Saturday, April 24, 2010

Free or low-cost wi-fi while on vacation

While travelling, it's still quite common to have to pay for Internet access.  What may seem like a near commodity at this point is actually still a profit maker for businesses, like hotels.  Unless an elite status member, where that particular benefit may offer free Internet access, expect to pay around $10 or more a day for web access.  Gradually, like a lot of related amenities, access will likely be free in the future, though.

There are a few ways to beat paying (at least partially) for wi-fi, however.  As an example, rather than paying $10 for Internet access at your hotel, go to a cafe, buy breakfast, and get free wi-fi there instead.  While you still had to buy a coffee, at least, the benefit is that you got to eat something and still paid about 1/3 or less the cost of web wi-fi in your hotel room.  Lobbys of hotels sometimes will have free wi-fi, too.  While you are at it, check to see if your hotel loyalty program offers wi-fi for free.  Join, and then surf from the comfort of your bed.

If you aren't hungry, try surfing near a free wi-fi spot along your travelling route.  Insead of opening up your laptop and checking for hotspots, do a little planning and see if there's a site near by.  One, of many, great sites to check out for this type of information is Wi-fi free spot.  The site lets you select which state you are in and allows you to look up area hot spots.

A last note about wi-fi, though, is that it's not very safe.  Wi-fi connections are notroriously easy to hack, so if you are going to use the web, don't open any banking oriented websites.  These unprotected sites are better used for reading the news or performing research.