One of the hotels that we are considering in Paris says that they give you a pocket wifi for use while staying at the hotel. Will this work with our iPhones? Also, is this a device we could purchase ahead in the states and have with us throughout our trip to France we will be moving to three different locations)? It would be great to not have to add international calling plans while we are away.
Yes, your iPhones can presumably connect to WiFi like every smart phone, so they would be able to connect to a "pocket WiFi." Sometimes at a small apartment or B&B which has "WiFi" you may already be connecting to one anyway.
Some people do rent "pocket WiFi" devices for their trips. I've just never seen the practicality personally. I just use a SIM card when I'm in Europe; my US mobile plan is very cheap but does not offer international roaming anyway. If two of more of your are traveling with your phones, you might find it useful to be able to communicate if you are separated, and obviously only one of you would be able to continue to be online with the Pocket WiFi, the one who keeps it. It's just super handy to have mobile data everywhere you go with your phones without needing to be tethered constantly to the pocket WiFi (which is another device you've got to lug around, charge, etc).
Just in Switzerland and one hotel gave us a pocket wifi and another gave us user/pass for city internet, both worked well. We always use a hotspot, they are small and lightweight. Also, you can buy minutes by region or country
Another obvious option is to just have service for your phone, either via a local SIM, or through you carrier. "Pocket WiFi", Hotspots, and the like are sort of an extra step in the process, meaning you have a device that connects to cell networks, to have your phone connect to that device...when your phone is capable of connecting directly.
Sure if having a SIM or a plan is not an option for you (Locked down phone), these are options, and if you have a family with devices, but do not want four SIMS or plans, a hotspot can be handy (But your phone can also set up a hotspot likely).
Always rent from hippocketwifi.com in Lyon, France before we leave home……the unit is shipped to us in the states, we get off the plane and turn it on for immediate use and mail it back to Lyon the day we fly home…..24-7 service anywhere in Europe…..ends up being about $8 a day….I may be a chicken but I don’t want to fool with my SIM card in my iphone and chance messing up my iphone…..this is so easy…….no more having to sit in the hotel lobby in the right corner to get wifi service……..turn your airplane mode on and leave your cellular service on……then we come home knowing we are not going to have a charge on our iPhones while traveling that we were not aware of…..no surprises! Our sone rented it for 6 weeks this past spring in Europe and used it daily with his business in the states and said it was wonderful.