Staying connected while traveling
Are you planning a trip to another country and want to avoid crazy data fees?
Chances are, you are forced to stay disconnected when you are out of the hotel. Relax, there are ways to come around this by using free WiFi’s.
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If it’s a short trip, it might not be worth buying a foreign data plan. Especially when there are plenty of ways to find free WiFi. So, before you waste time or money, read these tips.
Today we will look at the 5 easiest ways to find free WiFi when traveling abroad, and what to keep to in mind when doing so.
#1 Find Free WiFi Locations With Free Apps
One way to find WiFi spots nearby is by using apps.
There are some out there to check the internet speed but I wanted to focus on finding WiFi’s nearby on the map.
Here are the best top-rated free apps for both Apple and Android users.
WiFi Finder + Map (iOS)
WiFi Finder – Free WiFi Map (Android)
Both of these apps use the same type of service. You can search for specific locations or your current location to see the best WiFi spots. You can also see whether they’re password protected.
These are far from the only ones the market but these are rated the best.
A good idea is to download the offline map of your destination location on the app beforehand. This will give you an idea of where to go when you are there without a connection.
#2 Take Advantage Of Your Airline WiFi
If you’re like me, the first thing I check when arriving at a foreign airport is the WiFi connection. You usually find a ton of WiFi’s nearby, everything from lounges to personal hotspots that are locked.
You should avoid these lounge spots as they usually require a login that is restricted for the specific lounge guests and you’ll just end up losing time trying to connect.
Instead, go to the website of your airline that you arrived with. Many airlines offer free WiFi by simply logging in with your boarding pass. Check out the options and make sure you are connecting to the correct WiFi. (You can access these sites but need to login to use services)
Flight tickets cost a lot of money, take advantage of at least having a free WiFi connection while you are the airport.
If your internet connection is important to you while traveling, check the regulations and information with the airline beforehand.
#3 Find the hotels with the best WiFi
Will you be staying at a hotel? Almost all hotels offer WiFi these days. Most of them are free but some may be limited and you don’t know what the internet speed is.
Some hotels have their internet speed public but you can also check some apps or websites that specialize in hotel WiFi speed.
I highly recommend using Hotel WiFi Test
It’s a completely free service where you can see the internet speed for different hotels all over the world.
#4 What Restaurants Offer The Best WiFi?
The bigger chains often offer free WiFi for their customers. There are however some differences in internet speed. As this article is mostly about traveling, some of them have downsides as some locations are limited to certain parts of the world.
These are some of the best restaurants based on internet speed and availability.
One of the largest coffee shop chains in the world with over 70 countries included. Starbucks offers the best WiFi speed compared to others, especially as they changed their internet provider from AT&T to Google.
This is also one of the more quiet and comfortable places to hang out at if you need to call someone or do some work online.
Tacos and free WiFi sound pretty great. Taco Bell is up at the top when it comes to internet speed. While they are one of the faster chains based on internet speed, they are mainly based in North and South America and has sadly very few locations in Europe.
While they are not the fastest WiFi provider, their global availability is by far the best. With restaurants in over 120 countries, you should be able to find a Mc’Donalds almost anywhere you’re going.
#5 Check Your Current Phone Carrier
I mentioned that you should avoid high fees from your regular phone carrier.
While this is true, there’s no harm in checking with your phone carrier what regulations you face when using data in another country. It will depend on what country and phone carrier.
I do suggest sticking to WiFi. Buying a foreign data plan can be worth it for longer stays. You should use your regular data only if in an emergency but check the fees beforehand.
Doing this can save you a lot of money as the data fees can get very expensive when traveling outside your country. I suggest using flight mode and WiFi off until you are sure of your connection situation.
How To Stay Safe When Using Public WiFi
When connecting to some public WiFi’s, you are less secure as you don’t know who else is in between the connection.
If the WiFi is marked as unsecured, that means hackers could potentially exploit the network or send out malware.
Here are 4 ways to stay safer when using public networks.
Turn off WiFi auto-connect
A good rule of thumb for when using electronic devices in public, always turn off your WiFi finder when you are not using it. You may walk down a street and automatically connect to an unsecured WiFi if you haven’t turned it off.
You don’t know anything about this network or the operator, this is why you should never use the auto-connect setting while in public.
Check your sharing settings
There are services on your phone for sharing content with others on the WiFi.
If you ever use these services, remember to check the appropriate settings are set before going out on a public network.
Use a VPN
Connect to a VPN when going on a public WiFi. A hacker will most likely go for the easy targets.
By limiting the connection between you and the others on the WiFi, this will make it more difficult for someone to come in the middle of your connection.
Update Anti-Malware Softwares
Regardless of what WiFi you are connecting to, make sure that you have a reputable Anti-Malware software if you’re using a PC device. Also, check regularly that it’s up to date.
Be Respectful To Public WiFi’s
You are the guest of a public WiFi, be a decent guest.
If you find yourself searching for a free WiFi location and go to a coffee shop, be sure to buy something from that store and not just use their WiFi. This will be the most respectful way to do it and I encourage you to do this regardless of the location.
Most public WiFi’s may not be very fast but many people use them. However, I advise you not to a public WiFi to download large files if it may slow down the experience for others.
I’m used to staying connected all the time even though I travel a lot every year. There are some better ways to do it and it’s easy to forget the safety aspect when looking for a connection. Be sure to read through these before you head out in the world.
I hope some of these tips may help you on your next trip! If there are any questions, feel free to contact me.