Each year we travel to Europe and the one constant that remained, at least up until this year, was the ability to maintain internet and cell communications without an exorbitant bite out of the pocketbook at the end of our stay.
This year, XComGlobal challenged us to leave our frustrations behind by taking along their mobile WiFi device, the Mifi, and spoke of successful use all through Europe at a price that would surprise many. Were we impressed!!!
The goal was simple. We needed to have continuous communications via internet, while traveling and at all destinations, as well as having complete cell coverage where we could communicate back and forth with the business (and loved ones) back home in Canada at a reasonable price. For this we used our XComGlobal Mifi to allow an internet connection wherever cell coverage was available, a Samsung Galaxy Note II and Skype with a paid for online telephone number. The Note II is not a must have, as any smartphone would serve the same purpose, although our newly enabled use of the smartphone could not be understated.
Our travel started from Germany to Amsterdam and then to Brugges, Belgium, on to Paris, France and now I write this ON LINE as we travel to Zurich, Switzerland. The maximum effort at any given point is the changing of the Mifi battery and pressing of the power button where the device connects to a cell tower for data itself, regardless of country. Our Mifi has traveled throughout Amsterdam and visited the Anne Frank Museum, to Brugges up and back down all 366 steps of the Belfry Tower and through the canals by boat, to the top of the Eiffel Tower and is heading to Zurich with our Associate Editor driving beside as I type away.
Cell telephone coverage was achieved by installing Skype on the Samsung Galaxy Note II and paying $30 for a telephone number that is registered to your Skype account. This enabled people worldwide to contact us at any time, which was fortunate as our luggage was left behind at the Heathrow Airport, London, while we carried on to Hannover, West Germany and then to Amsterdam. This also allowed our calling anywhere in the world at any time, via Skype, at fractions of a penny per minute. The only ‘fly in the ointment’ that we discovered was difficult reception at one point while speaking from Amsterdam, by cell, to the airport in Hannover.
There was an amazing plus in this entire scenario that we never expected, wrapped in the ability of today’s smartphone. Things were possible now that had never been prior creating a totally different travel experience as we traveled Europe. Not only could we plot destinations, use live GPS coverage and even find attractions and events through our Samsung Galaxy Note II, but also, there was no longer a language barrier as we could simply speak our conversation into the Note II for complete translation while online. For those that have experienced trying to communicate with another who spoke no English before, this in itself, was worth its weight in gold. Gold wasn’t the price paid, however.
In total, the XCommGlobal Mifi device costs $14.95 US per day and our Skype number cost $30 for 3 months. Considering that the typical hotel internet connection in Europe could run you from $10/hr to an average of $40 per day, this is a significant savings and adds your ability to surf the net and even make reservations while on the road. Just reserved our night in Zurich which is about an hour down the road in fact! Amazing Mifi!
Oh…did we mention that the Mifi enables up to five users to connect simultaneously? This was great as we both typed away at articles on the laptops while being connected with our Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphones and having an IPAD up for good measure. The XComGlobal Mifi is also available worldwide.