Should You Get A Pocket WiFi or 4G SIM Card When You Go To Taiwan?
When you go to Taiwan, having internet access will be really helpful, not only for posting your travel photos to Instagram and Facebook 😉 but also for more practical reasons like staying in touch with your family and finding your way around using Google Maps. Fortunately, staying connected is not a problem over there. Free Wi-Fi is available in major public spaces in Taipei City (see instructions here). It’s also very easy for visitors to rent a pocket WiFi or buy a 4G SIM card that comes with unlimited internet. The pocket WiFi or 4G SIM card can even be booked online — to be claimed at the airport upon arrival — and booking sites often offer promo codes or vouchers that let you save further on the price.
Pocket WiFi or 4G SIM Card: Which is Better?
First, these are the great things they have in common:
- Both can be used by 4-5 people
- The pocket WiFi obviously as a portable router
- The mobile phone with the SIM card acting as a WiFi hotspot
- Both can be booked ahead and picked up at the airport
- Both are reasonably priced*
*Prices are based on Klook. I bought my SIM card from them and actually paid just ₱448 for 5 days unlimited internet because they have a promo — download their mobile app and you can get ₱65 off your first app booking. (And, ssshhh, right after I bought the SIM card, I deleted their app. You can do the same too.)
- Lasts for 6-8 hours
- Will not drain your phone
- Additional device to charge and carry
- Have to recharge with power bank if you’ve used it for more than 8 hours while out and about
- Need to allot time to return the device at the airport upon departure
4G SIM Card
- Less devices to carry (just phone + powerbank vs. phone + pocket WiFi + powerbank)
- Has at least NT$50 load to use for text or call (some more expensive SIM cards have loads of NT$300 or more)
- Tour guide can contact you through your local number
- Does not have to be returned upon departure
- Phone battery will be drained more quickly if used as a hotspot
- If your phone has only one slot for a SIM card, you’ll have to take out your original SIM card to replace it with the Taiwan SIM and you may miss out on important messages (though if you haven’t activated roaming then it doesn’t matter)
Obviously, based on all that, I think that getting the local SIM card with unlimited internet would be the better choice. That said, I think that either device — the pocket WiFi or 4G SIM card — will achieve the primary goal of staying connected to the internet equally well, and it’s really up to you to work around the drawbacks of each and choose the one that you feel will work best for you.
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