The 'Free' Hotel Service Samantha Brown Will Never Trust

There are a lot of freebies you can ask for at your hotel, but according to world traveler and television host Samantha Brown, the free WiFi might not be worth it — or even really free at all. According to her website Samantha Brown's Places to Love, even hotels that claim to offer free or very cheap WiFi sometimes upcharge you if you try to use the internet from certain locations. Worse, the free WiFi offered by your hotel might not be particularly secure, meaning that you might end up paying a lot more than a hotel fee if you use it for private transactions.


Unfortunately, among the amenities offered by hotels, free WiFi is typically fairly low quality. While most hotels offer internet connection in the rooms, there is no guarantee that the quality will be good enough for remote work, video calling your family back home, or curling up and watching Netflix after a long day of sightseeing. 

You might end up paying for hotel WiFi anyway

Every hotel is a little bit different, and some may offer apparently free WiFi to its guests, while others offer fees of around $10 to $20 a day to connect. Some places may offer some level of WiFi for free, but charge you if you require high quality service or connection from everywhere in the hotel. On her website, Samantha Brown warns that while there is usually free WiFi in hotel rooms, if you want to connect from other locations in the hotel, you may have to pay for it.


Often, hotels that offer free WiFi also offer better connection for a fee. Frustratingly, the paid WiFi is often much faster than the free WiFi. If you really need to be connected, you may end up having to pay, even if you intentionally chose the hotel because it offered free internet service. Your best bet may be trying to get upgraded to the paid WiFi. There are a lot of ways to get extra perks when you check into your hotel, and one of the most reliable is to sign up for a free loyalty points program. Sometimes, one of the incentives for signing up is free WiFi that other guests have to pay for.

Hotel WiFi might not be secure

You probably know enough to keep safe from gross spots in hotel rooms that you shouldn't be touching without the protection of shower shoes or rubber gloves, but you might not have thought about keeping yourself safe on the hotel's internet. On another post on her website, Samantha Brown warns, "Don't ever trust free wifi. If you must, don't make any transactions online, especially banking."


If the WiFi is free and accessible to everyone without a password, then it's probably not encrypted. Unfortunately, that means your data is vulnerable when you use it. Like Brown suggests, you shouldn't use an insecure network when entering any passwords you don't want other people to have. Even if the WiFi does require a password to connect, a lot of hotels don't keep their cybersecurity updated, so your data may still be vulnerable when you use it. Bizarrely, sometimes unscrupulous people will even set up a fake WiFi network with a name that looks like the hotel's in order to trick you into connecting to it and giving up your information. Confirm with hotel staff that you're connecting to the right network before you log on.