It's not hard to find free Wi-Fi as long as you're not staying at a hotel. How many times have these annoying series of events played out for you? After a long day of traveling, you finally make it to your hotel. All you want to do is go to your room, kick off your shoes and check your email, surf the net or watch a movie on your laptop.
When you get there, you're relieved to see a strong Wi-Fi signal in
your room so you log on, but rather than bouncing straight to the net,
you see pricing options. You don't need 24 hours of Wi-Fi since you'll
be asleep for most of it, so paying $10 to $15 for a few hours of
service doesn't seem cost effective to you. You could use your phone,
but the screen is too small for your tired eyes. Having to pay for Wi-Fi
at a hotel seems contrary to the idea of true hospitality, but
fortunately there are ways around the charge.
Head DownstairsWi-Fi may come with a price when
you're in your room, but in the lobby, bar and other common areas it may
be free. Much like other restaurants, setting up an environment for business lunches
and dinners encourages more traffic to the restaurant, making Wi-Fi a
necessity since other restaurants close by are likely to offer the
service free-of-charge. Head downstairs with your laptop or tablet and
you'll likely find a connection.
TetherMost cell phone carriers provide an option
to use your cell phone as a hotspot that provides connectivity to your
tablet or laptop. Newer phones allow for a wireless connection that
requires only a password.
The downside is that tethering will cost money. In order to use the
option, you'll have to enable it with your cell service provider. If
you're not a frequent traveler, paying the fee for hotel service may be
cheaper than paying for the tethering service, even for a month or less.
Rent an AircardIf you are a person who travels
frequently, an aircard provides a connection to the Internet regardless
of where you are. Unless you travel frequently, paying $35 or more each
month for the card isn't cost-effective. To solve this problem, some
companies allow you to rent an aircard for around $6 per day. With some
hotels charging $9.95 or more each day for Internet service, renting an
aircard is not only cheaper, but it allows you to take it with you,
ensuring service anywhere you go while traveling.
Loyalty Has PrivilegesEven if you don't travel
many times a year, try to remain loyal to the same hotel chain. Just as
airlines have frequent flyer programs, hotels have similar loyalty programs that come with privileges as
you amass more points. Often one of the perks that come with even the
lowest levels is free Wi-Fi. Sometimes just being a member of their
loyalty program is enough to earn the privilege regardless of how
infrequently you book a reservation. Having your contact information for
advertising is more valuable than charging you for Wi-Fi.
Just AskHotels are in the hospitality business
and they know that saying no to a customer is bad for business. Rather
than complaining about the fact that even fast food restaurants offer
free Wi-Fi, politely ask if they can provide the service free to you. If
you're a frequent guest, they'll likely say yes and if they do say no,
they'll probably help you find a way to get connected free-of-charge.
Become a Hacker?There are numerous Internet
sites that tell you how to work around the hotel Wi-Fi system to obtain
free service, but it's unethical. You may have to make changes to your
computer that could cause you to lose connectivity even when you leave
the hotel. The network settings in your computer aren't easy to navigate
if you aren't an IT professional. Instead of trying to steal a hotel
service, pay the fee or go without it for a night.
The Bottom LineAlthough a hotel may charge $10
or more for 24 hours of Internet service, there are ways to avoid paying
the fee. If it's not available for free in its restaurant, consider
eating at a nearby restaurant or go without connectivity for a night. It
wasn't too long ago that people found a way to live a prosperous life
without a constant connection to the Internet.