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Back when I first started travelling and living abroad, the fastest way to connect to people at home was via telegram. Yes, that’s right, telegram – I moved abroad when I was VERY young.
These days it is inconceivable that we couldn’t connect to the internet when travelling. And it is not just to communicate with friends and family at home.
All our travel planning is done online with various apps and booking systems. We use Google Maps to navigate and to keep the kids amused on long road trips we may need to download an extra app or movie. And as I run Untold Morsels as a business I need to be connected to ensure I meet client expectations.
Your options for staying connected on the road are really your phone, wifi access at your accommodation or wifi services offered by companies at the destinations you visit. Often you encounter flaky service and high costs and this can be frustrating.
So I was happy to test out the YRoam portable wifi device that offers low cost and contract free data roaming worldwide for UK based travellers.
Summary: YRoam portable wifi device
The YRoam portable wifi device is a useful gadget for frequent global travellers, those on business trips and people needing reliable internet connectivity when travelling.
If you need to reliably access data while travelling abroad for personal or business reasons then it is a useful device to own.
I liked the flexibility of not being locked into a contract and the 4G speeds were welcome.
Please read my tips below to understand how to get the most out of using a YRoam below.
Could be better
Understanding data usage
Cost of device
What doesn’t work
Expecting the device to work when there is no network coverage
What is a YRoam?
The YRoam is a portable wifi hotspot that you can use to connect to internet while you are travelling abroad. You pay an initial upfront cost for the device and there are additional charges for data packs with no lock in contracts.
The device connects to the most powerful network available. This means that in areas where there is no network coverage your YRoam will not provide data.
The YRoam is stylish, small and weighs 250grams.
Taking YRoam on family trips in Europe
We tested the YRoam on two trips – one in southern Italy which is notorious for poor connectivity and the other in Norway where we had several long train journeys.
Using the YRoam got us out of a few sticky spots when on the road in Italy and our phones had no coverage. And for that I’ll always be grateful.
We were also able to connect reliably when making video calls back home to Australia in an area of southern Italy with less than ideal coverage. This was really special because we were connecting older relatives that had spoken on the phone many times but had not seen each others faces for many years.
I was glad I had the device with me on the train in Norway where the internet offered was very slow. With 4G coverage on the YRoam I was able to meet some deadlines that would have been missed.
Another benefit of the YRoam that I hadn’t anticipated is that you can use the device as a back up battery for all your gadgets that are powered via USB. This proved to be very handy when I forgot to charge the children’s iPad before our longest stretch of driving in Italy.
Tips for using the YRoam
Create your YRoam account, download the app, and connect your devices before you leave on your trip. There’s nothing worse than trying to figure out technology issues when you have other priorities.. like relaxing!
The YRoam needs to be charged overnight as we found the battery depleted after less than 24 hours so set a reminder on your phone to do this if you are forgetful.
Check your phone set up to ensure it doesn’t use automatic refresh to minimise data usage.
For more tips and FAQs on using the device check the useful help and support page
Can’t I just use my phone plan when in Europe?
The EU recently introduced ‘roam like at home‘ legislation to prevent additional roaming charges for occasional travellers within the EU. It means that when you are travelling outside your home country you don’t have to pay any additional roaming charges.
So effectively you could use your UK phone plan when travelling to EU member states for your data requirements. I already had a roam like from home plan with my Three phone subscription when we travelled to Italy and Norway before the legislation was introduced.
The challenge was that their partner network providers did not always have the best coverage in the area we travelled. My husband’s phone – on BT – would often pick up a network when I could not find one and vice versa. And that’s where the YRoam really helped us out by connecting to the available network resources.
My provider Three has a limit on data usage and does not allow tethering from other devices. So if you want to use data on devices other than your phone on your travels you need another solution.
Does the YRoam offer value for money?
The upfront cost for the YRoam device is £199.99 [June 2017] and includes 1GB of data.
Additional data packs start at £9.99 depending on the location and amount of data required. The packs are valid for 30 days. Should you run out of data on the road it is easy to pay for additional packs via the YRoam iOS and Android apps. You can view all the data packages here. There are also some useful comparisons with other roaming charge offerings.
Given the upfront cost, frequent travellers and those who need regular reliable internet access will see the best value from the device.
Final verdict on the YRoam portable wifi device
The YRoam is a useful device for UK based frequent travellers to destinations in and beyond the European Union and those travelling for business or who need reliable connectivity at all times.
The portable hot spot is easy to set up and use and provides the fastest internet speeds where possible.
For more ideas on how to stay connected on your travels click here