Where to Get Internet Access While Traveling Internationally

When you're out of the country, it's not always easy to get Internet access. The trick is to remember a few things before you go gallivanting around to try and find a way to get online. This is especially true if you are using budget hostel accommodations, which rarely offer any sort of WiFI for your laptop. Where can you find Internet access?

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I've stayed in hostels all over Asia, and let me tell you that most of them didn't offer any kind of Internet service. Most decent places will have a few computers with access to the Internet, but you usually have to wait your turn and they are filled with viruses, so using a flash drive or CF card is inadvisable.

The first place we'd usually try is an Internet café. You can find these all over the world, and you can easily spend an hour or more online for a few dollars. Once again, it's inadvisable to use any sort of removable storage that you brought with you on these public computers. We once got a virus in Thailand that infected our CF cards, flash drives, and was very persistent. We managed to get rid of it, but not before a few networks had been compromised.

Next up are coffee shops. Just like in America, coffee shops usually offer WiFi access, for free or for a charge. If you're planning on uploading photos, this is probably the safest way to go, since you're using your own laptop to do this, not a public terminal. You can easily spend hours at a coffee shop without being hassled, especially if you spend a bit of money. I've found great coffee shops in Hong Kong, Bangkok, and all over Asia. I usually look for free WiFi access and comfortable seating. Once those criteria are met, I'm pretty happy.

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Lastly, if you're staying in a hotel, not a motel or a hostel, you can probably get WiFi access, for free or for a charge. Hotels can charge up to $15-20 a day for Internet access. You can bypass this by visiting the hotel business center, which always has a few public Internet terminals.

[images via Physorg, Jaunted, FN Travel, Center Networks]

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