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Best travel routers 2024 – our top picks for travelling

Our top picks of the best portable routers that are perfect for your traveling needs

Reviewed By: Kevin Pocock

Last Updated on April 17, 2024
Best travel router
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If you’re on the hunt for the best travel routers to take with you on your adventures, we’ve got you covered right here. Travel routers are devices that are designed to provide you with WiFi while you’re on your travels, allowing you to get online even in remote locations. Some travel routers come with a SIM card slot, so they can receive a mobile signal and serve the same purpose as some of the best mobile hotspots.

At the moment, there are a limited number of travel routers available, so you won’t be able to find a lot of options featuring Wi-Fi 6, let alone WiFi 7, which is the latest Wi-Fi technology. The routers you’ll mostly come across will either have Wi-Fi 5 or something lower, although that should be more than enough to get you on the web. On top of that, some routers will only offer support for 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, while others will be dual-band with support for 5GHz.

Most smartphones nowadays provide us with hot-spotting options, so you might end up wondering if investing in a travel router is even worth the money. Well, we’d say for those of you looking to preserve phone battery, gain higher WiFi speeds, and connect multiple devices at once, travel routers might be a better option.

As selecting the right router is tricky, we’ve done our homework and selected a few options that we think are the best travel routers available in the current market. So, without any further ado, let’s dive in.

Products at a glance

How we picked the best routers for travel

Selecting the best travel routers overall required a blend of pulling on our in-depth topic knowledge of what makes a good router, as well as weighing in on what makes a router good for travel in the first place. So, we paid close attention to portability, battery life, and how many devices can be connected to the mobile hotspots at one time, as these are going to be important factors for when you’re on the road.

Of course, form factor was also one of the most essential considerations, as more than anything a router for travel needs to be portable and lightweight. As well as choosing compact routers that won’t take up space in your bag, we also made sure to only select the ones that offer the most value for money, as most people who go traveling might not have set aside extra money to invest loads in a portable router.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that we wouldn’t want to recommend a product that doesn’t have a good reputation in its user reviews, so we’ve done our research into what buyers think of each product, and haven’t chosen any routers with a rating of less than 4 stars. Our team is also constantly exploring the market for new travel routers, so check back here soon for an updated list.

Should you have more specific needs for a router that isn’t portable, we’ve got you covered with our range of other router-focused buying guides – why not read through our picks of the best routers under $75 for a smaller home router investment, or the best secure router if you’re big on internet security.

Best travel routers 2024 – our top picks for traveling

BEST ROUTER FOR TRAVEL
01
  • A black GL iNet Slate AX router with two antennas, displaying power, USB, and Ethernet LAN ports.
Best in Class
Specifications
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Frequency bands: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
  • Max speed: 1.8 Gbps
  • LAN ports: 3 x 1 Gbps
Reasons to Buy
  • WiFi 6 has higher speeds than WiFi 5 routers
  • 120 simultaneous connections
  • Two antennas give you even better coverage
Reasons to Avoid
  • It’s a little expensive compared to other travel routers
  • Some users had trouble getting the VPN setup

The GL iNet Slate AX (GL_AXT1800) is one of the best travel routers, as it is one of the few in the market that offers Wi-Fi 6. Equipped with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, as well as all the latest compatible WiFi 6 technologies, the GL iNet Slate tops our list of the best travel routers currently on the market. With MUMIMO, OFDMA, and BSS color, the GL iNet Slate can also connect up to 120 devices simultaneously, which makes it on par with some of the best routers for multiple devices.

With retractable antennas, the GL iNet Slate is incredibly space-efficient, without sacrificing WiFi range.

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Regarding its physical features, the GL iNet Slate is a very sturdy build and comes with great connectivity options. With retractable antennas, the GL iNet Slate is incredibly space-efficient, without sacrificing WiFi range. Furthermore, its compact size ensures it can be easily transported without taking up too much valuable travel space. The GL iNet Slate comes with a USB-C power supply, 3-gigabit internet ports, and a USB 3.0 port designed for file sharing and media backup.

What users say

Across its Amazon user reviews, the GL iNet Slate AX seemed to have a good rep for being easy to set up, as well as exceptional performance. To pull some quotes, one user said that “the router is easy to set up, even for those who are not tech-savvy”, which are always words you want to hear. Other users mentioned not just that “everything was straightforward to set up”, but that “the documentation is great”, so you should be able to find lots of resources online to help you if you do run into any installation problems.

