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Iceland wifi hotspot rental

We'll be traveling to Iceland in June. We'll have a rental car and would like the flexibility of having reliable wifi while we navigate from town to town in addition to doing general google searches and using what's app. Does anyone have any practical experience with renting a wifi unit while in Iceland? A google search yields many advertisements and some reviews which seem to be veiled adverts and really provide no substantial feedback. So, if you have any thoughts on this topic we'd greatly appreciate any feedback, pros, cons, etc.

Posted by
771 posts

Have you checked with your rental car company if you have already booked? We booked a fly/drive trip that included GPS and a portable WIFI hotspot that we got when we picked up the car at the rental company, Atak. Under 'Extras' on their website they show a WIFI unit rental, but I don't know if it is portable or for use in the car. www.atak.is. Other companies may do the same.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks VA. We're ready to book a car, but holding off until we're figure it the wifi rental. Initially we thought a car with wifi would work, but now that we've seen the portable wifi units, I believe the additional flexibility of not be tethered to our car is the route we'd like to go. That way we can take the unit into our hotel and have wifi regardless of where our car is parked.

Posted by
33336 posts

What about using a phone that you already have as a hotspot? Buy whatever data you need for that phone and everything else piggybacks off that.... as long as you have a good 4G signal... but that would be the case with any mifi or other hotspot rental.

How many devices will you need pulling stuff down simultaneously? How much data in total will you need?

Posted by
7 posts

Sounds like a potential solution Nigel. I just assumed that I'd incur additional charges, but I should at least contact my cell phone provider and see if that's a possibility. We'll have two smart phones and a tablet, mostly facebook messenger, what's app, sending pics and email periodically throughout the day.

Posted by
33336 posts

can you replace the sim? Dig around the forums here and that's what you will find many folk do. Do that on one phone, the other can stay as is using your wifi hotspot.

Assuming that you have a 4G phone which will work in Europe's frequencies - plenty of information on that around here too.

5 months to go. How good are you are shortish but slightly steep learning curves?

Posted by
33336 posts

and of course your sim provider needs to allow hotspots - most do these days - and you need to buy the right amount of data. Not too much or you are wasting money; not too small or you will feel constrained.

Posted by
248 posts

Just rented a vehicle for our trip to Iceland in April 2019. We rented a 4x4 7 passenger Mitsubishi. That being said they offer the hotspot box and free wifi. It is not offered on all vehicles, but many. We found the best deal with Fara. I went to Guide Iceland, which seems to have a wealth of information. They had a link to Fara. I have emailed back and forth with them and they have answered all my questions. I did have to pay for the car when booked, but it is cancelable. Also they're are 6 of us so we needed a decent size vehicle. As far a price they had the best price on a 2018 model including wifi. In Iceland all insurance is included however, we will be declining and using our Chase Bank Credit card. They will provide us with a letter. They cover everything, even sand, stove, gravel wind damage. We have used them before they have been great to work with. If you have any questions feel free to private message me

Posted by
5687 posts

Many mobile providers offer "WiFi hotspot" for free and just use your data allowance. I've never paid extra for hotspot on any of my plans. If you have a really old plan you're grandfathered into, it may not be free. But this is always the way I've done it when traveling. I use my phone as a GPS anyway, but when not driving, I like using the my laptop on trains etc. where there is no WiFi, so I just use my phone's hotspot to provide the WiFi for my laptop.

And if your phone is unlocked - yes, you can buy a SIM in Iceland instead of using your home phone provider plan (which may be expensive in Europe). I have a Dutch Vodafone SIM that I use all over Europe (for hotspot, too).

Posted by
163 posts

We did our car rental through Alamo last September. We were asked at the counter if we would like to add on GPS or WiFi. I asked the agent which she would do if she were in our shoes and she said she would do the WiFi. We took that for an 11 ISK daily fee and were pleasantly surprised to find it was a pocket Huawei WiFi unit so we had it with us at all times - it wasn't tied to the car in any way. Our phones never came off airplane mode but we were connected 24/7 and used them for our GPS needs, googling, FaceTime, etc. That WiFi unit through Alamo was by far the best investment - and return on investment - of our whole trip. Enjoy your travels to Iceland - it's overwhelmingly beautiful and exhaustingly fun.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks for the feedback MN. We rented a wifi hotspot through Trawire for $9/day. We'll pick it up at Keflavík airport when we arrive and drop it in the mail box with a prepaid envelope at the airport just before our flight home. Similar to your experience, we intend to use it for google maps, facetime and to have in our packs when we hike or explore sites away from our rental vehicle. The reviews we've read have been mostly positive, so we're hoping it'll meet our expectations.

Posted by
5687 posts

The WiFi hotspots are fine, if you don't mind the extra expense. My Vodafone SIM cost 10 Euros for 2GB of data for an entire nine day trip (good for 30 days; would have lasted me 2.5-3 weeks). I got the same functionality from my phone's WiFi hotspot with that SIM as I would have gotten from a stand-alone unit. I didn't see any reason to spend an extra $70.

Posted by
7 posts

This is a great discussion. I logged on to ask exactly the same question as Buckeye Traveler and here are all the answers already. My phone is GSM - is that compatible with service in Iceland?

My only remaining issue is that we have used my iPhone as a hotspot via Bluetooth so my wife can use her iPad as we drive here in the US. But the hotspot frequently drops her even though my signal is strong. Maybe something with my setup is not right? We only need it for the car as all of the accommodations we booked have WiFi.