If you’ve ever been on a business trip, there’s a good chance you understand the frustrations of finding working internet. Hopping between hotels and connecting all of your devices to the Wi-Fi at the hotel, airport, coffee shops, and office buildings can be a real hassle, especially if you carry a lot with you. A travel router can provide the best solution. They’re compact and portable and designed for easy access and setup.
Of course, the type of travel router you need will largely depend on the type and regularity of your travel, so we’ve tried to be as diverse as possible with our best travel router listings. We’ll also provide you with the advice you need to shop like a modern world traveler.
TL;DR - 10 Best Travel Routers:
- TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router
- Nighthawk MR1100 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot Router
- GL.iNet GL-AR750 Travel AC VPN Router
- GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Gigabit Travel AC Router
- HooToo Filehub Wireless Router
- TP-Link N300 Wireless Portable Nano Router
- GL.iNET microuter-N300 Nano Travel Router
- GL.iNET GL-AR300M Mini Travel Router
- VIXMINI Nano Router
- GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 Wireless Mini Portable Mobile Router
1. TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router
Beautiful and Balanced Performance
TP-Link sits among the most well-regarded router and modem manufacturers around, but it's still impressive to see how smartly they've adapted some modern smart router features to better suit the needs of a traveler. Security includes private encryption even when you're connecting to a public hot spot. There's even some storage backed in so this router can serve double duty as a mobile hard drive.
Convenience has also been one of the biggest strategic priorities here. It can be powered by a simple micro USB cord, so you can run it directly connected to your laptop, and its slimmed-down design allows it to fit comfortably into just about any pocket. Indicator lights are clearly and brightly displayed. A simple switch allows you to swap between three different preset modes so you can tailor your online experience to your circumstances with a simple flick of your finger.
2. Nighthawk MR1100 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot Router
Pricey But Big on Features
Nighthawk has packed as much utility as possible into this travel router, but the biggest surprise here is just how fast this router runs. This wireless router is designed to work as a hot spot on the AT&T network, and it's the fastest gun in town. As the first wireless hot spot to offer gigabit ethernet ports, it offers some blindingly and reliably fast performance for power users.
And just because it's a mobile hot spot and portable WiFi box doesn't mean that the Nighthawk skimps on the features. Most of the options you'd expect to find on a more conventional router are present here and accessible through a smartly designed and easy-to-navigate web portal. That includes the option to blacklist or whitelist devices on the network and even schedule times when the router is locked off from the internet.
3. GL.iNet GL-AR750 Travel AC VPN Router
Reliable Internet with Added Storage Potential
The GL.iNet GL-AR750 has a primary goal in mind: to provide you with all your important files right when you need them. With a built-in MicroSD slot capable of storing cards of up to 128 GB, you can have all of your important files accessible without having to increase the physical footprint at all.
And since the GL.iNet GL-AR750 can connect to up to 40 devices at once, it has more than enough space for an entire group or a business traveler who uses a lot of gadgets in their everyday life.
4. GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Gigabit Travel AC Router
Hits All of the Right Spots
GL.iNet is still something of a bit player in the world of wireless networking, but they've provided some of the best travel routers available today, and they manage to hit strongly on the most important components: form factor, accessibility, and storage capacity. There's 128 MB of both RAM and flash storage, but that can be significantly impacted by just plugging in a USB memory stick or a compatible SD storage card.
Three full gigabit internet ports are packed in here, so you can even connect a decent number of wired devices if you want. You don't need to worry about your information getting out there even when you're on a public network, because this travel router offers full VPN support. For a price tag of well under a hundred dollars, that's a pretty sizable feature. Since this travel router runs on OpenWRT, you'll also get some of the best configuration options around.
5. HooToo Filehub Wireless Router
Easy Streaming Device Integration
The HooToo FileHub is conceivably the only accessory you'll need to bring with your laptop when you travel. Both USB and SD ports are available for storage, and this travel router manages to also serve as a power bank while still keeping the price and the overall form factor of this travel router incredibly low. HooToo has also made it easy to access all of your stored data thanks to a well-designed mobile app.
