Best Travel Routers – 2021 Round-up

Austin
| Last Updated: February 8, 2021

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If you’ve ever found yourself using the free wifi at a coffee shop or logging into the connection at a hotel and wondered about how secure the connection is, you’re not alone.

These days, you can’t be too careful. That’s why having a travel router is essential for anyone who spends a lot of time online while away from home.

Our Top Picks for Best Travel Routers

  • Better coverage
  • Password protection
  • Easy power
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  • Fast ports
  • Large storage
  • Secure connection
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  • Best for the Money
  • Easy storage
  • Versatile router
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Comparison of the Best Travel Routers

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • WiFi range extender for much better coverage
  • Pre-encrypted password protection for better security
  • Micro USB port for Easy power options
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  • Ethernet and wired connections included
  • Comes with 128MB of ram included
  • Can be used with a VPN server
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  • Best for the Money
  • Easy file transfer for quick storage option
  • Compatible with a wide range of devices
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  • Best Travel Router for Hotels
  • Makes use of dual frequency bands of 2.4 and 5Ghz
  • Can be used for a variety of connection options
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  • Best Wireless Travel Router
  • Made with a durable construction to last longer
  • Easy ethernet and wired connections included
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  • Best Travel Router for Chromecast
  • Easy managing app included for ease of use
  • Allows up to 5 devices on travel router
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What to Look for When Buying a Travel Router

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a travel router. Here are a few things to consider.

Speed

When it comes to the internet, speed is important. When you’re traveling, there’s a good chance you want to be able to stream movies or music, so you need a fast connection. Look at the specs of the router you’re considering and make sure it’s capable of doing what you need it to do.

Size

When you’re traveling, you need a router that’s small enough that it won’t get in the way. While all of these routers are small, some are more compact than others. Do you want something that comfortably fits in your carry on or something you can slide into your pocket? There are a lot of options out there to choose from.

Functions

As you saw from our reviews, some of these routers have a lot of functions. To be honest, a lot of them are really useful. Having a travel router that can also function as a power bank and transfer files for you is a pretty nice thing when you’re traveling.

Quick Take - Best Travel Routers

Just looking for the three best travel routers? Here they are:

  1. TP-Link TL-WR802N
  2. GL.iNet GL-AR750
  3. HooToo HT-TM05 N

Review of the Best Travel Routers

If you’re looking for a good travel router, you’re in the right place. Here are some of the best options out there covering a wide range of functions and prices.

Best Overall:
TP-Link TL-WR802N

TP-Link N300 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router(TL-WR802N) - WiFi Bridge/Range Extender/Access Point/Client Modes, Mobile in Pocket

PROS

  • External power supply
  • Pocket-sized for portability
  • 300 Mbps wifi speed, 2.4GHz band
  • 2-year warranty, 24/7 tech support
  • JD Power Award for customer satisfaction

CONS

  • Difficult to configure
  • May not reach promised speeds

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users report that this router is effective and does what it promises. A lot of people mention they use this when traveling for work and that it works great in hotel rooms. That said, a few people - even those who claim to do IT for a living - had a difficult time configuring it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love how quickly you can use this router to set up a portable hotspot that you can share with family and friends. In addition to having multiple modes, it’s also fast enough to work with streaming video, including from a Chromecast or Amazon Fire Stick. The security encryption is great, too, so you can rest assured that your data is protected.

It’s a travel router, so it’s going to be small, but we still love how easily it slips into your backpack or purse. This router also comes with a lot of useful accessories, including a power adapter, nano router, Ethernet cable, USB cable, resource CD, and installation guide.

Bottom Line

This is a great choice if you’re looking for a travel router that’s convenient enough to fit in your pocket. It has multiple modes, advanced encryption security, and is covered by a two-year warranty.

