titan you just plug the hotels ethernet cable into the router and it will transmit the signal wirelessly to other devices like your phone, tablet, etc.
Portable Battery - What makes this router stand out is it’s large ten thousand plus milliamp battery. That allows you to charge several devices when you’re on the go.
TripMate App - It has a really cool app interface for your phone, tablet or laptop that allows you to easily pull up files, movies, music and photos in one easy to navigate screen…
If you travel for work or vacation a lot you can’t go wrong with the Hootoo travel router.
Along with all of the other functionality, when you’re in your hotel room you just log into the hotels wireless access point through the web authentication page, then connect other devices wirelessly to the router. That essentially creates your own wireless network.
Also the 10400 mAh battery is great to have on long flights or train rides to make sure your phone and tablet stay charged.
This is the best overall travel router. It allows you to stream movies in the car, keeps you connected in the hotel and it's large portable battery allows you to keep your devices charged without having to carry around an extra battery pack.
This router is very similar to the HooToo Titan router with a couple key differences...
Dual Antennas - This router comes with 2 internal antennas for a more reliable connection.
SD Card Slot - The RavPower router comes with an SD card reader built in. If you need an SD card slot for photos, movies etc and don’t want to buy an extra device this is really useful.
Smaller Battery - It does have a battery and it might be all that you need but just know that it has a 6000 mAp Battery vs the HooToo’s 10400 mAp. That works out to about 2 less charging cycles for an iPhone 6.
Among other things you can use the RavPower Plus to watch movies where you can’t get a reliable internet connection like your car or a plane.
With the built in SD card, you don’t have to worry about wires getting tangled. Instead of plugging in a usb device when you want to watch a movie… Just pop in an SD card preloaded with your favorite flicks.
This is our second pick for travel routers. It's built in SD card slot is nice, especially if you're a photographer and it's 2 antennas are also an welcome addition for extra reliability.
The D Link AC router is a very fast and reliable travel router. The key points here are…
Speed - This is the fastest of the bunch. With it’s 2.4 and 5ghz antenna, it can reach speeds of up to 750 Mbps.
I also like that it does have a 5ghz transmitter. 2.4ghz antennas tend to have more traffic from things like microwaves and other devices, which slows down your streaming.
Security - You have the ability to setup a WPA2 encrypted network which allows you to secure your files from notoriously unsecure hotel wifi networks.
Even Smaller Battery - This router comes with a 4000 mAh battery which allows for limited portability and charging. If you want the speed and security and need mobility I would get a separate battery charger.
This D Link travel router, like the others on the list allows you to pay for access to one wireless network when you’re traveling and share it to your other devices but it does it faster.
Internet access on a cruise ship for example can cost you around $25 a day and in most cases that only allows for one device.
These days we travel with our tablets, phones, laptops, wireless TV devices etc. With this router you can share that internet connection with up to 5 devices at a blazing fast 750 Mbps.
Although not always necessary, this is the fastest router on the list. If Speed is your biggest concern then the D-Link portable router is an excellent choice. Also, with it's 5ghz antenna you will get less network interference than some of the other routers.
This device is more of a pure travel router. It doesn’t come with some of the bells and whistles out of the box but with the usb port you can extend it’s capabilities if you need them in the future.
Here’s the breakdown…
Multiple Modes - It has 3 different modes for different situations.
A). Wireless Router - Acts just like a standard internet router
B). Repeater Mode - Allows you to boost the wifi signal from an existing network
C). Client Access Mode - Connect to a network like at a hotel and give internet access to multiple devices.
The additional repeater mode is what I think is cool. When you’re not traveling you can give some of your devices at home more internet juice. Definitely a value add.
Speed - This travel router is about middle of the road at 300 Mbps. That just might be all that you need as many hotel routers run at much lower speeds.
Built In Power Plug - Unlike most other travel routers that make you use an additional power cord, this unit plugs directly into the wall. Just flip up the 2 power prongs and plug it in.
This router is great at the price point. If you don’t need portability then this is the one to get. If you decide later that you want to take it around with you, you can always plug in an external power bank.
There are two versions of this travel router. One that comes with USB that I’ve linked to and one without. I would strongly recommend that you get the one WITH USB as this allows for much greater functionality like plugging in an external flash drive.
Be aware that this router doesn't have a battery so if you want to use it on the go you will need an additional battery bank. Where this router really shines is in it's ability to work as a Wifi repeater when you're not traveling.
What You Should Look For In Choosing A Travel Router?
There are several things to look for when choosing a travel Wifi router. I’ll go over the major ones here…
Speed - How fast is it?
At first glance you might think the faster the better but that’s not always the case. If your hotel internet connection is only giving you 50 Mbps (megabits per second) then getting a router running 750 Mbps is overkill. You are essentially paying for extra bandwidth you’ll never use.
(Side note: In my research I found a site that ranks internet connection speeds for over a 1000 hotels worldwide. You might find it useful… Hotel Wifi Test)
If on the other hand you are going on a road trip and you have 2 kids in the back seat streaming movies and another passenger watching youtube videos, having higher throughput is really beneficial.
Battery - Does it have one and if it does how long does it hold a charge?
Some road routers have a built in battery so that you can use it while on the go. Like when you’re in your car or a cafe.
If it does have a built in battery it can also charge devices like your phone when you’re out. This is super useful.
Battery size is measured in milliamps (mAh) and the higher the better.
As an example the HooToo Titan has a 10400 mAh battery. If you used it only as a charger you could charge your iPhone 6 five times before you would need a recharge.
Additional Functionality - What else can it do?
Charging your cell phone while on the go is only one of the many things you can accomplish with some of these Wifi travel routers.
Many of them have extra ports for things like usb sticks, SD cards and ethernet ports.
Figure out what’s important to you. If you are a photographer and need to store photos on an external device then make sure it comes with an SD card reader and a port for external storage.
If you want to plug in an external hard drive loaded with Disney movies to keep the kids entertained on a long trip… make sure it comes with a usb port and has the ability to stream.
Tethering - Can it use your phone network for Internet?
You may find yourself in a place where you don’t have a Wifi connection or the hotel simply doesn’t offer internet.
If that’s the case, you can use your phone’s internet connection for your iPads laptops etc.
There are 2 ways to go about this.
If the router supports it you can tether your phone to the router and use it as a hub
Use a sim card dongle and plug it into the usb on the router or alternately some travel routers have a space for you to directly insert the sim
Be careful here. You don’t want to get charged an arm and a leg for data usage. For more info check out this article on using your phone internationally.
Other travel things to consider:
If you are traveling to another country you may need to get a different power adapter.
If you plan on taking a lot of video consider getting a high capacity hard drive.
Final Words - Wrapping It Up
All said I would recommend the HooToo Titan Travel Router.
It has the largest battery which allows you to use it for the entire day without worrying about it running out of juice and it can charge external devices like your phone several times.
It’s not the fastest router on this list but it’s fast enough. It runs at 150 Mbps and on average hotel internet speeds run at around 40 Mbps. The faster D Link router is more than twice the price of the Titan and you probably won’t be able to use the 750 Mbps anyway.
It has all the ports you need like ethernet for connecting to wired hotel networks and a USB port for any external devices that you want to plug into it like an SD card reader.