Travelzoo Puts Portable Wi-Fi to the Test
No list of great conversation starters has ever kicked off with the relative merits of international data plans. But throw any bunch of travel pros together, and conversation inevitably turns to everyone’s connectivity on the road. We’ll happily deconstruct and debate various phone company offerings, Airplane Mode-only strategies, double super-secret hidden charges … and so on and so forth until someone finally remembers to ask about a colleague’s kid’s recital.
So when word of Travelzoo-exclusive deals on Skyroam Solis portable Wi-Fi hotspots got around our offices, collective curiosity naturally set in — and three staffers with immediate travel plans decided to take the technology for a spin. Read on for the results.
While I wish you could use this on an airplane, I have no other complaints. The Skyroam was great when I wanted to look something up, post on social, connect with family and friends or -- arguably most important -- get directions. When my mom and I were recently driving from Dublin to Belfast, our rental car’s navigation system chose an odd place to announce we’d arrived at our hotel: the middle of a housing neighborhood. We proceeded to drive aimlessly for a few minutes, until I remembered I had the Skyroam. It connected to my phone quickly, I uploaded Google Maps and my mom and I were in the hotel lobby five minutes later. -Robert Hartman, Sales Manager The Skyroam was really lightweight, so I always had it on me in Edinburgh, where getting around proved much easier than usual because I wasn’t constantly hunting for Wi-Fi as I researched meals, shopping excursions and sightseeing stops. Getting connected was easy, too: You basically turn the device on, enter the network password and you’re in.
Officially, up to four of your travel companions can be connected while you are, but when my friends and I had three phones connected at once, texting pictures was admittedly tough. Still, overall browsing speed was good, and we were consistently impressed by the battery life (16 hours, so the battery never ran out while we were out exploring during the day).
The only real glitch actually occurred before the trip got started: The device didn’t arrive when it should have. But the company made things right, using UPS Overnight Early to get a Skyroam to my apartment well before I had to leave for the airport. -Peter Vanden Bos, Associate Publisher
Before a trip to London, I of course made sure my hotel would have Wi-Fi. But the service turned out to be so weak, I couldn't access or send emails. Luckily, I had brought Skyroam with me, and I was up and running with my emails in no time. -Andree Sanquini, Head of Hotel & Local Sales