What Do You Do For Internet While Traveling?

 

My family and I just returned last night from a road trip to the Wisconsin Dells area. Every time we make a road trip of any significant distance, I think I learn a few more things about traveling. As sort of an experiment, last weekend I bought a Virgin Mobile MiFi prepaid mobile wifi router to see how well that worked for us on the road. It was fairly simple to set up and easy enough to use while mobile. Since we traveled from the Minneapolis Saint Paul metro area to Wisconsin Dells WI, we certainly did not have 3G coverage for much (most) of the trip. It did allow my oldest son to do some web surfing on a netbook and my youngest son and wife used their iPod Touches.

Anyway, I am wondering what people here do for internet while mobile. I know there are certainly both extremes. Many people, probably even many here, may have a GPS, but want nothing to do with a cell phone, smartphone, computer, or anything like that. The other extreme, of course, is people that have broadband on their smartphone, broadband on their iPad, etc. Many of us are probably somewhere in between. I do find it handy to be able to access to internet while traveling away from home, particularly while gone overnight or longer. I have gotten by with free wifi access at hotels and/or restaurants and although it is not bad, it can also be very hit or miss.

Anyway, what are my fellow POI Factory members doing for accessing the web? Also, what do you hope to get during 2011 for additional access, if anything? Is an iPad on your Christmas list? Maybe a new laptop computer or Android tablet? Do your passengers watch Netflix via broadband while mobile?

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NONE!

Leaving on a cruise to Alaska day after tomorrow. Judging from the availability (or lack thereof) of connectivity on the ship I likely won't be doing anything at all for Internet connectivity while traveling. Yes, there's wifi in some places on the ship and also an Internet cafe but I don't really think I want to pay the per-minute fee they charge. Even if I had a smart phone I don't think I'd like paying their charge for that connectivity either. I'm leaving the laptop at the office and turning my phone off. The world will just have to get along without me for 10 days. I think they can handle it. smile

--
GPSMAP 76CSx - nüvi 760 - nüvi 200 - GPSMAP 78S

There are plenty of options

My iPhone can use 3G or wi-fi, plenty of coverage of one or the other or both. I also use an Apple Express wireless router.

--
GPSMAP64s, iPhone 12, Yaesu VX-8R w/GPS.

Switched to the Mifi

I recently switched from the older Virgin Mobile USB 3G modem to the self-contained MiFi.

The MiFi covers up to 5 devices. You can loosen or tighten security as much as you like.

The downside is about a 4 hour battery life, then you have to recharge it.

With Virgin Mobile, no contracts, which is also good.

--
Nuvi 2460, 680, DATUM Tymserve 2100, Trimble Thunderbolt, Ham radio, Macintosh, Linux, Windows

wow-

k6rtm wrote:

I recently switched from the older Virgin Mobile USB 3G modem to the self-contained MiFi.

The MiFi covers up to 5 devices. You can loosen or tighten security as much as you like.

The downside is about a 4 hour battery life, then you have to recharge it.

With Virgin Mobile, no contracts, which is also good.

No contracts? Nice-

--
~Jim~ Nuvi-660, & Nuvi-680

Wow! Cool!

Wow!

Cool!

--
nightrider --Nuvi's 660 & 680--

WiFi

I use the hotel if I am traveling for work. On vacation I do the same. If we are camping I have a smart phone that allows me to make it a mobile hot spot and I connect to it with my laptop.

--
Bill 1450LMT C550 ETrex Legend ETrex Summit A computer beat me at chess once. But it was no match at kick boxing.

.

k6rtm wrote:

I recently switched from the older Virgin Mobile USB 3G modem to the self-contained MiFi.

The downside is about a 4 hour battery life, then you have to recharge it.

Can you recharge the MiFi device and use the connection simultaneously?

.

jimcaulfield wrote:

No contracts? Nice-

Correct, there's no contract but the speed is not that impressive. Average downstream is usually less than 1Mbps.

