Pocket WiFi (portable wifi router) rentals have become increasingly popular among tourists visiting Japan, offering a convenient mobile internet solution to stay connected 24/7.
Pretty much every international airport in Japan boasts multiple vendors with dedicated booth or counter, offering WiFi rental service to newly arrived visitors.
On the surface, picking up a Pocket WiFi device right after landing seems like the easiest and most straightforward choice. However, while the convenience is undeniable, this on-the-spot rental approach has several potential downsides that are often overlooked.
This article aims to shed light on the less obvious downsides of renting Pocket WiFi at Japan's airports and suggests a more reliable alternative which is ordering your Pocket WiFi online.
Risks of Renting WiFi Routers at Airports
This section discusses potential risks when renting Pocket WiFi at Japan's airports, such as higher costs, issues with flight delays, and potential long queues.
1️⃣ Higher costs
Have you ever found things to be cheaper at airports? Probably not. The same logic might apply to renting Pocket WiFi from airport counters. Due to the higher operational costs (rents + many cases commissions on top of that) at airports, these expenses could be passed on to customers in rental fees resulting in higher prices.
While it's not a certainty, it's probably worth considering, especially for travelers on a budget.
2️⃣ Potential flight delays and missed flights
After Covid, Japan has seen a rapid increase in tourists. This surge, combined with the more frequent flight delays, creates a unique challenge for those relying on airport Pocket WiFi rentals. (And yes, Japan's airports are busier than ever before.)
Understandably, many (if not all) of these rental counters do not operate 24/7. If your flight is delayed (or you missed your flight) and you arrive after hours, you could find yourself facing closed counters.
You never really know if your flight will be on time or not – that's just how flying works. Sometimes flights can be delayed for 4, 5, 6 hours, or even more.
3️⃣ Possible long queue at rental counters
Another risk to consider when renting Pocket WiFi at the airport is the potential for long waiting times. With the influx of travelers flocking to Japan post-Covid, airport rental counters can get extremely busy, especially during peak travel seasons or flight arrival times. This means you could end up standing in a long queue, waiting to get your device, when you could be starting your adventure in Japan.
The Smarter Alternative: Online Ordering
This section discusses the benefits of ordering your Pocket WiFi online before traveling to Japan, as opposed to renting upon arrival at the airport on the spot.
Advantages of online ordering
Cost-Effective and Diverse Options
Online ordering of Pocket WiFi before arriving in Japan offers clear advantages. One major benefit is cost-effectiveness. Online services, free from the high overheads of airport counters, tend to provide more competitive pricing. This can result in noticeable savings, especially if you’re staying in Japan for weeks or more (longer stays).
Another advantage is the breadth of choices available online. You can explore various plans and pick one that best fits your data needs and budget constraints. On the other hand, it would be quite challenging to compare multiple options and plans at airport counters within a limited time frame.
Secure and Hassle-Free
Ordering your Pocket WiFi online for pickup at your accommodation or a local post office in the city is probably the safest option. It eliminates the worry about flight delays or having to rush to the airport counter before it closes.
Tip; to help you navigate from the airport to your accommodation or pick up point, offline maps are a valuable tool. Google Maps and Apple Maps both allow you to download maps beforehand, ensuring you can find your way without needing an immediate internet connection. This is especially helpful when public WiFi is spotty and unreliable (they are in Japan).
Speaking of public WiFi, it’s worth noting that Japan’s international airports provide free WiFi. This can be useful for quick checks right after your arrival. They are not super fast but quite good actually.
To wrap up, while on-the-spot Pocket WiFi rentals at Japan's airports may appear convenient, they come with potential pitfalls such as higher costs, the risk of unavailable services due to flight delays, and time-consuming queues sometimes.
In contrast, ordering your Pocket WiFi online is a safer, more cost-effective alternative. It ensures that your device is ready at your accommodation or at a local post office, regardless of any travel delays or travel schedule changes. This approach, coupled with the use of offline maps and airport WiFi, should offer a smoother start to your journey in Japan.
For those looking to explore online options, we at eConnect Japan offers a range of affordable Pocket WiFi rental plans that you can easily order ahead of your trip. Pick up is available at various accommodations, local post offices, residences, or even at airport post offices if you prefer.
So look no further and check eConnct Japan Official Website 👇