Staying Connected While Traveling Abroad

There’s nothing quite like traveling abroad. The excitement to explore a new place, seeing the sights, learning the history, and being immersed in the culture. But traveling outside of your home country can be tough in regards to staying connected with your friends, family, and the world (read: social media/internet).

In 2014 when my mom and I traveled to London and Brussels, we opted for the lowest end international add-on plan for our phones, so we’d be able to stay connected to loved ones when we weren’t connected to hotel Wi-Fi, and really, the safety net of being able to use our phones for navigation, or whatever else came up that we might need it for. But when you’re used to having gigabytes of data per month and then all of a sudden you’re restricted to like 100 megabytes, it’s kind of a struggle. I felt like I was walking on eggshells every time I used data and the majority of the time, we kept our phone services switched off until we absolutely needed them. And even then, we reached our limit and it was rough.

Planning an international trip and looking to stay connected on your phone without crazy charges? You're covered with Tep!

One year later, as we were gearing up for our second annual Europe trip, I reevaluated our options and decided to try something different this time around. And now after having done so, I’ll never travel internationally without Tep Wireless again!

Tep is a handheld device that acts as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, small enough to fit in your pocket or handbag! Rather than paying for a specific amount of data to use, you pay by the day (in advance) at about $10/day.

How It Works

So, how does it all work? It’s incredibly easy! First, check out the coverage map to make sure your destination(s) is/are on the list. The good news is their list is pretty lengthy, so chances are where you’re going will be covered! Next, select the number of days to see the price. For example, 10 days in Europe costs $99.50. You can also pay extra to have a portable charger for the device and/or adding insurance.

A couple days before your trip, your Tep will arrive in a travel case, complete with everything you need! The actual Tep device, a charging cord, and a wall charger. They also include an info card with ways to contact the company, should you have any problems along the way.

tep kit

Once you’ve finally made it to your international destination, simply power the device on, and you’re ready to go! You’ll have a unique password and network name to connect with, ensuring that the network stays exclusive to you. To start your usage, simply follow the prompts on the screen and with a couple easy steps (really just clicking “ok”), you’ll be connected.

     

Pros

  • About 8 hours of battery (when in use)
  • Connects up to 5 devices
  • Powered by leading mobile operators worldwide

Cons

  • An added shipping cost for the device to be mailed to you and for you to mail it back ($30 total if in the US)
  • You have to reconnect every 24 hours
  • Some areas can be a little spotty (e.g. out in the countryside or in the mountains)

staying connected while traveling abroad

How do you stay connected while traveling abroad?

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I received free service for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
  • My husband and I were just talking the other day about how we were going to stay connected during our trip to Europe! We had talked about getting a plan, but I had never heard of Tep! I’ll definitely be looking into it!

    • I think it’s definitely important – in case of emergencies mainly, but also because we’re so used to being connected! Tep worked out way better for us than a plan. The data is unlimited so we didn’t have to worry about overages!

  • Emily Kib

    I’ve never heard of Tep! This is so interesting! This would be nice for a family with multiple members who are addicted to their phones! Also great for security reasons if you decide to separate with your group, I know re-connecting is always a struggle with bigger groups! Thanks for sharing!

    • It was great for the two of us, but I think it’d be especially great if you’re with a big group! Being connected (for fun but esp for security) is pretty important to me!

  • Live by Surprise

    Good to know! We didn’t even get the minimum plan when we went to the Netherlands and I went through withdrawal.

    • Haha, so easy to do! I was too when we did London and Brussels with the minimum plan. We felt so much better that we were able to keep in touch with everyone from home and navigate to where we needed to be!

  • wow, this is amazing! we didn’t use our phones at all, except for wi-fi, but they sure would have come in handy when you (inevitably) get lost or need to look something up.

    • We used a lot of regular Wi-Fi whenever it was available, but this definitely helped step things up for us. Since our schedule was pretty tight since our stops were so short, it was incredibly helpful when trying to figure out how to get to our next stop!

  • This is great! We are going to Europe in the fall and I was just thinking about this. i will definitely be pinning this!

    • How exciting! Where in Europe are you thinking of going?

      • We are planning to go to Germany for a couple of days (I have friends who are currently stationed there) and then to Paris. I’m excited, I’ve only been to the UK and Ireland when I was in Europe before!

        • So fun! There’s so much to explore over there, it’s the best!

  • We did the international add-on to our cell phones, and we had the most difficult time trying to save our minutes when we needed them. We did a ton of AirBnB stays, so we would horde the minutes so we could text/ call our hosts! It was also tough rationing the minutes so we could talk with our daughter back home. This sounds like a great service, but I’m not sure that I’d pay $10 a day–for our recent 2 week trip, that would’ve been the same cost as another 2 nights in an AirBnB! (Our cell plan was $40.) I’m super cheap, so I’ll probably keep hording those minutes and finding the free WiFi in pubs and such.