USB support extends to mobile streaming devices like the Chromecast and Amazon Fire Stick too, but you can also choose to stream media content directly from any storage device plugged into the router. There's a bridge mode present that allows you to share your connection with multiple devices as well as providing the ability to plug directly into a modem and serve as a more conventional router with all the advantages that brings.
6. TP-Link N300 Wireless Portable Nano Router
Versatility is an especially important asset when you're looking for a travel router, and TP-Link has managed to create a travel router that can work for practically all of your specialized networking needs. Whether you want to stream video and music from a flash drive or SD card, boost the wireless signal in your home, or create an access point for guests, you can accomplish it with this travel router. And you can get all of that for less than $30 - making the TP-Link N300 easily one of the best deals you can find on a travel router.
This travel router may not look like anything special on the surface, but it's got all the common administrative customization options accessible directly through the web interface. And while this router doesn't have the longest transmission distance, it should be more than enough for a hotel room.
7. GL.iNET microuter-N300 Nano Travel Router
GL.iNET's microrouter-N300 is an incredibly versatile travel router that comes with practically all the major features that these devices are known for. Its ridiculously compact form factor makes it a great option for extending or sharing a Wi-Fi connection on the go without taking up much more room than a credit card.
Its extensive admin panel software allows you to monitor everything you need to from your connected devices, from traffic to internet speed. And despite its incredibly small size, it can offer an impressive speed of 300 Mbps.
8. GL.iNET GL-AR300M Mini Travel Router
While many might assume that a wireless travel router isn't that powerful, the best models sometimes come with some surprisingly robust personalization features. That's certainly the case with the GL.iNet GL-AR300M. OpenWrt is fully installed and can even be extended by just plugging a flash drive into the USB port, and it also comes with OpenVPN fully supported so that you can get the level of security you deserve even if you find yourself far away from home.
And there's a decent amount of kick behind this wireless travel router too. It comes with a full 128 MB of RAM and storage of up to 128 GB. Since it makes use of a simple micro USB outlet for power, you can have it hooked up with a wide range of different power sources, and it contains enough HDMI inputs to connect up to three sources at once.
9. VIXMINI Nano Router
Power users understand that there's a lot more you can do with your wireless internet connection than a basic administrator console offers, and the VIXMINI Nano provides all those options in an ultra-small form factor and a price tag of under twenty bucks. Both LEDE and OpenWrt come pre-installed and backed by a full software repository so you'll have a wealth of management tools right at your fingertips.
This is more than just a router, too. A number of different modes allow you significantly more versatility. Repeater, access, and extender modes ensure that you can create a more flexible working environment using whatever wireless internet is already available to you. And the fact that it can be charged with a regular USB port means you have just as much flexibility in how you keep this wireless router up and running.
10. GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 Wireless Mini Portable Mobile Router
Want to keep your information private even if you're out in public? The GL-MT300N-V2 from GL.iNET comes with OpenVPN installed, giving users access to over 20 different VPN services even when you're connected to the open network at your local coffee shop. If you want to dig a little deeper and create some more elaborate configurations, the inclusion of OpenWrt greatly expands on what's available to you.
But more everyday users will find everything they need here, too. The GL.Inet GL-MT300N-V2 offers respectable speeds of up to 300 Mbps and promises a decent range that makes connecting to weaker Wi-Fi signals a whole lot easier. It even offers a repeater function and can greatly boost the power of your existing Wi-Fi signal.
Travel Router Buyer’s Guide
A portable Wi-Fi router is one of the best and most effective ways to travel while keeping in the loop without having to lug a whole lot of equipment around with you. But what separates the best travel routers from those that are just decent, and what specific features and parameters do you need to look for when shopping for travel routers? Well, keep reading to find out.
