Finding Hotels Around the World
Computer Internet Access
Laptop? Check. Airline
ticket? Of course. Wireless Internet access? Well, maybe.
More and more hotels
the world over are offering Internet access, but finding a properly wired hotel property hasn’t gotten any easier.
Keep in mind that
Runway Traders are a different breed of mouse potato. Sending emails
and downloading the latest photo of a cousin’s new baby are the last
things on a trader’s agenda. You’re on the road for two reasons:
(1) to have fun traveling to exotic ports around the globe and (2)
to pay for some or all of your travels by trading stocks on the
What that means,
of course, is that you’re likely to be online for "extended"
periods, and you’d probably like to do so with a minimum of
interruptions and a modicum of privacy. I know the last thing
I want when I simply must be online trading is to be
fumbling at the “take a number” dispenser in some hotel lobby
while I exchange stares with six other people who are waiting
in line to surf a couple of circa 1990 computers. That
doesn’t even rise to the level of “it sucks.”
daytrading trek to Las Vegas, I stayed at
Wynn's. Nice digs. Internet in every room (for a price).
And in-room safes large enough to lock up your laptop when you skip
out to hit the slots.
Agents are Years Behind the Curve
But can you imagine?
None of the search functions at the major online travel sites I’ve
visited allow you to search for hotels that offer in-room Internet
service, whether free or for a price. Not Expedia, not Orbitz,
CheapTickets, Priceline, Travelocity, or even Hotels.com,
Lodging.com, OnlineHotels.com, or RoomSearch.com.
What they do offer is
that cutesy, catch-all phrase, “Internet service available.”
And that could mean anything from a card table in the basement
boiler room, to Wi-Fi access in the lobby, a meeting room, your hotel room, or
that tiny closet on the third floor where the ice machine is located. You’d think
they’d get wise and start including Internet menus and search
features such as “in-room high speed Internet.” But of course, I’m
asking for the moon, aren’t I?
So what to do? Well, you’ve
got a couple of choices.
Your first choice is what I call the
because it works at any hotel anywhere in the world (just about). Using the
Net, scope out the hotel(s) where you’d like to stay.
Incidentally, for my money
the ambience of the hotel trumps everything. I mean, why stay in a
second-rate rat-trap just because they have high speed Internet. I
want (nay, I demand), in-room Internet access AND the absolute best hotel room I can afford. After all,
would you rather stay at the oceanfront
Moana Hotel in Honolulu
some low-rise shack 6 miles from the beach?
Next, send them an
email inquiring about what sort of Internet service they provide.
In-room, lobby, or
where? (Please, not the little room with the ice machine!)
Is there an
What you get back, of
course, is an email commitment—
their offering. No surprises. No sleight of hand. No BS. And
if you like their
setup, “book it, Dano.”
choice is to bring your own wireless service
by purchasing broadband service from
one of the well-known (U.S.) providers like
Sprint. Frankly, at
this writing, that solution leaves a bit to be desired. First,
their more reliable services are strictly a stateside phenomena
and none of them covers all American ports of call.
Second, if you opt for the “anywhere in America” solution you’ve
stuck yourself with two-year contract. Geez Louise, in two years
computers might be equipped with personal satellite dishes that no
longer need a Verizon or Sprint solution. I mean, "beam me up,
A third solution is
to browse for an Internet hotel through in one of these links:
Wi-Fi Hotspot Finder. This
is undoubtedly one of the best Internet sources I could find for sniffing out Wi-Fi hotspots most everywhere in the world. J-Wire is the same
folk who sell you their Internet security system that I discuss
in my Charlie’s Gear section on this site. Natch, if you buy their
system you automatically can sniff out all the hotpots with their
built-in sniffer. Anyway, when I last checked, they claimed to catalog some 118,504 free and paid WiFi hotspots in 128 countries.
And if that's not
are some other hotspot resources:
The Wi-Fi-FreeSpot™ Directory is a listing of Wi-Fi enabled
locations such as hotels, airports, restaurants, etc., that offer
Free Wireless High Speed Internet Access. USA State-by-State
listings come first with Europe and other regions of the world are
Hotel Chains with Internet
Here’s another of those Internet sites that bites off a bit more
than it can chew by trying to keep up with who’s got hotel
Internet service and who ain’t. Admittedly, that's a difficult
challenge, but hey. Still, they do a better job that I
do, and, if your playing Runaway Trader in the U.S., this is as
good as source as any for finding a hotel.
Just like the entry above, Hotel Chatter.com indexes what it believes are the latest in Wi-Fi hotel
availability. Check it out. If you happen to find one of these
hotels in a (mostly U.S.) city where you’re running away to trade,
you’re in luck. If not, well, there's always Step #1.
Hot Spot Directory
for both paid and free access is another of those mostly U.S. based
hotspot location. But, in this day and age with so many locations
offering free Wi-Fi, I hardly thing there’s much necessity to
pay for access---unless the location is so fetching (maybe the
le Cap d'Agde
on the French Mediterranean?) as to
warrant throwing around that kind of cash.
Tips for Booking Hotels with
Lastly, but by
no means leastly, here are some tips to keep in mind as you trade
your way around the world:
Do Your Research Online.
As I said before, don't expect the
online travel sites to help you find a wireless (or wired) hotel
always help to get it in writing. That's why I love the
Just because a hotel advertises
wireless access doesn't mean it will be available in your room. Wi-Fi is still sometimes confined to lobbies and meeting areas,
while guest rooms have Ethernet connections. Before booking, email
the hotel to make sure Internet access is available in all guest
rooms (and print-out their response and bring it with you to the hotel. Better safe than sorry). The best option, of course, is Ethernet, since it’s
hard-wired and that offers greater security and it’s free from the
vicissitudes of bad signals, unexplained fadeouts, and the like
(just the usual ISP screwups.)
Have a Backup Plan.
Misunderstandings abound in the world
of hotel Wi-Fi. On several occasions I’ve been assured that Wi-Fi
access was available in my room, only to discover that the signal
was so wimpy as to be unusable. When that happens, you’ll have to
get another room—if one is available. And, of course, you may have
to go to another hotel or motel altogether. I can't tell you how
many times I've checked in with the promise that wi-fi works in my
room, only to come up with nothing. I even blogged about it
Always Pack an Ethernet Cable, Just
in Case. If you don't have
a strong Wi-Fi signal in your room but do have an Ethernet
connection, great. Many hotels offering high-speed wired access
supply a cable in each room. But to hedge your bets, pack an
Ethernet cable—a previous guest might have “accidentally” packed
up the cable with his luggage (and a few of the hotel’s towels).
Make Sure You Log Out.
If you use a fee-based wireless
service, be sure to properly sign off if you’re being charged on a
“till forbid” basis. Actually, most of the fee-based systems I’ve
used charged by the day, and you must renew the service for
the second and succeeding days. But, if your hotel uses some other
system, be sure to log out. If you neglect to do so, you could be
in for a nasty surprise at checkout time.