Looking for free Wi-Fi during your holiday travels? Here’s where to find it!

Nicole George
NG
Nicole George
Nov 1, 2018

Reconnecting with family and friends over the holidays doesn’t mean disconnecting from everyone else. Enjoy internet access over the holidays by using our holiday guide to finding free travel Wi-Fi during your journeys.

Free Wi-Fi hotspots

Most people know you can access free Wi-Fi at public locations, such as Starbucks and McDonald’s. But you can also get Wi-Fi from less typical businesses, such as Megabus and select gas stations. Plus, a variety of internet providers give customers, and even non-customers, access to their Wi-Fi hotspot network.

How to find free Wi-Fi near you

Most providers offer a Wi-Fi hotspot locator online or in their app, but if not, these free apps for iOS and Android can help you find free Wi-Fi wherever you travel:

  • WiFi FinderWiFi Finder shows you a map of public free Wi-Fi spots but also Wi-Fi that requires a password.
  • WiFi MasterWiFi Master helps you find hotspots anywhere you travel and connect to Wi-Fi networks with just one tap on the blue key in the app.
  • Osmino WiFiOsmino WiFi allows you to locate Wi-Fi hotspots around the world with Wi-Fi hotspot maps and other user reviews.

Unusual free Wi-Fi hotspots in your area

Most people think of coffee shops when trying to figure out where to get free Wi-Fi in new places. But there are plenty of interesting stores, restaurants and businesses where you can get Wi-Fi if you need to work over the holidays or get out of your in-law’s home for a couple of hours.

  • Select Kohl’s stores – Not only does free Wi-Fi help you save data as you finish last-minute holiday shopping, but sometimes your login can trigger a Kohl’s coupon.
  • Megabus buses – Although Megabus.com warns that not every bus has Wi-Fi service, many Megabus rides allow travelers to enjoy free Wi-Fi. On top of that, the Megabus RIDE app offers free movies and TV shows to watch as you commute across the country to see family.
  • Particular gas stations – A growing number of gas stations provide free Wi-Fi to drivers. For instance, Love’s travel stops offer Wi-Fi access to any rewards member and Pilot Flying J has free Wi-Fi inside every location.
  • Public parks – A variety of public parks in New York City have free Wi-Fi, but the Big Apple isn’t the only city with free, public Wi-Fi. From Mt. Etna Park in San Diego to Freedom Park in Charlotte, you can find free outdoor Wi-Fi across the country.
  • Auto maintenance stores – Various vehicle repair and maintenance stores provide free Wi-Fi to customers. While it depends on the location, chains such as AAA, Jiffy Lube, Valvoline and others offer free Wi-Fi so you can relax or work as you get your car prepped for long, holiday trips.

Free internet provider Wi-Fi hotspots in the U.S.

AT&T hotspotsAT&T offers thousands of free hotspots across the U.S. and says you don’t need a network key or password. AT&T doesn’t have a map of hotspots but encourages using a hotspot locator app to track down AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots.

Cox hotspotsCox has a network of more than 650,000 Wi-Fi hotspots for Cox customers. Even if you’re not a customer, you can log in to one of their hotspots with a free, one-hour pass. Access the Cox Wi-Fi network at any outdoor hotspot location to register for the pass, which you can use once every 30 days.

Spectrum hotspotsSpectrum provides a free WiFi Finder App for locating Spectrum Wi-Fi hotspots. If you’re a Spectrum or Time Warner Cable customer, internet access is complimentary. Guests can sign up for an Access pass for 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi usage.

Xfinity hotspots – By using the Xfinity WiFi App, Xfinity customers can access Wi-Fi hotspots all over the nation. However, guests can access the internet at certain Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots with complimentary access. Certain hotspots direct users to a “Not an Xfinity internet customer” page where you can renew complimentary sessions every two hours.

What about free Wi-Fi at airports?

Flying home for the holidays usually means time spent in airport waiting areas wishing you could hop onto free Wi-Fi. Some airports do have free Wi-Fi, and others have free internet with conditions. So, here’s a list of airports where you can find free internet over the holidays and stay connected during any layover.

Alaska

  • Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)


Arizona

  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)


California

  • John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA)
  • Long Beach Airport (LGB)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK)
  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • San Jose International Airport (SJC)


Colorado

  • Denver International Airport (DEN)


Connecticut

  • Hartford-Bradley International Airport (BDL)


Florida

  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA)


Georgia

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)


Hawaii

  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)


Illinois

  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)


Indiana

  • Indianapolis International Airport (IND)


Louisiana

  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)


Maryland

  • Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)


Massachusetts

  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)


Michigan

  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)

Minnesota

  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)


Missouri

  • Kansas City International Airport (MCI)


Nevada

  • McCarran International Airport (LAS)


New Jersey

  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)


New York

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA)


North Carolina

  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)


Ohio

  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
  • Port Columbus International Airport (CMH)


Oregon

  • Portland International Airport (PDX)


Pennsylvania

  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)


Tennessee

  • Nashville International Airport (BNA)


Texas

  • Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL)
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • San Antonio Airport (SAT)
  • William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)


Utah

  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)


Washington

  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)


Washington D.C.

  • Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Reagan National Airport (DCA)

U.S. airports with free Wi-Fi access by state

Most of the airports listed above give people free, unlimited Wi-Fi access, but some of them provide a limited amount of free internet access. For instance, Austin-Bergstrom International, Minneapolis/St. Paul International and Raleigh-Durham International offer 45 minutes of free Wi-Fi, and you must pay for premium internet access.

Which airports have the fastest Wi-Fi?

If speed is what you need while waiting around in the airport, Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) has the fastest Wi-Fi network among the 51 largest airports in the U.S. and Canada, according to a study by Speedtest.net.

With a mean download speed of 145.12 Mbps, Honolulu’s airport Wi-Fi was 37.5% faster than second-place winner Chicago Midway. In third place was Washington state’s Sea-Tac airport with Nashville International and Phoenix Sky Harbor rounding out the top five.

What if an airport doesn’t offer free Wi-Fi?

Airports that don’t have free Wi-Fi often use Boingo to power premium Wi-Fi. But, if you have home Wi-Fi service with Spectrum or have a specific AMEX credit card, you may be able to access Boingo for free.

Now that you know where you can enjoy free travel Wi-Fi while on the road this holiday season, you can maximize your internet connection during every pit stop, layover and last-minute shopping trip.

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