For our recent USA road trip, we needed a better solution to staying online without incurring ridiculous roaming charges. After some research, I came across the Skyroam Solis, and it proved to be one of the best investments we’ve ever made. The Solis gave us coverage all across America, for all our devices, for less than €3 per day.

The unit is a circular orange box, a little larger than a packet of cigarettes. It acts as both a wifi internet hub, and a charging device for phones and tablets. It offers fast internet in over 120 countries.

How it works

The Skyroam Solis uses some very clever technology, called “virtual sim.” Basically, whenever you power it on, it searches the area to find the best 4G or LTE signal, then creates a “virtual sim” to allow it to provide and internet service. This all happens automatically in the background. Because it uses 4g, it’s fast – we were regularly getting 25 MBPS download and 10MBPS upload speeds.

It provides a connection for up to five devices at a time, so we were able to run both laptops, both phones and an iPad from it.

How we used it

The Solis works on the move, switching seamlessly between cells – Julie was able to stay connected in the car for several hours and several hundred miles at a time. And whenever we left the car, it slipped into her handbag or our rucksack, and we stayed connected, uploading images and answering emails as normal.

I made sure we always charged it overnight – it uses a standard USB cable to charge, and it never failed to last the full day.

The service is described as “Unlimited,” but you are limited to 500MB of data at 4g speeds. The unit continues to operate once you’ve used that (we did a few times, because we take lots of images and video.) And once you’ve exceeded that, it switches to 2G, which is quite slow, but you can still do basic stuff like send and receive emails etc.

Costs

You start by buying the actual unit, which costs around €140 – you can get a discount by using this link. Skyroam Solis. (Note that it will switch to your currency.)

Once you have your own unit, there are two ways you can pay to get online.

1/ You can buy Day passes. Within your Skyroam account, you’re able to buy as many day passes as you want at €8. Each time you hit the “connect” button on the unit, it will use up a day pass, and give you 24 hours unlimited High speed wifi.

Skyroam email offers regularly for the day passes – for example, I bought 20 with 40% off at one time. This option is ideal if your trips are short, and we used day passes when we went to Berlin at Christmas.

2/ You can also pay €80 for a month of unlimited usage. Obviously, that option makes sense if you are using it, as we did, for more than ten days at a time, and that’s the option we went for, for the USA trip.

I’d highly recommend a Skyroam Solis, if you are travelling anywhere outside your free roaming zone, and need to stay online. It’s probably essential for far east, South American or USA trips, and it’s wonderful being able to stay online and upload your images as you go.

Here’s the link again: Skyroam Solis