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Free wifi – a basic human right?

Written by 17 August 2011 No Comment

After weeks of polling around, fellow travel writer Mike Barish discovered – or rather, confirmed – that out of the 8,000 votes that were cast in the Hotel Madness tournament, the worst of hotel pet peeves is having to pay for wi-fi. A befitting choice if I do say so myself.

wi fi Free wifi   a basic human right? Illustration by Elliott Golden

I don’t know about you, but it absolutely baffles me that having to pay for wi-fi is still an issue that stands today. Internet is and should always be considered a given. That being said, if you can appreciate this sentiment, and so happen to find yourself in such a predicament, do not fret as there are a good many solutions/alternatives that exist for the very savvy and economic Travelette that you are.

Ditch your hotel room and head for the hotspots

There are several corporations that offer free wi-fi at their locations. The following establishments will almost always have free wi-fi:

  • Apple Retail Stores
  • Denny’s (North America)
  • FedEx Office
  • McDonald’s
  • Starbucks
  • many cafes and coffeeshops

Those are just a few to name, but be sure to confirm with the location of interest before paying a visit!

For a more extensive listing on wi-fi friendly companies, check out the WiFi FreeSpot and the Open WiFi Spots directories.

mc donalds wifi Free wifi   a basic human right?Photo via MassLive

Narrow down your search to a T

Make the transition from breadth to depth by using the following wi-fi hotspot search engines:

  • JiWire Wi-Fi Finder is probably the most high-tech, efficient and thorough of all of the directories I’ve come across. Not only does it cover a wide geographic range and have the most attractive interface, but it also throws Google Maps into the mix.
  • OpenWifiSpots provides a pretty extensive listing on the free wi-fi hotspots in North America, Europe and Australia. It allows you to search by city, state and/or zipcode.
  • Lessnetworks.com does virtually the same thing as the former but differs in that it acts as a social networking platform founded on the same philosophy that this article was founded on: to “keep wi-fi free”. Nice to know that not everyone is trying to exploit you!

WiFiAndCoffee Free wifi   a basic human right?Photo by Oliver Fluck

As follows, is a listing of site-specific wi-fi hotspot directories:

For a more comprehensive list, visit Mashable.com’s listing.


Go free by going smart!

In other words, carry your hotspot research onto your smartphone – JiWire now offers the scribe’s beloved Wi-Fi Finder app for the iPhone and the Android!


Enjoy the Internet en plein air

Own an Android or a BlackBerry? Don’t mind paying a one-time fee that will give you unlimited Internet access practically wherever you are? Whether on the corner of a bustling street or in the middle of a remote highway, “tethering” can and will bring the Internet to you.

Tethering, by definition, is the act of using an Internet mobile device as a modem for another Internet device (in other words, using your smartphone to connect your laptop to the net). It is a neat little quick-fix with both its pros and cons. The upside is that one can access the Internet wherever there is service for it; the downside is that, apart from the fact that there is a fee, it drains your mobile device’s battery.

Sound like something you’d be interested in? Visit Tether.com for more info.

tethering Free wifi   a basic human right?Photo via HoweSolutions

Thanks to the advent of the Internet, all of this is possible. Seems unfair that we should be charged for a service that has quickly become an everyday part of life. That said, I hope that you choose to skip the fee and go free! After all, free is everyone’s favorite number, is it not?

pixel Free wifi   a basic human right?




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