14 September 2008

Internet Access in Travel

When I have the opportunity when traveling, I select hotels that offer free Internet. That's usually the budget motels, from Red Roof Inn to Hampton Inn to some Marriotts. I moan when I find a charge of $7 to $15 per day, typically at the hotels that are charging me much more for the room, anyway. OPM is a major factor: business travelers are spending "other people's money" and both they and their companies are more tolerant of the charges. Affordability is another factor: hotels add charges where they can to make a profit, and customers at higher end hotels are, frankly, more willing to pay extra charges.

All hotels are having to fund the Internet, of course. They are paying for T1 lines and we are accessing bandwidth on those lines. Over the years, more and more of us are logging on. Traffic is slower nowadays, but when it's free, we rarely complain.

About half of hotels offer wireless Internet access, which means that half are wired, tethering me and my laptop to an uncomfortable desk and chair. My work-around is to carry an airport and a CAT 6 cable; see photo above. First preference is to plug the Apple airport into an electrical outlet and the hotel's Internet cable into the airport. (Apple's product also services PCs, and there are other brands, too.) It takes a few minutes to sync, but the result is worth the wait: the airport creates a wireless network in the hotel room. If that doesn't work, I plug in my own cable, which is always longer than hotel issue and allows me to sit in a more comfortable spot. OK, in bed.

My past year's Internet accesses in travel:

Wi-fi Aruba
All-island wireless access: at my hotel, I purchased a $35/week card with a code for wi-fi anywhere on the island. I had to re-enter the code every time the laptop hibernated.

Extended Stay America - Princeton
$4.99/stay wireless. It required my daughter's assistance in set-up.

Metro Hotel - San Francisco
Free wireless, but it never worked. In early mornings I was able to work briefly courtesy of an unsecured network of a yoga studio in the neighborhood but the signal weakened with start of business day.

NYC-NJ Apartments, The Columbus building, Jersey City
Free wired, and it worked wirelessly perfectly with my own airport.

Carefree Resort & Villas, Carefree, Arizona
Part of a $20 daily service charge. Wireless access worked for both me and Tom simultaneously. On two laptops, that is.

Hyatt Place, Princeton
Free wireless, accessible by two computers simultaneously. Also the first hotel where I encountered a flat-screen LCD TV with an input for the computer.

New Yorker Hotel, Manhattan
Free wireless.

Moody Gardens, Galveston, Texas
Wireless with a charge that I don't recall but with great improvement in quality over previous years.

Hilton Hotels in New Orleans, San Francisco, and Texas
$9.95/day wireless.

Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco
Wireless. I have no memory of whether there was a charge or not. But that's the hotel that gave us free garage (instead of the usual $50/day charge) because we were parking a Prius.

Caribe Royale Resort, Orlando
$6.99/day wireless.

Chena Hot Springs, Alaska
Free wireless, but available only in the resort's laundry room. I was teaching online at the time and so I actually went daily for an hour or two. It was the warmest spot at the resort.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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