Media Release

Wi-Fi Freeloaders: What Aussie travellers do for free Internet

  • Hotels and fast food restaurants most popular for staying connected
  • 15% of Aussie travellers have lurked outside a random hotel for their Internet fix
  • How to stay safe on free Wi-Fi

26 April 2018, Sydney, Australia – Hotels and fast food restaurants prove to be the sensible ways Aussie travellers access free Wi-Fi, according to new research from, but there are plenty connecting in more worrying ways.

Unsurprisingly, the survey of 1,572 international jetsetters finds that 47% of Australian travellers have ventured back to their hotel to use free Internet.

Over one third (35%) have hung out in a fast food joint - without buying anything - to scab free Wi-Fi.

Almost one in six (15%) travellers admit to having lurked outside a random hotel or even stood in a hotel lobby to get their Internet fix.

Angus Kidman, Travel Expert at understands the urge to use free Wi-Fi whilst overseas.

“Free Wi-Fi is the holy grail of travelling and freeloaders are frequently spotted in McDonalds. Many of us don't feel officially 'on holidays' until we’ve posted an Insta-worthy snap of our destination.”

“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.”

“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% have handed over personal details via an online form to connect while 5% 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%) Aussie travellers say they don’t use free Wi-Fi as it’s too risky, while 23% 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!"

Top ways Aussie travellers tap into free Wi-Fi overseas
1Gone back to my hotel
2Hung around in a fast food place (without buying anything)
3Went to a shopping centre
4Bought something in a fast food place
5Stood outside a random hotel / hotel lobby
6Signed up / filled out an online form with some personal details
7Gone to a train station
8Use someone else’s unsecured hotspot
9Asked to use a local’s phone

Generation Z is most likely of Aussie travellers to use a restaurant for free Internet without buying anything (65%) compared Gen Y (47%), Gen X (31%) and Baby Boomers (17%).

Baby Boomers are most likely to make their own prior arrangements to have access to Internet whilst travelling, as 37% have no need to use free Wi-Fi, compared to only 7% of Generation Z.

How to stay 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.


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