Christina writes:

How can I get like a portable Wi-Fi? Or something that can help me on a trip.

Christina, the answer could be as close as your own phone. Many Smartphones can be turned into what are called portable “hotspots” that you can use to provide WiFi for your phone. There is an extra charge to that capability on some plans and the cost of such an option will vary depending on your carrier. For example, I am a Verizon customer on the Share Everything plan, so there is no extra cost to activate the hotspot, however if the data goes over  the allotment of my plan, I will still have to pay for it.

 On an Android phone you would go to Settings then Networks.

 networks

Then choose the option to turn your mobile hotspot on.

 mobilehotspoton

If you aren’t sure what the cost is with your phone provider, make sure to check the options and the cost. If you’re using the data plan to stream Netflix on the road, it can be expensive.

 You may also be able to purchase a separate hotspot from your phone provider that works with your plan.

verizon-mobile-hotspot

If you don’t have a smartphone plan, there’s the option of buying a prepaid mobile hotspot, such as Broadband To Go, offered by Virgin Mobile – the hotspot, which supports up to 10 devices, is $49.99 and you can purchase a no-contract plan starting at $5 a day for 250 MB up to 6GB for $55 per month. You’ll want to check the coverage map for the WiFi service before purchasing to make sure it’s active where you are.

virgin

There’s also the option of using public WiFi or WiFi networks provided by hotels or campgrounds where you are staying. You could purchase a portable WiFi antenna to give you a boost in picking up  WiFi networks. These antennas won’t give you free access to WiFi networks, but they can give you a boost in receiving signals provided by hotels, campgrounds, restaurants etc…  Keep in mind that some hotels will charge you a fee to access their WiFi network. There are also security concerns associated with public hotspots.

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 Some Internet providers actually offer WiFi locations at various spots all over the country. Comcast’s Xfinity plan offers hotspots to customers in many major cities. Here’s an example of the hotspots offered in Orlando. Check with your ISP to see if they offer WiFi services when you’re on the road.

comcastxfinitymap

 Hopefully one of these options can make it easier for you to connect on your next trip.

~ Cynthia