Where to get free wi-fi when travelling Money tip #193

1 min Read Published: 27 Aug 2012

These days wi-fi internet access is more a necessity than luxury when travelling, whether for business or private reasons having to pay extra for internet access in hotels is basically just a rip-off. However, things may be about to change as The Accor Group, which owns brands such as Ibis, Mercure, Novotel and Sofitel , have announced the end of internet charges for 500 of their properties.

This announcement is expected to result in other hotel chains following suit  in the scramble to attract customers in the highly competitive hotel market. It is difficult to provide a definitive list of hotel groups offering free wi-fi access as many have location specific policies due local competition or the cost of providing internet access.

So if you happen to stay in a hotel charging an extortionate fee for wi-fi here are some alternative ideas to get online for free.

Coffee shops

Many national and local coffee shops offer free internet access, here are details of the main brands offerings.

  • Starbucks - You no longer need a Starbucks Card and can gain free wi-fi access via btopenzone and clicking the 'connect' button. Each wi-fi session lasts 2 hours but you have unlimited sessions every day, just log on again at the end of each session
  • Costa Coffee - free wi-fi internet access provided to all customers by O2 regardless of customers mobile or  broadband supplier
  • Caffe Nero - recently announced free wi-fi for all customers provided by The Cloud (part of BSkyB Group)
Pubs and restaurants
  • JD Wetherspoons - free wi-fi access provided by The Cloud
  • Mitchells and Butler (Harvester, Toby Carvery, Vintage Inns, Browns, All Bar One and O'Neills) - free wi-fi access provided by O2 regardless of customers mobile or broadband supplier
  • Slug and Lettuce - free wi-fi access provided by The Cloud
  • McDonalds - free wi-fi access provided by either O2 or The Cloud depending on location
  • Pret A Manger - free wi-fi provided in a selection of locations provided by The Cloud

Tourist Information Centres

Not only do they often provide free wi-fi themselves they will be able point you in the direction of any free hotspots in the local area

Public Libraries

Many public libraries both in the UK and overseas offer free wi-fi access. Consult the local Tourist Information for more information.

So by using this list you will be able to save yourself  money and stay connected whilst on your travels.