Human basic needs have for years been food, clothing, and shelter. But with the introduction of high-speed wireless internet connection, Wi-Fi has in most people’s lives overtaken clothing and shelter. That is why most frequent travelers do not mind sitting at the airport lounge for hours as long as there is free Wi-Fi at disposal.
What’s in a Best Travel Router?
The best travel router should avail reliable internet access to your internet-hungry devices according to the demands of the applications used.
Not only is fast and stable Wi-Fi necessary, but also the number of devices that can access the Wi-Fi at the same time.
Security of the devices in the wireless network should give users peace of mind. This is not so for public Wi-Fi found in most malls, airports and even hotels.
Travel routers connect to insecure public internet connection; wired or wireless and create a private and secure wireless network for the Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices you carry on your trip.
There are five different modes the finest travel router can operate in, one at a time to suit the situation; as a router, hotspot, access point, client and Wi-Fi range extender.
The mode selection in most travel routers is a single toggle switch and the status is reflected on an LED light to remind you which mode you have chosen.
In its default mode; router, it eliminates the need for competing with other guests in your hotel for internet access by creating a private Wi-Fi network for your devices and those of your travel mates.
Connect the travel router’s LAN port to the room’s Ethernet wall outlet using a network cable, power the router and enjoy fast and secure Wi-Fi whenever you choose to work from your hotel room.
As a hotspot, connect the router to the outdoor Wireless Internet Service Provider of whatever country you are visiting and provide private Wi-Fi hotspot for your devices.
This is possible anywhere you sense the WISP’s signal, even in public places.
Since the LAN port of your router is free in this case, use it to plug in any wired device you need to access the internet.
The travel router also works as an access point whenever you connect it to an existing router; using a network cable or wirelessly, and share the internet to your Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
Should you want to connect to a router but the Wi-Fi signal is too weak, turn on the Wi-Fi range extender mode on your travel router and boost the signal.
All your Wi-Fi-enabled devices will enjoy fast internet.
You can also provide wired devices such as smart TV or game console with internet by connecting them to the travel router’s LAN port; sharing wireless network to wired devices.
In all these modes, your travel router allows you to host an internet party with multiple devices wherever you go.
…But that’s not all
The best travel routers go beyond availing fast, private and secure internet access to your Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices and their wired counterparts to provide wireless file transfer, data and power backup.
You no longer have to worry about the storage space remaining in your smartphone after taking a gazillion photos of your favorite tourist destination.
Let your USB hard drive keep them safe so you shoot some more and show them off later.
Better still, some generous travel routers carry enough juice for themselves, your smartphone and tablet, to last you a whole day of sightseeing!
It is such benefits that separate the finest travel routers from the mob.
In the list below, we have analyzed such benefits and brought in the price aspect to help you choose the most suitable router for your traveling needs and beyond.
HooToo Wireless Travel Router - TripMate Nano
The compact size router weighs less than one ounce and comes with one Ethernet LAN and a USB port for connectivity.
The latter hosts your flash drive or USB hard drive for backing up of photos and videos taken with your phone or tablet during your trip.
You can also use the port to connect the router to a power bank or laptop for power. Use the Ethernet LAN to connect any wired device in your travel party in need of accessing the internet.
The single band router supports 150Mbps Wi-Fi data transfer rate using 802.11b/g/n standards. It operates on two different modes; as a router or a bridge.
TP-Link N300 Wireless Portable Nano (TL-WR802N)
TL-WR802N Nano router delivers up to 300Mbps Wi-Fi speed on 2.4GHz band giving you lag-free online gaming, clear internet calling and video streaming using Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV stick.
It creates a secure Wi-Fi hotspot to share with your travel buddies using advanced security encryption with SSID and password and works with any 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi router or access point.
It operates in five different modes; as a router, access point, hotspot sharing internet from a Wireless ISP, Wi-Fi range extender from an existing wireless router and as a client for wired devices.
