Free Wi-Fi networks can be a blessing—or a curse, depending on how you use it.
Imagine you’re traveling for a bit, and you have work to catch up on. Naturally, roaming is expensive anywhere, so are local data plans. So, your best bet becomes your hotel Wi-Fi—which is free public Wi-Fi.
Are you not going to be staying at a hotel? Walk into any coffee shop, and you’ll get a couple of free connections! The great thing about this is that free Wi-Fi networks mean that you can work from any corner of the world. The bad thing? Well, free Wi-Fi networks are pretty insecure.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from free Wi-Fi networks in public spaces, get your work done, or catch an excellent movie while you’re enjoying a nice, hot cup of coffee alone in a new exotic town.
In this article, we’re going to be talking about two things: where to find free Wi-Fi networks in your neighborhood and how to use it securely without risking your data getting hacked into or stolen.
Let’s start with the latter!
How to use public Wi-Fi without compromising your online security
We’ve already talked about it, but public Wi-Fis are the most insecure network connections. This is because smart hackers can get into your information while you’re connected to their ‘free public Wi-Fi networks.’ However, you can do a couple of things to use the connection without having your security compromised.
First of all, make sure that you’re using a reputable network connection. For example, free Wi-Fi networks offered by an educational institution or a reputed company are far better off than opting for a super shady ‘Levy’s free Wi-Fi.’
The second thing you can do is create a separate, spare email address for logging into these free public Wi-Fi points. This helps because you won’t have to use your actual, active email address for signups and can protect it from getting added to email lists.
Next, when visiting websites when using a public connection, make sure that you’re only opting for secure domains; for HTTPS—the S is important. The S, for secure, shows that the connection between your device and the website server is secure and encrypted.
Finally, if you’re looking for a proper one-stop-shop security solution, the best option you can go for is a USA VPN. This will help you spoof your location to a server in the USA and let you surf the internet anonymously and privately. Another benefit of using a USA VPN instead of others is because you can also enjoy the added benefit of being able to unblock websites that are blocked in your country—because come on, there is a greater chance of a library or website being available in the USA than the rest of the world.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into where to find these free Wi-Fi connections.
5 international chains offering free Wi-Fi
Here are five international chains you can find in your neighborhood in most parts of the world.
Love your morning coffee? How about some catching up with friends and family online while you’re enjoying your morning cuppa? The good thing is that Starbucks offers a pretty fast Wi-Fi connection.
The cheapest coffee you can find at Starbucks costs $2, which means for $2, you can your caffeine fix, you can watch a movie, catch up on meetings, submit deliverables, get up to date with everything that’s going on at work while you’re traveling.
It sounds like a super awesome deal, doesn’t it? We think so too!
Don’t feel like coffee? That’s okay! How about a delicious lunch + Wi-Fi deal? At McDonald’s, you can get something for as little as $1 to munch on while you use their Wi-Fi connection to do work, entertain yourself, or do anything that you want to do.
The best part is that the internet connection is super speedy, and McDonald’s is never terribly crowded, so if you’re looking for some peace, a good meal with a fast internet connection, Mcdonald’s is the place to go.
Here’s the thing with Subway—not all of the franchises come with free Wi-Fi. What makes them worth checking out is that you’ll find a franchise in even remote and far-off locations, including smaller towns.
So, if you’re traveling through a rural area, you’ll likely find a franchise. If it does come with a free Wi-Fi, you can have a cookie, a sub, or a salad with your free internet connection, making it an affordable and healthy option.
Want to shop for groceries and check your emails while you walk the isles? Kroger is a good option! Even though they have most of their stores in the US, you can also find them in some other world locations.
What makes Kroger unique is that they have seating for customers right out their front door, so if you want to sit and use the internet, you can!
Just like Kroger, Walmart has seating outside their front doors. While their Wi-Fi is only for paying customers, the checkout lane is filled with inexpensive items that you can buy to get access to their free internet. The best part? Walmart is available in several different countries worldwide, and you’re more than likely to find one in your neighborhood.
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