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What’s the best mobile WiFi for travel? Review of GLocalMe

What’s the best mobile WiFi for travel? Review of GLocalMe

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Rating ★★★★★
Price range £££££

The photos show my personal GLocalMe G3, which I’ve ben using for a couple of years. The latest generation G4 is a much sleeker device – thinner, nicer to look at and hold, and with improved buttons – but otherwise functions exactly the same.

Best mobile WiFi for travel?

There are several ways to get mobile data when travelling. I’ve tried them all, and most of them suck.

Most options are either expensive, or fiddly, or unreliable. In fact, often all three apply.

One choice is to pay your home mobile provider for a data package, but these are usually prohibitively expensive outside the EU.

Option 2 is to use a local SIM. I have a dual SIM Samsung Galaxy for exactly this reason.

A dual SIM phone means you can keep your home SIM and add a local SIM, instead of having to take out your home SIM and lose your contacts and home number. And maybe even lose your SIM…

It can be fairly cheap if you’re going to be in one place for a while, but if you’re visiting several countries it’s not so cheap, and it’s more hassle having to find a shop that sells SIMs, working out which one to buy, registering, topping-up, installing yet another app to control it.

A third popular choice is a specialized global data SIM. I’ve tried several in the past. Same problems. You have to take your own SIM out. They’re unreliable. They’re inconvenient. They’re not very cheap.

With all the above, it’s also tricky to share that connection to your other devices, and there’s a persistent threat of massive bills if you get it wrong and go over your data allowance.

A last resort, used by many, is to find free WiFi, or wait till you get back to the hotel.

That means obvious limitations. Try using Uber or searching for info or checking in for your next flight while you’re out and about.

When I came across the GLocalMe, I had my doubts about how well it work, but I tried it and I’ve never looked back.

The GLocalMe solves all those problems. It is without doubt the best mobile WiFi for travel.

How it works

GLocalMe is a mobile WiFi hotspot that lets you connect up to 5 devices. It has a global SIM inside, and a slot for another SIM if you do want to buy a local one (so you no longer need a dual SIM phone).

It works in over 140 countries. It has 4G (and will fall back to 3G or 2G according to availability) and supports download speeds up to 150 Mbps. The battery lasts for around 15 hours.

It runs on Android and has a touchscreen, but all you use that for is checking status and configuring the WiFi hotspot. Managing your account is done through the app, available for Android and iOS, or the website.

Once you create your account online, you can sign in on the device. In the app or on the web, choose and buy a data package. Then turn on the WiFi, connect your phone to the WiFi, and away you go.

It’s really simple. Best of all, the data packages are very competitive.

 

User experience

I’ve used GLocalMe in China, Taiwan, UAE, Armenia, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar, Fiji, Chile, Bahrain, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Philippines, South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand, Tahiti, and more.

It’s worked really well, every time.

The only time I couldn’t use it was in Vanuatu, where a local sim is the only option.

Buying the data packages is easy. You can buy several packages in advance if you’re off to multiple destinations. If the coverage of the different packages overlaps at all then the device will select the best value package to use at the time.

I always found data services to be quick and reliable and the device combined with the app makes it easy to see what you’ve used and what you have remaining.

After a flight, I generally switch it on as I’m deplaning, and by the time I get to the baggage claim I’m nearly always back online.

Best Mobile WiFi GLocalMe data packages
Best Mobile WiFi GLocalMe data packages

GLocalMe data prices

Data is sold in packages offering different amounts of data, different durations, and different coverage. This makes it easy to pick the best value to match your plans – where you are going, how long for, how much data you use, and whether you have other plans later in the year.

On the app or the website it’s really easy to search by country or region, and see what’s available.

For example, you could pick packages such as:

1GB for 30 days globally at €25
1GB for 30 days in South East Asia (8 countries) at €6
1GB for 30 days in Japan and Korea at €4
500MB for 1 day in Singapore at €2

That’s just a selection of the options available. If you want a lot of data or a little, one specific country or several, for a day, a month, or a year, there’ll be a package to suit.

When you’re looking at packages for a particular country, the app will show you multi-region packages you could choose instead. This is something I really like about GLocalMe: There’s never any attempt to deceive or to trick you into buying something you don’t need.

There are no sneaky sales tricks. No spamming. No unfair policies. No cheating. It’s all clear, and fair, and logical, and designed to work in your favour.

If you have two active data packages and one is cheaper than the other in the current location, it will use the cheaper one.

The only negative is that the app shows some ads, but they are not intrusive, just some related service ads at the top of the home page in the notification area that also shows important upgrades or offers. You’d have to be very thin-skinned and sensitive to be irritated by them.

There are also occasional discounts and promos that will be emailed to you if you allow it in your account. 

Overall, I’ve been impressed with the device and impressed with the business model. Here’s some examples of the sorts of packages and prices as they look in the app.

Data price comparison

Just to illustrate, let’s compare prices for a few countries against UK mobile providers EE and 3.

Country EE 3 GLocalMe
Oman 150MB for 24 hours at £6 £6 per MB 1GB for 7 days at £11.80
China 500MB for 24 hours at £6 £6 per MB 1GB for 7 days at £2.95
Fiji 10MB for 24 hours at £10 £6 per MB 1GB for 7 days at £3.30

That’s just a few. Check those values carefully. The comparison is usually megabytes against gigabytes.

In Fiji, EE will charge you £10 for 10MB, compared to £3.30 for 1GB on GLocalMe. When I went to Fiji last February, EE didn’t have any data service in Fiji.

Once you get outside Europe, and if you want more than a tiny amount of data for more than a day, GLocalMe is nearly always substantially cheaper.

There are some exceptions. Depending on your home service provider, some countries may be included in your regular allowance.

Price

The latest generation upgraded and more slender GLocalMe G4 is around £120. This one is our choice.

The chunkier GLocal Me G3 is currently selling with 8GB of Data for Europe at £144. I’ve personally be using this one for a while and it has proven completely reliable, but the G4 is now a better price and physically a much nicer device to hold. The G3 is discontinued so it’s just remaining stock being sold.

The thinner GLocal Me U2 is around £135, but the newer more compact size of the upgraded G4 pretty much renders the U2 obsolete.

Our verdict

GLocalMe is by far the best mobile WiFi for travel

The best mobile WiFi for travel needs to be simple, reliable, convenient, and have very competitive data pricing.

The GLocalMe is one of my indispensable travel essentials and one of my top recommendations for any regular traveller.

GLocalMe is the best mobile WiFi for travel, and the best solution for global data roaming, that I have ever used.

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