We’ve all done crazy sh*t to get free wi-fi while travelling.
We once spent an entire hour looking for a McDonald’s (that it turned out didn’t exist) so we could use their free wifi to post a picture of ourselves posing with a stray cat in Paris.
Could we have spent that hour doing something more productive? Maybe.
Did the photo get an excessive amount of likes once we finally posted it? You bet.
According to new research from finder, Aussie travellers go to some crazy lengths to get free wi-fi overseas, but not all of them are being safe with their data.
Unsurprisingly, the finder survey of 1,572 international jetsetters found that 47 per cent of Australian travellers have ventured back to their hotel to use the Internet.
Over one third (35 per cent) have hung out in a fast food joint – without buying anything – to scab free wi-Fi.
Almost one in six (15 per cent) travellers admit to having lurked outside a random hotel or even stood in a hotel lobby to get their Internet fix.
“Using one megabyte of data on your mobile costs around 10 cents in Australia, but it can cost up to $15 overseas if you’re using your plan from home,” said Finder’s travel expert, Angus Kidman.
“While many will just take their phone overseas and turn off global roaming, the best way to beat overseas charges is to organise a travel SIM or pick up a SIM at your destination.”
A worrying 9 per cent have handed over personal details via an online form to connect while 5 per cent have used a stranger’s hotspot.
“Be cautious about free Wi-Fi, especially when it’s in exchange for personal details.”
“Some are deliberate traps for travellers.”
One in 10 (10 per cent) Aussie travellers say they don’t use free Wi-Fi as it’s too risky, while 23 per cent say they don’t need to use free Internet when they are overseas.
“Remember to never do banking or online shopping from free Wi-Fi, and follow good password practices: don’t use the same password for everything!”
Finder’s top 5 tips for staying safe on free Wi-Fi
1. Avoid banking and online shopping
Free Wi-Fi is great to check out maps or read your favourite news site, but it’s definitely not the time to be banking or online shopping.
2. Turn Wi-Fi off when not in use
Only turn your Wi-Fi on when you need it. Not only will it save your battery, it’ll make sure your device isn’t open to the world of the Internet.
3. Have your wits about you
Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s a legitimate connection. If you need to hand over personal details or the name of the hotspot looks a bit funny, hold out till you reach your hotel or restaurant.
4. Change your passwords
Ditch ‘password123’ and update your passwords to become more complex before you travel. When you’re back home, change them again. If you have trouble remembering all your passwords, try a password manager like LastPass, Dashlane and 1Password.