One of my biggest pet peeves is hotels that charge for wifi. Mainly because it is the more expensive hotels that do so; probably because they cater to business travelers on expense accounts. That pet peeve is closely followed by airports charging for wifi; they know you are captive and if you need to connect during your insanely long layover you will pay any price to do so.
Not long ago I tried the HP Mini 311 with built in mobile broadband and loved it. The only downside for my traveling family was that only one of us could use it at a time. And my husband likes to get online when we travel, too. Solution: Verizon Wireless Mifi.
This tiny wireless hub can support up to 5 devices at one time. Laptop, iPod, camera, Nintendo DSi… And because it works on Verizon's 3G network you can connect from practically anywhere.
The mifi is easy to set up. Verizon even has a very nice tutorial page to walk you through the process. The VZAccess Manager shows you all connections available and will allow you to utilize free wifi so you don't burn through your data plan.
- small size (like a credit card, but a bit thicker)
- wireless or can be tethered (which will keep the device charged)
- easy set up and easy to change passcode.
- as with any wifi, the more people using it the slower it may be
- very rural areas or inside some buildings may not have 3G
Overall I was very pleased with the Verizon mifi and we plan to buy one before our next road trip. Being able to work while my husband drives is priceless!
Verizon Mifi retails for $269.99. If purchased with a 2-year contract the device is only $99.99. At the time of this article there is a $50 rebate. Monthly data plans begin at $39.99. With hotels charging $10 per day or more and airport wifi averaging $7, this little device will save you money if you travel even one weekend a month.
Disclosure: I have been a Verizon customer for over 5 years (as an AT&T customer previously I have personally found that their coverage doesn’t work many places my family ventures) and have been happy with their extensive coverage areas and products. The products I am talking about today were loaned to me by Verizon Wireless. I did not receive cash or product compensation for this post.