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downtown tokyo at night

Although free wifi isn’t too hard to find in some countries, in other places like Western Europe, Internet access sucks. Instead of wandering aimlessly around a city searching for a wireless signal by poking your head into every cafe along the way, save the frustration and look for some of these chains. Iconic locally and available globally, most of these restaurant, cafe, and other international retailers to offer free wifi at many of their locations.

1. McDonald’s

Despite what you may think of their food, most of us can agree that McDonald’s serves a decent cup of coffee. A beverage that goes great with the free wireless access the $32 billion company provides at many of their locations worldwide. McDonald’s policy also doesn’t require customers purchase anything to make use of the wifi.

mcdonalds logo selective coloring

2. Starbucks

Hit or miss and sometimes bundled with paid service, Starbucks has enough pull with local wireless operators to team up with them. The result being free wifi at their cafes in many countries around he world.

starbucks seatlle

3. Costa Coffee

A major competitor of Starbucks, Costa Coffee is often found in more widely in the third-world and most have free wifi. Given a choice between the two mega-cafes, I’d bet on Costa Coffee to get online. As for a drink, well, that’s another debate.

cup of black tea

4. Apple

They don’t really advertise it but many Apple stores have wireless access available. I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to sit at the Genius Bar for hours and Skype your mom but to quickly check your email it might not be a bad choice – especially if you’re using a Macbook.

colorful apple logo

5. IKEA

Maybe you’re very lost or simply want to buy some fyrkantig as a gift before your trip back home. Whatever reason you’re in IKEA, it’s hard to pass through the world’s largest furniture store chain without stopping by their restaurant. Want 15 Swedish meatballs with a side of Internet? You’ll probably find it there.

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ikea maskros pendant ceiling lamp

6. Burger King And Sometimes KFC

The former fills its customers with questionable cow meat and free Internet at over 2,200 of its locations in 12 countries. KFC recently expanded free wifi service to its restaurants (can we really call them that?) in the UK and other select locations mostly in Europe, South America, and Australia.

burger king home of the whopper

What’s The Chain With Free Wireless To Visit In Your Country?

To further extend your search before leaving your hostel, try using foursquare tips to get wireless passwords or extending your laptop’s wifi range to widen your net. None of the places listed above or below are sure bets but they can shorten a frantic search for the Internet by narrowing your options. I’m sure there are many similar local chains in various regions and am curious to find out the one you recommend? We started off with a good conversation on my Facebook page but would like to extend it here:

Let me know in the comments below with words or a photo! (Simply copy and paste in a link to the picture.) I’ll keep updating the list by country so we’ll all know where to experience local fast food while downloading our emails.

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