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Where to find free travel Wi-Fi hotspots for your holiday journeys

BY Nicole George | Thu Nov 01, 2018
Where to find free travel Wi-Fi hotspots for your holiday journeys

Reconnecting with family and friends over the holidays doesn’t mean disconnecting from everyone else, aka you don’t have to miss out on free Wi-Fi while you travel. Enjoy internet access over the holidays by using our holiday guide to finding free travel Wi-Fi.

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 free travel 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.

If you use our tips and check out some of the Wi-Fi locations below, you’ll have no problem staying connected to the internet during your holiday vacation.

How to find free Wi-Fi near you

Whether or not an internet provider has a map of their Wi-Fi hotspots, you can track down free Wi-Fi near your location using a Wi-Fi hotspot finder on your phone. The following free apps for iOS and Android can help you find free internet wherever you travel:

  • Wi-Fi Finder FreeWi-Fi Finder Free shows you a map of free public Wi-Fi spots but also Wi-Fi that requires a password.
  • WiFi Master KeyWiFi Master Key helps you find hotspots anywhere you travel and helps you 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 buses allow travelers to enjoy free Wi-Fi. And 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 internet 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 … even if it’s a bit chilly over the holidays.
  • 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 internet so you can relax or work as you get your car prepped for long, seasonal trips.
  • London cabs – Do you get to spend Christmas across the pond? A large number of London taxis have free Wi-Fi for you to enjoy while you cruise about during your winter vacation.
  • Certain Uber and Lyft drivers – Rideshare drivers have different tactics to get good ratings and get your business. I’ve heard of free water bottles and even fresh, steamed hot dogs that riders could buy! Your driver may offer free Wi-Fi, perfect for longer late-night rides over the holidays.

 

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

AT&T hotspots – AT&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 hotspots – Cox has a network of more than 70,000 Wi-Fi hotspots for Cox customers. Even if you’re not a customer, you can log into one of their hotspots with a Free Trial, one-hour pass. Access the Cox Wi-Fi network at any outdoor hotspot location to register for the one-hour pass, which you can use once every 30 days.

Spectrum hotspots – Spectrum 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 airport Wi-Fi?

Flying home for the holidays usually means airport waiting areas and wishing you could hop onto free airport 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.

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

Alaska

  • Anchorage, Alaska (ANC)

Arizona

  • Phoenix, Arizona (PHX)

California

  • Oakland, California (OAK)
  • Los Angeles, California (LAX)
  • Sacramento, California (SMF)
  • San Diego, California (SAN)
  • San Francisco, California (SFO)
  • San Jose, California (SJC)
  • Santa Ana, California (SNA)

Colorado

  • Denver, Colorado (DEN)

Connecticut

  • Windsor Locks, Connecticut (BDL)

Florida

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL)
  • Fort Myers, Florida (RSW)
  • Miami, Florida (MIA)
  • Orlando, Florida (MCO)
  • Tampa, Florida (TPA)

Georgia

  • Atlanta, Georgia (ATL)

Illinois

  • Chicago, Illinois (ORD)

Indiana

  • Indianapolis, Indiana (IND)

Louisiana

  • New Orleans, Louisiana (MSY)

Maryland

  • Baltimore, Maryland (BWI)

Massachusetts

  • Boston, Massachusetts (BOS)

Michigan

  • Detroit, Michigan (DTW)

Minnesota

  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota (MSP)

Missouri

  • Kansas City, Missouri (MCI)

Nevada

  • Las Vegas, Nevada (LAS)

New Jersey

  • Newark, New Jersey (EWR)

New York

  • New York City, New York (JFK)
  • Queens, New York (LGA)

North Carolina

  • Charlotte, North Carolina (CLT)
  • Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina (RDU)

Ohio

  • Cincinnati, Ohio (CVG)
  • Cleveland, Ohio (CLE)
  • Columbus, Ohio (CMH)

Oregon

  • Portland, Oregon (PDX)

Pennsylvania

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PHL)
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PIT)

Tennessee

  • Nashville, Tennessee (BNA)

Texas

  • Austin, Texas (AUS)
  • Dallas, Texas (DFW)
  • Houston, Texas (IAH)
  • San Antonio, Texas (SAT)

Utah

  • Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC)

Washington

  • Seattle, Washington (SEA)

Washington D.C.

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

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.

Airport Wi-Fi with Boingo

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.

For instance, if you’re a Spectrum customer, you can sign into Boingo hotspots and enjoy free Wi-Fi as you travel through a variety of airports. If you are an eligible AMEX Card Member, you can enjoy unlimited Wi-Fi access via Boingo hotspots. If you don’t have a way to access Boingo airport Wi-Fi for free, you can still purchase internet access starting at $4.95 per hour in most airports that have Boingo.

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

Last updated 10/30/18.
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