If you're travelling on a budget, you can't really afford to fork out on expensive hotel extras like Wi-Fi, but that doesn't mean you don't need to stay connected when you're away from home. Internet charges in some hotels can add a significant cost to your bill, but there are several ways you can connect for free. Find out more here.
Join hotel loyalty schemes
Hotel loyalty schemes offer several benefits, ranging from discounted room rates to guaranteed availability of rooms, and some chains also offer discounted or free Wi-Fi for regular guests. It's a good idea to sign up before you travel, as you sometimes need to quote your membership number when you make the booking in order to take advantage of these Wi-Fi offers. You should also take your membership card with you when you travel too, as hotel staff members often need to see this to activate your free Wi-Fi.
Use your phone as a hotspot
Many smartphones now allow you to use the device as a personal hotspot, which means you can connect your computer to the Internet using your smartphone. With a personal hotspot, you can connect to the Internet at any time, as long as you have a 3G or 4G signal on your phone, and password encryption means you can stop anyone else using the connection.
When you connect to the Internet in this way, you'll use up your monthly data allowance quicker, so you may want to use your phone sparingly if you have limited data built into your tariff. The battery life on some smartphones will also drain more quickly when used as a hotspot, so it's a good idea to connect the power when you use your handset in this way.
Connect in public areas
While some hotels charge for a day's access to their Wi-Fi, there are often concessions that allow you to use the connection for short periods or in public parts of the building. For example, many hotels offer free Wi-Fi in the bar or restaurant, as they hope this will encourage guests to spend money on food or drink, but this is also a great way to save money on the Wi-Fi.
Hotels often offer different Wi-Fi connections, and it's important to remember that free or public networks are not always as powerful as the paid ones. This doesn't matter if you just want to read your emails or check a basic website, but if you want to download or stream files, these connections may not have enough bandwidth.
Book and pay ahead of your arrival
When shopping around to get the best deal on your hotel room rates, it's a good idea to think about the extras like breakfast and Wi-Fi. Some hotels offer special deals or discounted rates that include free Wi-Fi, as long as you book online and pay in advance.
You can't normally cancel or amend these reservations, so don't choose this option if you cannot commit to a set date. Nonetheless, if your plans aren't likely to change, pre-booking saves money on room rates and hotel extras.
Budget travellers generally still need to get online while they're away, but hotel Wi-Fi is often prohibitively expensive. Talk to a hotel accommodation specialist for more advice about ways you can save money on Wi-Fi during your next break.Share
9 May 2016
My wife is heading up to Bali for some sort of health retreat, so me and the rest of the husbands are planning our own retreat - to the coast with fishing rods and beer. Everyone relaxes in different ways, and we love to spend time together having a beer and swapping stories of the biggest fish we've ever caught. We are planning a few different spots to make the most of the time we have away from home as it's rare that we can all go on holiday together like this. You have to make the most of the opportunity!