I was in Tokyo, a city with the largest metropolitan population in the entire world, when disaster struck - I found myself completely and utterly lost beyond saving. The central Tokyo Station is an underground labyrinth, with what seems like dozens of different exits, some leading to the outside world and others connecting to more underground madness. I was only going to be in Japan for one month and being the stubborn traveler that I am, I decided not to get a Japanese SIM card, so I had no internet data on my phone to look up directions. And did I mention that I was in a hurry, too? Yes. I needed to be at a bus station in order to get an overnight bus to Hiroshima! I also can't speak a word of Japanese so it seemed as though the perfect storm was brewing. And it would have been BUT I did have a sneaky little technological savior of a tool up my sleeve... a pocket Wi-Fi router.
Wi-Fi-Hire.com is a Japanese company based in Shinjuku, Tokyo. They have a number of different products suited to different needs and one of their most popular (and in my opinion, inventive) devices is their pocket Wi-Fi router. It fits neatly into the palm of your hand, about the size and weight of an iPhone. WiFi-Hire rents out these little beasts for as little as ¥4,980 for 5 days. Essentially, they allow you to have access to the internet wherever you are, no strings attached, no extra costs. You just pay for however long you would like to rent the router and that's it, you can surf away!
With this hidden superpower in my bag, I didn't have to worry about lining up in a Starbucks to order a drink that I didn't even want just so that I could use their free Wi-Fi - I had Wi-Fi in the palm of my hand! I turned on my pocket router and within seconds I was connected to the internet. Not a measly one bar connection either, it was the full three bars! In an instant I was able to pinpoint exactly where I was and access directions on how to get to the bus station. I made it with time to spare and spent the bus ride marveling at the wonder that is WiFi-Hire's pocket router. Thank heavens for technology like this!
If you're going to be traveling for a decent amount of time and can't bear to think about not being connected to the internet whilst you're on the go, then a device like Wi-Fi-Hire's Pocket Wi-Fi router is perfect. Not only that, but it's inexpensive, so simple to use and you won't even notice that it's with you when you're on the go. It also has an excellent battery life and can be charged using a regular wall socket plug which is provided. It's compatible with computers, laptops, iPhones and iPads, meaning that you can be connected all the time. No more frantic searches for dodgy free Wi-Fi!
This article was written in July 2013, therefore the prices and services, while accurate at the time of publication, may differ slightly to that currently offered by WiFi-Hire.com. For the latest information, please refer to their website.