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10 Best Travel Wi-Fi Routers (2021 Buyer’s Guide)

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The best travel Wi-Fi routers will give you an easy and effective way to connect your devices to the internet. They also provide your devices, like your computer and smartphone, a more secure and stable connection to public networks. With a travel wireless router, your devices and information are much less likely to get hacked. 

As an avid traveler that brings several tech devices on my trips, I love traveling with my portable Wi-Fi device because it allows me to connect to the internet much faster. It also allows me to stay better connected to friends and family when I’m on the road, no matter where I am. 

No matter where you go in the world, there is public Wi-Fi almost everywhere. You can quickly connect your mini Wi-Fi router to one of these public networks. Then, all of your devices will automatically connect to the travel router. You never have to worry about missing an important video call or text message again when traveling. 

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Best Travel Wi-Fi Routers – QUICK LOOK

The Top Travel Wi-Fi Routers

Here are the top travel routers and their noteworthy features that make them perfect for using while on the go. If you’re not very tech-savvy—no worries. You’ll find a section down below explaining some of the tech terms so you can better understand them. Or, keep it easy and take a look at the headings to see which may be the best choice for you.

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Best Overall Travel Wi-Fi Router

The NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot is considered one of the top pocket Wi-Fi routers for many reasons. 

  • Connects up to 20 devices at once 
  • It can also act as a mobile 4G LTE hotspot 
  • 24 hours of battery life per charge 
  • LCD screen to monitor signal and data usage 

This is the best router for people who use several devices and want to connect to Wi-Fi 24/7. You can also buy data through NetGear and use this as a mobile hotspot when no public networks are available. 

It’s built for heavy internet usage. It can also download large files and software, so it’s a great option if you plan to use your router for photo or video editing. 

The only big drawback is the price. If you’re on a tight budget or just looking for a router to use with one or two devices, you can definitely go with a cheaper alternative. 

Best Portable Router 

If you’re looking for a router that takes up the least amount of space, the TP-Link AC750 Nano router is the perfect option. This is a pocket Wi-Fi router that you can literally put in your jeans or jacket pocket. 

  • Fast and reliable
  • Speeds up to 733 Mbps 
  • Lightweight and portable 
  • Supports dual bands

This is perfect if you’re looking for a tiny router to use on the weekend away or an overnight trip. It has a micro USB port, so you can also plug it directly into your laptop for charging. 

Although it’s budget-friendly, it’s not the most durable. It’s probably not the best choice if you plan to travel internationally. 

Best VPN Router 

While travel Wi-Fi routers do add some security, most are not VPN capable. If you want to use a VPN to make your information more secure, the GL.iNet GL-AR300M Mini VPN Travel Router might be a solid addition to your travel backpack. 

  • Comes with OpenWrt firmware preinstalled 
  • Supports a long list of VPN providers 
  • Fast and reliable internet speed
  • Lightweight and small

The OpenWrt firmware that comes with the router offers almost 2,000 VPN packages to choose from. The firmware is pre-installed, making it easy and quick to set up. The router also has a micro USB port. 

The only drawback to this travel wireless router is that it has to be charged using a wall outlet. You’ll have to make sure it’s fully charged before leaving home or find a place to charge it. 

Best Battery Powered Router 

If you are searching for a portable wi-fi device that doesn’t need outlet charging, the HooToo Filehub Wireless Travel Router is one of the best choices. It has one of the largest batteries out of all the travel router options. 

  • 10,400mAH built-in battery 
  • Can charge any device with a USB charging port 
  • Second USB charging port for flash drives 
  • Up to 300Mbps internet speeds
  • 2.4 GHz 

The multiple USB ports on this small Wi-Fi router make it fantastic for charging devices simultaneously. The large battery means you will also have enough power to get you through long travel days and not have to hunt down outlets. 

Best Wi-Fi Router for Speed 

This is another option by GL.iNet and it’s built for maximum speed. The GL.iNet GL-MT1300 is dual-band with 2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz. 

