Will I be able to access the internet on my laptop while flying from US to Europe? What about on trains throughout Italy, Switzerland, and Austria?
Jennifer L, I don't believe you'll be able to access the internet during your flight from the U.S. to Europe. Some airlines have been considering this, but AFAIK they aren't set-up for it yet. When this feature is available, there will probably be a substantial fee for it.
Regarding internet access on trains, I believe a few trains have this feature but I'm not sure which ones? Hopefully someone else will have this information.
Most all McDonald's and Starbucks throughout Europe will give you 30 minutes of free WiFi with a purchase, reasonable rates after that. Though a lot of the McDonald's in Switzerland offer completely free unlimited Wifi if it is sponsored by another business..like a local real estate company.
Wireless Internet is just becoming available on trains in Europe. Swiss Rail has it on one line, between Zurich and Bern, (here, in German, I don't know if the same info is in English). It's only in one car, the first one behind the engine, in only one part of the car, only in first class, and isn't free.
German Rail has it on some ICEs; more will be added next year.
My daughter was able to use wireless on some trains in the UK.
I've spent 4 weeks in Germany in the last two years. In the 17 places I stayed, over half had free WiFi. Some were just Privatzimmer, but in some of them, the owner had WiFi and let me get on it.
I am using free wifi at my hotel in Nuremberg right now. The train I took from Munich to Nuremberg (ICE) had wifi as well. It is everywhere. And I dont regret bringing my laptop at all!
Yeah, Kate. Wifi is great. I used to have to go out and find a cybercafe, but sometimes they are not open when I want to get on, or maybe they don't even have one in that town. With Wifi I can sit in my hotel room at 3 o'clock in the morning, when I can't sleep, and update my website, email my friends, or get train schedules for the next day.
Forget the plane, but once in Europe Wifi is pretty much everywhere. If you're in a spot where you don't find signal, move a half a block and you'll probably pick up some. I've taken my laptop numerous times and have been very glad I did.
Through trial and error, I've found a trick to getting free WiFi at a lot of airports: simply sit just outside the airline lounges. A lot of these lounges use unsecured WiFi, so as long as your in the general area you can usually pick up a signal. For example, back in January when I was at Beijing Airport, I happened to notice the lounge for El Al was a few feet away, I turned on my netbook found their signal, was able to kill some time checking my email. I hope Mossad doesn't find out:)
Thanks everyone. Glad to know I won't have to "search" too much to find access once we get to Europe. Wouldn't want to miss calling my grandaughter via Skype on the day of her Kindergarten Graduation!!