GL.iNet GL-AR750 (Creta) Travel AC VPN Router, 300Mbps(2.4G)+433Mbps(5G) Wi-Fi, 128MB RAM, MicroSD Storage Support, Repeater Bridge, OpenWrt/LEDE pre-Installed, Power Adapter and Cables Included

PROS

  • 1-year warranty
  • Compatible with 3G/4G USB modems
  • OpenVPN and WireGuard pre-installed
  • Dual-band router with wireless speeds up to 300 Mbps
  • 3 Ethernet ports, 128 MB RAM, USB port, and MicroSD slot

CONS

  • Setup can be tricky
  • Cannot handle too many devices at the same time

What Recent Buyers Report

For the most part, people are pretty happy with this router. Setup can be a bit of a headache, but once it's up and running, users were satisfied. That said, there were a few complaints about service cutting out or slowing down when too many devices were connected.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This router converts either wired or wireless networks into a secure wifi signal that you can share with your friends and family. OpenVPN supports more than 20 service providers, and it has impressive data encryption so you can feel comfortable about your data and security.

We were impressed by this router’s external storage. It supports microSD up to 120GB and has 128MB of RAM and a 16MB Flash. There are three Ethernet ports, too, so you can attach multiple devices.

Another great thing about this router is that it can use a laptop or power bank as the power supply, a great feature to have when traveling.

Bottom Line

This programmable router is a good choice for someone who wants something they can customize. With three Ethernet ports and a flexible power supply, this router is an ideal travel companion.

Best for the Money:
HooToo HT-TM05 N

HooToo Filehub, Wireless Travel Router, iPhone iPad Portable SSD Hard Drive Reader, Photo Backup Device, 10400mAh External Battery Pack Travel Charger - TripMate Titan

PROS

  • Streams and share media
  • Can connect up to 5 devices at once
  • Wirelessly recognizes USB flash drives using TripMate app
  • Built-in power bank can charge smartphones up to three times
  • Transfers files from multiple USB drives and smartphones, tablets, and laptops to free up space

CONS

  • Not a hotspot
  • Does not support VPN

What Recent Buyers Report

People were generally impressed by just how much this router can do. For those who use it mainly as a router, it works reliably and the speed is pretty good. That said, some people mentioned that it wasn’t as fast as they’d hoped and slowed down hotel internet speeds.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The sheer number of ways you can use this product is extremely impressive. You can use it as a wireless router by connecting it to a modem or DSL and in bridge mode to share connections.

But that’s not all this device does. Connect a portable USB flash drive and you can use the TripMate app to transfer and backup files from multiple devices. It supports up to five devices at once and facilitates simultaneous media sharing so everyone can watch together on multiple screens. It also supports Chromecast so you can all watch on the big screen.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a multifunctional router, this is a great choice. It streams and shares media, transfers files, acts as a power bank, and much more. Plus, it’s extremely affordable.

Best Travel Router for Hotels:
TP-Link TL-WR902AC

TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router(TL-WR902AC) - Support Multiple Modes, WiFi Router/Hotspot/Bridge/Range Extender/Access Point/Client Modes, Dual Band WiFi, 1 USB 2.0 Port

PROS

  • 2-year warranty
  • 750 Mbps data transfer rate
  • Unlimited 24/7 tech support
  • Uses a micro USB adapter to charge
  • Dual-band wifi for a reliable, fast connection

CONS

  • Tricky to set up
  • Poor instructions

What Recent Buyers Report

For the most part, people are really happy with this product. The signal is great, and the speed is impressive. There were some mentions that the device didn’t work as a repeater as well as people had hoped. Some people also felt it was a little tricky to set up and that tech support wasn’t very helpful.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The small size and mini USB power supply are convenient and ideal for travel. It uses the fastest wifi technology which makes it a great choice for streaming and running multiple applications at the same time.

We also like that this router can work as a portable charger, splitting power so it’s easy to recharge multiple devices while on the go. It has multiple modes and functions as a range extender, access point hotspot, and, of course, a router.

It’s also covered by a two-year warranty, which is a good sign that the company is willing to stand behind its product.

Bottom Line

Here’s another great option if you’re looking for something multifunctional, which is a safe bet when you’re traveling. It has multiple modes and works fast and reliably. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a two-year warranty.

