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How to Find Hotels with Free WiFi

Last week we looked at how to find free WiFi in airports around the world, since that’s become one of the nice perks that makes a long layover a little less annoying. But let’s face it – waiting for a flight in an airport without free WiFi for a couple hours is nothing compared to the annoyance factor when you check into a hotel and find that WiFi in your room costs $15 or more per day. Your frustration is likely to be compounded if it’s a room you’re paying a pretty penny for already.

It’s one of the main gripes of tech-dependent frequent travelers these days, that high-end hotels seem to charge exorbitant rates for WiFi while budget chains are more likely to offer it for free. But using that generalization won’t necessarily help you when you’re planning a trip and booking hotels. Just picking the cheaper option isn’t a good policy for finding the ones with free WiFi.

Luckily there are a few websites out there that take the search for free WiFi in hotels very seriously, so as long as you know where to look you’ll never show up at a hotel without knowing in advance whether the WiFi is free.

Best Resources for Finding Free WiFi in Hotels

The best place to learn about what hotels offer WiFi is, in my opinion, the annual report that HotelChatter puts out. The 2010 report came out at the end of April, but you can always get to the most recent one by using their “annual hotel WiFi report” tag. What’s great about these reports is that you’ll find multiple lists – one for the best hotels for WiFi, one for the worst, one specifically for international hotels, and then one colorful and easy-to-understand chart with the data in one place. Also, it doesn’t just list what hotels offer free WiFi, but includes information on whatever WiFi options are available at each hotel chain.

The folks at TravelPost, who produce a fine guide to airport WiFi (which we listed in our earlier article), also produce a guide for WiFi in hotels. Unlike the HotelChatter list, this is one that gets continually updated so you don’t have to find the most recent report – you just know that the TravelPost list is kept up-to-date as best they can. There’s information here about whether it’s always free, what the hotel chain charges if it’s not free, and where you can expect to find coverage.

The WiFiFreeSpot site is another that was in our earlier article about airport WiFi and also has a list of hotels with WiFi, and this one is similar to TravelPost in that it’s not an annual report but just one list that gets updated. This list is a little less easy to navigate than the TravelPost one, so if you’re interested in something that’s always going to be in one place (rather than an annual report) then I’d stick with the TravelPost list.