Away but connected

I have always travelled using maps, no connections, but nowadays I am so used to the convenience of just googling something and getting directions, contacting friends whenever I need it, or just looking for the best restaurant/snack bar in the area, that I find it hard to do without it. In some countries you can easily buy a tourist SIM card at the airport, but some others have more limitations and you are not allowed to get a SIM if you do not have a local social security number, so I decided to buy a portable wifi modem.

After having a look around I opted for the GlocalMe G3 Router Mobile 4G LTE, and after trying it, I have to say it is really easy to set up and use and definitely worth the investment. It looks a bit like a thick iPhone 4, has a touchscreen for the initial set-up and in case you need to check or change anything, but I rarely use it, just to check the battery and the leftover data in the package.

Once you have your modem, you have to download the GlocalMe app from either the Playstore or the Appstore, create an account and log into the app on your phone (or other device), then you turn on the G3 modem, click on Login from the main menu, a QR code will appear and you just have to scan that from the Activate Device option in the app on your phone. After you complete the activation you have to turn the G3 off and then on again, then click on Hotspot to see the SSID and password for your wifi network. This procedure does not take more than 5 minutes and only needs to be done the first time you connect a device.

How does it work? When you reach your destination and you turn it on its virtual SIM connects to the local network and you can use your data package. If you want, the device can also accommodate up to 2 SIM cards, so it is very versatile.

When you buy the G3 you get 1GB of worldwide data for free, so you can start surfing the net wherever you are. Once this package is over you have to buy data packages from the app or the website; you just look up the country (or countries) you need and check what is available. Generally there are 500MB or 1GB packages that are valid for 30 days and are reasonably priced (eg. 500MB in Israel cost 4€, 1GB costs 7€, 1GB mainland China is 2€, 1GB Australia is 10€), and for some countries there are also different sizes, or you can buy multicountry packages (eg. Southeast Asia – Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines – for 12€), or you can choose 1GB worldwide valid for 365 days for 29€. These are just some examples, the service is active in over 100 countries.

The G3 is quite hefty, but the weight is justified by the size of its battery which lasts really long (I was out for the whole day and the most I consumed was about one third) and can be used as a power bank to top up your phone, should you need that. However it is not so heavy that I noticed it while carrying it around in my daypack.

It comes with a micro USB cable that can be used with any USB charger and this is a bonus for me, as I usually only carry one four port travel charger with interchangeable plugs.

The connection was fast and seamless, web pages and maps loaded fast without issues and I could easily check my consumption by just looking at the main screen. I can recommend the purchase if you travel a lot in different parts of the globe.

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