Flytpack: Is It Worth It?

Saturday, February 03, 2018

flytpack review
Having reliable Internet connection has become a necessity – even when traveling, and especially if one is a digital nomad. As expected, this has become a concern when my husband and I were getting ready to set out for our 3-week Southeast Asian Adventure.

We were going to three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. I needed access to my email, and to Celineism so I can keep it up to date. I looked for options, and the most obvious was to get a local simcard. However, this was out of the question as both Dennis' and my phones are on a "lock-in" contract with Filipino telcos. My other phone, meanwhile is so old, it could only produce a 3G connection. I didn't know what else to do. And I was afraid I had to rely on public hotspots.

Fortunately, my friends over at Flytpack came in to the rescue, letting me bring a unit to use for the whole trip. Now, I pride myself on being truthful with my reviews, so I'm going to present to you everything you need to know about Flytpack, the pros and cons, and if I'd use it again for my next overseas trip.


BOOKING A UNIT
Booking a Flytpack unit is as easy and as straightforward as it gets. Just head over to their website and follow the instructions and fill-up the needed information.

Things to remember + Pro Tips
- If you are keen on booking, make sure to follow Flytpack on all their social media accounts for promos. Watch their Instagram stories particularly, as they often post discount codes here.
- You must book a unit at least five working days before the date of your trip. You can book months in advance of course. But if you intend to book less than five days before your trip, send an email to Flytpack at hello@flytpack,com and inquire about unit availability.
- Flytpack will deliver the unit one day before the date of your trip at the latest
- Flytpack collects a deposit amount of Ph2,800 on top of your total bill. But fret not, this will be refunded 7-14 working days after the device is returned. Just make sure to put in a valid bank account so they'd know where to deposit it.
- Flytpack adheres to bandwidth limits, and it depends on each country's standards. Check the manual for the list of data cap for each country.

RETURNING THE DEVICE
During booking, you can choose the option of how the device will be returned. You have two:
- Courier
- Delivery to the office

I initially chose to hand deliver the device to Flytpack's office because I wanted to meet up with my friends over there, but travel assignments piled up as soon as I got home. I sent an email to explain my situation and they gave me the option to just send it via GrabExpress. But just choose the courier method so there'll be less hassle.

Related Adventure: Sunrise at Borobudur

WHAT'S IN THE "BOX"
OK. So what do you get when you book with Flytpack? It varies actually, depending on the country you're visiting. For us, we got the white device. It came with the following:
- Compact carrying case
- Manual
- Summary of rental (your bill plus a statement that if you damage it, you'll have to pay)
- Charging cord
- Universal travel adaptor
how to book a flytpack unit

how to have internet when traveling abroad

flytpack inclusions

CONS
Alright. I'm the kind who prefers hearing the bad news before the good news. I like ending my news-receiving (or, in this case, review) on a positive note.

So, let's get right to it. Here are the cons I've encountered and realized during the three-week, three-country trip:

- It takes up space. The carrying case, while compact, is quite large and occupies significant space in my backpack. Of course you can carry just the unit when you're going around.
- On the pricey side. Compared to buying a local simcard and getting data credits. I saw a sign in Bali for an LTE sim card for 1 million rupiah (about Php360 pesos). Though it didn't say if it already comes with data credits and for how long.
- No first-time user discounts on local Uber. Since we didn't have to get a new simcard in every country, we didn't get to enjoy the local promos on Uber. But this could be remedied by getting a simcard for this particular purpose.
- Sometimes needs a few hours to establish connection. I've encountered this when we arrived in Bali from Kuala Lumpur, and another when we moved from Lawang to Banyuwangi (Indonesia). We experienced loss of connection in Saigon too, the night before New Year's Eve, but that was because of a routine maintenance check-up by the local provider (read: not Flytpack's fault). Connection was back again the next day.

Related Adventure: Kind Strangers in Catanduanes

PROS
Alright. Here are the good bits:
- Generally reliable. Except for the rerouting downtimes, the connection was fast and reliable. We even had Internet in the remote town of Lawang (near Mt. Bromo)! I was also able to send emails and publish articles while on the long train ride from Banyuwangi to Yogyakarta. And was also able to video call family on New Year's Eve.
flytpack around the world

- Customer service is excellent. Whether you contact them via email, Facebook, or Instagram, the Flytpack team is consistently responsive. When I suddenly lost connectivity on Christmas Day, I connected to public hotspot, and messaged Flytpack on Instagram to know what's going on. They said they'd check with the tech team, and in ten minutes, the connection was back. Oh, and they love it when you tag them on your social media post! They even repost it most of the time!
For Christmas, we went to Borobudur and watched the break of day. I brought along a @flytpack unit so I could send in my holiday greetings to family and friends back home. Unfortunately, I encountered a bit of a connectivity problem. I took to contacting Flytpack, using the free Wi-fi from the nearby hotel. I was worried I wouldn't get an immediate reply considering the circumstances. However, in just a few minutes, I was already being walked through on how to resolve the issue. Then, voila, the device was up and running again . I'm really glad I didn't miss sending holiday cheers to my loved ones. Makes me feel like I'm back home with them. I'm also glad that even when we're in a different country, I'm able to greet you, my fellow adventurers, a wanderful, incredible, merry Christmas! . Hope y'all are having a blast! 🎉🎄 . #flytpackhelps #CDHoneymoonAdventure 👫 . 📸 @thedennismurillo
A post shared by Celineism (@celineism) on

- Best option for "lock-in" phones. Most of us have local postpaid plans because we'd get to enjoy the telco's services while having a premium smartphone for significantly less than when bought separately. Unfortunately, this comes with a bit of a snag: you can't use it with other simcards. You can, of course, have it "open line", but why tamper with warranty when you have Flytpack. Flytpack may be more expensive compared to getting a local simcard, but when your phone doesn't give you that option, it's way cheaper than getting another phone.
- The backup power. One surprising advantage of the particular Flytpack device that I got was it lasts ridiculously long. When I forgot to charge my powerbank and all our cellphones were about to die, bear in mind it was raining heavily and we needed to book a Go-Jek (Indonesia's version of Uber), I looked to the device and saw it going strong. As a last resort, I plugged my phone into it and used it as a powerbank. I had to stop after a few percent of charge though, because we still needed the device for the Internet. Nonetheless, that emergency boost allowed me to book a ride.
- The nifty adaptor. The first time I went to Indonesia (my first out-of-the-country), I struggled with the outlets. First, the rooms I stayed at had limited sockets. Second, the sockets were different. The universal travel adapter that my Flytpack unit came with eliminated this problem and I was able to charge multiple gadgets at the same time.
- The manual provides helpful troubleshooting instructions for common device problems. Often when my device acted out, all I had to do was consult the manual and follow the troubleshooting options. Then, it'll be up and running again. When that doesn't prove to be enough, there's always customer service.

FINAL THOUGHTS
So, there. Those are the pros and cons of Flytpack. If you ask me, taking into account my circumstances (i.e. a digital nomad who has a lock-in phone and needs reliable Internet for work), I sincerely think Flytpack is worth it. I would definitely avail their services again! Would also recommend it to fellow adventurers!

Flytpack
Manila Head Office: Unit 703, 20th Drive Corporate Center (Jecoprime), 20th Drive, McKinley Business Park, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila
Office Hours: Mondays to Fridays, 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM; Saturdays to Sundays. 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Cebu Office (Next to Waterfront): Unit 10E, Avenir Building, Archbishop Reyes Ave, Cebu City, Cebu
Office Hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Customer Helplines: Mondays to Sundays, 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM

What other suggestions do you have for staying connected while abroad?

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