TP-Link N300 wireless portable Nano travel router is powered by an external power supply through a micro-USB port or by connecting it to your laptop using a USB cable.
It comes with one fast Ethernet LAN and a USB port. The compact design router weighs 7.2 ounces and measures 2.2 x 2.2 x 0.7 inches.
TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano (TL-WR902AC)
TL-WR902AC travel router is built to create dual-band Wi-Fi at the speed of 733Mbps. The 2.4GHz band provides a data rate of up to 300Mbps while the 5GHz band does 433Mbps.
That provides multiple devices with reliable internet access, each using its application of choice; surfing, video streaming, online gaming, and social media access, without disruptions.
The router is powered through a micro USB port by an external adapter, power bank or your laptop’s USB port. Its USB 2.0 port allows you to backup videos and photos taken with your smartphone, tablet or downloaded from the internet into a flash drive or USB hard drive.
The same port is used to charge your camera, phone or iPad with up to 5V/1A.
You have up to five modes to operate from with TP-Link AC750 wireless portable Nano travel router; router, access point, hotspot, client and Wi-Fi range extender depending on the circumstances at hand.
Use the toggle switch availed to select the mode that suits the party. The router has one LAN/WAN fast Ethernet port.
The compact travel router weighing 8 ounces and measuring 2.6 x 2.9 x 0.9 inches will keep you connected with the rest of the world wherever you go.
RAVPower FileHub AC750 Wireless Travel Router
The compact travel router measures 4.5 x 3.0 x 0.9 inches and weighs 7 ounces allowing you to fit it in your pocket, purse or bag without much fuss.
Expect up to 733Mbps Wi-Fi speed on the dual-band with the 2.4GHz band providing up to 300Mbps while the 5GHz band 433Mbps. It operates in three different modes; as a router, access point or bridge mode.
Besides the provision of Wi-Fi to your wireless devices and client services to the wired, RAVPower FileHub AC750 wireless travel router makes media backup blissful.
It is fitted with an SD card reader for your SD card and USB 2.0 port for the USB hard drive needed for safekeeping of your videos, photos and files gathered using your mobile phone and tablet. You can even backup contents from the SD card into the USB hard drive.
It supports up to 3TB hard drive and 12 – 18 MB/second data transfer.
Use this travel router to connect up to five devices; laptops, phones, and tablets simultaneously to the USB hard drive for accessing and altering media.
That allows you to share your videos, photos, and music with family and friends. To watch transfer huge files or watch HD videos, use the5GHz band, it has the muscle to handle such without delays.
The router has one fast Ethernet LAN port.
TP-Link N150 Wireless 3G/4G Portable Router (TL-MR3040)
TL-MR3040 is the ideal travel buddy for international travelers. The router is fitted with a 2000mAh portable battery to allow you to enjoy the 150Mbps Wi-Fi signal wherever you go without worrying about power drains.
Expect up to 5 hours of operation without interruptions. Should the router run out of power, connect it to your laptop through USB port, portable charger or power adapter.
It is compatible with LTE/HSPA+/UMTS/EVDO 3G/4G USB modems enabling you to share that single internet connection wirelessly in a matter of seconds.
Being 4G enabled, the router allows up to 100Mbps download speed and 50Mbps upload speed hence the fast opening of webpages and emails.
TP-Link N150 Wireless 3G/4G Portable Router allows three modes of operation selected using operation mode switch; 3G/4G router mode, as an AP router or Wireless ISP mode.
As a 3G/4G router, plug the USB modem on to the router’s USB port and share the internet goodies with other wireless devices.
Should your hotel have a wired network provided through a LAN socket on the wall, use the network cable to connect the router to the LAN socket and turn the wired network into wireless for your other Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
It weighs up to 3.3 ounces, measures 3.9 x 2.4 x 0.6 inches in size and has one internal antenna. It supports 802.11b/g/n.
