Ways to Save Money

Want Free Wi-Fi? Here’s Where to Find It

November 18, 2015
by Nicole Dieker
Contributor

A lot of us rely on Wi-Fi, whether we’re working from home or out and about. But where do you go if you need Wi-Fi and don’t want to pay extra for it?

Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar lists 19 places to find free Wi-Fi. And you probably have at least one of these places near your home.

These free Wi-Fi spots might not take the place of your home modem, but they’ll provide you with a quick Wi-Fi fix when you’re out.

Libraries, Museums and Parks

Let’s start with the truly free Wi-Fi spots; the places where you are most likely to get a connection without also having to buy something. Here’s where you should go:

  • Public libraries: Your local public library will nearly always have a free Wi-Fi connection. You may be required to take out a library card to get the password or code.
  • Museums: Check your local museums to see if they offer free Wi-Fi. If the museum has Wi-Fi but also charges for admission, remember you can always duck into the lobby for a quick, free email check.
  • Hotels: Some hotels offer free Wi-Fi in the lobby, no doubt for busy travelers who need to check in with the office right away. Hotels change their Wi-Fi policies often, but use this list to see if there might be a free Wi-Fi spot in a hotel near you.
  • Airports: If you just need to pull up a few websites, it’s much more trouble than it’s worth to go all the way to the airport for a little free Wi-Fi. However, a lot of airports have added complimentary Wi-Fi to their list of amenities. If you’re flying out of town, check this list to see if your airport’s Wi-Fi is free.

Starbucks, Target and Apple Stores

Hamm notes many businesses offer free Wi-Fi to customers.

If you’re going into a Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Panera Bread, McDonalds or Buffalo Wild Wings, be prepared to buy something. (These restaurants do not guarantee free Wi-Fi at all locations. Check before you go!)

There are also a few stores where you might be able to get away with using the Wi-Fi without making a purchase:

  • Target: Target offers free Wi-Fi, so consider wandering the store for a while as you check your email. (Just avoid those impulse buys!)
  • Best Buy: Another huge chain store where you can duck in and use the free Wi-Fi without buying anything.
  • Apple Store: Apple Stores have free Wi-Fi, and they’re often located in shopping malls, which means you might be able to sit on a bench outside the store and pick up their signal. As Hamm explains, “I often sit outside these stores and access the wireless; they seem not to mind (or even notice) inside the store.”

The next time you’re away from home, don’t pay for Wi-Fi — use one of these spots and connect for free.

Want the full list of free Wi-Fi spots? Read Trent Hamm’s story at The Simple Dollar.

Your Turn: Where do you like to go for free Wi-Fi?

Nicole Dieker is a freelance writer focusing on personal finance and personal stories. Her work has appeared in The Billfold, The Toast, Yearbook Office, The Write Life and Boing Boing.

by Nicole Dieker
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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