Internet Access on the Road
Want to check your email while you are traveling but don't want to take a computer with you? If you have an account with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) you may be able to access your email from any computer even if you don't normally access it through a browser. (That means you can use your host's or hotel's computer for a quick check.) Most nationwide and many regional ISPs allow you to access your email on the web as well as to download it to your own computer. Another option is to use an online service, such as the free Mail2Web.
If you carry a computer with you, you may be able to access your ISP through a local phone number—even if you use a broadband connection at home. Visit the ISP support pages and see.
If you travel with a wireless enabled computer or PDA, you can use it to connect to the Internet using hotspots (free or pay). Many locations including hotels, airports, and cafes provide hotspots. You may also see hotspots advertised as "Wi-Fi connections."
Even though These articles from PC World are several years old, they still provide good information about finding and using hotspots:
- How to Find Hotspots
- Don't Get Burned Paying for a Hotspot
- Are Hot Spots Safe?
- Does Your Wi-Fi Hotspot Have an Evil Twin?
Traveling with a computer
You need to take precautions when traveling with a computer. You need to protect your data and you need to protect the computer itself. If your computer is lost or stolen, you don't want any personal data on the computer to fall into the wrong hands. These tips from the US Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) can help:
Using public, friends', or family computers
If you don't travel with a computer, then you need access to a computer. You may find "public" computers in libraries, shops like Kinkos, Internet cafes, Airline courtesy clubs or hotel business services rooms. Or you may be using the private computers of friends. When using a computer that isn't yours, check out that its security protections—such as antivirus, firewall, anti-spyware—are up to date before using it for your banking or other private transactions.
For public computers, ask yourself these questions before using it:
- Can anyone access the computer connections?
- Can anyone install software on the machine—from disc or downloaded?
- Can anyone make configuration changes to the software?
- Is the guest account an administrative account?
If you answered yes (or "I don't know") to one or more of these questions, then don't use the computer for online shopping, online account access, online banking, online bill pay, or anything else that requires you to enter credit card numbers, a user id or password, or any other identifying information.
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