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Travel Tech: Staying Connected with a MiFi Device

In our hyperconnected world having access to the Internet, mapping technology and communication is commonplace. This all changes when we venture overseas. I’m sure we’ve all had that moment when we’re travelling and thought “I’ll just turn my International Roaming on for a few seconds” only to get slapped with a huge bill so quickly it’s dizzying. There is a way to avoid these data fees though.

Stay connected overseas with a MiFi device

One of my favourite ways to stay connected overseas if by renting a MiFi device, or portable Internet device. I own one in Australia, bought one when I travelled across Canada and have rented them in Singapore, Japan and South Korea.

Unlike fiddly SIM cards, a MiFi device will connect to any device with a WiFi connection, much like a home Internet connection would. As the MiFi devices are portable it means you aren’t bound to your hotel. I’ve used MiFi devices to catch up on work while travelling on Japan’s bullet trains, to post social media updates while on a glacier in Canada and on road trips in even the remotest parts of Australia.

For city travellers, I find MiFi’s are a great tool to assist you navigate cities. That’s why I was keen to rent a 4G MiFi when I visited Singapore.

Rent a MiFi in Singapore

Staying connected in Singapore

When I arrived at my hotel I was informed that a package was waiting for me. Inside was the pre-booked Rentafi device, charging tools and a guide on how to operate the device. I didn’t see the guide but with the device was similar to mine at home and I had it ready to go in time for dinner in one of Singapore’s Supertrees.

With the device slipped into my clutch I could easily access emails, social media accounts and even send my Mum an iMessage from the bar at the top of the Supertree that has a seriously impressive view.

Singapore-View-From-SuperTree

When I was in the van, public transport or had a few minutes to myself I could quickly respond to friends Facebook messages, blog comments and tweets. Perfect!
It also saved me when I got lost in the MacRitchie Reservoir. I made a wrong turn at the end of the MacRitchie Tree Top Walk and ended up on the opposite side of the trail from where I was meant to be. As the track was one big loop I decided to keep walking the way I was instead of turning back. Wrong decision.
It wasn’t until 2 hours later and I’d made the very very long walk and found Vava Bistro (where I promptly knocked back two glasses of water and a lime juice), I realised that I was still quite a long way from where the driver was meant to pick me up from, did I use the pocket WiFi device to email for help!

I was pretty impressed with the battery life. The device I use in Australia only holds charge for 4-6 hours of continual use, but the Huawei device that Rentafi use (pictured above) lasted nearly a full-day (8-10 hours) as I explored Singapore and significantly longer than my poor iPhone’s battery could last.

The only limitation of MiFi devices is that a limited number of people can connect (for most, this is 5 or 6 devices) so for big families or groups consider renting two!

When I checked out of the hotel I repacked the device, charger and guide into the original box and left it at the Concierge desk for the Rentafi team to pick up.

How does it compare cost wise?

While some hotels, such as the Parkroyal on Pickering, offer complimentary WiFi to guests this isn’t the case for all hotels. Some hotels charge upwards of S$20 per device for slow WiFi with limited download speed. Not cool.

Rentafi devices the device doesn’t provide free calls or messaging but it allows you to use your laptop, tablet or mobile to make Skype VoIP or messaging apps, like WhatsApp, and come with unlimited data. A Rentafi MiFi device costs S$15 p/day (minimum of 3 days) + S$10 delivery charge.

As it’s a portable device. If you need to get some work done outside of the hotel, want to be protected should you get lost like I did at MacRitchie Reservoir or even if you just want to stay connected without the international data charges then a MiFi device is a small investment to make on your next international trip.

Now it’s over to you

Have you tried using a MiFi device?

How do you keep connected when travelling?

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Details1387d04337b6bb739a47ebbd20a953d4

Rentafi

Websitewww.rentafi.com

Cost: S$15 p/day (minimum of 3 days) + S$10 delivery charge.
A S$200 refundable deposit is also held on your card providing you return the device with no damage.

Notes: Devices can be delivered to hotels or private residential properties (eg. airbnb rentals or family/friends houses)

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Rentafi provided me with a complimentary device while visiting Singapore.
All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    rebecca
    April 15, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Not bad! Always looking for ways to stay connected! A pretty good option. Thanks!

  • Reply
    De'Jav
    April 15, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Good option to stay connected. I need to start researching since I’ll be traveling in June. Thanks for the insight.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 27, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      If you do use Rentafi, let me know how your experience goes De’Jav! Always curious how other people find them. 🙂

  • Reply
    Seana
    April 16, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Hi I didn’t know you could get devices like this to rent os so this is a fab post for me to read. I’d love wifi ont he go but find SIMs a pain and who wants a new number to dealw ith. The cost is very good, just a bit more than the travel pack my phone company offers. SO good to be able to use wifi when on the move too.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 27, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      I feel exactly the same way about SIM cards, Seana! That’s why I’m a huge fan of MiFi devices when travelling.
      Hope you can test them out when you visit Singapore next. 🙂

  • Reply
    Monique
    April 16, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Well what a fabulous find…I have always relied on hotel WIFI (or any other spot my kids can find)…and yes have fallen victim to a couple of horrible bills over the years. Heading to Singapore in a few months with the family – will definitely try a MiFi – will share your post on my Facebook page – everyone should know about these little beauties. Thank you…

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 27, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks Monique!
      Let me know how your experience with Rentafi goes. I’d love to hear!

  • Reply
    MacRitchie Reservoir TreeTop Walk
    April 21, 2015 at 11:23 am

    […] to the German tourists I had been on the treetop walk with, I made a wrong turn. Even armed with my Rentafi pocket MiFi device didn’t save […]

  • Reply
    Rahman
    April 23, 2015 at 2:21 am

    I can’t agree more with you on such devices that make you independent from the hotels with their weak Internet connections. I have started using USB modems and must see how it will work with my laptop and tablet. I don’t feel very comfortable with my smartphone connecting to the internet for a long time and my work is always long hours at the end of the day.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 27, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      USB modems or MiFi devices are a lot better than connecting your smartphone, in my opinion because with my MiFi device (that I own) I just top it up like a pre-paid mobile. It means I’m in control of how much I use/spent each month.
      That’s why I really liked Rentafi’s plan – unlimited data for a good price!

      Hope you are enjoying using your USB modem. 🙂

  • Reply
    City Guide: Singapore
    July 15, 2015 at 10:02 am

    […] Stay connected wherever you are in Singapore with Rentafi – The best MiFi (pocket WiFi) I’ve used during my travels in Singapore, Rentafi took me from downtown to saving my butt when I got lost in MacRitchie Reservoir. By having a MiFi, I don’t need to worry about buying a new SIM card, never had to worry about if my hotel Internet was going to good, and it’s reasonably priced – perfect! Read my full review on Rentafi. […]

  • Reply
    Sher
    May 23, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Hey Nicole, WiWander is a new company that provides pocket wifi router rental with unlimited data to outbound Australian travellers! We have multiple destinations including Europe, Japan, Singapore, Thailand etc! Check us out if you are travelling anytime soon 🙂 Thanks!

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