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Finding Free WiFi

Rather than sit and program in a dingy hotel room all day, it is nice to get out to libraries and cafes that offer free wireless Internet (“wifi”) to enjoy the atmosphere, chat with local people, and keep the non-programming member of the household (that would be me) out of trouble while the programming member is getting his work done. The trick, of course, is how to find free wifi.

We have just added a “Free WiFi Finders” section to our sidebar to list our favourite free wifi resources. These are all sites that we use ourselves, and we hope you find them as useful as we do.

Free WiFi Directories

  • AnchorFree uses a zoomable map to list Free WiFi all over the world. (INTERNATIONAL)
  • gWiFi.net primarily lists wifi spots in NYC, but you can add other locations to their system, too. (NYC)
  • OpenWifiSpots is one of the two most comprehensive free wifi directory we’ve found for the US so far. It is searchable by address or by zip code. (USA)
  • Free wi-fi hotspots is another global directory, with comprehensive US listings, too. It lists hotspots by state / city or international region. (INTERNATIONAL / USA)

Wifi Coffee Shop Directories

Keeping these directories up-to-date relies on the volunteer efforts of people all over the world. A great way to give back to the wifi community and to help the independent businesses in your area is to make sure that all of your favourite wifi providers are listed. (If you can’t find your favourite places, send in their information using the submission forms.) While we’ve been in Sturbridge, MA, we have submitted the information for the Sturbridge Coffee House and the Old Sturbridge Village Cafe.

We’ll keep updating our list as we test more wifi directories if a site isn’t listed that you like to use, please let us know!

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1 Kathy Maister { 08.14.08 at 3:09 pm }

Thanks for the great list! This post is most defiantly getting bookmarked!
It infuriates the heck out of me when my husband and I are both traveling with computers and the hotel room bills you for each computer. The Ritz Hotel in London is the worst offender we have experience yet. 25 pounds/day/computer is totally insane!

2 Shaula { 08.14.08 at 3:16 pm }

Wow, Kathy, I’ve never been billed for each computer before. (We’d go broke fast in this family!)

Ironically, I’ve found that the cheapest hotels (/motels) have the most generous Internet access, and it is higher-end places that try to nickle and dime us.

The last time we were in Montreal visiting Justin, the Internet access in the (medium-tier) hotel we stayed at was absolutely horrible. I was on the phone one night from 11 pm until 3 am trying to troubleshoot their service. When I finally got off the phone I wanted to bill them for my time! (No luck, though.) And the next night, the same thing happened all over again.

(Clearly the fancy hotels need a few wall to wall counseling sessions with David to understand client-centric service!)

Hotels that cater to business travelers must be starting to understand that free, reliable Internet access is quickly transforming from a competitive perk to an non-negotiable service necessity.

At least we can hope so!

3 Neil { 08.14.08 at 3:28 pm }

Ouch, Kathy, I feel your pain.

On a recent trip at a Hyatt, one of my co-workers got billed twice for checking his email on his laptop and his blackberry. He got it taken off, but I have issues with anybody who would nickel-and-dime their customers like that. Once you have the components installed, WiFi doesn’t really cost anything to run. And it certainly doesn’t cost you more based on how many machines connect to it. Charging for WiFi is sort of like charging for tap water.

4 Neil { 08.14.08 at 7:52 pm }

Kathy, our page is at your service. . . no matter how defiantly you bookmark us

5 Kathy Maister { 08.15.08 at 5:33 am }

I’m thinking I should start proof reading and spell checking my comments! :)
Nah!!! That’s “definitely” no fun!

6 Neil { 08.16.08 at 3:25 pm }

Spell-checking is overrated. It’s much more interesting to get a Freudian glimpse of your dark side

7 Erica Johansson { 08.24.08 at 10:22 am }

I just found this list. Thanks! This is so helpful.
Kathy, I agree. £25 per day is insane! I had a similar experience at another London hotel, there they charged £20 for a day. That’s just too much! I love checking into a hotel and discover they offer free wi-fi throughout the building and in all rooms – that makes my day!

8 Neil { 08.24.08 at 11:33 am }

We’ve started asking, specifically—especially since the hotel that advertised free wifi, and it turned out to be only if you were sitting by the pool.

Since I’m working from wherever we are, internet in the room (doesn’t have to be wifi, but it has to connect) is critical. It still seems new, some places; the instructions sometimes tell you how to plug your laptop into the data port in the phone…

9 Shaula { 08.27.08 at 10:29 pm }

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Erica.

You’ve got a great looking travel blog!

10 Nesher { 09.05.08 at 2:52 am }

Thank you for your article submission to the 2nd addition of the Free the Internet Blog Carnival. Edition was published today and can be accessed through the link:

Appreciate your valuable addition!
Have a good weekend!

2 Trackbacks/Pings

1 Festival of Frugality No. 139: The Michael Phelps Edition | Our Fourpence Worth { 08.19.08 at 8:08 am }

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2 Free the Internet - September 5, 2008 - 2nd Ed. | FREE LOAN LAWYER { 11.14.08 at 5:16 pm }

[…] presents Finding Free WiFi posted at Your Mileage May Vary, saying, “Our favorite free online directories for finding […]