Free Internet For Travelers In Japan

Japan

Japan can be an expensive country in which to travel. Food, lodging, along with other goods and services that travelers might commonly buy are often high-priced, compared to American standards. Comparing Internet Wi-Fi hotspots to American standards, Japan is even tougher on visitors, offering few places for service and even less that support multiple languages. But recently, two companies operating in Japan started offering free Wi-Fi to foreign visitors.

Rail operator JR East Japan now has free public wireless LAN services intended for visiting travelers starting today at JR EAST Japan Travel Service Center and 13 stations located on Tokyo’s most famous circle rail route, the Yamanote Line, including some of the busiest stations.

Registration by email can be done in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese for access via PC or smartphone at a variety of locations including Tokyo Station, Narita Airport Station and Haneda Airport International Terminal Station. Users can log on to a connection that is valid up to three hours.Visa Worldwide has partnered with Wire and Wireless Co., Ltd. to launch free one-day Wi-Fi access for all Visa cardholders visiting Japan. Happening right now, the offer runs through August 29, 2014.

This free one-day Wi-Fi connection also has multi-language support for visiting tourists, followed by a 20 percent discount for three-day and seven-day Wi-Fi service. Wi-Fi networks are available throughout Japan, including major airports and leading merchants such as Starbucks and Lawson convenience stores.

Visa cardholders should register before departure from their home countries. Alternatively, after they arriving in Japan, visiting cardholders simply find either “Wi2″ or “Wi2premium” access points to access the website for registration.

Looking for other public places with free Internet access? Try WiFiFreeSpot.com or Airport WiFi Guide for more listings.



[Flickr photo by Dennis Wong]

Where To Find Wi-Fi While Traveling

We all know the definition of ‘Wi-Fi’ these days, and that’s a start. The more nonchalantly we all refer to this wireless Internet connection we all seek fervently, both while traveling and not, the more likely it is that we’ll find it. Finding Wi-Fi today is easier than it has ever been before, but the search can still be tricky. In the future, every square foot of U.S. land will have lightning speed Wi-Fi access, but until then, here are some tips for finding Wi-Fi while traveling.

1. Transportation

The one thing every traveler does is physically travel, so the easiest way to find Wi-Fi while traveling is to utilize a network hosted by your transporter. Airports and even airplanes usually have access to Wi-Fi. You’ll have to pay for Internet on the actual plane these days, but before you cough up money for the wireless you use in the airport, make sure to do a check for free networks. You can also find Wi-Fi now on trains, buses and boats.

2. Lodging

Your lodging while traveling is often a good resource for finding Wi-Fi. Not only do most hotels, motels, inns, lodges and resorts have Wi-Fi these days, but even more surprising accommodation choices offer Internet access. You can often find Wi-Fi now at campgrounds, truck stops, hotels, vacation rentals, airbnb rentals and RV parks.

3. Work Space

If you need Wi-Fi while working on the road (which is when most of us actually need it, right?), you shouldn’t have too hard of a time tracking it down. Offices are naturally equipped with Internet access and usually Wi-Fi, but you can also find a connection in other places of work. I do most of my work while on the road in coffee shops and 75% of them seem to have Wi-Fi access. Also check for Wi-Fi at convention centers, shared workspaces and libraries.

4. Leisure Spaces

If you want to find Wi-Fi in everyday places, seek and you will find. Wi-Fi connections are available in many restaurants, bars, gyms and other fitness centers, malls and regular public businesses. I’ve found Wi-Fi in spas, bike shops and certainly computer/phone stores.

5. Everywhere Else

One of the easiest things you can do is what I do: pay a little extra every month to transform your phone into a hotspot. I usually do this before I travel so I can work no matter where I am, even if I’m in a car’s passenger seat all day long.

High-speed godspeed.

[flickr image via raneko]

Travel meets journalism at Roads and Kingdoms

travel journalismLast month, writers Nathan Thornburgh (a contributing editor to TIME and recent guest of Fox News) and Matt Goulding (food & culture writer and author behind the Eat This, Not That! book series) launched a new website with the intriguing tagline: “Journalism, travel, food, murder, music. First stop: Burma.” Combining on-the-spot reporting on current events and politics with in-depth cultural observations, rich photography, and engrossing narratives, Roads and Kingdoms feels like a travel blog we all want to write: a bit daring, occasionally foolhardy, and often inspiring. Fresh home from their first major trip and recovering from Burma belly, Gadling talked to co-founder Nathan about Roads and Kingdoms.

How would you describe your blog in one sentence?
Travel meets journalism.

