Would you pay more for better hotel wifi?

a close-up of a cableI was perusing some older USA Today Hotel Check In posts, and the one about hotel wifi caught my eye.  Apparently, wifi usage at hotels has jumped dramatically—50% during a 9-month period in 2011 alone! Guests are connecting multiple devices, and streaming videos and live content in addition to the less bandwidth heavy email checking. As a result, some hotels are trying out tiered pricing options, and charging for a faster speed. According to the survey that they did, 66% of travelers are okay with a slower hotel wireless internet connection, as long as it’s free, and only 8% said they would pay extra for a faster connection.

My thoughts? It depends on several factors. If I’m on a personal trip, it is highly unlikely I will pay for wifi if there is a free option available, regardless of how slow it is. If it completely stops working, I can usually do any needed internet stuff on my phone. For a work trip, I typically don’t have time to stream content, and will really only do basic email and web surfing. The difference is that on a business trip I have to have internet, and if it stops working it is a problem. In that case, I would certainly pay for better service. And of course, my company would reimburse me.

A few tips to get the best out of your hotel wifi:

  • Join the club. I have stayed in several hotels where club members get free internet, regardless of status level. It’s definitely worth a shot, especially at nicer hotels which can charge upwards of $10-15 per day.
  • Go to the lobby. Even if internet is not free in your hotel room, there is a good chance it will be free in the lobby. And if it is free in your room but it’s super slow, the connection speed is often better in the lobby.
  • Bring an Ethernet cord. Just in case the free wifi doesn’t work at all, a lot of places offer wired internet. This is where your travel Ethernet cord comes in handy. There are all sizes available, including this cool space saving retractable one.

Readers, what do you think? Would you pay more for a better internet connection? What are your tips for hotel wifi?


  1. Besides ethernet cord, I always pack a small wireless router. The one I use now, the cnet cqr-980, costs $20 and is about the size and weight of a travel mouse. I plug it into the hotel wire port and build my own wifi instantly when the hotel wifi is not available or costs extra or too weak/slow, so that all my i-devices can get online too.

  2. I have gone to using my wifi cellular hotspot because many of the hotel wifi systems are dead slow between 5pm and 10pm every night. The wifi router idea is a good one but I’ve noticed some newer hotels don’t have the hardwires, only wifi.

  3. Two things:

    I would be more likely to return to a hotel with great wifi than to pay extra.

    I also carry an Ethernet cord, and a barrel connector. (To connect two maie ends). When in storage in my case, I connect both ends of my cable to prevent the tip from breaking off. In some hotel rooms, the male end is available, but it can’t be disconnected from the wall, so the barrel is necessary for added length.

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