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Connected Wherever You Go: Tips for Finding and Using Free Wifi

Did you know that you can get free wi-fi almost anywhere you go?

If you’re like most travelers, you need to stay connected. The Internet might not be your entire life, but it’s a major part of it. You rely on it for work, social activities, coordinating, and planning. Here’s how to get the Internet you need, wherever you are, without paying for it.

Ask People Around You

Weird, right? If you ask people, they might just give you access to a guest account. This works mostly with businesses, but sometimes individuals will give up their wi-fi password and let you hop on their network for free.

If a business asks you to buy something in their shop before they give you access, use your credit card so you get frequent flier miles or cash back rewards. You can read more and check out this BA credit card review for the best cards to use for this kind of transaction.

Search Around For Hot Spots

If you turn on your wi-fi radio, it’ll start searching for signals that you can latch onto. You should also become a bit more savvy about where the local hot spots are wherever you’re traveling. Sometimes, public transportation (buses, trains, etc.) will include wi-fi for free. Museums and train stations might also give you free access. Even some libraries will offer it for free.

And, some hospitals and other public offices and buildings offer free access to wi-fi.

Get Free Wi-Fi From Major Retailers

Some major retailers and restaurants offer free wi-fi just for stopping in to browse. Places like Starbucks, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, target, Dunkin Donuts, Buffalo Wild Wings, Apple, Best Buy, Whole Foods, and Barnes & Noble all offer free wi-fi for the taking.

If you have an Android or iOS phone, you can download the Wi-Fi Pro app to find over 200 million free Wi-Fi hotspots. That should be more than enough to cover your needs.

Join A Local Community

A community like Instabridge will let you basically hop on a collective wi-fi network for free. Instabridge is a free online community where wi-fi is crowdsourced and passwords are compiled for secured locations. There’s a free app that helps you get started finding these hotspots.

Use Hidden Networks

Apps like Instabridge and Wefi will help you find networks that either aren’t public or aren’t well-known. But, you can also wander into almost any electronics store and hop on their wi-fi as most  of these types of stores have to have it. And, if you’re in an airport, move closer to the premium lounges and you’ll probably get lucky with free-wi-fi.

Take Advantage Of Loyalty Programs

If you’re willing to join a loyalty program, you’ll often benefit from a variety of perks – one of which includes free wi-fi. Many hotels like the Hilton, Marriott, Kimpton, and others will give you free wi-fi if you’re enrolled in their loyalty program. And, because travelers are expecting free wi-fi wherever they go, more and more chains are adding free wi-fi as standard. If you’re staying in one of these hotels, that can be worth it not to have to leave the hotel and find a nearby  Starbucks.

Turn Your Phone Into A Hotspot

This is one of the simplest ways to get wi-fi that will be secure and, more or less, free in the sense that you don’t have to pay any more than what you’re already paying for phone service. Both Android and iOS devices offer the ability to tether your phone to a computer.

When you do this, you’re not technically on a wi-fi network. You’re latching onto the cellular network.

But, because of this, you’re also signing on to a secure network (your cell network is secured). If you do this, make sure that you’re the only one hopping on your network if you’re working on sensitive documents, logging into your bank, or logging into any site where you wouldn’t want your login credentials compromised.

You can control who logs on to your network in your setting area on your phone or tablet.

In iOS, this is simple. Go to your settings and get to the personal hotspot setting. Tap the slider to turn on personal hotspot. Then, set a password for the wi-fi hotspot. Now, don’t give out the password to anyone you don’t want to have access to it. Alternatively, you can connect directly to the phone with a lightning to USB cable.

In Android, go to settings>wireless & networks>tethering & portable hotspot. Now set up your hotspot and set a password for it. You can choose either bluetooth connection or a wired connection for more security.

Logan Clarke is a digital nomad. Seeing the world and managing his consulting based business at the same time, Logan enjoys sharing his tips and knowledge with others, whether travelling for business, pleasure or both.