BEST CHEAP ROUTER FOR TRAVEL
02
  • GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mango bottom edge, Image by PC Guide
  • GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mango bottom specs, Image by PC Guide
  • GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mango box contents, Image by PC Guide
  • GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mango box, Image by PC Guide
  • GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mango ethernet ports and power, Image by PC Guide
  • GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mango in front of box, Image by PC Guide
  • GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mango profile, Image by PC Guide
  • GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mango side profile, Image by PC Guide
  • GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mango top, Image by PC Guide
  • GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mango USB port and buttons, Image by PC Guide
  • GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mango held up, Image by PC Guide
Outstanding
Specifications
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 4
  • Frequency bands: 2.4GHz
  • Max speed: 300Mbps
  • LAN ports: 1x 100Mbps
  • WAN: 1x 100Mbps
  • CPU: MTK MT7628NN @580Mhz SoC
  • Memory: DDR2 128MB / NOR Flash 16MB
  • USB: 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Dimensions: 58 x 58 x 25mm
  • Weight: 40g
Show more
Reasons to Buy
  • At $29,90, it’s a great option for those on a budget
  • Pocket-sized, so no problems fitting it in your bag or pocket
  • Users say it’s pretty easy to set up
Reasons to Avoid
  • Only runs on the 2.4g/100mbps max wireless
  • Doesn’t have a USB-C connector
  • Plastic construction can feel a little cheap to some

If you’re on the hunt for the best cheap travel router, we’d recommend the GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 mini travel router. This router is also called Mango, which you can already tell from its color. Even though it falls in the budget category, it still does the job well, which is why we think it deserves to be one of the best budget routers

When it comes to speed, you get up to 300Mbps of bandwidth on the 2.4GHz channel. Unfortunately, this one does not come with a 5GHz frequency band. However, for a better range, it is better to go with a 2.4GHz router. On top of that, the router offers support for both WPA2 and WPA3 for battery security and can easily be powered using your laptop’s USB port or a smartphone charger. 

On top of that, the router offers support for both WPA2 and WPA3 for battery security and can easily be powered using your laptop’s USB port or a smartphone charger. 

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The best thing about the Mango travel router is its size, which measures 2.3 x 2.3 x 1 inches. It also weighs only 1.38 ounces, which makes it highly portable. It also comes with ethernet ports for wired devices, and you can plug in your smartphone in the USB 2 port and share your mobile’s internet via the router.

What users say

When it comes to being used for travel, it seems that reviewers of the GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 are pleased with the router’s portability and size. One user mentions that “the size is super small”, and another that “what else is great about it it’s tiny”. What’s more, one review picks up on the fact that “there are are only a few out there in the entire world that come in the color yellow” – so, if you want a colorful router, you might want to snap this one up.

However, one user does say that “if you set the VPN on, it doesn’t keep the connection when the computer falls dormant (‘goes to sleep’)”, which is worth keeping in mind if you’re planning on using VPN a lot whilst on your travels.

BEST ROUTER FOR TRAVEL WITH SIM CARD SLOT
03
Specifications
  • Standard: WiFi 5
  • Frequency band: 5 GHz
  • Max speed: 1.5 Gbps
  • LAN port: 1 x 1 Gbps
Reasons to Buy
  •  Comes with a SIM card slot
  •  Supports both supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi 5 networks
  •  Can connect to up to 20 devices at the same time
Reasons to Avoid
  • Premium pricing, definitely at the top end of some buyers budgets
  • Can be tough to set up, especially if you’re not tech-savvy

While most travel routers rely on an external Wi-Fi connection, some come with a SIM card slot, so you can use your router as a mobile hotspot if there are no wireless or wired connections nearby. For this, we recommend the Netgear Nighthawk M1, which we think is the best travel router with a SIM card slot.

Unlike our budget option, this one supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi 5 networks, so it offers a great range paired with fast speed. The router is also pretty easy to set up. All you have to do is remove the rear cover, insert the SIM card into the slot, and you’re good to go. The best part about it is that it can connect with up to 20 devices at the same time. On top of that, it comes with a USB port, so you can share data with connected devices on the go.

Overall, the Netgear Nighthawk M1 is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a router that can support a SIM card. It measures 4.15 x 4.15 x 0.8 inches in size and weighs only 8.5 ounces, so it’s portable. Overall, we think it deserves to be one of the best Netgear routers

Unlike our budget option, this one supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi 5 networks, so it offers a great range paired with fast speed.

