PC Magazine has published a long article entitled Access Everywhere: The Definitive Guide to Wi-Fi which tells you where to find Wi-Fi on the road, in public transport, hotels, airports; how to turn your mobile phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot; how to share Wi-Fi connections, and more. It’s the best guide I’ve seen for getting and staying connected while traveling in the US. The article mentions Muniwireless and I have to admit that now, I have to update the list of cities and counties (last update was in 2007). That’s a project for the summer.
My friend, Andy Abramson, has posted a helpful guide called “Tools of the Global Nomad” which goes beyond finding Wi-Fi access. He writes about the software and services he uses to stay connected, how he avoids nasty roaming charges and more. Of the services he mentions, I have been using Sightspeed for video conferencing, Boingo (which has been absolutely indispensible for me when traveling in different countries), Skype, Maxroam, and Truphone.
Like Andy, I have found a way to minimize outrageous roaming charges, but it has not been easy. Thankfully, the European Commission is doing something about it: they will force the EU operators to lower roaming charges on text messages and data. Today the operators charge 29 eurocents for SMS when their customers text abroad and under the EU’s proposals, the amount will drop to 11 to 15 eurocents. I can’t wait to see what the EU does with data roaming because that’s a killer.
Read the European Commission’s official documents on how they plan to end the Great Roaming Rip-Off. So far my way of fending off roaming charges has been to use Wi-Fi as much as possible. But sometimes, it’s just not available.