My family and I are going on vacation in a few weeks and we’ll be staying in a hotel the whole time. I’d like to take my laptop with me, but I’m not sure if I’ll have access to the Internet at the hotel or not. How can I find out? Or, what do I need to do to be able to connect while I’m in my room? Please explain it to me!

That’s an excellent question! With summertime just around the corner, I’m sure a lot of you will be going on vacation and in this day and age, it’s just common procedure to take your computer with you. I mean, you never know when you could need it while you’re gone. Maybe you need to stay caught up on your e-mail or perhaps you’ll need it to look up driving directions or the location of a restaurant. Either way, to accomplish any of that, you will need an Internet connection. And if you’re staying in a hotel, you just might be in luck!

These days, most hotel chains offer Internet access as an “extra” right along with the indoor pool and HBO channels you’re used to getting. It’s really not hard at all to find a hotel that has some sort of Internet hookup available. So, how do you find out if a hotel has the Internet or not? Well, the easiest thing to do is look on their Web site. If a hotel provides Internet access, it will most likely be highlighted under their Features and Amenities list. For example, I recently stayed at a Best Western and they had all the information I needed to know right on their Web site. Or, you can simply call the hotel for information as well.

Most hotels have either high-speed or wireless Internet. If they offer high-speed Internet (the most common), you should be able to get what you need right at the front desk when you arrive. They will give you the correct cords you need to connect to the Internet in your room. If the hotel has wireless Internet, there should be a WiFi access point right in your room. Of course, your computer will need to be set up for a wireless connection, but most newer computers come that way anyway. Either way, once you have everything set up, you can start surfing the Web with ease!

Again, before you leave for your trip, you’ll definitely want to get as much information about the hotel’s connections as possible. You’ll need to know what type of Internet they offer, where the access points are, if you have to do anything special to get online, how easy (or hard) it is to connect and so on. I’m just saying you should prepare yourself as much as you can so that nothing surprises you once you get to the hotel. Like I said before, you can get all of that information from the hotel’s Web site or by calling them on the phone.

Another thing you need to check on is if the hotel charges you to use their Internet access or not. Unfortunately, some hotels do and it can add up quickly. If they do charge you, you’ll need to find out if it’s an hourly or daily rate, if you pay in advance or when you check out, etc. If you’re aware of the costs, you can limit your Internet use during your stay or maybe even choose another hotel that offers it for free. Finding out all of that information before you leave for your trip will really help cut down on your costs.

You should also keep in mind that a lot of hotels have computers in their lobby for their guests to use. If you think you can get by with using one of those, you won’t even need to drag your laptop along or worry about paying even more just to use the Internet. That’s definitely something you’ll want to check on before you leave as well. Every hotel is different, but if you do your homework, you’ll be able to find one that meets your Internet needs perfectly. If it’s absolutely necessary to have the Internet while you’re on vacation, I recommend following these pointers and doing it right. Now, go on and have a good time!

~ Erin