As much as I enjoy the somewhat-forced unplugging during travel, I’ve also been getting more and more frustrated with my lack of wifi in foreign countries. As much as I travel, I spend a lot of time getting lost, y’all. It was time to find an international hotspot or pocket wifi device.
So it was perfect timing when TEP Wireless contacted me about their international hotspot device – the ‘Teppy.’ I had an upcoming trip to Canada with Dan, where we had hopes to road trip. I knew that we needed a solution to our wifi problem (Google Maps are life), so we decided to give Teppy a shot.
This is my 100% honest review of nearly two weeks using the Teppy device in Canada. I’m sharing all about our personal experience, how an international hotspot works, the pricing, and my recommendations for how and when it’s actually worth it to use an international hotspot like Teppy.
Oh… and I got you guys a discount code. Use SARAH10 for 10% off your TEP Wireless purchase.
What is the Teppy international hotspot device?
The Teppy is a portable international hotspot device – also referred to as pocket wifi, mobile hotspot, MiFi, etc. When you turn it on, it creates a wireless hotspot to which you can connect up to five devices. The Teppy works in 100+ countries!
How does an international hotspot work?
Each company is different, but for the Teppy, it essentially acts as a ‘virtual SIM card.’ When the Teppy is turned on, it connects to the best local network operator from a bank of potential operators stored in the cloud, and automatically figures out what country you’re in.
You can connect up to five devices to the Teppy at one time, by logging in with the network name and password printed on the back of the device. Voila! Internet anywhere you go.
It’s important to note here that although the Teppy connects to local data networks, it does not give you cellular data – as an international hotspot it only provides you with wifi. You cannot place cellular calls or send text messages. However, with iMessage, Whatsapp, Facetime, etc., which are all accessed through wifi, that is not really an issue. TEP Wireless also has their own app called the Tep+, which allows you to call or message anyone else who has that app.
Why should you get an international hotspot like Teppy?
This was my first time using an international hotspot device, and boy had it become clear to me over my recent trips why these could be useful. Here are just a few reasons you might consider getting an international hotspot like Teppy:
- Access to Google Maps for navigation
- Access to GPS apps like Alltrails or Gaia when hiking
- Book last minute hotels, trains, ubers, etc.
- Message friends, family, and travel companions
- Upload photos/videos to social media in real time
- Look up restaurants or things to do while out and about
- Reliable internet access for remote work
- Safety back up in case you get lost or need help
- Covers you in case your hotel, airport, train etc. doesn’t have wifi, has paid wifi, or has unreliable wifi
- & more!
I ordered a Teppy – what’s in the box?
About a week before we left for our Canadian road trip, I ordered my Teppy device. It arrived swiftly on my doorstep in a neat little box. Here is what my Teppy came with:
- Cute and convenient case
- Instruction manual
- Luggage tag
- Two handle strings (black and blue)
- USB charging cable
- Teppy device
The instructions were simple and straightforward. I’m pretty much a luddite and even I understood it! I used the network name and password on the back of my device and quickly logged on.
*Note: The Teppy device does NOT arrive fully charged. You need to charge it before your first use.
Our experience road tripping with the Teppy Device
Dan and I planned to use the Teppy as an international hotspot during our time roadtripping in Canada. Previous to our trip, I read a lot of international hotspot, pocket wifi, and TEP Wireless reviews… mostly for digital nomads who need internet to work. I do work online, but I wasn’t worried about getting internet from our apartment Canada. I was much more worried about roadtripping with the Teppy. Would it still work in a moving vehicle? How consistent is the signal? Would it be reliable in remote locations? I had a lot of questions.
So how did we like the Teppy? We LOVED it! Like I said, I was pretty dubious going into this so I was shocked how much the Teppy international hotspot changed my travel experience.
Using the Teppy international hotspot, we were able to connect to internet nearly everywhere – from downtown Vancouver to the remote mountains of British Columbia. We used Google Maps to navigate our entire roadtrip and didn’t ever have an issue connecting when we needed navigation help.
