If you are travelling to China, you will expect your Internet access to Google services (including Gmail, Google Maps, Google Calendar, Google Drive, etc.), WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Twitter, Snapchat, Blogspots, Wordpress, YouTube, and thousands over websites and Internet services be blocked and rendered inaccessible by the Great Firewall of China (GFW).
One common way to gain access to those websites and Internet services in China is to subscribe to a dependable and reliable VPN service before you enter into China. There are VPN solutions in the form of computer software as well as mobile apps to tackle the GFW restrictions, but such solutions might be limited to single device usage, not a good idea if you carry several devices (laptop, tablet, smartphone, smart watch, etc.) with you, or if you are travelling with a small group of people (family, friends, colleagues, etc.) in which each of you has one or more devices that need to access to those websites and/or Internet services.
In such case, a portable WiFi router with built-in VPN specifically for use in China is a better solution. The WiFi router is even more important than a local SIM card or roaming service, because as long as you have full Internet access, you can make voice or video calls using WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat, Line, and other messaging apps.
I have searched around the Internet and found several providers of portable WiFi router available in the market. Some don't specify whether their portable WiFi router has workable VPN function for use in China or not. Some received customers' review about having mobile signal coverage issue, VPN connectivity issue, battery drainage issue, etc.
I have chosen Travel Recommends portable WiFi router as most of its customer's reviews are positive. It might not be the cheapest one in the market, but I believe it is dependable and reliable to ensure my Internet connectivity in China. Its rental price for China of RM28 per day is quite reasonable too. In fact, I really had enjoyable experience with this Travel Recommends portable WiFi router while I was in China, and I am pleased to have made a right choice.
In order to successfully rent a Travel Recommends portable WiFi router, you need to make your reservation at their website at least several days before your departure date.
During reservation, you can choose to have the device courier to you (with additional charges), or to self pick-up at their service counter available at the arrival hall of KLIA, KLIA 2 or Penang Airport. Self pick-up is also available at specific location in Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu. For device returning after your travel, you can also choose to courier it back to the company, or to self drop-off at either one of the 5 service counters available.
The package comes with:
- The portable WiFi router, sharable by up to 5 connected devices at the same time
- A travel adapter for you to charge the portable WiFi router (which you can use it to supply power to your other devices too)
- A USB charging cable
- A pouch to store all the components nicely at one place
There is a RM200 deposit collected by Travel Recommends upon making online payment to confirm your rental unit. This deposit will be banked in to your bank account several days after you returned all the rented components to the company.
The portable WiFi router has built-in Li-ion battery, which can last for about 6-8 hours of continuous usage. Whenever you are indoor with available wall socket, just charge it up, and it should be able to last the whole day from morning until midnight without much problem.
For portable WiFi router to be used in China (with or without VPN), Hong Kong and Vietnam, there is a fair usage limit of 1 GB per day. Exceeding the limit will cause your Internet access to be very slow, although still can stay connected. The quota usage is shown in real time on its display for easy check up.
There is unlimited usage for portable WiFi router to be used in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, whist for other countries such as Singapore, Europe, Australia, Canada, USA, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, India and Macau, the daily fair usage limit is capped at 500 MB only.
Rental prices for different countries are not the same, and can be found at their website. On and off they will have promotional price for specific countries.
I think portable WiFi router is an important oversea travelling component for you to carry along while you are abroad, to stay connected to the Internet and remain contactable via messaging apps. This is particularly crucial for travelling in China, as you need a portable WiFi router with dependable and reliable built-in VPN to stay connected to your favourite Internet services.