A travel router works much the same way your home router does – it allows you to create a connection network among all of the authorized devices, and provides a single link to the the internet.
One common misconception is you’ll get free internet access by using a travel router. You still need to connect the router to either your hotel WiFi, cafe WiFi, cruise ship WiFi or your personal cellular data hotspot.
Some of the higher priced travel routers may also contain a built-in cellular modem, similar to your smartphone. These come with their own data-plans and usage costs. For this review, we have excluded these types since they are in a special category all on their own.
TLDR; RAVPower FileHub Plus, Wireless Travel Router (about $40)
The main advantages to using a travel router are that you only have to pay for one connection, and that you are now on a secure network to better protect your data.
For example, if you are on a cruise ship you may pay up to $400 for a weeks worth of unlimited WiFi. But in only works for a single device at a time, so if you are travelling with a friend, spouse or children you would need to pay the $400 for each person, or pay once but have to continually log-on/log-off and coordinate who gets to use it when.
You may have a similar situation vacationing at the beach in Mexico where there is no WiFi service, but one person has a cellular data plan that works in foreign countries (tip: T-Mobile plans offer unlimited data and text messaging in most countries at no additional cost).
This is where a travel router can save you big money, and keep everyone happy. For the cruise, you can buy the single connection and log-on using the travel router. Everyone in your group can now hop onto the router private network and be connected.
Similarly, the person with the unlimited foreign data can set their phone as personal hotspot and attach the travel router to that connection.
This also works on a road-trip in the car – you can set up your own in-vehicle network for the entire family to watch streaming videos over Netflix or through Amazon Prime Video ( Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial ). You can save the cost of buying a travel router after using it for just one day in many cases!
Personally, when I travel I like to keep the number of gadgets and devices to a minimum. This saves on space, weight and just the hassle factor of making sure I have all the associated cables, chargers, etc. This means that my travel tech needs to be multi-purpose.
For the travel router, it needs to be excellent in its primary job of being a router, and also needs to work as an SD Card and USB Flash Drive (see our recommendations for USB) reader, and it should easily share all my pictures, and be a high speed media server.
Yes, that’s a lot of “and’s” for a simple travel router. One more I’ll add on – should also be a power bank (see our recommendations for stand alones) to keep my portable devices charged as a back-up.
This brings us to our recommendation:
RAVPower FileHub Plus, Wireless Travel Router (around $40)
This is a full featured device, weighing in at just 4.0 ounces, which meets all the requirements mentioned above:
- Storage Backup: this RAVPower Filehub transfers files between sd cards, usb drives, hard disks and your devices (phone / tablet / computer) to free much more space up for your devices.
- Wireless Router: instantly convert a wired network to wireless network. And bridge and extend WiFi, share internet securely with others.
- Media Streamer & Sharer: seamlessly share with your families, friends and stream your videos, photos, and music on your connected smartphones, tablets, TVs, media players, Chromecast, Roku, and other DLNA devices, via App Filehub Plus.
- SD Card USB Reader: wirelessly recognize USB flash drive, hard disk, SDHC, SDXC cards with your devices (phone/tablet/computer) via RAVPower Filehub plus APP, even more support with a usb hub.
- Upgraded Chip & External Battery Packs: New MTK7620N core built-in chip, better performance in hardware & software. Built-in 6000mAh power bank (5V/1A) enables you to charge most of phones at least for once, without worries about low power.
With file sharing, a power bank and every connection you could want, the multi-capable RAVPower FileHub Plus, Wireless Travel Router is the only device you’ll need to bring on your next adventure.
An aside – if you are going off-grid, consider an extra-high capacity portable power supply that has AC outputs along with USB.