Best Wireless Travel Router:
GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2

GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 Wireless Mini Portable Travel Router, Mobile Hotspot in Pocket, WiFi Repeater Bridge, Range Extender, OpenVPN Client, 300Mbps High Performance, 128MB RAM

PROS

  • 1-year warranty
  • Works as a WiFi hotspot
  • Compatible with 3G/4G modems
  • Open source and programmable for versatility
  • Pre-installed OpenVPN client compatible with more than 30 VPN providers

CONS

  • Open VPN unreliable
  • Unreliable customer service

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of people were honestly surprised by how well this product worked, especially considering how affordable it is. Setup is easy and most people agreed that it performs reliably. Others mentioned that it worked great for a while but didn’t have the longevity they were hoping for.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The thing that stood out to us the most about this product is the price tag. It’s extremely affordable, and better yet, it works. Since it has OpenVPN and Wireguard, it supports more than 30 popular OpenVPN service providers, making set up pretty easy.

This product is small, lightweight, and easy to use. You can connect it to public Ethernet, an existing wireless network, or an access point. It’s open-source and programmable so you can tweak it if you have some IT skills. Plus, it’s covered by a one-year warranty.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a device that’s affordable and has all the basic features you’re looking for, this is a great product to try. We love that it’s open-source and programmable but also easy to set up at the same time.

Best Travel Router for Chromecast:
RAVPower FileHub RP-WD009

RAVPower FileHub, Travel Router AC750, Wireless SD Card Reader, Connect Portable SSD Hard Drive to iPhone iPad Tablet Smart Phone Laptop for Photo Backup, Data Transfer, Portable NAS, 6700mAh Battery

PROS

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Supports up to 5 devices at once
  • 2.4GHz and 5.8 GHz dual-band for fast speeds
  • Multiple modes, including AP, router, and bridge
  • Enables file sharing across multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops

CONS

  • Software outdated
  • Does not support VPN

What Recent Buyers Report

This router gets good reviews from recent users. Most say that it works fast and is reliable as a wifi hotspot, even in remote locations. Some people question the security of the device, but this wasn’t a common complaint.

Why it Stands Out to Us

When you’re traveling, anything that’s multipurpose is a handy thing to have around, and this router is no exception. Not only does it act as a wireless router, but it also transfers and backs up data between your devices, SD cards, flash drives, and external hard drives.

This device also has three network modes: bridge, access point, and router. It can support up to five devices at once, the dual-band speeds keep things moving fast and reliably. Admin mode lets you adjust security settings for guest users, and the device is compact enough to slip right into your pocket.

Bottom Line

This multipurpose device is a great travel companion. It’s fast, reliable, and has three network modes to cover all of your needs. You can use it to transfer data between devices, and it’s covered by a lifetime guarantee.

What is a Travel Router?

A travel router is just like the router you use at home, only it’s smaller and meant to be taken with you for convenience. Instead of using the internet coming into your home from your internet service provider, a travel router is meant to use public wifi, providing you with an extra layer of security.

There are a lot of options for travel routers out there. Some perform the basic functions of a router while others are multifunctional and can come in handy while you travel.

How Does a Travel Router Work?

Travel routers work just like any other router, only they are designed to use public wifi. That said, a lot of people who live in small apartments or dorms use them as they would a regular router. It all depends on what you’re looking for.

Once the router connects to the internet, it connects your computer to the internet. The router does a lot of things. It works as a sort of dispatcher, making sure your connection is the best it can be. Routers also have built-in security, which is one of the reasons why they are so popular with travelers.

Are All Routers for Travel the Same?

No, all travel routers are not the same. As you’ll see when you look at or product reviews, some of them are very simple and some are multifunctional. Before you decide what router is right for you, it helps to think about what you need. Do you want something simple to connect you to the internet safely and securely? Or, do you want something that can also be used as a power bank or that can help you transfer files between devices? Some travel routers work with VPNs, others don’t. Some support multiple devices while others are only meant to support one. So, there are a lot of options out there, depending on what you need.

Advantages of a Travel Router

Do you need a travel router? Here are some of the advantages to consider:

Security

Travel routers add an extra layer of security when using public wifi, and that is so important when you’re traveling. Whether you’re using the wifi in a cheap hotel or sitting at a cafe browsing the web over your morning coffee, having more security is always a good thing on unfamiliar networks.

