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  1. #1

    Default Internet on the road

    Hey guys,

    So me and my buddy are planning a cross-country roadtrip next summer and I was wondering what are the options for Internet access on the road. We are both due for new phones, and are thinking about tethering the connection to a laptop. I know Verizon charges extra for that feature, but I was wondering what the cheapest option would be. We're gonna be on the road for about 6 weeks, so there's no point in getting a plan for a whole week. Anybody have any experience with this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Honestly, I'd save the money and use wifi. If you are in an area where you can't find wifi, I highly doubt that you would have 3G coverage with a phone. If you are planning on getting new phones anyway and have Verizon, you could get Droids and browse with them if you have to.

  3. #3

    Default Droid does

    Yeah I was thinking about getting a Droid. The reason I would like internet access is to be able to look up local campgrounds/motels/attractions. Also, it would be pretty cool if one of the passengers could blog while the other one is driving lol.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You can do all that with a smartphone.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Certainly going with a smartphone would be one way to do all the things you've listed. That's probably your best bet if you want to actually browse/blog while on the move. That's probably going to be cheaper than trying to go with any sort of aircard option either.

    However, if you want the cheapest way to go, I'd agree that just using wi-fi that's out there. Its a little more time consuming, but its really not too hard to find free internet access out there.

  6. Default

    hey I'd like to add my thoughts here. Wifi is ridiculously easy to find on the road if you are traveling through the states.

    mcdonalds (most mcdonalds in the US have free wifi, the only one I found without wifi was somewhere up in northern Maine). This excludes the McDonalds that are in Wal Marts. I found to my annoyance on the road that they never have wifi!

    subway have wifi in most places

    panera bread, they all have wifi. I"m not sure about starbucks but I'm guessing they do too

    staples have wifi. i don't know for sure about other places like best buy, circuit city (does it still exisst or did they go bankrupt??) but I'm assuming they will as well

    every big name truck stops have wifi that you can buy per hour if you are really desperate

    pizza hut has wifi in a lot of places, but the one I tried in Moab, Utah I couldn't get the connection to work!

    TONS of motels and hotels have wifi that is on an unsecured network (you dont need any code to punch in) but then tons of them you do need some password so that won't work all the time... usually smaller motels are the ones with unsecured networks but this is good because if you are in a secluded area you are most likely going to find a small motel rather than a big chain hotel

    another wifi tip... just in case you are in this scenario... lots of college libraries have a computer or two reserved as a guest account you can ask at the front desk. Although this rarely happens with actual city/county libraries tho...

    pretty much if you are in a big city in the US, wifi takes 0 effort. There are even many park and recreational outdoor areas that offer free wifi. In Halifax I was surprised to find the whole harbor area has great wifi connection all through. If you are in little towns, as long as its big enough to have a motel or two and a mcdonalds you will probably find wifi. Where you will be stuck is in the middle of long stretches between small towns, and of course while you are driving. But one thing that always works, I mean if you desperately need to find something online is call someone back home and ask them to look it up.

    Just some suggestions in case you decide against paying the extra on your cell phone! But honestly I don't think you'll find it a huge problem... especially with McDonalds having wifi now days, there are mcdonalds everywhere and its just really simple to find.

  7. Default

    If you happen to be traveling through Texas, you'll be happy to know they have free wi-fi at the rest areas along the interstates. At least they did when we were there in the spring of 2009.

  8. #8


    Thanks for the replies!

    It's great to know that there are so many options for free wifi when you stop somewhere, and I will definitelly use these tips. But I am also looking for something usable while we're on the move. Browsing on a smartphone is good, but can be somewhat inconvenient with the small screen/keypad etc. We'll be using Microsoft Streets & Trips on a laptop when on the road, so it would be very convenient to just launch the browser to find stuff and listen to Pandora while you're at it lol.

    So I did a little bit of research and did see the ridiculously priced option of an air card that Verizon offers (i have a VZ cell plan). Another option, like I mentioned before, would be a smartphone, which they make you get a data plan with. I would prefer to get the unlimited one, but I would only need that for the trip and paying per month is more expensive too. On top of that, if you want to share the connection (tether) with a laptop, they charge you more as well. I read some opinions that there is a limit on your data if you tether, which is very confusing, so if anybody has more info on that option then please share. Jailbreaking your phone would let you tether for free, but you still need a data plan.

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