As a freelancer, I’m always on the move, meeting clients in coffee shops or hotels, working remotely from an office or traveling through airports and railway stations on a regular basis. Needless to say – I need wifi access for a huge percentage of my day!
It used to be a worrying prospect, concerned that I wouldn’t be hooked up to the internet unless I spent out a fortune on a whizzy mobile phone and iPad contract to keep me connected as I traveled with my work.
But, I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
My iPhone is now almost 4 years old, I haven’t upgraded to a £50/month contract or a new model, my current one works perfectly for what I need and I use a “pay monthly” sim at just £15/month to keep me ticking over. And my iPad?… I bought myself an iPad mini a while back, with the WiFi only option and I’ve never struggled or cursed it for not having a monthly 3G option, there’s wifi access everywhere!
And you know what? I haven’t noticed any difference whatsoever, as I can connect to WiFi in pretty much any venue across the world so far. Most airports, bars, coffee shops, hotels, pubs, restaurants, even buses and town centres have wifi options open to you and it doesn’t need to cost you a pretty penny to connect these days – this is great news for freelancers looking to cut back on their spending!
I’ve even recently sat in an ice cream parlour in the swamplands of Florida and connected to Twitter for a catch up whilst I licked my way through a strawberry & vanilla cheesecake waffle cone – amazing. My clients may have thought I was sat at an office desk, suited & booted, but I was multi-tasking in sweet-treated style, enjoying the free WiFi access as I licked.
So here a few top tips on finding free WiFi as you work on the road:
Yep, most coffee shops and restaurants now have free WiFi access for patrons, but be sure to purchase some goods and not just camp for free. Taking a table up with your traveling office is simply bad etiquette when not making any purchases and some coffee shops now only print WiFi codes and even toilet access codes on their printed customer receipts. Some even change the code every hour of the day to ensure that you don’t simply buy one coffee and stay all day, so be prepared to spend a few bucks to show good business etiquette.
Some In-Flight internet providers give you access to air-to-ground WiFi access, so if you are a frequent traveler, it’s worth finding out who the internet providers are for your flights and looking into saving some money on a package deal before jetting away.
Public Transport Links
Taking the bus or train doesn’t seem so bad when you realise how much money you could save on travel WHILST getting a shed load of work done as you go… WiFi, not always free admittedly, is available and a suitable enough connection for connecting with clients as I have moved with both Megabus and East Coast trains.
You may not be staying for long, perhaps you are visiting your local hotel for a networking event or a client meeting, but most hotels now have a basic WiFi connection for you to check your emails whilst visiting. When checking into a hotel room for the night, one of the first things I do is connect to the WiFi, terrible really, but so simple to do in most hotels or B&Bs around the world.
Not only do most museums have WiFi access nowadays, they also have great coffee shops and restaurants – The Fitzwilliam in Cambridge for example. This is a great place to enjoy a relaxed client meeting, taking in some culture as you pass through the halls to your meeting place!
Nobody quite understands this mysterious cloud floating in the sky, providing free WiFi as it goes, but it’s out there… in 1000’s of hotspots across the UK! This is free to access for iPhone users, or you can pay a monthly fee to access it as you go, it comes in very handy when there are no WiFi spots to hand and will connect you to emails or social media easy enough as you move.
Some venues will be password protected to ensure that they don’t have people camping outside, taking liberties. But, if you ask the venue owners politely, they may just allow you to connect if you aren’t going to abuse this provision. So, next time you are on the road, try the WiFi test and see where you can get connected, you might just be pleasantly surprised!
Have you been surprised as to where you can connect to free WiFi on your travels?
Do you have any top tips on saving money when it comes to internet/WiFi connections?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below.
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