Warning – Informative post with not much humour. Read keeping that in mind. And dont send emails that my writing skills are going down the drain.
When you are on such a long holiday, it does make sense to have your own laptop. Why…. cause there is free Wi-fi. So far, I haven’t paid a cent for internet. All I had to do was hang out at free wi-fi zones with my EEE PC and I was online. Read my post below to learn where you are most likely to find free wi-fi… why pay when you can get something for free.
Before I even begin with the list, let me tell you that the first best wi-fi spot is your friends place (if thats where you are staying). Everyone has wi-fi connectivity and all you need is their network key. Just remember to ask what your friend connection is called. In most apartment buildings, you will find very interesting wi-fi account names… to quote a few.. Slapmebitch, Killwork, Armedwithanaxe, Mayasdream were some of them. So, it may not be pleasant if you tried to use any unsecured network named like the few I mentioned. Always use a security enabled network.
If you are staying at a hostel, there is a 90% chance that they will have free wi-fi. Do check the http://www.hostelworld.com before selecting your hostel. Other than the place you decide to stay, standalone cafes are the best bet. Starbucks and chains may advertise for free wi-fi but you need a mobile account in the US (typically AT&T) to access those. Instead, find a neighbourhood cafe and 99%, they will have wi-fi. Willburg cafe in Brooklyn was my hangout in New York. Pangea cafe in Pennsylvania avenue in DC is another lovely cafe with free-wifi. You have to walk down that avenue to reach the Whitehouse anyway.
Another good way to find wi-fi spots is to google free wi-fi spots before your trip and mark them out on google map printouts. Wififreespot is a great website to look up free wi-fi spots in the US. Tourist information centres are very helpful in giving you directions to wi-fi spots.
Airports have wi-fi. Typically, they advertise or put up sign boards of the network key in the lounge area so that you know how to sign in. Markets (malls, central markets) have Wi-fi. Approach any cafe or any of the stores and they will tell you how to log on. Museums have wi-fi. Information desk is a good place to check how to log on.
If you are near a university, there are very high chances that you can find multiple cafes / restuarants that offer free wi-fi. They know that students cannot afford to pay. Students also have the university network they can log onto. Columbia in New York, U Penn in Philly and UW Madison in Madison… I have hung out in the neighbourhood. If you have a friend at any university, using their login and password is a good way to log into networks. University buildings also have kiosks with free internet. Incase you are not carrying your laptop around, thats a good place for a quick email check.
Last but not the least, everywhere in the US, you will find Free Public Wi-Fi connection and it says unsecured network. However, when you try to connect to it, nothing happens. Do not waste your time.
As I travel along and find a free wi-fi spot, I will log in to update this post.
If this post doesn’t get updated, chances are that I am loggeed out.
PS: Always keep your charger and adaptor with you and it helps if you have a small and light PC when you travel.