On some, the answer is

chewbacca wrote:
k6rtm wrote:

The downside is about a 4 hour battery life, then you have to recharge it.

Can you recharge the MiFi device and use the connection simultaneously?

Yes. At least it's possible on my phone. It will provide 4G hotspot while receiving power either from the wall or the computer USB port.

--
Illiterate? Write for free help.

Laptop + Air card

My wife brings her laptop and this is what we take on our trip...awesome.

I Pad

I use my Ipad with WIFI or Droid X with WIFI...Both work great....

--
Bobby....Garmin 2450LM

Use blackberry as wifi &

Use blackberry as wifi & free wifi from hotel.

Thanks

Box Car wrote:
chewbacca wrote:
k6rtm wrote:

The downside is about a 4 hour battery life, then you have to recharge it.

Can you recharge the MiFi device and use the connection simultaneously?

Yes. At least it's possible on my phone. It will provide 4G hotspot while receiving power either from the wall or the computer USB port.

but I'm particularly interested in MiFi (most likely with Virgin Mobile) devices. I'm wondering if it could function while charging.

at many meetings

chewbacca wrote:

but I'm particularly interested in MiFi (most likely with Virgin Mobile) devices. I'm wondering if it could function while charging.

I've seen the MiFi units plugged in while functioning as hotspots.

--
Illiterate? Write for free help.

Starbucks

I travel internationally most of the time. I look for Starbucks and McDonald's stores which offer free wifi.

--
Garmin Nüvi 265W

Oh

chewbacca wrote:
jimcaulfield wrote:

No contracts? Nice-

Correct, there's no contract but the speed is not that impressive. Average downstream is usually less than 1Mbps.

Yea, that's not too fast. I have had a down-stream of more than 10-meg in a hotel with wifi, while using my lap-top.

--
~Jim~ Nuvi-660, & Nuvi-680

WiFi

Don't need the computer while traveling, just use the Ipod and connect at whatever hotel or motel we are at to get emails.

--
Legs

Internet Access - Travel

When we are in Europe we stop at one of the many internet cafes and pay a few euros to stay in touch.

What do you do for internet when traveling?

That's easy. I use my iPhone. I use my iPhone more than I use the computer at home.

--
Alan-Garmin c340

Internet while travelling

I usually do without. On occasion, I will take my laptop and hook up at my hotel, but only if I'm going to be away from home for more than a couple of days.

iPad. or Android Barnacle

99% of the time I use my iPad for anything I need from the net.
But the 1% that I need to use my laptop, I activate Barnacle from my Android phone, which turns my phone into a wifi hotspot.

3G

My wife works alot on the road so her work gave her an unlimited 3G dongle for her laptop.

.

Box Car wrote:
chewbacca wrote:

but I'm particularly interested in MiFi (most likely with Virgin Mobile) devices. I'm wondering if it could function while charging.

I've seen the MiFi units plugged in while functioning as hotspots.

Good to know. So as long as there's power source we can charge the MiFi device and surf the web till we drop (or the connection gets dropped).

.

JeffSh wrote:

When we are in Europe we stop at one of the many internet cafes and pay a few euros to stay in touch.

Using public computers at cafes/kiosks to login to my personal (email or bank) accounts is a BIG NO NO for me. Somehow I have zero trust for public computers. In fact I don't trust any computers that aren't my own. I only use them for something that doesn't have anything to do with my whatever accounts.

My wife and I always used a

My wife and I always used a laptop and wifi at hotels. We both now have tablets mine Android and hers I pad 2. Big improvement over pulling the laptop out. Using them for first time traveling now and very impressed on connection speed and convenience.

--
Charlie. Nuvi 265 WT and Nuvi 2597 LMT. Android Here WeGo - Offline Maps & GPS.

On the road

Just got back from Japan. Had free wifi just about anywhere I needed it. Thought I would never get an Ipad but had one and it worked just fine and was very small and easy to carry.

