Ah wifi, a travel bloggers best friend, enter TEP.
Even as a part time blogger, being able to connect to the internet and share my experiences online is essential. But even before I can start sharing experiences, I need to be able to reach my intended destination, and that requires the checking of flight times, buses, trains, hostel locations etc, and all of this infro is now mostly accessible via the internet.
Being able to find and connect to wifi (preferably at minimal cost) is a must, and I admit that if a hostel or hotel is without wifi, I will generally overlook them as an accommodation option.
So when TEP offered me the chance to try out one of their portable wireless devices, I would have been a fool to say no.
What is it, and why would you use it?
So, basically its a pocket wifi, a small, handheld piece of magic that lets me connect to the web from pretty much anywhere. It saves me splashing out on roaming charges, or having to buy a drink I dont need just to be able to sit in a coffee shop and log on. It offers me safe web browsing at fast speeds.
And here it is …
So to Romania, and the #TravelLads roadtrip along the Transfagarasan Highway, and how I used the Tep Wireless Device whilst on the road.
Well, the most obvious use during the roadtrip was the checking of Googlemaps. We didn’t get hopelessly lost by any means, instead we decided to head onto a brand new motorway whereby none of the sign posted service station were actually built yet. This led us to frantically search Googlemaps (and any other map to hand to be honest), for the nearest petrol station, as we were running DANGEROUSLY low. Luckily one of the lads came up trumps and found us a petrol station around 2 miles before we were due to run out of fuel. Close!
If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that I like a ‘Live Instgram’ post. Romania was no different, and I published a Live Instagram post of the trip and whereby readers could follow our route in near enough real time. I like those posts to be as live as possible, and the map within each relies on an instgram upload taking place almost as soon as I have taken the picture. Its a little bit geeky, but essentially, no wifi, or having to wait to from some equals a less accurate live photo map.
The emails never stop, ever! Some are junk, but even on the road there were mails I needed to respond to, and of course I had to write a few of my own – notably to the mother and girlfriend, to let them know I was safe.
Aside from my native tounge, I ashamedly cannot speak any other languages. The odd word here and there in Spanish, French or randomly Sri Lankan, but nothing fluent. However thats not to say I do not try to make an effort when aboard, and most recently I’ve started to use Google translate to help with the basics. It worked pretty well in Bosnia earlier this year, and its been something I’ve carried on since. Once again I put the app to use in Romania, working in simple words and phrases to make the trip a little easier for myself, and the locals I attempted to converse with.
Price and Features:
A Tep Wireless device is a fairly luxury item, as such it isn’t overly cheap to rent, but at the same time its still affordable should you have the absolute need to stay connected at all times.
- 150MB a day
- 2 batteries, each lasting 4-5 hours
- Up to 5 devices can connected at once
- when connected to a 3G network, download speeds will be around 7.2 Mbps, and the upload speed around 5.76 Mbps
- VPA2 encrypted password
- Comes with carry-case, USB connector and charger.
It’s also worth considering hiring a device if you’re in a group. I’d be lying if I said the mates I were with didn’t use the TEP device. If we split the cost between the 4 of us, it would have been £1.25 per day each. That hardly breaks the bank, and will seem well worth it when the internet access saves you from running out of petrol on a Romania highway.
How to rent and return:
The renting part is easy, simply select your chosen device, travel dates, destination and memory allowance online, and the device will be posted out to you. Or if you prefer you can collect the device from select airports.
Come to think of it, returning the device is pretty easy too. It can either be mailed back to TEP using the pre-paid envelope included, or dropped off at select airports.
Would I use again?
It depends entirely on where I was, and on what type of trip.
Obviously for those who take all inclusive holidays and rarely move from their already wifi connected hotel, there may not be much point.
For those who do little but dwell in wifi connected coffee shops and restaurants, there may not be much point.
But for me, especially in Romania when I was moving to new places daily and on the road for long periods, the device was perfect. Instgaraming from the top of a castle was not a problem, nor whilst in the back seat of the car, or on the overnight train from Bucharest to Sofia. Whilst I might not rent another devices for a sunshine getaway with the mrs, if I were to travel to places such as Bosnia, Wadi Rum or the Icelandic Golden Circle again, locations which are that bit more remote, I would definitely think about hiring another TEP device. In fact I cannot see why I wouldn’t.
For more info and your questions answered, please visit –> http://www.tepwireless.com/faqs/