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Wifi and Travel

By June 4, 2009

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Technology and worldwide fiber internet provisions just aren't keeping up with what I want, which is (of course) free wifi everywhere. That perfect world aside, I could live with a steady source of internet besides going over-the-top geeked with a satellite phone, and have subsequently tried air cards (plug into USB ports and enable wireless internationally, but soooo expensive) to try to avoid the whole wifi-search thing, and I'm thinking I've got to find a serious solution that'll solve it all, a la Skype, eventually.

I'm in Australia now, and had forgotten that though finding the wifi's a snap here, finding *free* wifi is nigh near impossible. Most hostels subscribe to Global Gossip, an Aussie (and NZ and UK) thing that's cool if you do want to pay to play, as credit purchased is good anywhere you can find a Global Gossip internet station. That got spendy last time I was down under, and this time I'm hoping to fare a bit better with finding those often elusive free waves. I'll let you know.

Some of the adventures in wifi I hear about from other travelers would be downright comical if they weren't such accurate depictions of the frustration involved with working online for a living while beating international streets. My own wifi woes are often fairly funny to me in retrospect, and as I contemplate a possibly wifi-less existence while here in Oz, I'm wryly reminiscing about previous expensive and hassle-ful travails in traveling wifi-seeking. Some of the most exasperating events occurred in some of the world's more expensive cities, too: I'm thinking, for instance, of finally paying 24 an hour (wifi wall of shame!) in Lucerne after searching what felt like half the town on a dark and snowy night; furtively skulking behind potted plants with laptop under my overcoat in an upscale London lobby while the hotel's techie expert peered around, looking for the thief currently kyping their wifi (my own London hostel wanted $8/day for wifi); wandering untold kilometers through Europe's largest cities with wifi finder in hand (and prior to getting that gadget, with open laptop held out like an offering to the geek gods, watching for the free signal sign. And the entire Eastern coast of Australia seems devoid of free wifi signals. Believe me: I drove it, laptop open on the seat, finally camping in a kids' library to brazenly hog the only internet in 20 square miles somewhere around Mallacoota.

Some compilings of current wifi ways and means for travelers below (and if you've got an international portable wifi solution (that actually works) for less than a small fortune, let's hear about it!

June 5, 2009 at 7:34 am
(1) Susan says:

I feel your frustration! Why isn’t the whole world wi-fi’d already for free?!

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