How to stay connected when travelling – our growing list of free wifi and great mobile services to consider

GUIDE:
DIFFICULTY: Easy
TIME TO READ: 3 minutes
POSTED: January 16, 2017
UPDATED: April 23, 2017
LOYALTY PROGRAMS:

In today’s world, the ability to stay connected through social media, email and chat applications is becoming more desirable (or undesirable for some).

This guide collates our tips on connecting your smartphone, laptop and tablet to free wifi networks at airports, lodgings, and when you’re out and about. Feel free to add your tips in the comments below.

Free access to Telstra Air and Fon hotspots in Australia and overseas (until 27 March 2017)

Telstra’s Air network is widespread across Australia, and most Telstra customers have free access until the end of March.

During the same free period, you can also access Fon wifi hotspots in Europe, the US, South Africa, Japan, China, South Korea and some other Asian countries but make sure you read the instructions carefully before you leave Australia.

You can pick up a Telstra prepaid SIM (if you’re not an existing customer) for just $2 from most major supermarkets and Telstra stores.

Free roaming wifi for all Japan Airlines customers visiting Japan

No matter which cabin you are flying in or if you bought your ticket with cash or points, all foreign visitors travelling on Japan Airlines can get two weeks of free roaming wifi throughout Japan with two service providers, NTT East Wi-Fi and Wi2 Wi-Fi.

You need to register online prior to travel and can repeat the process to register for both services.

Residents of Japan are ineligible for this offer.

Registration link

Free wifi in Taipei

With thanks to Point Hacks reader sawlo23, we received this tip in the comments below.

Registration for Taipei Free is required either prior to arrival or at the airport or a visitors centre. It’s better to do beforehand if you have an Australian mobile number as you’ll need to activate it.

There are plenty of hotspots in the main areas of Taipei and in almost all of the MRT stations. You can search for hotspots here.

Citizens and residents of and visitors to Taipei are all eligible.

Registration link

WiFox smartphone app shares wifi networks and passwords at airports

This app has the potential to be really useful when you need to jump on email, social media or a chat application like Skype before boarding or after getting off a flight.

For example, right now, I’m sitting at Seoul’s Incheon Airport writing this guide. I am lucky enough to be in the Korean Air First Class Lounge, whose wifi network does not have a password.

However, if I were outside the lounge, my WiFox app tells me I could connect to either the airport’s free wifi network (easy) or pop myself just outside the Asiana Business Class Lounge and use the password listed.

To contribute to the community, I added the name of the Korean Air lounge’s network and the fact it does not require a password. New additions are moderated by the app’s developers.

The WiFox app costs $1.99 USD to download (Point Hacks does not receive commission) and is available for iOS and Android.

How to test wifi speeds

My favourite tool for comparing the speed of wifi networks when I travel is Speedtest by Ookla. It beats waiting for a webpage to load, giving you an accurate reading of the ping, download and upload speeds.

It is free and available for Mac, iOS, Android and as a Chrome extension.

As a general rule, I look for a minimum download speed of 1 Mbps, which, as you can see (and reasonably expect from South Korea), is blown out of the water by this lounge’s network:

Are you aware of any other ways to get free wifi when travelling, whether at an airport, accommodation or roaming around?

Please comment below and we’ll add it into our guide to share with the Point Hacks community.

How to stay connected when travelling – our growing list of free wifi and great mobile services to consider was last modified: April 23rd, 2017 by Matt Moffitt