--
Dudlee

avoid public pc

chewbacca wrote:
JeffSh wrote:

When we are in Europe we stop at one of the many internet cafes and pay a few euros to stay in touch.

Using public computers at cafes/kiosks to login to my personal (email or bank) accounts is a BIG NO NO for me. Somehow I have zero trust for public computers. In fact I don't trust any computers that aren't my own. I only use them for something that doesn't have anything to do with my whatever accounts.

I tend to agree with chewbaca and also avoid internet cafes or any public PC to access banks, credit cards, corporate e-mail, etc. Too risky!

--
Garmin Nüvi 265W

I try to find hotels with free WiFi.

What I have found is that the more the hotel charges for a room, the less likely WiFi will be free. Seems to me if a hotel is already charging an arm and a leg for a room, WiFi really should be included.

LOL!

fish4fun wrote:

I do without the Internet until I get back home.

Rhaaaaaa! No internet for a full trip??? Man, how can you do this? If I have no internet, I can just talk to my wife and kids... No escape...

LOL! Just kidding! I do not bring computers on vacations. At most, I use the computer from the hotel when available and when everybody is sleeping.

iphone & wifi ipad

With both of these it is easy for me to find free wifi hotspots - iPhone to find them from where ever I am and, when found, iPad to do all of my internet stuff. I only seek hotspots when the emails I see on my iphone requires some more robust internet activity.

MiFi charging

chewbacca wrote:

but I'm particularly interested in MiFi (most likely with Virgin Mobile) devices. I'm wondering if it could function while charging.

The MiFi 2200 can be charged and function simultaneously as a hotspot (WiFi connection), but NOT if your tether the MiFi via the USB port to your laptop. The USB port does not have enough DC power to charge the battery and operate the device simultaneously.

I buy an ATT PAYG card off

I buy an ATT PAYG card off eBay because T-Mobile UK charges $10/MB abroad. Then use my Nokia to surf and email, includes voice calls as well. Use the motel wi-fi at night while I'm downloading the days photos off the memory cards.

Public Library

My favorite POI file:

http://www.poi-factory.com/node/24499

Library's are very useful, you're rarely more than a mile away and you can be online in seconds....

--
17

I have now seen over 11-meg

I have now seen over 11-meg (down) by free wifi at a hotel!

--
~Jim~ Nuvi-660, & Nuvi-680

WOW!!

WOW!!

--
nightrider --Nuvi's 660 & 680--

Wi-Fi on Phone Login

My wife and I recently returned from a vacation trip to Savannah, GA and Myrtle Beach. I got an Android phone back in August I do not have a data plan included, but it does have wi-fi capability. Up until this point, the only wi-fi usage has been on my home wi-fi or on a few totally open wi-fi locations.

All of the hotels had wi-fi, and the first hotel worked just great. I just had to "connect" with the open network. The second hotel and third hotel would show me connected, but when I opened any app, such as weather or GMail, it would show a "Network Error" and I assumed there was problem with the phone.

I finally learned that a number of hotels require that internet users agree to their terms of use, before it would allow you to use the wi-fi. The agreement shows up if you open the browser, but not if you open up an app.

If you run into this problem, open your browser and the first thing you will see, is the Login page, which generally only requires that you click on the Login icon. (you will likely have to zoom in on this). Then after that there are usually a couple of other icons one of which might simply say "continue" to take you to the next page and then the last one closes the screen. I could then close the browser once it accepted my IP address.

Once I did this, the apps all worked perfectly and it was much easier than hauling out the laptop, especially, if I was only staying a night or two.

--
NUVI2555LMT, NUVI350

Stay away

I'd rather stay away from internet while on vacation.

I either use my iPhone or my

I either use my iPhone or my Asus Transformer Tablet.

cell phone tethering...

cell phone tethering...

Tethering apps..

Bug293 wrote:

cell phone tethering...

Would like to know what apps (or hardware) do you use when using your phone while tethering?