GL.iNet GL-AR750

Multiple Devices

Sometimes hotels and other lodgings may limit the number of devices you can have connected to the wifi. When you have a travel router, the only thing the hotel’s network sees is the router, not the number of devices connected to the router. That means you can have multiple devices on the wireless connection, regardless of the hotel’s policy.

Extends Connections

If you’re traveling and the nearest wifi is weak, a router can help boost the signal so you can get better access. They can also work as a wifi bridge, connecting Ethernet-enable devices to a wireless network. Also, if you are somewhere that only has a wired internet connection, you can use a portable travel router to take that signal and make it into a wireless connection so that everyone can share it.

How Do Travel Routers Compare?

If you’re still not sure about what travel router is for you, here are some direct comparisons to consider.

Travel Router vs WiFi Extender

A router connects different networks. Most commonly, it connects your devices to the internet. The internet is made of tens of thousands of networks, all linked together by routers.

A wifi extender is completely different. In your home, for example, it takes the wifi signal it’s connected to and amplifies the signal to rooms and corners that the regular wifi signal doesn’t reach.         

Hootoo vs Ravpower

It depends on what models you’re talking about, but when you look at the basics, Hootoo and Ravpower have many similarities and differences. Both brands have been around for a while now, and they each have a good reputation. Most models can be used as a router, bridge, or access point, but they do not support VPN. They also cannot be used as wireless hotspots, but they do offer Chromecast support.

There are some differences between these brands, but they’re small. The HooToo has a larger power bank and it’s a bit smaller in size. If your choice is between these two brands, think carefully about what you need and see which one best suits you.

How to Use a Travel Router

If you’re curious about how to use a travel router, here are some general guidelines.

How to Use a Travel Router in a Hotel

The first thing you should do is connect the travel router to the hotel’s Ethernet cable. Then, use the wireless signal from the router to connect to the internet using your laptop, and complete the hotel’s sign-in process. This way, the hotel will recognize the travel router as the only device connected to the internet, leaving you free to have as many connected devices as you want to the router’s signal.

How to Use a Travel Router as a Repeater

Exactly how you do this will depend on the model you have, but here’s a general idea. When you’re using a router as a repeater, the big thing to remember is that you do not want the Ethernet cable hooked up to the router. Instead, connect to the wifi signal, which is most likely coming from another router. Make sure the router is set to repeater mode, and you should be good to go.

Conclusion

Now that you know a little more about travel routers and everything they can do, we hope we helped you find the one that works best for you.

People Also Ask

If you’re still having trouble choosing which travel router is best for you, we want to help. Here are some of the most common things people wonder about when shopping for a travel router.

How Can I Increase the Range of My Router?

The best thing you can do is look for any interference. Reposition your router if anything is getting in the way of the signal. You can also try replacing the antenna or installing a repeater or wifi amplifier.

How Does a Router Signal Travel?

Most routers work by connecting to the internet through a modem and then sending a wifi signal out into the air. A typical travel wifi router will project a wifi signal about 200 to 300 feet or so.

Do I Need an Ethernet Cable to Use a Travel Router?

Not necessarily. Some travel routers can connect to the internet wirelessly, which is why you can use them in coffee shops and cafes to create a personal hotspot or access point. An ethernet connection is still faster and more reliable, though. So, if you have the option, say, in a hotel, to use an ethernet connection, you should.

Will a Travel Router Help Keep You Safe?

A travel router adds another layer of security because it creates a separate network from the one it’s getting its connection from, so it will help keep you safe. Ultimately, though, you still have to be very careful when sharing anything over any internet connection, no matter how secure any connected devices may be.

Is it Secure to Use a Portable Router?

A portable wifi router is as secure as any other network connection, but there are some steps you can take to make it better. Make sure you change the admin login password before doing anything else. Make sure you get a router that uses adequate encryption and set up a guest network to keep your connection as secure as possible.

Austin

When the tech company I worked for restructured and I ended up jobless, I decided to put the wealth of knowledge and management skills to use somewhere new. I’d checked out a few buyer’s guides on the site in the past and reached out to the previous owner. A few months later, here we are. Now, I get to be behind the scenes, helping people find the best tech.