  • Supports 400Mbps on 2.4Ghz
  • Supports 867Mbps on 5.0Ghz
  • Can support up to 40 devices at the same time 
  • 3 ethernet ports 
  • VPN services for privacy

If you need a router to support devices for the family or a group of travelers, this is a great option. The speeds are still quick and efficient even with the maximum number of devices connected. VPN service options and firmware are available to install if you are interested in securing your network. 

Best Inexpensive Router 

If you’re looking for a durable router on a budget, try the TP-Link N300 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router. Despite the low price, it still has all the features you need, and it’s extremely durable. 

  • Supports up to 300Mbps on 2.4Ghz
  • Compatible with Chromecast 
  • Supports AP and Repeater modes 
  • Micro USB port and USB port 

With the low price point, it does come with one annoying feature. It will have to be charged with a wall outlet anytime you need external power. Despite this, it still offers Wi-Fi for travelers for a low price. 

Best Wi-Fi Router for Photographers 

If you travel as a photographer for work or just love to take pictures while on vacation, the RavPower FileHub portable Wi-Fi device is a great option. 

  • Transfer files with SD card or SSD/HDD, and your device 
  • Supports up to 300 Mbps on 2.4Ghz 
  • Supports 433 Mbps on 5Ghz 
  • Data transfer speed of 12-18 Mb/s 
  • Easily share photo and video files 
  • Automatic backup options for photo files 

The fast data transfer and SD card slots are a quick way to get your photos uploaded onto all of your devices. And the automatic backup settings can keep you from losing your memories. 

Best Wi-Fi Router for International Travel 

The TRENDnet Wireless N 150 Mbps Travel Router is a great option if you’re regularly traveling overseas. It comes with swappable plugs to easily adapt to outlets from all over the world. 

  • Comes with plugs for every continent 
  • 150 Mbps with 2.4Ghz
  • Ethernet port 
  • Repeater and AP modes 
  • Easily switch connection modes with switch on the side

There are also several USB ports for charging or flash drives. This router doesn’t support streaming, though. It’s also inexpensive compared to other routers and is durable for international travel. 

Best Wi-Fi Router For Programming 

Some travel routers allow you to customize and program them to make them better meet your needs. The GL.iNet GL-E750 allows you to easily switch between servers, VPNs, and networks. 

  • Choose and switch between 30 VPNs
  • Use the included Tor service for added encryption and security 
  • Choose your DNS server to prevent hacking 
  • Works for 8 hours between charges 
  • Can also be used with mobile network 

This travel router is also compact and durable, so you can easily carry it in your pocket or small backpack. If you might be in spots without Wi-fi networks, you can buy data from your phone company and use this router as a hotspot. 

Best Wi-Fi Router For Storage 

If you’re looking for a portable wi-fi router that offers large storage for your work or photos, the GL.iNet GL-AR150 Mini Travel Router will have everything you need. 

  • 64MB RAM
  • 16 MB Flash ROM
  • Dual Ethernet ports 
  • VPN pre-installed 
  • USB port 

The only drawback is that there’s only one USB port, which can be inconvenient depending on how many devices you use and if you plan to use flash drives for any reason. It also has VPN capabilities from over 20 providers.  

What Is A Travel Wi-Fi Router And Why Do You Need One?

A travel Wi-Fi router works the same way your router at home works. It’s just smaller and easier to throw into your suitcase or backpack. It makes connecting your devices to Wi-Fi much easier and quicker. 

You will still need an internet source, such as airport or hotel Wi-Fi. The main benefit is that you only have to connect your router to the public Wi-Fi. Your devices like your phone and computer will remember your travel router. They will automatically connect to it whenever you have a Wi-Fi connection. 

You might need a travel router if you use several different devices that all require an internet connection when traveling. It also makes your internet connection more secure and private when using public Wi-Fi. 

Brief Non-Techies’ Terminology Guide

If you are confused by any of the terms or specs listed above, check out this list of terms!

