Use JiWire to Find Free and Pay Wi-Fi Locations
To find a wi-fi hotspot near you or your destination, you can search JiWire's Wi-Fi Finder, which contains around 300,000 free and pay wi-fi hotspots in over 140 countries around the world.
Find a Free Wi-Fi Hotspot at a Shopping or Dining Location
If you're looking for a place to eat/drink or shop while you surf the Web for free, you can also just go directly to the wi-fi locators of the many major retail and restaurant chains that have free wi-fi. (In exchange for their free Internet access, they're getting a better chance to sell you more food, coffee, and other stuff. Fair trade, I think.) Here's a list of retailers that offer free wi-fi by category (click on the link to find a location near you):
- Barnes & Noble: complimentary wi-fi, courtesy of AT&T, at over 700 B&N bookstores in the US
- Borders Books: free wi-fi, powered by Verizon. Not available at Waldenbooks or Borders Express, however
- Biggy Coffee: Over 100 franchises in the US offering free wireless connections
- Caribou Coffee: You gotta love the description of their fast free wireless: "Faster than a speeding barista. More powerful than a double-shot of espresso."
- Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: Free 802.11g wi-fi at all neighborhood locations
- Starbucks: In the US and Canada, Starbucks customers can now get free unlimited wi-fi Internet access (no Starbucks card required or username/password needed, and no 2-hour time limit as was the case prior to July 2010). In addition, Starbucks offers wi-fi users free exclusive content from its Starbucks Digital Network.
- Big Boy: wireless locations in several states (CA, FL, MI, OH)
- Chick-fil-A: select the wireless checkbox to search locations with free Internet access
- McDonald's: over 15,000 wireless-enabled restaurants around the globe; most free but some may require fees/subscriptions
- Panera Bread: over a thousand free wi-fi and meeting room locations across the US. One of my favorite free wi-fi spots; the food is just so good!
Other major chains offer free wi-fi in select locations, such as: Burger King, Cosi, Denny's, Hooters, Subway, and Whole Foods Market. See individual locations for details.
Global Wi-Fi Hotspot Service Subscriptions
If you're a frequent traveler or a serious road warrior, you may also consider getting a paid wi-fi service plan: These services allow you to access thousands of hotspots around the world with one account.