There were a couple times that the Teppy was slow to connect or couldn’t connect at all – this however was usually when we were deep in the woods, where there was no service. Because the Teppy connects via data networks, you’d have the same issue with a SIM card or cellular data plan in those locations.
Actually, there were a lot of places I was shocked that the Teppy could still connect! We were able to get internet access at the summit of Panorama Ridge – meaning we could message our families photos of these incredible views. We also could connect on the majority of every hike, meaning we never worried about navigation. I was actually quite sad when we drove back to the USA because my Verizon plan does not give me nearly as great service as the Teppy did!
We also loved the fact that you could connect five devices to the Teppy. This meant that although we only had one Teppy and one paid daily plan, both Dan and I could connect our phones and laptops to the device and use it simultaneously.
We also found that the battery life was quite good. The Teppy is supposed to have 6-8 hours of battery, but we found it worked for 10-13 hours! We just made sure to charge the Teppy each night. We also always brought a portable battery and cable during days out as a safety back up.
I also loved how much using an international hotspot reduced travel stress… being gluten free, I often get worried about finding safe places to eat. With the Teppy, I could just look up a restaurant or reviews whenever and wherever I wanted. For other travelers, this means less pre-planning, more spontaneity, and the ability to find cool things to do right where you are!
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Teppy Device
So overall we had a great experience using an international hotspot for the first time. I am definitely a convert and will be using my Teppy on future trips. For anyone else considering getting an international hotspot like the Teppy, here are some pros and cons.
- Good coverage: We were able to access wifi every time we really needed it.
- Price: TEP Wireless states that their prices are lower than 95% of other international hotspots.
- Sharing: Connecting five devices at a time, especially when traveling as a pair, was a major bonus. This can also help reduce the price when shared!
- Unlimited wifi: A HUGE advantage is unlimited wifi. You can select different plans with varying amounts of 3G and 4G data. When this runs out, you still get unlimited wifi throughout the day but the speed is reduced to 256kbs. This happened to us a few times but we didn’t have any issue with the slower speed!
- Portable: The device is lightweight and similar in size to an iPhone. It easily fits in my wallet/clutch, pocket, etc.
- Satisfaction guarantee: TEP Wireless provides 24/7 customer service and a money back satisfaction guarantee.
- Works across borders: You can use the Teppy in 100+ countries, including multiple countries in the same day. No more buying a new SIM card for each new country.
- Separate from phone: Even though the Teppy is small and portable, I did sometimes wish it wasn’t a separate device. Mainly when I went running, it was annoying to have to take the Teppy AND my phone to help navigate. With a SIM card you would just take your phone. It would be great in the future if the device was even smaller and could be attached to your phone.
- Coverage not 100%: Although coverage was generally good, like I mentioned there were a couple times we couldn’t connect. This was only mildly frustrating because I knew we’d have the same issues if we were using cellular data.
- Price: I mentioned the price as an advantage compared to other international hotspot providers, but for budget travelers the idea of paying for internet at all could be a disadvantage. If you were in a city and could easily hop into an internet café for wifi then I don’t know if the price would be worth it. But for road tripping, country hopping, and remote travel it is invaluable.
- Doesn’t work in every country: As mentioned, Teppy works in 100+ countries. However some notable ones are missing from the list, such as Nepal (a country I love and hope to return to!). Be sure to check the coverage list before investing in a Teppy.
Renting vs. Buying the Teppy International Hotspot Device
Okay, okay, okay… you want the juicy details now. How do you actually get one of these Teppy devices, and how much do they cost? With Teppy, you have multiple options: rent, buy, or subscribe.
- $8.95/day for 1GB at 3G speed (+ unlimited internet)
- $10.95/day for 1GB at 4G speed (+ unlimited internet)
- $12.95/day for 3GB at 4G speed (+unlimited internet)
- Teppy is shipped to you free of charge. You pay to ship it back when you’re done.
