In the past, keeping in touch while travelling has been a journey wrought with free WiFi hotspots, international roaming fees or wading through seas of foreign sim card options. Start up company goTenna from Brooklyn are looking to change this with their new device that enables Android and IOS smartphone users to access maps, GPS and messaging functions without the need for any cellular or WiFi reception.

Having been described as a satellite phone meets WhatsApp, the goTenna is a slim handheld device that allows users to create an off-grid communication network. Like a walkie talkie, the device makes use of radio waves to send and receive instant messages and GPS locations to and from other goTenna users. The app that accompanies the device allows detailed maps to be downloaded for use in locations that are normally GPS black spots.

While the goTenna naturally lends itself well to hiking and exploring other off-grid areas, it can also be a godsend for families or friends travelling in urban environments. With a range of one to fifty miles depending on an area’s elevation and building density, the goTenna can eliminate the need for sim cards to coordinate rendezvous within travel groups.

As the device’s range increases with the number of users in an area, the goTenna has the potential to radically redefine the way we communicate while on the go. We’re excited to see how this technology continues to develop in the future.

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