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Working while traveling -- wifi availability question

Working while traveling -- wifi availability question

Old Feb 17th, 2011, 09:34 AM
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Working while traveling -- wifi availability question

I'm taking my kids on a 2 month trip across the U.S. with my father. We are camping and visiting a mix of private campgrounds and state or national parks.

I have two clients I do need to do some work for while I'm away (probably a total of about 15 hours a week, 5-6 of that online), and my older son does need to check in with his teacher once a week. We'll have a computer with us, but I'm a bit concerned about how much we'll be able to get online when we need to. I do not have a smartphone, I'm not sure that it's worth it to upgrade because I don't have to check email every day (ever 2nd or 3rd day is OK). The nature of my work, I can do a good chunk offline (probably in the evening after the kids go to sleep), then upload what I need to when I hit a wifi zone. But I really do not want searching for wifi zones to become a big quest on the trip. I'm not looking solely for free wifi, I can purchase time if need be. But I'm wondering how available spots are in places like the Utah parks, around Glacier, etc.

Perhaps I'm worrying unnecessarily, do you think I can reasonably find wifi on an every other day basis for an hour or so without it becoming a huge pain in planning?

Thanks for advice, I really appreciate it!
LittleDickensD is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2011, 09:45 AM
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Most public libraries have free public wifi in my part of the country. I would check (on line before you go) with the towns along the route and see if that is true where you will be going. Many coffee shops, fast food places etc. have it either free or for the price of a coffee.
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 09:59 AM
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One other point of consideration: free wi-fi is not always SECURE and you might have problems if your material is of a sensitive nature, contains financial information, or is in any way, shape or form something you wouldn't want the entire free world to read. If this is a concern, be proactive and invest in really good security software.
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 10:26 AM
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Thanks Aliska, fortunately the information is not sensitive. It's actually some online blogging and other social media work. So, it's very much public.
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 11:26 AM
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I've traveled all over the USA and have NEVER been unable to find wi-fi (usually free) at either the place I stay or at a fast food joint. McDonalds, for instance, has free wi-fi in almost all of their restaurants -- I once spent two hours surfing the net at a McDonalds for the cost of a $1 soda (and I got free refills for the entire two hours). Many other chains do the same.

To find such places, anywhere in the world, absolutely for free and with no need to log in, check out

http://www.openwifispots.com/

BTW, if you happen to know of a free wi-fi spot that isn't listed, please add to this list. No need give any info about yourself whatsoever, just specify a spot you happen to know about. It took me just five minutes to add our city's local library as such a spot!
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 04:21 PM
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Thanks, glad to hear this. On a few car trips I've taken I've had good luck, with the crazy exception of where my dad lives in FL. I swear there is no wifi there!!! It's like an odd pocket of the world.
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 10:27 PM
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I am similar to you in that I work 10-20 hours per week as a consultant so if I'm traveling in the US it's just easier to keep working rather than take the time off. I actually LOVE having a smart phone. I can check there for messages and then only boot up the computer if I have to. It's amazing how much can wait when you can just reply to someone "I can get to that at 5:00, is that cool?".
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Old Feb 18th, 2011, 06:36 AM
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We went to Tahoe and could not get wi-fi in the rooms (only at the main lodge which in the snow was a little hard to get to). My brother suggested using his mifi which creates a mobile hotspot. It runs about $85 and has a monthly subscription fee so its not economical unless you travel alot, your company pays for it or you are going away for a few months (so it might work for you). I'm not totally up on all the tech gadgets but it might be worth doing more research.

I also found it hard to get wifi in most national parks. I remember being out of touch for 3 days in Mesa Verde right when my office really needed me (go figure). I kinda liked being that unreachable.
POlson is offline  
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