I’m sure you all read accounts of Nora and myself using tep Pocket Wi-Fi Devices across the European leg of the Ultimate Train Challenge.

My overall impression of using this device? It saved my butt more than once.

There were numerous occasions I hadn’t booked a hostel, couldn’t remember where I was going next or needed to see a map quickly.

Instead of panicking, I simply planted myself in the middle of a train station, pulled out my laptop and figured out what to do.

If you need a recap, tep provides a device that can either connect to your computer or operate hands-free (unless it needs a battery recharge) that utilizes any 3G network within range. You connect to the device like any wi-fi network quite easily.

This means you can pretty much get wi-fi in the most unexpected places.

I got signals on moving trains.

I honestly don’t know where I would have slept in Barcelona if tep wasn’t in my computer bag.

I was in the small city of Montpellier and was able to pick up a signal with no problem.

For reliability, it wins hands down. I even had my new iPhone with me and tested the difference. A handful of times, I got a stronger signal with the tep device, than my phone.

The rental cost of a tep device is $7.95 USD per day for unlimited Internet access for Spain, UK, Italy, France and Germany. Say you were traveling for ten days that amounts to $79.50 USD. The other plan is the same price for a multi-European service that works across all of the countries, but which has a spending cap of 100 MB per day.

I used the multi-European plan and found 100 MB adequate, in between my sessions of free wi-fi use.

I can’t say the average budget traveler needing to watch funds could utilize the full benefits of this product. But, if you’re  a business traveler or a mobile worker who is traveling and working in Europe and require constant connectivity, this device is definitely for you.

The cost of Internet in some 4 or 5 star hotels is $10 to $15 per day, so tep can ease the pocketbook.

The tep device fits in your hand

I do think even if you are taking a short-term trip and need a reliable source on your netbook for tight spots, the $7.95 per day might be worth it. That sense of mobility is a bonus, and let’s face it – we long term travelers relish our freedom.

A good example of this was my hostel in Paris, the free wi-fi dropped out or mysteriously went down several times. It made workdays frustrating, so I reverted to the tep device again.

A last thing that impressed me was the ability to pick up the devices at all the major London, UK airports; Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick.

I did just that when I made my flight connections in London earlier this month.

I wasn’t privileged to use their other delivery options, but tep also delivers to any address in the UK, Europe or the US. Makes planning a trip less of a headache.

All in all, I was happy with the device and even happier to not be homeless in Europe.