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Free Internet while traveling or what to do if you do not have access to the network
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Free Internet while traveling or what to do if you do not have access to the network 

In active travel, when you have to constantly move from one city to another, you often have to change not only hotels, but also countries and sometimes continents. And staying in touch in such a busy rush is just as important as having a passport in your pocket. Today mobile operators in different countries offer rate plans with quite acceptable roaming conditions, so for those who are used to communicate on the phone there are already quite good conditions, it is only necessary to use them. But a good mobile Internet, which would work in all countries and would not cost a lot of money, is still lacking. Where to find fast and free internet is the burning question that excites the minds of millions of travelers around the world.

Mobile Internet in the U.S. or free wifi – which is better?

While preparing for a trip to the U.S., we looked at different options for purchasing mobile internet for the trip. It turned out that all cell phone carriers have good network coverage in the cities, and buying a sim card with mobile internet was justified on a previous trip, where it worked fine even in Hawaii. Buying one new sim card and signing a contract would have cost us about $40-60 for a month of use.

This time we were driving through national parks, and none of the U.S. cell phone carriers guaranteed that we would get good service anywhere along our route, especially out in the wilderness away from populated areas. And since that was the case, we would never get consistently good Internet. So we decided not to buy mobile Internet in the U.S., but to use what … nature itself provided!

Of course it was a joke about nature. And in fact we decided to use the free Internet that many chain restaurants around the world have today. But we particularly liked McDonald’s free wifi, not only because it is widely available throughout the U.S., but also because it is so affordable and has excellent connection quality, especially in parking lots near McDonald’s restaurants.

Free wifi in coffee shops – convenient for travelers


Our first introduction to free cafe wifi was on our first visit to one of the McDonald’s restaurant chains on the West Coast of the United States. We parked in front of a McDonald’s, took our netbook, went inside, and ordered and decided to check out the claimed high level of service. Connect to the free wifi for guests was no problem, I was satisfied with the speed, the pages loaded quickly and smoothly. This means that the test was passed successfully, and our intentions to use McDonald’s resources for our personal customer purposes were given the green light.

Internet in a parking lot near restaurants

As we traveled around the U.S., whenever we needed to rent a place to stay, search for information along the way, or just check our email, we used our cell phone GPS to find the nearest McDonald’s restaurant and immediately drove there. Sometimes we didn’t even go inside, staying inside the car in the parking lot as close to the restaurant entrance as possible, took out our netbook and plugged into the free Wi-Fi from McDonald’s to download, for example, the Priceline hotel reservation site to decide on our vacation. And despite the fact that the restaurants themselves are usually closed at night, the Internet in the parking lot near McDonald’s is open 24 hours a day!

Features of cafes and restaurants in the U.S.

As practice has shown, internet surfing in the US at McDonald’s restaurants is not limited in time, at least one time we used the internet at McDonald’s without reconnecting for more than one hour. There are no particular restrictions on web surfing either, and there are not that many visitors to McDonald’s restaurants in small towns in the U.S., due to the huge competition with other chain restaurants. So you can sit in the restaurant as much as you want, no one will kick you out or give you a dirty look. Sometimes people in the U.S. even go to the restaurant to work on the Internet at the table, free wifi here is pretty fast.

In addition to clean toilets, fast free Internet and no long lines, a peculiarity of American McDonald’s is the presence of large TV panels in the hall, which broadcast local news or video clips. The carbonated drink dispenser is always in the hall, and customers can fill their glasses with drinks an unlimited number of times. However, the sauces in American McDonald’s also do not have to be paid for at all. And next to the table often you can find a socket to recharge your electronic friends.

During our travels in the U.S. we got so accustomed to McDonald’s restaurants as a source of quality and free wi-fi internet even in the farthest reaches of America, that we confidently recommend them to everyone traveling in this large and interesting country. It turns out that U.S. national parks have free internet access at visitor centers, but McDonald’s restaurants don’t, at least none that we have ever come across.

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