I’m in the Philippines this week and am partnering with Ivideo to trial their travel WI-FI device. Yes, this means I will be able to write blog posts from the jungle, stream Facebook Live from the top of the Chocolate Hills or even instantaneously upload my snorkelling and diving videos. No more boring long journeys to endure when I can catch up on ‘Nashville’. That’s the theory anyway!
So, over the course of this trip, I will be putting it to the test and sharing my experience with you lucky readers. If you then decide to hire your own device, don’t forget to use this code (AJFZZZXVPAUQXDTT) to obtain a $3 discount.
Why do I need a wifi device anyway?
In reality, you may not need a device. If you are happy to switch off connectivity during the day and rely entirely on your hotel’s wi-fi then this service probably isn’t for you. However, if you find yourself itching to check social media or show off that amazing beach you are lazing on in real-time then this might be up your alley.
If you need to keep in touch with work or are a family with children who need to be endlessly entertained, knowing that you can connect 10 devices and allow them free rein without coming back to a bill bigger than the cost of your holiday can be a huge relief.
The benefit of Ivideo
Anyone who has ever been caught out by a whopping phone bill for their smart phone data knows how painful overseas phone use can be. Whilst there may be limits imposed in Europe on daily costs, this isn’t the case in other countries. A £96 bill on one trip was enough to encourage me to switch my phone off and pop it in the safe for the duration of my overseas trips.
Innocently checking your Facebook or sending messages can soon add up but with a device like the Ivideo you know exactly how much you are paying and can thus avoid such shocks.
Note, this works only for internet and not phone calls although you can use it to Skype family and friends. If you absolutely must have a phone option, check out Tellink to save money on overseas phone calls.
How does the Ivideo work
Your Ivideo is a mobile wifi device allowing you to hook up to the internet on the move and stay connected. From just $4.35 a day, you can access unlimited data thus avoiding those unpleasant surprises.
Hiring your Wifi device
To hire a device you will need to first register for Ivideo. Once registered you will be able to go ahead and rent a device by logging in and completing the online form.
First navigate to “My Account” and choose “Enter Promo Code”. Click “Submit” to receive a discount of USD 3!
Then navigate to “Rent Now” and enter details of where you would like to hire the device. Please note some developments are underway to the website so although it looks as though you can only hire for Taiwan or Japan you can specify an address elsewhere. You can even have the device delivered to your home address if you live in the United States.
Simply enter the hotel or your home address if applicable into the address box.
You will receive a package at your hotel that looks like this.
I must confess I was convinced there would be an issue with it turning up but when we woke on the scheduled day of delivery it had arrived. Impressive!
The Ivideo came in extremely useful for booking hotels, keeping up to date with emails and updating social media. This was particularly the case for us as where we stayed frequently lost connectivity so relying on their internet was nigh on impossible.
Here are a number of beneficial uses we found for the Ivideo for during our trip.
We used the device regularly in Manila to book Uber cars (use my referral code if you haven’t already signed up to bag a discount off your first ride – annes3529ue). As anyone who has used Uber knows, the only way to book is via the app. We do not have it installed on our dinosaur of an international phone so being able to book through the IPAD was invaluable.
We were repeatedly advised against jumping into taxis based on the possibility of scams and Uber allows you to pay by card, track your progress and establish a price in advance.
Streaming UK TV shows
We use an international hotspot shield when overseas to allow both streaming of our favourite shows and also additional protection if we need to access financial information. On Mindoro, where connectivity was less strong, this was often not an option but in Manila I managed to watch Strictly Come Dancing using the Ivideo.
Who doesn’t love winding their friends up while they are at work on a cold autumn day? What better way to do this than sending them live videos from the beach? As a travel blogger of course, this comes with the territory and it is the first time I have put Facebook live to the test.
It worked a treat using the Ivideo and was fun to do.
Checking Emails by the pool
Chilling by the pool and being able to respond to emails whilst sunbathing is what I call opportune multi-tasking. Thankfully I am not going to return to hundreds of emails as I dealt with them all while away.
My husband also managed to keep on top of urgent communications from clients. Being a self-employed adviser, this kind of activity is invaluable in avoiding that mad rush that often greets a return to work after a few weeks away.
Keeping up with Sky Sports
While I was editing photos or writing a blog post, my husband occupied himself with the football scores (yawn!). He even managed to stream a Manchester United game live in Mindoro one evening (so the streaming does occasionally work) which kept him happy for a few hours while I prepared video content.
This is probably where the Ivideo was most beneficial for our trip. Due to poor internet connections we may have struggled to book hotels and research travel options without the Ivideo.
Instead we hooked up our devices and booked and cancelled accommodation as necessary. Yes, sometimes the pages took longer than I would normally like to load but slow is better than nothing.
This was particularly the case when a storm grounded all boats to the mainland and we were repeatedly needing to check the latest weather updates for details of whether the seaplane would fly.
Returning your device
To return the Wi-Fi, call FedEx on your last day of travel. The address is written on the paperwork inside your package when you receive it. Just fill in the FedEx paperwork, choose collect on delivery and FedEx will collect the Wi-Fi.
I don’t know how this worked in practice because of our last minute issues with returning to the mainland meaning I returned mine from the UK. To do this, I completed the paperwork online, printed the documents and then simply dropped it off at the local depot.
There is certainly room for improvement in the Ivideo service. The website and online booking process is a little confusing because it is currently only set up for bookings in Taiwan and Japan. It was thus a little fiddly to rent but ongoing support from Tiffany eventually got us set up with a rental.
In terms of the usage, the device was invaluable for booking hotels, researching travel options, keeping my husband entertained and general travel blogger activities. If you are heading somewhere with patchy internet connection then hiring a Ivideo for your trip could save you a lot of time and frustration.
Even if you are heading to somewhere with good connectivity, it can be worthwhile if you wish to work or play on the go. It definitely isn’t perfect connectivity but to say it got us out of tricky situations on more occasion t on this trip, would be an understatement.