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How much do you need wifi when you travel?

Travel Forums General Talk How much do you need wifi when you travel?

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1. Posted by teresa_m (Budding Member 3 posts) 1y

Hey there,

Just wondering about something - do you find that you need wifi when you travel? Do you usually go on trips where you specifically shut your phone off and aim to get disconnected, or do you need connectivity more because you are in a new place and you don't have much time to wander and need to know where to go. What kind of apps / websites do you use (I see that Traveller's point has a a trip planning function), and do you generally plan a trip before you go or a day at a time when on the trip?

The reason I ask is that my company has released a new app today that helps you find free Wifi. A lot of the feedback we had (when we were testing it) is that such an app could be particularly useful when travelling. I was wondering to see what your experiences are. (By the way, if you want to know what the app is, feel free to message me).

2. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2420 posts) 1y

I have never seen a WiFi finder app that was much use for anyone who goes even slightly off the beaten path.

All those apps can find are the usual well known and publicized WiFi spots, it's impossible for them to know about the tiny bar in a small town that happens to have WiFi. The well publicized WiFi spots are easy to find, lots of apps do that.

Are you claiming that your app is somehow special and good at finding WiFi in out-of-the-way locations?

Cheers,
Terry

3. Posted by simpletrippin (Budding Member 7 posts) 1y

When we traveled in Europe and Asia last summer for nine weeks, we used wifi exclusively on our iPhones since cell coverage was very expensive with our cell plan. Most of the hotels and apartments we used offered free Wifi, so the use of an app to find wifi was not necessary...although I have a couple available. I also purchased an international calling plan using Skype (about $15/mo) and used that to call home.

4. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2420 posts) 1y

The OPer is walking a narrow line doing some self promotion on the forum. She didn't post a link or spam directly so that's fine, but I'm still curious to hear an explanation how her app is different from all the other apps in finding WiFi...

Cheers,
Terry

5. Posted by teresa_m (Budding Member 3 posts) 1y

Just getting on that now!

Thanks CheersT and Simpletrippin for your replies.

A little more context about the app - one of the reasons we're confident the app will be useful is that we collect hotspot information automatically, and have been doing so with another one of our apps for 4 years. As a result, we have a very large number of hotspots in our database, from which we filter out the free ones for the new app. The other advantage is that new hotspots are added automatically, unknown hotspots are classified (as free or not free) by users, and existing hotspots are reviewed by the community, ensuring their quality.

To Simpletrippin - you bring up an interesting point about the hotels and apartments being sufficient. Did you ever try to find a cafe or a restaurant with wifi, or would you do that in a less travel+exploration context?

I am genuinely looking for feedback. As I mentioned I work on the beta-testing team, and user interviews and our own internal musings have pointed to potential uses of the app. I'm trying to confirm that what we heard and thought in a small setting occurs in a community of seasoned travellers. We are very much focused on making useful tools.

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

6. Posted by simpletrippin (Budding Member 7 posts) 1y

In the countries I've traveled: Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, UK: wifi is not hard to find. Basically, you go to a cafe/coffee shop/restaurant and look for wifi networks on your smartphone. Or, just ask the proprietor for their wifi password. Most places were happy to provide this. The only place one might use it is if you were in a new town and not sure where to start if you needed access. Then you might need a app with a location map that was pre-loaded on your device. I have a few wifi locator apps, but haven't had a need for them for the most part.

7. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2420 posts) 1y

"... one of the reasons we're confident the app will be useful is that we collect hotspot information automatically, and have been doing so with another one of our apps for 4 years..."

How are you collecting the WiFi hotspots automatically? You can't magically somehow reach out and find a backstreet bar that happens to have WiFi for their patrons, can you? Any of the apps I know simply troll the internet itself and scoop up WiFi locations that way... they don't physically find them. I'm no computer geek though so I could be completely out to lunch.

Here's a test for you... I'm in Cuba. In terms of WiFi and the Internet you'll find that Cuba is one of the least penetrated countries on the planet. That said, within a several block radius of my house here in Havana there's several WiFi locations, I'm using one right now. Can you tell me where these WiFi locations are?

Thanks for the interesting discussion, Teresa.

Cheers,
Terry

8. Posted by Azooki (Inactive 10 posts) 1y

whenever i travel i need wifi connection once in a while to update my activities like uploading pictures and videos. so if that wifi app that ur saying can detect free wifi then thats really cool.

9. Posted by robmer (Full Member 105 posts) 1y

I find wifi very useful when traveling. Simpletrippin is correct that most of the hotels offer free wifi now. But if I am not at my hotel and need a wifi connection, I use a free app that seems to work fine; however, this is not a need that I have often. Most of the time it would be in a hotel when I am planning my day. I do need wifi though because paying my carrier by the minute or data usage would create a huge cost. If I am in a car, I usually have a GPS which also has the ability to find a cafe or restaurant, so I would not need the wifi connection for that.

10. Posted by gaptraveller (Budding Member 36 posts) 1y

Most hostels will offer wifi, and you'd be surprised now how many places have access to the internet, i always find it pretty useful when i need to book a room in my next destination