How To Find Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

Outside the comfy envelop of Wi-Fi waves radiating from your home router, it’s not so effortless to get online to check email, stream music or engage in holiday flame wars on Reddit. And you can burn through your monthly data plan in a hurry waiting in the airport. So, how do you locate those coveted islands of connectivity known as hotspots? Here are some ideas.

Connect in Some of these Hotspots while Traveling

Chain Restaurants

McDonalds, Starbucks and other national chains have made free Wi-Fi standard in most of their national and international locations. Chances are that there’s a coffee shop or diner that offers free wireless to customers somewhere nearby.


Most major hotel chains let you connect in your room. If your hotel doesn’t have free Wi-Fi, you’ll have to pay, but it may be worth it to stay connected for the duration of your trip.


Most US airports feature free Wi-Fi inside the terminals. Be careful at international airports, though. The instructions may not be in English, and connecting could require a credit card number, which I wouldn’t go for.

In-flight Networks

In the continental US, Delta offers in-flight Wi-Fi for a fee. Southwest, Virgin, American and AirTran offer it, too. Not all planes are equipped with wireless, though, so check with your airline before you go.

A Wi-Fi Warning

Watch out for stealthy networks in public places. Surfing on an unsecured network isn’t a great idea, and it can make you vulnerable to phishing attacks. Certainly, you don’t want to send any secure information or use your passwords across an open network. Better just to avoid unofficial Wi-Fi altogether.

How do you stay connected while going over the river and through the woods during the holidays?

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