It's not hard to find free Wi-Fi as long as you're not staying at a hotel. How many times have these annoying series of events played out for you? After a long day of traveling, you finally make it to your hotel. All you want to do is go to your room, kick off your shoes and check your email, surf the net or watch a movie on your laptop.

When you get there, you're relieved to see a strong Wi-Fi signal in your room so you log on, but rather than bouncing straight to the net, you see pricing options. You don't need 24 hours of Wi-Fi since you'll be asleep for most of it, so paying $10 to $15 for a few hours of service doesn't seem cost effective to you. You could use your phone, but the screen is too small for your tired eyes. Having to pay for Wi-Fi at a hotel seems contrary to the idea of true hospitality, but fortunately there are ways around the charge.

Head Downstairs
Wi-Fi may come with a price when you're in your room, but in the lobby, bar and other common areas it may be free. Much like other restaurants, setting up an environment for business lunches and dinners encourages more traffic to the restaurant, making Wi-Fi a necessity since other restaurants close by are likely to offer the service free-of-charge. Head downstairs with your laptop or tablet and you'll likely find a connection.

Most cell phone carriers provide an option to use your cell phone as a hotspot that provides connectivity to your tablet or laptop. Newer phones allow for a wireless connection that requires only a password.

The downside is that tethering will cost money. In order to use the option, you'll have to enable it with your cell service provider. If you're not a frequent traveler, paying the fee for hotel service may be cheaper than paying for the tethering service, even for a month or less.

Rent an Aircard
If you are a person who travels frequently, an aircard provides a connection to the Internet regardless of where you are. Unless you travel frequently, paying $35 or more each month for the card isn't cost-effective. To solve this problem, some companies allow you to rent an aircard for around $6 per day. With some hotels charging $9.95 or more each day for Internet service, renting an aircard is not only cheaper, but it allows you to take it with you, ensuring service anywhere you go while traveling.

Loyalty Has Privileges
Even if you don't travel many times a year, try to remain loyal to the same hotel chain. Just as airlines have frequent flyer programs, hotels have similar loyalty programs that come with privileges as you amass more points. Often one of the perks that come with even the lowest levels is free Wi-Fi. Sometimes just being a member of their loyalty program is enough to earn the privilege regardless of how infrequently you book a reservation. Having your contact information for advertising is more valuable than charging you for Wi-Fi.

Just Ask
Hotels are in the hospitality business and they know that saying no to a customer is bad for business. Rather than complaining about the fact that even fast food restaurants offer free Wi-Fi, politely ask if they can provide the service free to you. If you're a frequent guest, they'll likely say yes and if they do say no, they'll probably help you find a way to get connected free-of-charge.

Become a Hacker?
There are numerous Internet sites that tell you how to work around the hotel Wi-Fi system to obtain free service, but it's unethical. You may have to make changes to your computer that could cause you to lose connectivity even when you leave the hotel. The network settings in your computer aren't easy to navigate if you aren't an IT professional. Instead of trying to steal a hotel service, pay the fee or go without it for a night.

The Bottom Line
Although a hotel may charge $10 or more for 24 hours of Internet service, there are ways to avoid paying the fee. If it's not available for free in its restaurant, consider eating at a nearby restaurant or go without connectivity for a night. It wasn't too long ago that people found a way to live a prosperous life without a constant connection to the Internet.

Related Articles
  1. Economics

    Explaining Cost Control

    For a business, cost control entails managing and reducing expenses.
  2. Savings

    Best Places To Exchange Currency In Miami

    Miami may be a 24-hour party, but it takes plenty of cash to get in the groove. Here's where to exchange foreign currency before you head for South Beach.
  3. Insurance

    5 Ways to Lower Life Insurance Premiums

    Learn several effective methods for lowering life insurance premiums. These include quitting smoking and considering term life insurance.
  4. Budgeting

    The 7 Best Ways to Get Out of Debt

    Obtain information on how to put together and execute a plan to get out of debt, including the various steps and methods people use to become debt-free.
  5. Savings

    Best Places to Exchange Currency in Chicago

    Whether you're leaving the Windy City or arriving with a stack of foreign cash, these are your best bets for currency exchange.
  6. Personal Finance

    Worthwhile Rental Websites (Besides Airbnb)

    The world is your accommodations oyster, thanks to a host of new vacation-geared platforms.
  7. Savings

    Traveling Abroad? Get the Best Exchange Rates

    When you exchange currencies, here’s how to make sure you are getting top value on the trade.
  8. Economics

    Understanding Switching Costs

    Consumers incur switching costs when they receive a monetary or other type of penalty for changing a supplier, brand or product.
  9. Investing

    What’s Holding Back the U.S. Consumer

    Even as job growth has surged and gasoline prices have plunged, U.S. consumers are proving slow to respond and repair their overextended balance sheets.
  10. Economics

    Explaining Market Penetration

    Market penetration is the measure of how much a good or service is being used within a total potential market.
  1. Cost Accounting

    A type of accounting process that aims to capture a company's ...
  2. Internal Rate Of Return - IRR

    A metric used in capital budgeting measuring the profitability ...
  3. Duty Free

    Goods that international travelers can purchase without paying ...
  4. Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)

    These are consumer goods products that sell quickly at relatively ...
  5. Debt Consolidation

    The act of combining several loans or liabilities into one loan. ...
  6. Personal Spending Plan

    Similar to a budget, a personal spending plan helps outline where ...
  1. What does marginal utility tell us about consumer choice?

    In microeconomics, utility represents a way to relate the amount of goods consumed to the amount of happiness or satisfaction ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are some common ways product differentiation is achieved?

    There are many ways to achieve product differentiation, some more common than others. Horizontal Differentiation Horizontal ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What role does the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) play in the finished product?

    Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) do not typically play much of direct role in determining the finished product. However, ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and a VAR ...

    An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is a company that manufactures a basic product or a component product, such as a ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Is the retail sector also affected by seasonal factors?

    Generally speaking, the retail sector is highly seasonal. Almost invariably, sales in the retail sector are highest in the ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!