Best for the Roaming Nomad: For those who almost never need a hotspot, and can’t justify another monthly bill, there’s Karma Go. Unlike the hotspots by Verizon and AT&T, Karma Go offers “pay-as-you-go” wi-fi. Users pick between two plans, one offering $14 per GB and the other offering $50 for 15 GBs. Through its app, users can easily monitor data. The drawback to Karma Go is coverage; it struggles in many rural and remote areas. (Check here for more coverage info).
Keepgo Lifetime Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot
Best for the International Traveler: If you’re the type of traveler who routinely ventures overseas, you’re not going to want the hassle of getting a new rental hotspot for every single trip. Enter: Keepgo. The hotspot comes with a 1GB Internet SIM Card and, if you need more data, you can keep topping this one SIM card as you go. It can connect 10 devices to the internet at one time, has six hours of working battery life and works in 64 countries, including Europe, Asia and the Americas. Also, since the Keepgo allows international travelers to keep their original SIM card in their phones, users can make and receive regular voice calls on their normal phone number while abroad.
Turn Your Smartphone into a Mobile Hotspot
Best for the Infrequent Traveler: An alternative to purchasing a mobile hotspot is to simply turn your smartphone into one. To do this, you’ll most likely need to upgrade your data plan so that it allows for tethering (allowing your smartphone to share its signal with another device). While most cellular service providers have an unlimited data plan, they usually don’t account for tethering, which means you’ll get charged if you consume over a certain amount of data. Once you’ve checked with your service provider and are comfortable with your plan, turning your smartphone into a hotspot is simple — you just follow a few instructions.
To turn your iPhone into a hotspot, follow these instructions.
Android users can also turn their smartphones into a mobile hotspot, but it varies depending on the device. For more information read this article by PC Mag.
Best for Global Expeditions: The MCD-4800 is the ultimate in mobile hotspots. It gets its signal from three BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) satellites and can connect any device to the internet from anywhere in the world (save Antartica). The device is also easy to use. Just press the power button, wait 60 seconds and you can connect. It is also auto-pointing, so users won’t have deal with positioning it in “just the right place.” Once working, the MCD-4800 has 5 hours of battery life (it recharges in about 4 hours) and has a wi-fi range of 328 feet. Yes, it’s 25 pounds. But you won’t care about that when you’re checking email in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.