On my recent trip to London I found myself craving connecvitivy to the internet and as some folks know, internet rates internationally, particularly Europe, are awful. My hotel was charging £20 which is close to $35 USD. Needless to say, a bit excessive. While walking down Regent Street in central London I came upon my solution and it's something I noticed on another trip to Asia back in October. Prepaid Wireless Data.
You see, with the recent push of wireless data services, outside of the US, carriers are selling USB dongles with a prepaid bundle of data for much cheaper than hotel internet. I chose T-mobile as they were selling the dongle for £8 and the minimum top-up was £5. For £2 a day, I got 500MB of data and unlimited access to T-mobile hotspots throughout London. If I needed to download something large, I could go to find a Starbucks and not chip away at my 500MB allocation.
For a four day trip, the hotel internet would have cost me £80 and the USB dongle cost me £16. That's less than the price of a single day of hotel internet.
The dongle itself is reusable, so in the future, I can get another SIM card and use it again. There are ways to also unlock the dongle so it can be used with providers other than T-mobile which makes it completely reusable anywhere you go. The USB sticks are far more mobile as well since they work anywhere there is cell coverage.
At least the hotels can no longer gouge me for internet.