While it pains me to admit it I’m hooked! Hooked on constantly checking my emails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Pinterest. You name it. If I have to go long without the ability to connect with my virtual world, well let’s just say it’s not a pretty sight.
Of course being a travel blogger it does make life much easier to stay connected. If I’m on a long train journey or a passenger in a car, I see it as useful time to answer a few emails, follow back my latest Twitter followers and check in on Facebook. Blogging is my chosen lifestyle but there’s a hell of a lot of work to do and it makes a huge difference if you can put this otherwise downtime to good use.
It’s even more important if I’m on a press trip to have good access to the internet as part of the job is to Tweet, Instagram and Snapchat as I go. These kind of trips, which account for 90% of my travelling, while of course great fun, are usually long, tiring days. It’s not unusual to get back to my hotel room around midnight knowing that I have to be up at 7. In the past that tended to be the only time that I had to check my emails, schedule social media posts, backup my photos, let alone keep in touch with loved ones.
On a trip earlier this year I bought a local sim card and while it was wonderful to read emails, send tweets and such as we were driving from A to B, it was a complete pain in the neck having to tell people my temporary phone number.
A far better solution for me is using a portable hotspot, Tep Wireless.
Using Tep Wireless to access the internet when travelling
I first came across Tep at Blogstock this summer. As a speaker at this festival for bloggers I was given one to try for free. Call me a geek (or worse) but I seriously thought it was wonderful that I could connect my laptop to the internet in a muddy field in the middle of nowhere. Such things make travel bloggers very happy.
So when they offered me the chance to keep using it for a while with access to unlimited data I eagerly snapped it up.
Throughout my recent press trip to Puglia in the south of Italy, it worked a treat. I even did a few Periscopes which gobble up data. Wherever I was and whatever time it was, I had the internet at my finger tips.
Renting Tep Wireless
Tep is a handheld device that fits in your pocket and gives you wireless internet access when you travel. While not yet available everywhere it covers most of Europe, North America, India and Australia and many other countries. It works much like any other WiFi hotspot but is just for you and anyone you choose to share your password with. You can connect up to 5 devices, be they mobile phones, laptops or tablets and they connect to it from up to 15 metres away (admittedly I didn’t test the latter out).
It costs £6.50 a day to rent the device with unlimited data. This may seem a little pricey but it’s such a god send for me that it’s worth it and of course if there is more than one of you using it you can split the cost and this is when it really becomes a bargain.
I found that the battery lasted for most of the day but I also had with me a mobile charger, Stripe – TurboCharger 12000, that worked a treat for keeping both my Tep and my mobile charged up throughout my trip.
Tep can be delivered to your home a few days before you travel or you can arrange to pick it up at some international airports. When you get home you just pop it back to them in the post.
It’s worth noting that if you use over a certain amount of data in any one day then the speed of your internet connection will slow down but even with a couple of admittedly short Periscope broadcasts I didn’t go over their threshold. Even if I had I would still have had access to the internet it just would have been a little slower. The following day it will revert to normal speed (which I can tell you was a hell of a lot faster than my hotel’s WiFi).
My next trip away is to West Africa for a friend’s wedding and sadly Tep isn’t available there yet but after that I’m off to Paris and I know it will be put to very good use throughout as I Snapchat, scope and tweet my way around the City of Lights.
Find out more about Tep by visiting their website, TepWireless.com.
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