There’s a lot more to modern travel than just throwing some clothes in a suitcase and leaving. It’s rare to meet someone today who travels without all their technological essentials, smartphone, iPad, laptop, digital camera…the list is endless. Particularly since smartphones have become so popular, connecting to the Internet is something we expect to be able to do as and when we want. Connecting to local 3G or 4G when abroad is great in an emergency or if you’re travelling for work but if you’re a heavy Internet user, get lots of email or just want to use online tourist guides and apps for wherever you are (and you don’t want to come home to a massive data bill) you’re going to be looking for free or cheap wifi. Here are a few of our favourite ways to connect on the go.
Get a Boingo account
A Boingo account gives you access to over 500,000 wifi hotspots around the world. Many cities and municipal buildings around the around the world use Boingo as one of their free public wifi option so chances are if you’re on a city break in a wifi friendly city you’ll get online with this. There are a range of account options and while it’s still not quite as ubiquitous as 3G / 4G this will get you connected in any major city like London New York or Bangkok and is a much cheaper option than data roaming charges.
This might seem obvious but one of the ironies of modern travel is that often the more expensive the hotel you stay at, the more likely they are to charge very expensive rates for Internet access. Thankfully this has started to change over the past year or so but if you know you’re going to need to get online, it’s worth remembering to check what your chosen hotel’s policy and pricing is when making your booking.
Use a hotspot database
Hotspot database WeFi have an international database of 100,000 million locations and counting including lots of areas off the beaten track that you might not expect to get connected.
On the street
Every McDonalds has free wifi, most Starbucks will give you a wifi code, same with most public libraries, if you’re in the US try Barnes and Noble and all over the world you’ll find independent coffee shops that offer free wifi. Use a free wifi scanner like Net Stumbler to search out these hidden networks.
Join a loyalty program
Lots of international hotel groups such as Kimpton offer free wifi when you sign up to their loyalty program. It’s usually free to join and even if you’re not staying with one of their hotels in the city you can drop in for a drink and connect.