Review: My Webspot – Pocket WiFi

mywebspot - pocket Wifi
mywebspot – pocket Wifi

On our recent family trip to Europe, we considered a few options for having Internet access while on vacation. I know many people buy a European SIM card for their phones with a data plan, but there were four of us so the thought of buying 4 SIM cards was a little daunting. You can use free wifi at various spots as you visit, but we wanted continuous Wifi so we could use it for navigation. In the end, we settled on renting the mywebspot pocket wifi.

Ordering was easy via their web site, and we chose to have it delivered to our first hotel in Amsterdam. We also chose the prepaid envelope option, so we could just drop it in the mail when we left Europe.

What’s In the Package

There’s not much in the package… but it’s everything you need. You get:

  • The mywebspot device itself
  • A USB charger – ours had European plugs
  • A USB cable
  • A foldout instruction guide

The device itself looks very much like a mobile phone. It has four lights on one side, and the other side has a label with a QR code and the wifi name and password.

The only lights we ever saw lit were the battery light and the wifi light. The battery light comes on when charging it, and the wifi light blinks if it is establishing a connection or is solid if the wifi is available.

Using the mywebspot Device

To use it, simply hold the power button for a few seconds until all the lights turn on. After a few minutes of booting up, the wifi is ready and you connect to it with your phone, tablet or computer like any other wifi hotspot. Just carry it with you and you have wifi everywhere.

It claims to have a battery life of 8 hours in constant use. Our experience was that this was optimistic and it tended to last about 6 hours. We carried our own battery pack and connected the device to it to keep it charged up.

It was very reliable and provided Internet access almost anywhere. The only places that we noticed that Internet access dropped out were deep inside buildings or parking garages, places where you would have trouble with cell phone access.

The device gets hot in use… almost uncomfortably hot. I carried it in my pants pocket most of the time, and I was aware of its presence by the heat. When I thought about it, I put it in my camera bag instead so the heat didn’t bother me. Obviously, you should be careful that some pickpocket doesn’t take it.

There is a bandwidth limit on the device, which they call “fair usage”. The limit depends on what area you are in, but in Europe and USA it is 1 GB/day. If you exceed that, the device still works but is considerably slower. There is no way that I am aware of to see your usage.

Summary

The mywebspot pocket wifi device was very simple and easy to use, and did exactly what it promised – portable Internet access.

I will definitely use this service again.

Get your pocket wifi here

This post has affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission at no additional cost to you should you use the link to order a device. I have not been otherwise compensated to write this post, and it is based on my personal experience using a device that I paid full price for.

I Was Almost Pickpocketed in Paris

I’ve been in Paris twice, and on the last visit, I almost had my pocket picked on the metro. Here’s what happened, what I could have done differently, and how you can protect yourself from pickpockets.

We were in Paris for a week during our family tour through the Netherlands, Belgium and France. I think it was our second or third day in Paris and we were traveling via the Metro (subway), as we often did.

The Event

We were boarding a subway car. My wife and kids had boarded first, and I got on last. There were three large men clustered around the pole, mostly blocking the way into the car.

As I got on, two of them formed a wall and prevented me from going past them to join my family. I was very confused about why they weren’t letting me pass. I tried to push between them but they weren’t letting me pass.

After about ten seconds of that, I stepped sideways and forced my way past them.

What I didn’t even notice at the time was that the third man was trying to yank my wallet out of a pocket of my cargo shorts.

The target of the pickpockets
The target of the pickpockets

My son later told me they almost clotheslined him while trying to get to the pocket.

Fortunately, it’s not easy to get the wallet out of there. I often take a few seconds to get it out of there.

They could have grabbed my phone a lot easier – it was in the pocket above that – but they probably saw me put my wallet in there after putting my subway ticket in it, so they had a target.

I stood with my family, glaring at the three of them. They got off at the next stop and disappeared.

I was furious.

Later…

I made a point of keeping both buttons closed on that pocket to better secure my wallet. This made it really hard to get my wallet out; I had to unbutton it first and then take the wallet out, which was inconvenient but also made it considerably harder for my pocket to be picked.

I also started wearing my money belt. I kept about half my cash and one credit card in the money belt, tucked under my clothes, just in case.

I didn’t see any point in reporting the issue to the police. I couldn’t describe the men very well. They disappeared. And I didn’t lose anything. There was no benefit, in my opinion.

How to Protect Yourself From Pickpockets

Here are a few tips to protect yourself from being pickpocketed, along with some links for more tips.

  1. Don’t keep anything valuable in your back pockets. It’s too easy to slip a wallet out of a back pocket while you’re jammed in a crowd.
  2. Keep everything zipped up / buttoned up so a pickpocket can’t just slip their hand in and grab your valuables. Make them work for it.
  3. Keep the majority of your money in a money belt, and keep your belt out of sight under your clothes.
  4. Don’t carry all of your money and credit cards on you. Keep most of it in a safe in your hotel, so if you do get your money stolen, you haven’t lost everything.
  5. Be aware of your surroundings. When you’re looking at your phone, studying a map, or otherwise concentrating on something, keep your back against a wall, in a corner, out of crowds. Pickpockets want you to be distracted – like I was – so they can snatch your valuables while you aren’t looking.
  6. Keep an eye on your bags. I had a camera bag and I often wore it on my front instead of my back, so I could watch it and keep my arms nearby to limit access to it.

Here’s a few links with more details:

Introduction

Hi! My name is Steve Boyko and I am a Canadian who likes to travel.  I’m a geek at a lot of things (especially trains and computers) so I created this site to geek out about travel, from a Canadian perspective.

Join me as I travel for work and for pleasure across this great country, and visit other countries too!