Everyone is looking for ways to cut expenses in this economy. Suddenly, the necessities are turning into extras and the basics are turning into luxuries. What really are your options for cutting back?
Perhaps your internet bill is starting to irritate you. Price hikes and spotty service may have you wondering what you’re paying the big bucks for. But what can you do? You need to get on the internet. Well, if you have a laptop and a sense of adventure, you can travel the Wi-Fi highway and explore your options. Here are a dozen places to consider when you’re ready to ditch your internet service at home:
1. Starbucks is the first place that comes to mind when people think of working away from home with a laptop. Order a cup of joe, tip your barista, and sit down to enjoy some free Wi-Fi and a little caffeine jolt.
2. Head to your local library. Those librarians have top notch Wi-Fi service, along with a nice, quiet setting to work. You have the added bonus of having other resources at your disposal, as well.
3. Your local park is another great option. Many larger cities are offering Wi-Fi throughout the parks. Select a covered pavilion with picnic tables and an electrical connection. If you head there during the week, you can work or surf undisturbed for hours, all while enjoying the great outdoors.
4. If you live near a university, call them up and ask to reserve a study room. Even if you are not a student, most public universities will let you use a study room with the accompanying free Wi-Fi. Visit on slow days, typically Fridays, when the areas are abandoned by students.
5. Hungry? Panera Bread, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, and Chick-fil-A all offer free Wi-Fi to guests. Head over to a back corner, have a bite to eat and surf to your heart’s content.
6. Barnes & Noble as well as many other bookstores offer free Wi-Fi. You can usually sit in their onsite coffee shop and work undisturbed. Weekends may not be the ideal time as things can get loud, so go during the weekday or other off times for peace and quiet.
7. More and more hotels feature either free Wi-Fi in cozy lobby nooks or for a nominal fee in your hotel room. Even if you’re not a guest there, often the hotel restaurant will have Wi-Fi available for you if you are a customer. Grab a light lunch, or even a cappuccino, and surf away.
8. Similar to hotels, hospitals have expanded their cafeterias, getting rid of the stark environment, and turned them into lush getaways. Enter a hospital and you’ll find lobbies and restaurants that are both beautiful and comfortable with plenty of amenities, like free Wi-Fi. Have a cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet time, and free Wi-Fi offered in these peaceful surroundings.
9. Check out your local church bulletin. Many churches offer their community wireless internet just for the asking. Perhaps a donation in the collection plate would please the pastor. It’s a small price to pay for the privilege of sitting quietly working on your laptop.
10. Your local mall’s food court may not be an ideal place to work online if you need silence, but they’ve got free Wi-Fi. In this case, grab your noise-canceling headphones and you’ll be good to go. And, you don’t have to purchase anything to have a seat. Bring your own lunch if you prefer and enjoy the free internet.
11. Many upscale grocery stores have little cafes, either indoor or outdoor with free wireless. Grab a cup of coffee and a snack, then get comfortable. They won’t mind one bit, especially if you do a little grocery shopping on the way out.
12. The gym may not come to mind right away, but more and more places are adding lounges with healthy snacks and, you guessed it, Wi-Fi. They may require a membership to enter their facilities, but if you already belong to a gym, why not take advantage of their wireless.
Start watching for “Free Wi-Fi” signs around your neighborhood and I bet you’ll be surprised how many places you find. Businesses want your business, and if they can entice you to come in and use their free Wi-Fi for the price of a cup of coffee and a sandwich, you both win.