- Good for shorter trips and non-frequent travelers
- Rent here – use SARAH10 for 10% off!
- $129 to purchase the device – you keep forever
- + $7.95/day when you connect – you’re not charged on days you don’t use it
- Good for those who travel a lot but may not be using the Teppy every single day of travel
- Buy here – use SARAH10 for 10% off!
- $99/month plan for three months, includes the device for free
- Good if you will be traveling abroad for at least three months in a row and need wifi every single day
- Subscribe here – use SARAH10 for 10% off!
Cost benefit analysis: Should you buy an international hotspot?
Is the Teppy international hotspot actually worth that much money? This was my concern with the Teppy before using it. Everyone will be different but I recommend doing some cost-benefit analysis based on your own travel plans and cell plan. Here are a few quick examples:
- Renting for 3 months = $8.95 x 90 = $805.50
- Buying for 3 months = $129 + ($7.95 x 90) = $844.50
- Subscribing for 3 months = $99 x 3 = $297
You can see that for 3 months of travel, the best deal is definitely subscribing. At this rate, you are essentially getting the Teppy for $3.30/day. A great deal!
What if you are going on a shorter trip? We were in Canada for 12 days.
- Renting for 12 days = $8.95 x 12 = $107.40
- Buying for 12 days = $129 + ($7.95 x 12) = $224.40
- Subscribing for 12 days = $99 x 3 = $297 – You have to subscribe for a MINIMUM of 3 months!
Here, renting is definitely cheapest. You can see that if you are going on a shorter trip (and don’t foresee using the Teppy again soon), renting is a better option. However as frequent travelers, it is worth the $129 investment if you’ll be traveling again soon!
When comparing renting to buying, 99 days is the point where buying becomes a better value than renting. If you foresee using your Teppy for 99 days or more throughout your entire life, then you should opt to buy.
You can also compare the Teppy to other international hotspots or internet options. For example, I use the USA Verizon cell phone plan. With Verizon, I can buy TravelPasses when I’m abroad. These are:
- $5/day for unlimited data in Canada and Mexico
- $10/day for unlimited data outside North America
Based on those prices, it is cheaper to use the Teppy only if I’m traveling outside North America.
So why did I use the Teppy in Canada? Even though my Verizon plan was only $5/day in Canada (compared to $7.95/day Teppy use), it was actually worth it because BOTH Dan and I could simultaneously use the Teppy. That means $7.95 / 2 = $3.98/day which is a better deal!
Phew, who knew math could be so useful to travel, right?! These are just a few examples, but I encourage you to figure out your own personal cost-benefit analysis if you’re on the fence about purchasing an international hotspot like Teppy.
Save even more money with my 10% discount code SARAH10.
Do I recommend the Teppy?
I was genuinely surprised how much I used and appreciated the Teppy. I am completely honest when I say that I wasn’t expecting it to be this useful – after all, I am frugal and like to save my money for flights and cool hotels rather than unnecessary expenses. However, the Teppy was invaluable on this trip.
I would definitely recommend the Teppy to anyone who is planning a road trip, will be in a rural location, or will be doing lots of hiking. Also, the Teppy is a lifesaver if you are doing remote work and worried about internet access abroad.
If you are sticking to cities where you can pop into a local internet café easily, the Teppy may hold less value.
All in all, though, we loved our experience with Teppy and will definitely be using it again on our future travels. Having wifi access opens up so many travel opportunities to go off the beaten path, and that was the true value of the Teppy – priceless!
Book your Teppy here! Use SARAH10 for 10% off.
Any questions? Leave a comment below!
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*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may make a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Endless Distances!
*I received the Teppy free of charge from TEP Wireless, for the purposes of this review. As always, all opinions are my own. I’ve tried to portray an honest insight into both the pros and cons of using an international hotspot device like Teppy.