Mobile Hotspot

A router that can also be a mobile hotspot means you can use it with mobile data. You will have to purchase data from your phone company. Certain routers work with certain phone companies, so make sure to buy one that works with your current plan. 

Speed

A speed of 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps is considered average. For fast and reliable internet, you want a speed that is closer to 100 Mbps. For several users or streaming videos, get a router with a speed greater than 100 Mbps. Some routers can be closer to 500 Mbps or even 1000 Mbps, but this is usually overkill for most people unless you have several users all playing online games and streaming videos at the same time. 

VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) takes public networks and turns them into a private connection for your devices. This gives you anonymity when using the internet. It will also help protect your personal data, such as when you log into your bank account from a public network. 

Dual Bands

Wi-Fi routers will either be single-band 2.4 GHz or dual-band with 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz. Dual-band routers usually perform better and are easier to set up. Single-band routers will give you a weaker signal and more frequent internet interruptions. A dual-band router also allows you to switch between the two bands depending on your needs. 

Ports

Some Wi-Fi routers will have an ethernet port, which means you can plug the router directly into your computer. You can also plug the ethernet port into the public router directly if it’s in your hotel room. USB ports can also be used to plug in your phone, tablets, or flash drives. A micro USB port can also be used to plug in certain devices where you use a micro cable. 

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5 Benefits Of Using A Travel Wi-Fi Router

  • Easier access to the internet. A router gives you faster and easier access to Wi-Fi in public spots that numerous people are using at the same time. 
  • Quickly connect all your devices. You only have to connect the router to new networks. All of your devices will automatically connect to your travel router. 
  • Added security. Since only your router is connected, all of your other devices won’t be seen as connected to the public Wi-Fi. This helps to secure your privacy and personal information. 
  • Unlimited number of devices. Some public networks put a limit on how many devices can be connected at one time. Your travel router helps you bypass this rule by only connecting one device as opposed to 3 or 4. 
  • Turn a wired connection into wireless. Some routers have an ethernet port that can connect to hotel Wi-Fi or other places that use an ethernet cable. Then, you can use it as a wireless connection for all your other devices. 
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4 Things To Look For In A Good Travel Wi-Fi Router 

  1. Number of ports

The best travel routers will have an ethernet port and several USB ports. This way, you can turn wired connections into wireless ones. You can use the USB ports to charge devices or share media content on flash drives. 

  1. Usage modes

There are many different usage modes on travel routers. Not all modes are necessary. It really depends on how you are using the router. 

  • Router mode: This is the basic model that makes the router function. It will allow the router to connect to the Wi-Fi. 
  • Repeater mode: This mode works the same as a Wi-Fi extender. It will extend the network you are connecting to cover any low coverage spots. 
  • AP mode: This mode allows the router to be used with a wired connection. This might be necessary if you end up in a place without wireless networks. 
  • Bridge mode: This takes the public network and splits it into a different name with a separate password. This ensures people can’t connect to your router unless you give them permission. 
  1. Wi-Fi band

Most routers are either 5Ghz or 2.4Ghz. 5Ghz is considered more reliable because the signals are usually stronger. 2.4Ghz has larger ranges, though. 

  1. Battery life

Some routers run on their own battery, and some have to be plugged into an outlet. Battery-powered ones might be easier to use, so you don’t have to find an outlet whenever you want to use them. 

Make sure your router can be charged with a USB port so you can use your laptop or another device to give the router some power. 

Should I Get a Travel Router? 

If you frequently travel with several tech devices, looking into travel Wi-Fi routers is a smart decision. They’re great to use on the go, especially in hotels, airports, and coffee shops. They give you a quick and easy way to connect all your devices to the same network. 

Most portable Wi-Fi routers come with the same basic features. Some might have higher connection speeds, more USB ports, or the ability to stream through the router. If you are a heavy data user or want to stream shows, you need the quickest connection available. If you just want a basic, durable router, you can go with one of the more inexpensive options. 

Looking for a great travel laptop? Here are some top picks.

Have you bought a travel router recently and love it? Comment below your favorite router and all the places you’ve used it!

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