I love taking trips, but it's not just because of the places I go to or the people I meet. It's not just about the pictures I take, or the souvenirs I buy. What I like most about travel is optimization. It forces you to only have things with you that are brutally necessary for you to complete your journey. What kind of shirts can I do without? Will I need a pair of sneakers, boots, or only dress shoes? What gadgets do I bring, a tablet or a laptop? Even if you pack your things tightly, there's not a lot you can take with you. Only the best stuff gets in, and only the most necessary things you have are going with you. After all, travel is hectic enough without you worrying about the things you did or did not bring.

You can plan for most things on your trip, but there's still always one thing that's unsure: Wi-Fi. You don't really know yet where you can find it, but you do know you need it. You might need to keep up to date with the people back home through FaceTime or Skype. You might want to post a photo, a status update, or a blog post or two. And if you want to find new things to do, Google Maps or Foursquare can come in handy. When we founded Karma, we wanted to build a great solution for that. Something that's fit for travel, like foldable headphones or a mini-umbrella.

So, we created a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, that is connected with 4G. It's as fast as the Wi-Fi back home or at the office. Because you pay for it as you go, per each gigabyte of data you use, you never have to worry about it when you get home either. Whenever you use data, that's when you pay. Gigabytes don't expire, and there's no monthly fee. We're even proud to say that it beats hotel Wi-Fi, but that wasn't really a challenge to be honest.

While we were creating Karma, we again thought about how a trip optimizes your life during the time you’re out on the road. One of the most interesting things we found was that when you buy a gadget on the road, the box is immediately thrown away. It just doesn't fit in your luggage. So when we made our packaging for our hotspot, it had to be disposable as well. We made a box that fits through a mail slot, and gets delivered as easy as any other envelope. Have it shipped to your hotel, your AirBnB, or just your home, and it'll get there quick. We also stayed away from "Apple Packaging": expensive, high-quality boxes that we all put on our mantle after we unwrap it. It's great to have for that moment, but when you're travelling it just becomes a hassle. So our box is small, and made out of cardboard. It still pretty sleek, but you can toss it in the recycle bin once you're done. Save a tree or two in the process. It's "Al Gore Packaging".

When we looked back at all of the things we did to make our service fit for travel, we discovered that it actually also makes it a better product to have back home. The optimizations remain, anywhere you use it. Just like the Braun travel clock that's on millions of nightstands, at home. Maybe even like the iPad Mini. Remember that the next time you make a decision on anything you buy: is it fit for travel? Because if it is, it's probably more useful at home too.

Happy Holidays, and safe travels! And if you're looking to make it a connected trip, get our hotspot today.


About Dave Ford

That guy who knows more about sports than technology