--
Bobkz - Garmin Nuvi 3597LMTHD/2455LMT/C530/C580- "Pain Is Fear Leaving The Body - Semper Fidelis"

Virgin Mobile MiFi

I was using the USB Virgin Mobile 3G device, but they haven't upgraded their drivers in a number of years.

I got tired of debugging their code and figuring out workarounds, so I went with the MiFi device -- no more drivers!

You can charge it and use it at the same time. I have a little plastic clip I use to stand it up or attach it to the top of my laptop.

The good part about Virgin Mobile is no contract and inexpensive $40 per month, and if you don't need it for a month, don't pay!

The bad part about Virgin Mobile is their support is spotty at best.

It's good to have the thing around -- I can pull it out of my bag or my pocket, turn it on, and use it. I can also give others access if need be.

--
Nuvi 2460, 680, DATUM Tymserve 2100, Trimble Thunderbolt, Ham radio, Macintosh, Linux, Windows

Good to know

MGD4me wrote:
chewbacca wrote:

but I'm particularly interested in MiFi (most likely with Virgin Mobile) devices. I'm wondering if it could function while charging.

The MiFi 2200 can be charged and function simultaneously as a hotspot (WiFi connection), but NOT if your tether the MiFi via the USB port to your laptop. The USB port does not have enough DC power to charge the battery and operate the device simultaneously.

Thanks for the info.

Yea, that's good to know-

Yea, that's good to know-

--
~Jim~ Nuvi-660, & Nuvi-680

That is useful info, thanks!

That is useful info, thanks!

--
nightrider --Nuvi's 660 & 680--

Hotspot

I've been trying out the hotspot from my smartphone and it seems to work well for giving other devices internet connectivity.

Thanks.

Very good info.

--
GPSmap76Cx handheld, Nuvi 2557LMT, Nuvfi 2598LMTHD

When I dearly need wifi on the road

I found I needed internet in two scenarios on the road.
1. When there is a traffic jam and I want to find a local road to pass the traffic segment.
2. When there is a severe weather, I want to see alternate route to bypass the affected area. Coincidentally it happened when my family were traveling to Wisconsin Dells. A severe thunderstorm and some tornadoes shortened one of the activities and we decided to head to the next way point. I really missed the internet to see which highway was not umbrella-ed by the storm.
Somehow I have yet to find a good solution (price / use) because I only travel twice per year. I am thinking of tethering my Android phone with to make it a mifi and use T-mobile pre-paid data plan. Even though I can find the needed information on my phone, I prefer a bigger computer or tablet screen.

Virgin Mobile

Look at: virginmobileusa.com Their broadband2go is a prepaid service. $10 for 10 days or 100MB or $20 for 30 days or 500MB.
The modem is like a large USB flash drive ($80).

If you run later Mac op System boot into 32 bit kernel. It will not work in 64 bit mode.

--
Nuvi 3790t converted to 3490 software

I take my notebook and my GPS

I do most of my long distance traveling by train (AMTRAK). AMTRAK train stations offer WIFI in most of the major cities. While waiting for my train, I use either my notebook (for the WEB) or my NUVI 295W GPS (with WIFI capability for e-mail). AMTRAK even has WIFI on board a few trains so you can connect while riding the train!

I sometimes (but not very often) connect with WIFI in my Hotel room when I stay overnight.

-jgracey

--
I have seen the future and it is now!

Wok-Fi

Some very clever university students in New Zealand discovered that cheap Chinese cookware can be used to make a parabolic dish antenna that greatly improves performance for accessing Wi-Fi hotspots.

I built Wok-Fi for use in campgrounds where the included Wi-Fi coverage is often spotty. I set it up on a camera tripod beside my Roadtrek van camper at a campsite.

Basically, you install a USB Wi-Fi stick at the focus of the cookware dish and use a USB extension cable to your laptop.

More information and examples here:
http://www.usbwifi.orconhosting.net.nz/

Photo showing how to calculate the antenna focal point:
http://www.usbwifi.orconhosting.net.nz/usbscoop.jpg

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