For security purposes, your network is protected by a firewall, has IP/MAC binding and enjoys Denial of Service protection all through. Expect to pay about $70 for the TL-MR3040 travel router.
NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Router (MR1100)
Going on holiday or business trips across the world?
Waiting at the airport between flights can be boring, especially if you have something important you would rather do like sending an email or managing your client’s social media account.
You may also need to entertain your family on your way to that exotic destination. That’s where NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Router comes in.
MR1100 provides up to 1Gbps download speeds and 150Mbps on upload for up to 20 Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
It is unlocked for 3G/4G LTE internet access around the world and ensures secure, private Wi-Fi with password-protected access.
It has provisions for 4G LTE Advance pro Category 16 with 4-band carrier and 4x4 MIMO.
Whether internet access is available over Ethernet or Wi-Fi, connecting the router helps you create a quick, private, secure wireless network for all your wireless devices to join. No need for each wireless device to join the hotel’s hotspot.
Buying NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Router for about $220 is a favor considering its capabilities.
It also has one USB 2.0 port and a micro-SD card reader allowing you to share data and video stream to your private network from your USB storage device connected via USB port.
The 2.4-inch color LCD screen on the router’s side helps you monitor mobile signal strength, data usage, and network management information.
The mobile router is powered by Qualcomm MDM9x50 chipset, runs on the full dual-band/ or dual-concurrent Wi-Fi supporting 802.11b/g/n on the 2.4GHz band and 802.11a/n/ac on 5GHz band. It weighs up to 8.5 ounces and measures 4.1 x 0.4 x 0.8 inches in size.
HooToo Filehub, Wireless Travel Router
Though HooToo Filehub wireless travel router does not operate in hotspot mode, it works as a router, access point, and bridge; one mode at a time.
It connects to your hotel’s wired network via fast Ethernet LAN and fires all your Wi-Fi-enabled devices with up to 300Mbps Wi-Fi signal in a 2.4GHz frequency band.
It comes with a 10400 mAh external battery that doubles as a power bank charging your mobile phone up to three times as you travel. That explains why it weighs 8.8 ounces. It measures 1.6 x 3.7 x 1.6 inches.
Besides its router-functions, it enables wireless data transfer at 3-7 MB per second.
That allows you to save space on your mobile phone as you transfer all the beautiful photos and videos taken during your trip to your USB hard drive.
Use a USB hub to push different files into separate flash disks or USB Hard drives. You can either transfer the files between USB devices or from the USB device to the phone or laptop.
You can also stream movies you have saved in the USB hard drive to up to five devices in your little wireless network at the same time.
GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Gigabit Travel AC Router
The thought of accessing the internet on your laptop via public wired or wireless network is a nightmare; chances of having someone eavesdropping and later interfering with your network or data are high.
Why not create private Wi-Fi using GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Gigabit travel AC router that guarantees you secure surfing?
This route uses multiple VPN protocols to provide strong encryption and authentication. Using WireGuard, you get a fast and simple VPN that offers top-notch cryptography.
This allows consolidating various workplaces under one digital roof to use secure VPN and have workers from various locations to communicate well.
It provides up to 733Mbps Wi-Fi speed on the dual-band; the 2.4GHz band at 300Mbps and the 5GHz band at 433Mbps.
GL-AR750S-Ext Slate comes with two gigabit LAN and one gigabit WAN for fast file sharing between gigabit-enabled devices.
USB 2.0 port provides connectivity for your USB modem and the MicroSD slot can take up to 128GB SD card for storing all your collections; photos, videos and other files taken during travel.
The router is powered by a powerful 775MHz processor, has 128MB RAM, 16MB Nor Flash and 128MB Nand Flash.
It is compatible with 802.11b/g/n/ac devices and has two 2dBi antennas to boost Wi-Fi signal strength.
It measures 3.9 x 2.7 x 0.9 inches in size and up to 3 ounces in weight.
