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Free Wi-Fi in Scotland

June 11, 2015 – by Per Christensson

Free Wi-Fi in ScotlandMy latest trip took me to Scotland, where I visited Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the Highlands. While I was impressed by the vast landscapes, I was also surprised by how expansive free Wi-Fi was in Scotland.

When traveling abroad, I have two primary necessities — water and Wi-Fi. Water enables my basic survival, while Wi-Fi allows me to do everything else. An Internet connection gives me to the capability to map out where I'm going, find local restaurants, check public transportation schedules, and most importantly post updates on Facebook.

Of all the places I have visited recently — Sweden, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, and Japan — Scotland has the most widely-available free Wi-Fi. Nearly every hotel, restaurant, cafe, and pub offers a Wi-Fi signal. The connections are commonly password-protected, but the password is clearly displayed on a wall or menu. As a traveller in Scotland, you rarely need to search for Wi-Fi. A wireless router is almost always in range of your smartphone.

AT&T Passport

On a side note, I signed up for AT&T's new "Passport" plan before leaving for Scotland since I didn't know how easy it would be to get a Wi-Fi signal. It's a convenient $30 plan that provides 120MB of international roaming data, free unlimited text messages, and free access to Wi-Fi hotspots.

I thought the coolest part of the plan would be the free hotspot access, since there are hundreds of them in the UK. Unfortunately, every time I tried to connect to one, I saw this on my phone:

BT Open Zone Error

So the hotspot feature was pretty useless. Fortunately, the 120MB of roaming data was more than enough for emergency use and I could almost always find a local Wi-Fi access point when I needed it. So if you're traveling to Edinburgh or Glasgow, you probably don't need to purchase an international roaming package. If you're heading to the Highlands, AT&T's Passport or a similar plan is probably worth it just to be safe.

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