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The Pros and Cons of Wifi Devices for travellers

The one important thing most travellers need in this digital day and age? It’s wi-fi on the go, having access to the Internet is becoming an absolute essential instead of just a nice-to-have, especially if you are reliant on Google maps and cloud backups. In my early trips I use to just depend on any free wifi sources I could find, and one of the earliest travel wifi solutions was the wifi device, also known as the wifi dongle or wifi egg. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of wifi devices for your travels.

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Using a sponsored wiho device on my trips in 2013. Wiho no longer operates in Singapore but there are many other options out there today.

Tips for connectivity when you travel

Don’t forget to turn off data roaming

I usually switch off my phone’s data and phone line when I travel just to ensure I don’t incur any extraneous charges. There have been too many stories of people unknowingly racking up hefty bills by leaving their connections untouched!

the perils of open wifi connections

Like I mentioned, I used to take a chance on open wifi connections, but in this day and age where it’s become so easy to steal your data, open networks are a huge security concern – don’t lose your bank passwords just because you needed internet! Also these connections tend to be very slow and spotty in terms of speed.

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The SSID is the network to look out for, WPA key is the password to key in for access

Pros of using wifi devices

I have 3G connection in Singapore on my mobile phone, but I tested out the Singapore device, which had a pretty stable connection with Starhub with decent speeds. The good thing is that it also saved my phone battery, which I usually to tether to my laptop through personal hotspot on the go and can drain pretty fast.

Easy to use and connect

Wifi devices are pretty easy to use. Just turn it on, search for the wifi network and use the password to login. Simple as that.

Easy to prep before your trip

No worrying about finding foreign SIM cards when you land, especially when you’re on a short trip and you don’t want the hassle of buying one!

Supports multiple connections

This is particularly useful if you are in a group as you can tether multiple connections with just one device. Group travellers can split the cost, or if you have many devices like your laptop, tablet along with your phone, they can all be connected to that same device.

Transparent Price

Because you usually pay to book the device, you know upfront how much you’ll be spending on data. Also the cost is usually per day, so you can use as much as you need without worrying about busting your data cap.

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A closer look at the wifi device which comes with charger and multiplug adapter

Cons of using wifi devices

Another device to charge

In the past, the battery life of these devices was just a few hours, so I used to only turn it on when I needed to use the internet. These days they do last longer, but you do have to remember to charge it or make sure your powerbank has enough for all your devices.

Limited networks

Most of the device plans usually only for one country due to the service provider. Some so work over multiple countries (e.g. EU) but the total plan tends to be quite expensive.


While the devices aren’t usually very large, just having to manage an additional device on top of what you’re already carrying is a bit of a pain. I have sometimes left the device in my bag in a locker and forgot that walking away from it means losing connection!

Who do wifi devices work best for

The wifi device is most useful if you have multiple devices like laptops and tablets that need internet. You don’t have to waste your phone battery by tethering it, and for group situations it is useful to split the costs. These days with eSIMs and cheaper roaming plans, it might make sense to use those instead for convenience sake, so do evaluate what works best for you.

Are you a fan of wifi devices? Shout out in the comments why you like them best for connectivity while travelling. Meanwhile, some other posts about travel gear here:


Monday 21st of July 2014

can I ask. will normal portable battery chargers such as "Duracell" work with this wifi device, i will have one anyway for my tablet but I am just curious?

Jaclynn Seah

Monday 21st of July 2014

Hi shaolinrachelrach, I think it depends on the end? I'm not sure if Duracell works because I'm not so familiar with it, but the wifi device does come with a charging device so you don't have to worry about that...