GL.iNet GL-AR300M Mini
The portable 1.44 ounce, 2.3 x 2.3 x 2.3 inches mini travel router is armed to go with you wherever you desire to work from.
Whether you are a business professional that must keep in touch with your office every few hours or a digital nomad trying to keep up with fun and work, GL-AR300M is your travel buddy.
GL.iNet GL-AR300M Mini Travel Router is powered by Qualcomm QCA9531 SoC 650MHz processor, has 128MB RAM, 128MB Nand, and 16MB Nor dual flash.
Expect up to 300Mbps Wi-Fi signal for your private network. The router converts the usual public network in your hotel; wired or wireless into the most secure private network you can ever work from.
Should you have a 3G/4G USB modem, consider tethering it and milking the internet from there.
It comes preinstalled with OpenWrt, has one USB port and two Ethernet ports; LAN and WAN.
The GL.iNet GL-AR300M mini travel router is powered using your laptop USB port, power bank or 5v/2A DC adapter that is sold on its own. It costs under $50 on Amazon.
TRENDnet AC750 Wireless Router (TEW-817DTR)
A good travel router should give you freedom of usage through offering a variety of options; TEW-817DTR comes with interchangeable power plugs for North America, UK, and Euro.
It promises up to 733Mbps Wi-Fi signal on the concurrent dual-band. The2.4GHz band delivers up to 300Mbps on 802.11n standard for basic surfing and emailing while the 5GHz band does up to 433Mbps on 802.11ac.
for HD video streaming and music. From a single public internet connection, it delivers a private and secure wireless network for multiple users; just what you need in your hotel room.
The wireless network comes pre-encrypted with an exclusive password.
TRENDnet AC750 wireless travel router offers three separate modes accessible through a single toggle switch; router mode, as a repeater and Wireless ISP mode.
While in the router mode, the default, you can create a separate and secure guest network in case you need to allow a newly-found friend to connect to the internet through your private network.
It's Ethernet port functions as WAN to connect the travel router to the wired internet connection.
But in WISP/ Repeater mode, it the same Ethernet port works as LAN to connect any wired device you may need to access the Internet. The router supports IPv6 and VPN pass-through.
It measures 6 x 5 x 6 inches in size, weighs up to 4 ounces.
RAVPower Filehub N300 Wireless Travel Router
A satisfactory trip around the world is made complete in one compact device offering three major benefits; a travel router, power bank and file sharing master. In comes RAVPower Filehub N300 wireless travel router!
It offers up to 300Mbps Wi-Fi speed in the single band; 2.4GHz, compatible with 802.11b/g/n and operates in three separate modes; a router, bridge or Access point.
Whether your hotel or airport lounge offers wired or wireless internet connection, this router converts it into a private, secure wireless network for your Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The router does not work as a hotspot nor supports VPN.
Should your smartphone or tablet go dry of power, RAVPower Filehub N300 wireless travel router is willing to share a little juice from its 600mAh battery charger.
On file-sharing, the router can share files between two USB storage devices or backup all those photos, videos and files gathered in your smartphone courtesy of a great adventure into your USB hard drive.
Take this opportunity to show off those cool videos to friends and family, stream them from the storage devices to five different mobile devices.
RAVPower Filehub N300 wireless travel router weighs 0.8 ounces and measures 3.2 x 1.1 x 2.1 inches in size. It cost under $50.
At the moment, most smartphones make good hotspots for a network of up to 5 devices, that’s not adequate for the growing demand.
But as technology progresses, chances of having travel routers that accommodate more devices, transfer files faster and most of all with Wi-Fi speed beyond 1Gbps are high.
As many applications that once seemed a pastime become a profession, online gaming leading the pack, the need for better travel routers cannot be ignored.
The best travel router is the one that meets at least 90% of your needs, whatever your needs may be. Review the above list before selecting your travel buddy!