Beating Paid Hotel Wi-Fi: The Free Cheats

Most hotels provide free Wi-Fi in public areas, such as bars, lounges, lobbies and conference centers. Sometimes, if you can get a room close to these areas (including right above and below), you can poach the free signal. Sometimes. We stayed at an Arizona resort that had free Wi-Fi at the pool (which we still don’t really understand), and our overlooking room had a gloriously strong signal. Winning! We’ve also been able to take advantage of Wi-Fi set up for conferences, but that can be tricky. Wi-Fi in conference centers is often turned off when not in use, and may require a passcode that you can usually pick up while strolling through the conference areas.

Link @ Sheraton Austin

Public areas like Link @ Sheraton offer free Wi-Fi. Nearby rooms sometimes benefit. (Photo: TravelLatte)

Many hotels also provide free in-room Wi-Fi for their club members. If you’re staying at one of their locations but don’t have status, politely asking and being honestly grateful has been known to score with friendly front desk agents. If you’re collecting points in their loyalty program, be sure you’re not trading those points for Wi-Fi – there is no reason you shouldn’t have both! If you’re not completely satisfied with your room, you may be able to parlay that into free Wi-Fi also.

Finally, hotels and resorts that host conventions, conferences and large meetings sometimes negotiate free in-room Wi-Fi for attendees. It never hurts to ask, especially if you happen to be attending said events. Likewise, some large employers and affinity groups have negotiated rates; ask if that includes in-room Wi-Fi. Sometimes the answer is – or can be turned into – yes.

Ready to Just Say No to In-Room Wi-Fi Charges? Then read on!
#1: The Free Cheats – Free Wi-Fi is out there; here are a few ideas to get it.
#2: Create Your Own Hotspot – it’s surprisingly easy and affordable to do!
#3: If You Have a Smartphone, You Have a Hotspot! (The not-so-cheap solution.)
Or go Back to the Beginning

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