WiFi on the road

How to find WiFi hotspots—free and paid—while traveling

Catching a stray WiFi signal by a canal in Venice
Your intrepid reporter Skypes home using a stray WiFi signal by a canal in Venice.
Many hotels these days offer WiFi—some for free, others for a modest fee. But WiFi floats around elsewhere in Italy as well.

Travel telecom—email, web surfing, Skyping, even making VoIP telephone calls—can be free if you know how to find these floating, free-range WiFi hotspots (or carry your own).

Carry your own WiFi

Logo160The easiest alternative: Carry a portable WiFi hotspot that will provide Internet access for up to five devices (or a 3G modem to plug into your laptop's USB port).

Prices to rent one start at $8.95 per day (less if you rent for longer than two weeks) plus a flat $29 for 100MB of data (or $59 for 250MB, $99 for 500MB, $149 for 1GB) from Cellularabroad.com. (Shipping of the device adds $13 to $40, depending on how fast you need it.)

Or you can rent one with unlimited data for $17$19 per day from Xcomglobal.com or Telecomsquare.co.jp/us.

(Note that those prices I quote are the actual fees you'll pay, including fine print items like the $3.95 daily insurance fee both companies charge; They also both charge $30 shipping fee. Additionally, Xcomglobal adds a flat $30 "multi-country" fee if you plan to visit more than two countries.)

Alternately, you can rent a 3G modem that will work in Italy from Telestial.com.

Find WiFi hotspots

Here are some resources to help you find both paid and free WiFi hotspots around the world:

Paid WiFi hotspot services

Using a signal at an Italian pub, this travel writer can get plenty of work done without having to sequester himself in his hotel room.
Using a signal at an Italian pub, this travel writer can get plenty of work done without having to sequester himself in his hotel room.
These are those services that, for a one-time or monthly fee, allow you to use their hotspots, which are typically scattered around airports, rail stations, and stores (both chain and non).

 

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in April 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.


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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.