Theoretically, the maximum Wi-Fi speed a mini router offers should be the best spec to pay attention to when shopping for travel routers. But in practical terms, pretty much every router you’re going to find is going to be appropriate for the needs of most users. A download speed of 100 megabytes per second should be enough for both streaming 4K video and playing online multiplayer games.
But if you really need to download huge batches of files at once or render some very detailed videos regularly while you travel, you might want to seek out an access point with higher performance. The best travel routers can provide you with speeds of up to 433 megabytes per second. At that point, the best question to ask yourself is whether your internet provider – not your wireless travel router – can keep up to speed.
Living a modern life sometimes means juggling the internet connection for a whole lot of different devices. A wireless router can help with that, but the more laptops, phones, and tablets are connected to the internet, the more speeds are going to suffer.
Not every manufacturer has the maximum number of supported devices listed, and since most support at least five, the majority of customers will be perfectly satisfied. The only time you really need to pay attention to this spec is if you’re looking at a wireless travel router for a larger group.
The “travel” in “travel router” isn’t extraneous, and it’s something you should pay attention to if you want an access point that you can take with you painlessly. All of these wireless travel routers are going to fit comfortably in your pocket, but you also want to make sure there are enough ethernet ports to support everything you need to do. It’s rare for any one dimension of a router to be more than three inches, but a larger router often means better features and a spare ethernet port or two.
We’ve listed battery life as one of our key specs, but it’s not something that will be present in every range extender. That’s because a lot of these routers stay powered through a micro USB port. That means they’re unpowered. The upside is that they can plug into your computer or just about anything with a USB port to stay charged.
The downside is that you need an external power source to charge them, but that can be remedied by getting a router that also includes a battery. Since routers for travel are pretty low-power devices, they can often stay charged for a day or more. And an extra bonus of many of these routers is that they can actually be used as a power bank for your other devices.
A wireless network does more than just provide you with access to the internet. At its best, wireless connectivity is a way to give you immediate access to your office and your home. While an access point for travel usually doesn’t come with storage built right in, it does come with a solution that’s arguably better: the inclusion of an SD card reader and one or more USB ports.
Both of these provide tenable solutions for storing important data. An SD card is highly compact and easy to carry with you, while USB sticks tend to offer a higher storage capacity all around. In either case, more is better, and what you actually need is going to vary depending on your lifestyle. In most instances, accessing anything stored on a local device is pretty easy. If it’s properly connected, it will show up as discovered on any device you have connected to the network.
One of the biggest hassles of accessing a public network you’d find at a hotel or coffee shop is the lack of agency. Many public networks come with draconian bans on what sites you can visit, potentially scary holes in security measures, and other limitations. Many routers offer VPN support, and that in its own right will make some of these models a great choice for travelers. VPNs will automatically channel your IP address through different servers to mask your activity and provide you with a simple way to get around the common limitations of public networks.
Most travel routers are going to offer you some sort of interface for configuration, and they can vary pretty significantly in terms of both the options you can tweak and the utility of the interface. If you like to get creative with your configurations, you’ll definitely want to find a model that’s more than just an ethernet port in a box.
But if you want the best range of options, you’ll want to look especially for routers that support programs like OpenWrt and LEDE. These open-source programs offer huge repositories to choose from and a staggering number of ways to fine-tune a router.
There are also a number of common modes that appear frequently in routers but aren’t always present.
- Bridge mode basically lets you make a second connection, splitting the signal of a network and offering a unique network name and password.
- Client mode can use an ethernet port to lend internet connectivity to devices that don’t natively support it.
- Repeater mode extends the range of a router. That’s going to find limited uses when you’re traveling, but it can give your extra router more utility when you’re at home or the office.
It’s surprising that routers for travel aren’t more common given how frustrating it is to connect to a public internet network. In fact, the versatility of these products means they can be used for a lot more than just your time on the road. Whether you’re looking to boost your signal or get higher security through a VPN, there’s going to be a model here that works for you.If you liked our article on travel routers, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.