How to Get Wi-Fi When You’re Traveling

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It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling for business or pleasure — not having Wi-Fi is a major travel woe. Follow these tips to make sure you’re connected on your next big adventure.

Smartphone Hotspot Tethering

Even in many developing countries, smartphones are a common accessory and cell phone service is surprisingly reliable. If you have a smartphone with International capability, change out your SIM card for a local carrier. Then simply prepay for a data plan, and you are all set with Internet access on your mobile device.

Want to extend your Wi-Fi capability to your laptop? Whenever you’re in an area that has 3G or 4G available, you can turn your phone into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Here’s how:

  • Go to your phone’s settings
  • Turn on your personal hotspot to share your phone’s Internet connection
  • Find the network on your laptop and connect to the Internet

Make sure to keep your network password-protected, so you have the connection all to yourself.

MiFi Global Hotspot

If you need something a bit more powerful than your phone, you can now carry your own high-speed Wi-Fi router with you. MiFi from Novatel Wireless has everything from super-portable USB sticks to ultra-light hotspots that can connect up to 20 devices.

Need something small and compact for personal use? The MiFi 4G LTE global USB modem has you covered. This tiny piece of tech allows you to plug in and get connected in over 200 countries without the need for batteries, extra parts, passwords or international adapters.

If you want to connect multiple devices on the go, the MiFi Dragon might be more your speed. It weighs just 4.74 ounces and uses 4G LTE signals to create one of the fastest mobile hotspots on the market. You can connect up to 15 devices and the battery lasts for 10 hours. You can track your signal, battery power and data usage with the MiFi app on your mobile device.

Apps

If you have an Android device, the Wi-Fi analyzer app will display the Wi-Fi channels around you and help you find the least crowded ones for your wireless router, so you can achieve maximize speed and connectivity.

Free WiFi Map for the iPhone is a useful tool for finding free and password-protected Wi-Fi spots. It identifies your current location and then shows you available Wi-Fi connections in your area. The locations are marked on a map, so even if it’s your first day in the area, you’ll be able to find a reliable connection. The app also allows users to write reviews, so you can learn about the quality of the network from previous visitors.

Free WiFi Finder is another iPhone app that lets you know about the nearest free WiFi spots. This one is integrated with Google Maps, so it indicates your location and estimates the distance multiple locations with precise accuracy.

Find a Free Reliable Connection

Before you even book your trip, look at the amenities for the hotel you’re staying in to make sure it has Wi-Fi available. It’s the best way to guarantee you’ll have Internet access whenever you want it.

Coffee shops are also known for having reliable Internet connections. Starbucks can be found all over the world and most are equipped with free Wi-Fi.

Many big cities, including Taipei, Tel Aviv and New York City, now have hundreds of free hotspots in public buildings, city squares and even buses and subway stations. Check to see if where you are headed has public hotspots where you can plug in on the go.