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What users say

The higher price of the Netgear Nighthawk M1 does seem to correlate with its high user satisfaction in its Amazon reviews, as it averages 4.1 stars. In terms of what buyers seem to like about this router for traveling in particular, size and ease of use were popular topics. One user commented that “it’s only about 4″ square so it’s easy to throw in the laptop bag when traveling”, and another that “it’s portable”, so “you can carry it from room to room and only need to plug into power when the battery is low”, which are positive things to hear for when you’re planning to use the router on the go.

04
  • A black NewQ Filehub AC750 5g mobile hotspot device with a glossy finish and connectivity indicators on the front panel.
Specifications
  • Standard: Not stated
  • Frequency band: 2.4 Ghz, 5 Ghz
  • Max speed: 1.3 Gbps
  • LAN ports: 1 x 1 Gbps
Reasons to Buy
  •  Dual-band, so you have the option of faster WiFi speeds
  •  SD Card slot, so it can function like a wireless hard drive
  •  Filehub function for smooth data transfer
Reasons to Avoid
  • Can only accommodate up to 5 devices at a time
  • No way to transfer from SD card to an external drive without downloading the app

If you’re looking for something that is not only portable but durable as well, you’d want to get the NewQ Filehub AC750. This travel router is packed with some pretty great features, and you can rely on it to help you stay connected to the internet without any interruptions during your travels.

The NewQ Filehub AC750 is equipped with dual-band functionality, meaning it supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi. This can prove to be extremely useful while traveling, as you may encounter various Wi-Fi networks that offer different frequency band configurations. On top of that, the router supports a speed of up to 1300 Mbps. As far as the size and weight is concerned, it measures 5.04 x 3.31 x 2.01 inches and weighs around 18.72 ounces. 

The NewQ AC750 also comes with the Filehub function, thanks to which you can connect any external storage device to it and wirelessly access and transfer data to that device. It also comes with an SD card slot in case you want to use an SD card as a wireless storage device. The router also serves as a power bank, as you can use it to charge your phone. Overall, we think the NewQ Filehub AC750 is the best-rugged travel router. 

This travel router is packed with some pretty great features, and you can rely on it to help you stay connected to the internet without any interruptions during your travels.

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What users say

Last but not least, let’s see what Amazon user reviews say about the capabilities of the NewQ Filehub AC750. Well, one user summed the device up nicely by describing it as a “Travel Companion Extraordinaire”, and further saying that the “device exceeded my expectations” when it came to its purpose of “offloading photos from my camera to free up space”. It also got praise for its functionality as a router, with another review saying that “the WiFi performance is robust, offering speeds that allowed me to stream videos, browse the internet, and upload content without any noticeable lag”.

However, it is worth noting that one review brings up that there’s “pretty much no way to transfer from SD card to an external drive without downloading the app”, which can allegedly be a bit hit-and-miss to use.

Features and considerations for choosing the best router for travel

It can be tricky to choose the best travel router, as you don’t want to end up with one that sends out poor signals. Here are a few things to consider before making a final decision.

Size

As you’re looking for something that can be taken everywhere easily, you’d want to get a travel router that isn’t bulky and doesn’t take much space. These days, you can find pocket-sized routers that are designed to offer maximum portability.

Connectivity

Make sure you get a travel router that can connect to multiple devices at the same time without compromising on the internet speed. Some routers can connect with up to 120 devices at the same time. However, you’ll be fine with one that can connect with at least 10 devices simultaneously, but this will depend on your needs. 

Speed

You need to look for routers that offer the best speed. Wi-Fi 6 is the latest generation of the Wi-Fi network protocol, but you won’t find many travel routers with it. Most of the routers you come across will have Wi-Fi 5 or something lower. While they won’t be as fast as Wi-Fi 6, you’ll still get great speeds. 

Power Source

A good travel router should be compatible with portable chargers or your laptop’s USB port. Some routers come with a built-in battery, while others will need you to keep them plugged in all the time. So, make sure to check the power requirements of the router before purchasing it.

Are travel routers better than phone hotspots?

Yes, travel router hotspots typically have better antennas, and can therefore gather better signals. The above-listed devices can also handle more devices being connected to them than an average phone hotspot.

Sean is a tech enthusiast, minaly contributing to networking content on PC Guide, be that what your ISP speed means, or what the best routers are.

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