As a caregiver, do you often find yourself sitting for long periods of time waiting for someone as they go through therapy, a doctor appointment, a dental appointment, etc.? Many times I have to go in with them, but I also have a few appointments when I just drop them off, then sit in a waiting room or at a restaurant for a couple of hours. As a work-at-home mom / grandmom (WAHM or WAHG), I have actually reached a point where I welcome those times. I travel with my laptop, a couple of books, and whatever papers I am working on, and find I can get a ton of work done. And if I can access a wi-fi network and reach the web, it jumps up to three tons of work done! The tricky part is finding those wi-fi networks – and, of course, growing more and more frugally minded, free is ALWAYS the best!
Some of my favorite spots include:
Panera Bread – DELICIOUS food. I love their tea – caff and decaff, and their FREE wif-fi!!! I just wish they had more locations!!!
Starbucks – I’m not a big coffee drinker (in fact, I don’t drink it at all), but they do have hot tea, iced tea (just order hot tea and a glass of ice ), and delicious hot chocolate. AND they have some great new free wifi options, including “complimentary Wi-Fi for Starbucks customers -When you register your Starbucks Card and use it at least once a month, you’ll receive two consecutive hours a day of complimentary Wi-Fi, courtesy of AT&T.” (Notice it is consecutive. Apparently if you log off you can’t log back on the same day. So stay plugged in til you are ready to leave. – Thanks to the Free Wi-Fi News Blog for that alert! See below for their contact info.) They also offer complimentary Wi-Fi for AT&T DSL customers. Considering that there is a Starbucks every time we turn around, we can probably find a free wi-fi option everywhere we go.
But there’s more…
Chick-fil-A – Great salads! I love their Cherry Coke (though just discovered they don’t have it at all locations). Most have a great kids’ play area where food is not allowed in (though it is self-policed so that is NOT a guarantee). Because of that policy, it is cleaner and safer for kids with food allergies. AND I just discovered many of their locations offer free wi-fi. Since each location is individually owned and operated, not all do, but you can always check online for the store’s phone number and information.
Just in case those aren’t enough sites for you, I have found some websites that track free wi-fi options:
WI-FI FREESPOT lists companies that offer free wi-fi at most, if not all, of their locations, along with airports, hotels and motels, rv parks, vacation rental properties, and they have a listing of other sites with free wi-fi listed under the state names at the bottom of their page. They also offer a blog you can subscribe to with an RSS feed to get faster info on any updates. I plan on keeping this bookmarked at the top of my list AND subbed to their blog. Since I do travel a lot, it will come in VERY handy! They also offer locations overseas, wifi spots of interest to boaters, and links to “local ‘grassroots’ wireless communities who offer free and open access.” access. You can sign up for their blog RSS feed by going to Free Wi-Fi News and clicking on the “SUBSCRIBE TO POSTS (ATOM) in the left column (about half way down the page).
RVerS COMPUTER HELP and RVing INFO list a lot of RV locations, along with other places – restaurants, libraries, etc. They also had a good reminder to us all – “(WARNING) We feel that you should consider all wifi locations as unsecure and not do banking or send and receive emails that you know contain sensitive and personal information, such as phone numbers, home addresses and of course the obvious, credit card numbers, etc. Also if you connect to any of the locations listed [on their site, my site, or any other site ], you do so at your own risk. Some of these locations might want you to ask permission before connecting to their network. There might also be a local law against connecting without permission from the Network provider.”
As Wi-Fi Freespot points out on their blog page, free wi-fi options increase daily. No one site can or should be expected to list everything available every day. But hopefully with these web listings, you can easily find something convenient and stay busy working on your “work at home business” while taking care of your grandkids and your aging parents away from home! And a big THANK YOU to all these places for offering us free wi-fi and to the different sites that keep us apprised of them!