I know what you are thinking: you already use your neighbor’s Wi-Fi network for free, so why should you waste your precious time reading this article?
Believe it or not, sometime you will have to leave your home, and this means that you will get out of your neighbors’ free Wi-Fi range. Sure, you could use an antenna cable and a dedicated SMA adapter, but that would only help you extend the range to 50…100 feet – more than enough when you are relaxing in your yard, if you ask me.
Seriously speaking, where can you find free Wi-Fi when you are away from home, and even in a foreign country?
Begin by exploring malls and hypermarkets; often times, you can get access to free internet in a mall, especially near the café area, where the owners provide free Wi-Fi because they hope that it will make you stay more, and thus purchase more of their beverages.
Starbucks and McDonald’s are also known for providing free Wi-Fi, and since both franchises are present in most countries, you shouldn’t have a hard time locating one.
However, if you can’t find one of these in the area, try to locate a store that sells electronics. Even if you can’t connect to their Wi-Fi networks for free, chances are that they’ve got an Internet-connected device that can be accessed to check your email or send your mom a virtual postcard.
What about airports and train stations? I thought you’d never ask! Most airports provide free Wi-Fi indeed. But while this is true for most airports, some of the underdeveloped countries don’t offer Internet access in train stations, bus stations, etc.
If you live in a hotel, you may have access to free internet and not know it. Just ask the receptionist and see what she has to say about it.
Some people provide Wi-Fi discovery apps, but most of them have a problem: they need internet access to locate the free Wi-Fi connections, which kind of defeats the actual app purpose: finding free Internet when you can’t access it!
Still, there’s a useful app called Instabridge (available for both Android and iOS) which operates using crowdsourcing and is able to automatically connect to the free Wi-Fi networks in the area. And with over three million hotspots in its database, chances are you won’t have problems locating a free network pretty much anywhere in the world.
Sometimes all you need to do to get access to free Wi-Fi is to… ask for it! Open your phone or tablet, and then search for nearby hotspots. If you are having lunch in the “Sausage King & Queen” restaurant and you spot a network named “sausage” or so, you should ask an employee what is the network password. Often times they will give you the password, because you are their client.
If everything fails, it’s time to purchase Internet access. But don’t let the “paid” word cloud your judgment, making you think that you’ve also purchased secure Internet access. Often times, paid Internet access packages can be as vulnerable as their free alternatives. Only use public hotspots to do things that don’t imply transferring sensitive data (credit card info, passwords, etc) or learn how to stay secure even while using public Wi-Fi.