How did it come about? How has your background in news helped (or hindered) your travels?
Matt and I felt like our work – he writes about food, I’m a foreign correspondent – actually had a lot in common. As writers on assignment, we found that the best parts of being on the road – the amazing meal on the street corner, the back-alley bar with the great live jams, the sweaty tuk tuk ride through the outskirts of the city – are left out of the final product. It’s those parts that we want to provide a home for. It’s a different kind of travel mindset, whether you’re going to London or Lagos. Journalism is all about being curious, which is a quality great travelers have as well.

It’s not meant to remain a blog: we’ll be launching our full site soon, which won’t just be our travels, but a variety of dispatches in the Roads and Kingdoms style, from writers and photographers and videographers around the world.
Why did you choose Burma as a first destination?
First off, we think Burma is going to be a huge tourist destination in the years to come, if the country continues to open up. It’s an amazingly vivid and warm country, and has a lot of the traditional rhythms of life that Thailand, for example, has lost.

Burma also had the perfect combination of stories for us to launch Roads and Kingdoms with. We were able to report on the killer hiphop scene in the south, up-and-coming graffiti artists in Rangoon, and of course, the amazing (and all but undiscovered) Burmese cuisine. Then Matt went to Bagan, this breathtaking valley of temples that will become a big part of Burma’s tourist boom. While he took in the temples, I visited the heart of the war-torn north, where I was able to hang out with gold miners and Kachin refugees and see a part of Burma that not a lot of people get to see.

What do you hope to inspire in readers?
We’d love to inspire readers to travel the way we do: with a sense of wonder and a big appetite, with curiosity and an awareness of the backstory behind the destinations.

Flashback, Burma Day One: Bad Crab from Roads and Kingdoms on Vimeo.

Roads and Kingdoms did not get detained in Myanmar for being journalists entering on a tourist visa. But Nathan still hit an unexpected roadblock on the first day in Burma: a plate of chili-slathered, rancid crab.

What are the challenges in blogging somewhere like Burma?

We were fortunate that our trip coincided with Hillary Clinton’s historic visit to Burma. The government didn’t want to create any problems that week, so we were incredibly free as journalists there; much more so than I could have ever imagined the first time I went in 2003. I was followed and watched when I visited the north, but they didn’t interfere with my work. However: Internet access still sucks. You can’t blog if you can’t connect, and that’s a huge problem in Burma.

How is social media adding to the blog?
Social media is huge for us. We’re starting out as a Tumblr, for example, not just because it’s great for articles/photos/videos, but because it’s so shareable. We want people to get involved, not just as passive consumers, but as advisers and compañeros along the way.

Where are you going next?
We have a short list, and we actually want readers to help us decide. London? Moscow? Lima? It’s a big world out there!

Follow the adventures at RoadsandKingdoms.com and connect with Nathan and Matt (and assorted interns) on Twitter @RoadsKingdoms and Facebook.

How much have you paid for hotel internet access?

gadling hotel madness no free internet accessIf our Hotel Madness tournament taught us anything, it’s that people really hate paying for internet access when traveling. No free Wi-Fi handily won our tournament by proving itself as the most hated hotel nuisance. While it bothers so many of us, we’ve all taken the plunge and paid a hefty fee for in-room internet. Whether it’s because we have work to do, pictures to upload or loved ones to Skype with, we’ve paid exorbitant fees to get online. Just how much have you paid? After seeing just how (un)popular paying for Wi-Fi was in Hotel Madness, we’re more curious than ever. Well, that’s what we want to know. Vote in our poll and let us know the most that you’ve ever paid for hotel internet access.We’re talking about the most you’ve paid for one session of internet access, be it five hours, 12 hours or one full day. After you’ve voted, please share more details about your experience in the comments. Let us know exactly how much you paid and which hotel was gouging its prices while cheating its customers. Lastly, tell us about the quality of the connection. Was it excruciatingly slow and/or intermittent.

This is your chance to vent. Let it all out!
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Last day to vote in the Hotel Madness championship!



Today is the last day of voting to decide which pet peeve will win our Hotel Madness tournament. Thousands of votes have been cast over the last several weeks leading up to this exciting championship match. Now, with hundreds of votes already cast, we are just hours away from crowning our winner. There’s still time, however, for you to make your voice heard. Will you vote for the dominant #1 seed No free Wi-Fi or the upstart #7 seed Bad water pressure? Do you value free internet connectivity or the ability to rinse the shampoo out of your hair? Both pet peeves are annoying, but only one will be named Hotel Madness Champion.

So, who will it be? Which hotel pet peeve bothers your the most? Head over to the poll right now to vote!

Championship voting ends at 11:59EDT tonight.