Sync the pocket Wi-Fi to your phone so you can top-up and purchase data while traveling
For All The Globetrotters
EXISTENTIAL BLABBER - Kara Ortiga (The Philippine Star) - November 17, 2018 - 12:00am

The new Cherry Roam pocket Wi-Fi is inexpensive online access that travels with you anywhere in the world. Literally.

You think that Wi-Fi is everywhere — until you’re stuck in a side street in Belgium and all the coffee shops have “no Wi-Fi” signs on the windows, and you’re struggling to get back to your hotel.

I just got back from a Euro trip with my friends — a 22-day sojourn that took us across five countries and six cities, traveling by train, bus and plane, and making homes in different places as we visited the continent for the very first time.
Maybe I’m a little bit of a late bloomer for a western excursion like this at my age. When you’re nearing 30, all you really want from a vacation is a trouble-free journey, great food, good wine, rest, and nice pictures.

We planned everything from start to finish and in the end, we made it through — no fights, scratches, or lost items to have to deal with. We enlisted no tour guides nor joined any tour groups. Everything we had planned in our itinerary we checked off quite easily, shuttling ourselves from one metro to another, and utilizing the hop-on-hop-off buses when our feet could no longer carry us along.

That said, the one travel essential that made it all possible was our access to the Internet: a hotspot pocket Wi-Fi device that we could bring along and share amongst ourselves. Because, as I just recently learned, traveling becomes so much easier when you have access to Google. Leeching off of free Wi-Fi becomes tiresome when you’re a stranger in the city.

Having a pocket Wi-Fi device provides greater ease when having to figure how to get from one place to another. When you’re on a budget, you commute in these cities. And to commute in a foreign place, you need Google maps. It’ll tell you exactly which bus or train or tram to take, which direction to walk, and how long it’ll take to get there. And when there are no commuting options, it’ll even tell you roughly how much booking an Uber will be.

We also relied on the Internet to do quick searches for information we needed to know at once. Like, for example, when we got to the Berlin Wall, but couldn’t remember what its history was about… Or when we were craving Asian food in Amsterdam, and a quick search on Google led us to an amazing Vietnamese eatery in Chinatown.

We also used the pocket Wi-Fi to access the apps of many tourist sites. Places like Versailles (which is massive) and the Louvre (equally massive) have developed their own applications, with a built-in map that you can access and tap into for extra bits of information. Because when you’ve got a limited amount of time — and energy — to go through places like these, it helps to be online.

But preparing for the trip, my friends and I were a little bit torn. I usually travel with a pocket Wi-Fi that I source through different services (depending on country). But for a month-long trip to Europe, data packages came out so expensive. They cost roughly P13,000 for 10GB (to give you an idea, some pocket Wi-Fi services cost it out per day, even if you don’t use all the data). But 10GB at that price just wasn’t enough to share between three girls. We even considered buying a local sim card, but thought it a hassle to have to find a spare phone, load the sim and figure out how to use it.

And just a few days before my trip, a miracle landed in my lap. We heard that Cherry Mobile had just launched the Cherry Roam — their own pocket Wi-Fi device that offers data packages to everywhere in the world, at competitive local rates. I was shocked — out of all the services we had looked into, this was the most affordable.

Cherry Roam uses CloudSIM technology that enables travelers to access mobile data to more than a hundred countries globally. The device provides LTE/4G Internet access for up to five devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and smart watches. The benefit of carrying it around is that it protects your private and work data from being hacked — something that is a risk when connecting to public Wi-Fi spots.

You can even purchase the Cherry Roam device for yourself at P6,990, and I am considering this option as well because you can use it anywhere in the world. You just have to sync it to your phone via the Cherry Roam app, and it is through the app that you purchase your data packages (where are you going, how much data would you like?)

For Europe, 10GB cost us P5,500 for 30 days. This was the best price that we came across for a pocket Wi-Fi. I made sure to get 20GB for the whole trip, which I would share with my friends. They offer packages like 1GB/3days, 3GB/7 days, 5GB/15 days, and 10GB/30 days, so that you can choose depending on how long or short your trip will be.

I purchased my package the night before our departure. And when we arrived in Barcelona — poof! — it worked like a charm.

Even when we were traveling to different countries, the Internet was connected at once. It was fast and reliable, and I was comforted by the fact that even if we had finished our data, we could easily buy more via the Cherry Roam app on my phone, and pay using credit card or PayPal, but charged in peso.

We breezed through the countries with ease, and when my phone battery drained, I even used it as a power bank, as its 5,350 mAh battery capacity and USB slot allowed me to plug in.

When you’re not traveling abroad, the device can be used in the Philippines, as it comes with a dual-SIM slot, so you can use this as a regular hotspot device locally. But if you don’t want to buy the device, it is available for rent. What a great solution, right? Visit www.rental.cherryroam.com.ph to book your device at least five days before your departure date. To purchase the product, visit www.cherryroam.com.ph.

CHERRY ROAM POCKET WI-FI
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