Whether you’re a road warrior or trying to relax on vacation, sometimes you just want to kick up your feet and see what’s going on back in the real world. If you’re staying in a place with unreliable wireless internet, a travel router can help you connect to your mobile devices or laptop easily to the Web for reliable Wi-Fi. Beyond creating a secure internet connection, travel routers can also help with built-in storage for sharing files or streaming music to multiple devices. Need help picking one out? Here’s our vote for the best handy-in-a-pinch travel routers.
Best Overall: HooToo TripMate Titan
The HooToo TripMate Titan is a great choice for a travel wireless router. It converts a wired network to a wireless one through its included Ethernet port and even does double duty as a portable battery charger, adding a 10,400mAh power bank that can charge an iPhone 8 up to three times. Removing the flaps that guard the ports against dust or dirt will reveal USB-A and micro-USB connections along with a Category 5 ethernet port. At 3.74 x 1.73 x 1.73 inches and only 9 ounces, the HooToo is perfect for slipping into a suitcase, briefcase or purse. Simply plug in an Ethernet cable to enable the HooToo as an access point, and log in with the default password on any laptop, tablet or smartphone to use it as a router. It can connect to up to five devices simultaneously.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: RAVPower FileHub Plus
Essentially a 3-in-1 travel gadget, the RAVPower FileHub Plus offers direct capabilities as a media streamer capable of reading an SD card and external hard drives up to four terabytes in size. Secondly, the RAVPower functions as a personalized wireless router that connects directly to an Ethernet cable inside a hotel. As its third and final trick, the RAVPower operates as a battery for emergency charges (it’s capable of powering most smartphones up to 2x before running dry). Moreover, an SD slot allows for accessing photos and videos, as well as streaming directly to a Chromecast.
As a wireless router, the conversion from a wired line to wireless connection allows extra security, plus the opportunity to share a trusted and secure Internet connection with others in your party. The inclusion of the MTK762N built-in chip offers the best performance of both hardware and software and keeps your router up-to-date with the latest firmware for added levels of security. The RAVPower supports PPPoE, static and dynamic IP signals for a slew of capabilities for connections inside a hotel, Airbnb or other travel locations.
Best Range: TP-Link N300
The pocket-sized TP-Link N300 is capable of hitting up to 300Mbps Wi-Fi speed and the 2.4GHz band connection ensures lag-free video streaming and online gaming over a wide space. The inclusion of compatibility with Google’s Chromecast highlights the flexibility of the N300, which can also function as a router, repeater, client, AP and hotspot.
The N300 is powered through a microUSB port that can connect directly to a wall charger or laptop. Installation happens in just under a minute with a WISP access point that can be shared by multiple users even in a hotel room next door. And since portability is key here, it weighs an ultra-light 7.2 ounces.
Best Budget: GL.iNet GL-AR150
This budget pick has a small price tag and a lot of features, making the GL.iNet GL-AR150 a smart solution for travelers who want to quickly convert wired networks into wireless ones. Weighing only 1.41 ounces and measuring 2.28 x 2.28 x 0.98 inches, the AR150 comes with OpenVPN pre-installed for increased security. Compatible with over 20 VPN service providers and with TOR firmware available for downloading, the GL-AR150 provides maximum protection while surfing on insecure web networks. Powered by any laptop USB, power bank or a 5V DC adapter, the GL-AR150 is perfectly sized for tucking into carry-on or backpack for use at a hotel, remote workplace, or in the office. Available with dual Ethernet ports, 64MB of RAM and 16MB of flash, the GL-AR150 can increase its memory with external USB sticks. With a top speed of 150Mbps and low power consumption, GL-AR150 is made to work with a smartphone’s 3G or 4G connection and switch into a private WiFi network.
Best Speed: TRENDnet TEW-817DTR
Offering super fast speeds of up to 433Mbps Wi-Fi over 802.11ac and 300Mbps on 802.11n connections, the TRENDnet TEW-817DTR is a serious speed demon. Weighing just under one pound, it’s compact and portable and offers interchangeable plugs for North America, Europe and the U.K. right out of the box, so it’s ideal for international travel. No matter what part of the world you’re in, you can quickly attach the TRENDnet to your existing wireless network and create your own secure Wi-Fi network with onboard encryption ensuring privacy and anonymity.
Working with both Wi-Fi AC and N devices on-the-go, the TRENDnet is the fastest travel wireless router on the market with a setup time that will have you online in just minutes. Fortunately, speed isn’t the only attractive quality of the TRENDnet. It can also stream videos, photos and music to a smartphone, TV, media player or other DLNA-device (like Google’s Chromecast, for example) effortlessly.
Additionally, the onboard toggle switch can quickly shift the TEW-817DTR from router mode to WISP/AP/Repeater mode or turn it off. And if you run into problems, Trendnet offers a three-year warranty and unlimited 24/7 technical support for any setup questions while Stateside or abroad.
Best Value: GL.iNet GL-AR300M Mini Travel Router
The Mini Travel Router earns its “value” spot on the list because it is, in a word, fast. At 300 mb/s, it’s faster than a lot of at-home routers, and it features an internal 128 MB of RAM. But what’s extra cool here is its open-source nature. You can expand the out-of-the-box capabilities by side loading in tons of functionality to support everything from webcams to USB disks. Plus for an extra $20 or so you can add a super powerful external antenna to the package for a wider, more stable network. Add that to the built-in VPN functionality (that supports more than 20 different existing clients) and you’ve got a powerhouse that fits perfectly in your pocket (or your carry-on).
Best Security: GL-MT300A
The GL-MT300A marks another entry into the travel router space that’s well worth the price of admission. The 1.41-ounce, pocket-friendly design is truly portable and can be powered by any laptop USB, power bank or 5V DC adapter. Once powered on, the MT300A assists in the conversion of a wired network at a hotel or office to a private Wi-Fi connection that can be shared among multiple devices securely and easily.
Providing an extra level of security is the addition of both OpenVPN and Tor client (there are 20+ VPN providers for securely masking your connection and the downloadable TOR firmware ensures privacy). Additionally, the MT300A includes 128MB of RAM for faster performance, as well as 16GB of storage onboard for securely transferring files or multimedia. Beyond its secure performance and storage, the MT300A also includes dual-Ethernet ports for multiple connections, as well as a microSD card slot for even more file storage and sharing.