My Favorite Free WiFi Spots
The Wifi Need
Tell me if you've heard this one before: You're out and about with your laptop, and you get a phone call that requires you to hop on your computer so you can send an email and attach a file from your computer. Or you could do all of this on your phone, if you had mobile data (or you just can't stand the idea of paying overage charges on data!).
Every now and again we end up needing a Wifi hotspot to get work done, or to take care of an urgent matter. This has happened to me in the past with a work situation that came up while I was on vacation. I was in a motel with no Wifi at the time, a laptop that can do practically nothing without said Wifi, and a throbbing headache taking over my supposed vacation.
I learned from that moment to always be prepared for such a situation, and I'd like to share some thoughts.
Freedompop Wifi Hotspot
Some Options for You Techies - Freedompop
If you're a techie, you're probably laughing at the idea of being separated from civilization and a decent wireless connection. If you really need to have a wireless connection at all costs, then there are a couple easy options that come to mind:
- Freedompop Hotspot. If you've never come across the Freedompop, think of a carry-on personal Wifi hotspot. You normally would pay about $50 for the wireless hotspot, and then there are a multitude of plans depending on how much data you expect to use. As of today, Freedompop still offers 200MB of free monthly service with the device, which is enough for emergency use, or just checking email and sending text messages using apps. For power users, you can get 2GB or more data and just pay per MB once you've gone over your monthly allotment. Two things I love about Freedompop: There's a current promotion where you can get a refurbished Freedompop Hotspot for free if you try out their premium service for 1 month (also free). Just cancel before the first month is done and downgrade to the 200MB free plan. Also, you can set a hard data cap so you won't deal with overages at all.
Freedompop Free Wireless Service
For You Techies - Cell Phone Hotspot
Whereas the Freedompop gives you a Wifi connection that you can access with a laptop or cell phone, you also could have the option of turning your cell phone into a Wifi hotspot.
Depending on your carrier and your phone, you are usually able to add Hotspot service for a monthly fee on your cell phone which you can use to connect a laptop when you're on the road. A couple things you'll want to be careful of are:
- Hotspot capability costs a monthly fee (typically) - I've seen $10-20/month direct from the carrier so you should only add this if you plan on getting your money's worth.
- You're using your data. Unless you are on an unlimited data plan, then you run the risk of using up your data quickly, and worse, going over your monthly plan resulting in fees.
- When you use your phone as a Hotspot, it's also going to use a lot of battery life so keep your charging cable handy.
- For some phones, you can download an app to "unlock" hotspot capability. There are dozens of articles you can Google for if you're interested.
Freedompop Hotspot for Sale
Cell Phone Hotspot
Are you using free Wifi?
Are you using free Wifi?
Before I get into my favorite free Wifi spots, I want to remind you to please be careful when you're connecting with any internet connection that is not secured. If you decide to set up either a Freedompop or cell phone hotspot, use a good secure password (not 12345678 or qwerty) to protect yourself.
If you plan on doing anything important on an unsecured internet connection, do yourself a favor and get a VPN service to give you some protection. Internet security is a subject worthy of 1,000 hubs so do some research before you really start doing work on an unsecured line.
For the love of man, please don't reveal credit card info, SSN numbers, or anything else mission crucial on an unsecured internet connection. With weekly hacks of Home Deport, JP Morgan, Target, etc, it's tough enough as it is to protect your info. Don't make yourself even more vulnerable to attack.
Getting Free Wifi
My Favorite Free Wifi Hotspots
While I do some writing from the convenience of home, I also find it useful to type from more dynamic environments, and for that, I need Wifi! So here are some of my favorite spots when I need a good, solid wireless internet connection:
- Starbucks - I know, shocking right? If you've been reading any of my hubs you probably already have pictured DealForALiving sipping a pumpkin spice latte and tapping into free Wifi at Starbucks. The wireless connection is fast enough for more productive uses like streaming video, playing casual games, and getting work done. It's free, but unsecured, so be careful and use a VPN or other security measures.
- Dunkin Donuts - The other day when I went to Dunkin Donuts 2 towns over, I saw a sign saying that they offered free Wifi. And it was good Wifi! Maybe it's because not all locations offer the free wireless connection, or that people generally go to Dunkin for doughnuts, but I swear I had the Wifi all to myself, and it was speedy.
- McDonald's - Snicker all you want, I didn't get a Big Mac or a double cheeseburger. I grabbed a cup of $1 coffee and was surprised at how good the wireless connection was at McD's. It was plenty fast for email, and sending some texts by app so I can't ask for more for free.
- Coffee shops in general - Maybe because of the aforementioned, I've noticed that most of my local coffee shops offer free wireless internet. It is good to have Wifi when sipping some Joe.
- Certain restaurants - If you're sitting in a restaurant and realize you need Wifi to upload your latest food pic to Yelp or your Facebook page, ask the restaurant if they offer free wireless internet.
Free Wifi Sign
Wifi Love Letter
As someone who's almost always connected, it's important that I'm near Wifi whenever possible. What if I get a great idea for a hub and I want to write it and upload it in one sitting?
Or when a friend asks me to send a series of photos by picture message and I'm low on data?
I turn to you, Wifi, and I thank you for bailing me out so many times. Take care of my new friends on Hubpages. Good luck and godspeed.
I believe that being frugal and making smart money choices is like any other exercise. As we continue to practice good habits in saving money where possible, finding deals for what we want, and having a good time at it, then we become better at dealing for a living.
I'm committed to sharing my experiences with getting the most out of using credit cards, saving and spending tips, and I might even add a slice of perspective without trying to be a psychoanalyst like some other personal finance folks out there.
Please let me know what you think and if you'd like to hear my take on a specific topic.