Wi-Fi is often plentiful and free across North America, and plentiful and sometimes expensive elsewhere. We have long recommended Boingo Wireless for frequent travelers, as the firm has a simple fee structure for accessing more than 325,000 for-fee or restricted Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. Its unlimited plan for mobiles ($7.95 per month worldwide) and laptops in the Americas ($9.95 per month) have always struck us as particularly good deals, especially because there’s no cancellation fee.
(“Mobiles” includes any Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones, tablets, e-readers, MP3 players, portable gaming devices, cameras, VoIP handsets, and so on.)
I’ve often used Boingo for heavy traveling months when I don’t want to hunt down a Starbucks or free café, or when I’m staying at a hotel that normally charges a nightly fee but is included at no additional cost in a Boingo subscription.
The one remaining gall with Boingo’s plans has now been resolved. You used to need separate mobile and laptop subscriptions when roaming, which made the service more awkward to log into, and more expensive than it seemingly needed to be. Boingo has now revamped their service plans to eliminate this unnecessary awkwardness.
You can still subscribe to just Boingo Mobile for $7.95 per month, but the $9.95 Boingo Unlimited service for the Americas (and the unlimited Boingo UK & Ireland plan) now allows the use of any two Wi-Fi devices, laptop or mobile, with a $5-per-month fee for additional devices. Also, Boingo Mobile now formally includes the use of two mobile devices; I believe you previously could use two devices, but now it’s an officially supported option.
Along with the Boingo UK & Ireland plan, Boingo offers Boingo Europe Plus ($34.95 per month) and Boingo Asia Pacific ($11.95 per month); they offer unlimited service in those areas, but remain limited to two laptops. For serious globe-hoppers, Boingo Global ($59 per month) allows the use of up to four Wi-Fi devices and up to 2,000 minutes per month anywhere in the world.
You may prefer free Wi-Fi — and who wouldn’t? — but I’ve found the ubiquity of Boingo’s aggregation of many thousands of individual networks to be more than worth the cost when I travel for business purposes and need access.