Four ways to avoid paying for hotel Wi-Fi

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by Jacqueline Lawson

While finalizing your travel arrangements, whether for business or pleasure, you want to make sure Wi-Fi is available at your hotel. Some hotels are able to offer Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel property, while others charge for connection in the room only. Why is that? Because many hotels make deals with media vendors to provide per-pay television programming inside your hotel room.

According to a recent J.D. Power & Associates study, about 55 percent of all hotel guests access the Internet during their stays — up 20 percent from 2006. About 87 percent of that group is using Wi-Fi.

If you find that your hotel does not have in-room Wi-Fi service, or you are out and about “signal searching,” check out these options.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for your next trip:

1. Tether Your Mobile Device

It’s possible to tether your 3G or 4G connection from your smartphone to your computer, but many carriers charge fees to do so. Check your service plan for additional fees; check your data plan; then, turn on your phone’s personal hotspot option, located in settings. By setting a password, you will be able to prevent other guests in nearby rooms from connecting to your hotspot.

2. Buy a Wireless Router

Although many hotels charge for Wi-Fi, some provide ethernet cables for you to use free. You can then connect your Apple AirPort Express or similar portable Wi-Fi hotspot device to send connectivity to your laptop and mobile devices.

3. Check the Lobby, Hotel Restaurant or the Pool Area

It might cost you more to access the web in your hotel room, but some places offer free Wi-Fi in common areas of the hotel. To prevent guests from using valuable bandwidth to stream media on sites such as Netflix—which also takes money away from in-room pay-per-view—hotels often restrict free Wi-Fi in rooms, but open it up to guests at no extra charge on the main floor.

4. Find Nearby Connectivity

Instantly find FREE Wi-Fi Internet hotspots wherever you are in the world online or offline!

JiWire’s Global FREE Wi-Fi app uses your iPhone’s GPS and network triangulation capabilities to locate free Wi-Fi Internet access. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.

I use a Clear HotSpot and Boingo for mobile connectivity while…out and about!

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