Canary Islands vista

Checking in on the U.S. stock market from the Canary Island of Tenerife, a Spanish territory off the west coast of Africa. (Photo by Andrea James)










I’m just back from a lovely holiday in Europe. My husband and I try to get out of the country at least once, if not twice, per year.

This year, we attended a wedding in the Irish countryside, swam in the Atlantic off of the Canary Islands and shared a pint with friends at a Dublin pub. (Well, I had a proper Irish coffee with whiskey instead.)

I am a stock analyst and about 50% of my job is staying on top of current events. It is not the sort of occupation where you can just check out for 10 days.  (Or, as it happened thanks to Hurricane Irene and flight cancellations across the Eastern seaboard, we were gone 12 days.)

Plus, I had a company that scheduled an earnings announcement after my trip was booked. Which means I’d be working at least a day-and-a-half abroad.

This was my dilemma: How do I ensure a reliable Internet connection abroad?

I wanted to check in on my stocks and the news at least once per day.  Plus, it’s easier to relax if you’ve made sure that the business world isn’t blowing up on you. But I dreaded searching for WiFi hotspots, paying hidden fees, troubleshooting various networks. What a stressful mess when I’m supposed to be on vacation.

The bed & breakfast inns where we stayed did not have WiFi connections. (I can just imagine our Irish hosts wondering about these crazy always-working Americans!)

My friend recommended XCom Global‘s Mifi hotspot, and so I decided to give it a try. It worked so well, that I have to recommend it*.

XCom Global's mifi hotspot device is the size of my hand

I phoned them up on a Friday, and by Monday morning, they had FedEx’d me a little device that easily fit into my carry-on luggage. Also included was a FedEx return envelope for post-trip.

Once abroad, I turned it on, connected to the WiFi hotspot and voila!

Instant high-speed Internet. Every day. Even when we were stranded at two airports because of the hurricane, I could plop down in a seat and pull out the device to check on flight connections and reservations.

The Internet was fast enough that I was able to use Google Voice from the Canary Islands, which are off the west coast of Africa. I asked a question on the earnings conference call without paying exorbitant fees to use my cell phone.

It cost me $25 per day, for about $250 total for 10 days. That includes the optional insurance on the device. There was no limit on my Internet usage, which is desirable for uploading vacation photos whilst downloading up-to-the-minute stock market data. Thumbs up.


*I am receiving zero compensation for this post. The company doesn’t know I’m writing it.

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