Finding wifi on the road is a pain in the ass. You waste half your day wandering from cafe to cafe sipping 3€ lattes while you try to upload that one hilarious picture of yourself in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Looking for “free” travel wifi is infuriating, inefficient, and oddly kind of expensive.
Don’t waste your precious vacation time begging for wifi passwords like Oliver Twist. Hack the matrix, fellow traveler. Here are 14 ways to find free travel wifi that actually works.
Free Travel Wifi Apps
The easiest way to find free wifi is with your phone. Duh, right? Well, if you don’t have a great T-Mobile travel plan, and don’t want overages, you can’t use your phone plan the whole trip. If you need to download a few larger files or actually get some work done, wifi is still your best option.
Download WifiFinder: Offline Maps of Wifi, Yelp, and Foursquare and let the supercomputer in your pocket find it for you.
This app finds wifi. Sounds simple enough, but there are a lot of “free travel wifi” apps out there, and they are not created equal. Wifi Finder lets you download offline wifi maps, check wifi connectivity and speeds, and it updates hotspots regularly so you don’t waste time tracking down old spots. This app is a solid inclusion to your “travel app folder,” especially if you know ahead of time that you’ll be in one city for a while.
I hate yelp. About 99% of the time it’s people whining about the consistency of their eggs benny, but one of the only good features about Yelp is that it can find wifi. Just type “Free Wifi” into the search bar and specify the city and country, and you’ll most likely get dozens of results. Some people even vet and compile these lists. Is it weird that someone spent hours fact checking the wifi at these places and collected that info for free? Sure. Is it helpful? Absolutely.
Here are some sample city wifi lists:
- Yelp Free Wifi New York City (Full List)
- Yelp Free Wifi San Francisco (Full List)
- I found this Free Wifi + Barcelona list in seconds.
Bonus Travel Wifi Tip: Select “$” for cheap places with wifi. If you’re fancy you can even select “outdoor seating.” Freaking Yelp…
Foursquare: Wifi Password Finder
Looking for free wifi on Foursquare functions similarly to Yelp, but with one notable exception—you can get wifi passwords. Foursquare users typically leave reviews for cafes and restaurants. If you check reviews for restaurants with free wifi, you’ll often find travel homies that have hooked you up with the password for free. No purchase required.
Foursquare isn’t a long term free travel wifi plan, but it can help you out in a pinch.
Free Travel Wifi Hacks
Sometimes you can only get free wifi for a short, set amount of time—like 15 mins. On a crappy connection, that’s only enough time to shoot of two or three emails, which almost feels more frustrating than no wifi at all.
If you want to trick the man and get around this barrier, you have to change your Mac address when time expires. If that’s too complicated, just try clearing your browser cookies and logging back in. A lot of the time, that will work. Click to continue…