    • Rationing data + minutes is SO tough! We did it in London and Brussels a couple years ago and it was pretty stressful. Free Wi-Fi is great when you can find it, but some places had much less of it than others. Also, the $10 a day connects up to 5 devices, so if you’re traveling with others and split the cost, it’s not so bad!

  • Brittany

    This is neat! I really want to travel more and this is going to be such a great guide!

    • I hope you’re able to, Brittany! Which places are at the top of your travel bucket list?

  • I’m headed to Europe in May and have been looking up data plans. They’re all so expensive! Still not sure if i’ll even bother with data but the idea of not being able to look up directions terrifies me if i’m somewhere without wifi. I’ll definitely look into this.

    • Yay! Where in Europe are you headed? We thought the plans were pretty pricey too. Tep was great because it was a set price per day for unlimited data so we didn’t have to worry about overages or anything!

      • I’ll be going to Vienna, Krakow, Budapest, Ljubljana, Venice and Rome! I was just at Verizon talking to them about their data plans and i’m definitely thinking that Tep is the way to go.

  • Wow this little device would be so handy when traveling abroad. My fiance and I plan to take a Eurotrip in 2017 so we may need to check this out.

    xoxo, Jenny

    • It definitely is! We were so happy to have it. Where in Europe are you thinking of traveling to next year?

  • Aida Arain

    What a great device! I love that it can be used for up to 5 devices – that ‘s so helpful because you can split it with whomever you’re traveling with.

    • Yes! If there’s 5 of you it’s only $2/day! Not bad at all. Plus, it includes unlimited data so you don’t have to worry about going over or tracking how much you’ve used which is nice!

  • This is genius!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Hmmm…I wonder if I can get it sent to me in China for when I go on trips outside the country! If so, that would be amazing!! I would for sure use this when traveling abroad from the US, though.

    • Hmm I’m not sure what the service is for delivery to China, but if they don’t, you can always have it delivered to your hotel somewhere else! It’s SO handy to have!

  • I always remember when I traveled abroad in college it was IMPOSSIBLE to stay connected. Now with things like this it’s so easy!

    I love this, thanks for sharing babe!
    xo
    Krista
    http://www.hundredblog.com

  • That seems really handy, thanks for the info Rachel! I always just rely on wi-fi in hotels or cafes when we are abroad but its not really the safest way to go the more I think about it!

    • There’s so much Wi-Fi to connect to which is great, but when you’re out in the streets it can be hard to find! This definitely helps for safety reasons and of course, for fun!

  • I keep looking for the best options for WiFi while traveling and haven’t heard of this one yet. Thanks for the review! I have a lot of international travel this year, so I definitely need low cost solutions with reliable connectivity.

    • I did a lot of researching on it and this seemed like the best option. If you’re traveling with others too it’s great because you can split the $10/day cost. But you do get unlimited data which is the big selling point for me!

  • I’m assuming you can use this in the US as well. I will be camping/hiking all summer and am trying to figure out how to keep blogging successfully through it all. I’m going to look into this. Seems pretty pricey, but perhaps it’s worth it. Thanks!

    • Yes, I believe you can! You do get unlimited data for up to 5 devices for $10 a day, so it’s pretty good pricing, especially if you’re traveling with others. Every day for an entire summer would definitely add up, but there might be a good longer term plan available to reduce the rate even more.

  • I have never heard of this!! So per day, can you use as much wifi as you want, or is there a limit?! I know it does sound expensive, but if you can connect up to 5 devices that ends up being way cheaper than paying for an international plan on everyone’s phone!

    • Unlimited Wi-Fi for up to 5 devices for $10/day! It definitely ends up being way cheaper and was SO great for staying connected!

  • Eloise Maoudj-Riley

    really cool device for on the go wifi… staying connected seems like a life line these days, great post!

    • Thanks, Eloise! It definitely is. Not only for fun to stay in the loop with emails, social media, etc. but also for safety/security reasons being able to navigate if you’re lost or getting in touch with loved ones!

  • Lisa

    Great info! My husband and I really want to go to Europe sometime so this info will come in handy.

    • You won’t regret it! Where in Europe are you looking to go?!

  • emi

    Wow this is great to know about! I am so bad and normally just have to find wifi everywhere when abroad! xo

    welltraveledwife.com

    • It’s awesome how much free Wi-Fi is available in most places, but it’s a struggle in others. This was so great to have – especially if we were lost or people from home needed to get in touch with us!

  • Wow I have never heard of this. I am going on a trip abroad in April and this would be perfect! Great post

    • How exciting! Where are you traveling to? Thanks for reading, Lezley!

      • I will be traveling to the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana