How to Get Cheap Wi-Fi Even When You’re Out and About

Woman looking at computer on beach
Photo by Evdoha_spb / Shutterstock.com

This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com.

Summer is the season of travel, but while the kids are free to run around on the beach, you might have work that needs to be done. Though you may be chained to your responsibilities, there’s no reason to be chained to a desk. With your laptop and a great mobile hotspot, you can get that work done all while basking in the summer sun sipping a cocktail with an umbrella. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

What is a mobile hotspot?

Basically, it’s portable internet. Running off the same cellular networks our smartphones are connected to, mobile hotspots connect your devices to the internet. This is typically done through a small hotspot device that acts kind of like your Wi-Fi router at home or even just plugs right into one of your USB ports.

The best hotspot plans

Getting the best hotspot plan at the best price is going to depend heavily on how you are going to use that hotspot. As with cellphone plans, the more high-speed data you want, the more you can expect to pay. The best way to save when shopping for mobile hotspot is to buy a plan with a minimal high-speed data allotment. If your internet usage calls for a ton of high-speed data — for things like virtual meetings and daily downloading of several files and images, for instance — paying more for a high-end hotspot plan may be your best option.

Light users: Your current cellphone plan

Your summer work tasks might be limited to receiving and sending some text-only emails. While this could theoretically be done right on your smartphone, many people find it more convenient to do on a laptop. What you might not know is that most newer smartphones can act as a mobile hotspot device, and it’s very common for cellphone plans to include at least some mobile hotspot data. This means that you might be able to connect your laptop to the internet via your phone’s network connection. The icing on the cake? No need to purchase a hotspot device.

Mobile hotspot data is a pretty convenient perk to have on your cellphone plan and comes pretty standard with unlimited plans these days (especially with plans from the major carriers). If your cellphone plan doesn’t already have mobile hotspot included, you might want to look into plans that do. There’s a good chance it won’t even cost you extra.

Light users: Unreal Mobile

If a mobile hotspot isn’t included in your cellphone plan, one option is to buy a separate data-only hotspot plan. Unreal Mobile has some very competitive prices for mobile hotspot plans that provide small allotments of full-speed data.

Their mobile hotspot plans include:

  • 1 GB of high-speed data for just $10/month
  • 3 GB of high-speed data for just $20/month
  • 5 GB of high-speed data for just $30/month

Medium users: T-Mobile hotspot

All right, so maybe the ideal you’ll just be sending a few emails here and there is wishful thinking. You might have to fill out reports and attach them to those emails. You might even have to call into some video conference calls and put together a few slides with images and graphics you pull from the web.

If you need a mobile hotspot plan with a little more high-speed data, T-Mobile has some of the best prices compared with the other major mobile providers. They also have some of the best data speeds in the country.

T-Mobile hotspot plans for medium users range between $50/month for 10 GB of high-speed data to $95/month for 22 GB.

Heavy users: Verizon hotspot

I want to believe you are a heavy data user because you have a big-time Netflix habit and are constantly streaming your favorite shows and movies — which is to say I hope you don’t really have to work ALL of the time. But whatever the reason for your outlandish amount of data usage (please let it be Netflix), the plan you need is with Verizon Wireless.

Remember, the higher the data allotment, the more you’ll pay. Verizon’s 30 GB hotspot plan will cost you $185/month while its 100 GB plan is a whopping $710/month. Those are hefty prices to pay, but the benefits of having a ton of data on Verizon’s highly-rated network might just be worth it for you — or to your boss, who we hope is covering that expense for you.

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