The Hipmunk Guide to Free Hotel Wi-Fi

We stayed recently at a resort that had Wi-Fi so great, we could actually stream video content from a web site, which is very unusual. We truly appreciate great Wi-Fi and free Wi-Fi is even better. Here’s an article about that topic from the Tailwind blog from Hipmunk.

This post was posted by The Hipmunk Staff on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on August 19th.

Luxury Hotel Room

Luxury Hotel Room

Wi-Fi has become an amenity that guests expect from the hotels where they choose to stay. We asked our Twitter fans what they think of free Wi-Fi and they spoke loud and clear. Perhaps Susan Breslow ‏(@susanbreslow) said it best: ‘Hotel wi-fi is essential. Free wins loyalty and cred.’ But according to a review of Hipmunk’s hotel database, only 70 percent of U.S. hotels offer free Wi-Fi. Another 27 percent don’t offer Wi-Fi at all (what?!?!). And the last 3 percent offer Wi-Fi for a fee.

So how do you ensure you always have Wi-Fi free of charge? Easy. Read the Hipmunk guide to free Wi-Fi below.

Know Where to Go
We tapped our hotels database to identify the U.S. cities with the highest percentage of free Wi-Fi.

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Avoid Luxury Hotels
Believe it or not, you really don’t get what you pay for when it comes to expected amenities at luxury hotels. According to our data, more expensive hotels are much more likely to charge for Wi-Fi than moderate and budget hotels (this is also true of other amenities like free breakfast). True, the reasoning is that the fewer users on a server, the higher the quality (read: speed) of WiFi a luxury hotel is able to offer their guests. The problem is that as free Wi-Fi becomes ubiquitous in American society, having to pay for it as an amenity at a luxury hotel seems ridiculous. “Paid WiFi is like asking to pay for towels,” said @Made_By_Hugo. “(I) don’t like to be nickel-and-dimed; just want a simple price.”

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Use the Best Search Tools
When you search for hotels on Hipmunk, hotels offering free Wi-Fi are clearly marked with a “free Wi-Fi” icon.

Join Loyalty Programs
While free Wi-Fi may earn a guest’s loyalty, hotel management has ironically discovered that they can withhold free Wi-Fi and other amenities to encourage travelers to join their loyalty programs. Here’s a cheat sheet of some popular hotel chains offering free Wi-Fi as part of their rewards programs and what level you need to attain to get the perk.

Hotel Group Level
Omni Gold
Starwood Preferred
Marriott (participating hotels when you book direct) Member
Hilton (participating hotels when you book direct) Diamond (premium Wi-Fi)Blue, Silver, Gold (standard Wi-Fi)
Kimpton Member
Intercontinental Club
Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond, Platinum (premium Wi-Fi)All guests (standard)
Accor Silver
Fairmont Platinum
Loews All guests


Sign Up for a Credit Card That Offers Wi-Fi Perks
Right now American Express dominates this area. Here’s the rundown on which American Express cards offer Wi-Fi perks.

American Express Credit Card Wi-Fi Perks
The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express Free in-room Wi-Fi at participating Starwood Hotels when booked directly
Free unlimited Wi-Fi at more than a million Boingo hotspots around the world
American Express Platinum Free in-room Wi-Fi at participating Fine Hotels
Free unlimited Wi-Fi at more than a million Boingo hotspots around the world
Hilton HHonors Card from American Express Spend $20,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn HHonors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year. Gold status gets you complimentary in-room hi-speed Wi-Fi at participating Hilton hotels among other perks.
Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express This card gives you automatic Hilton Gold status, which offers free hi-speed Wi-Fi and participating Hilton hotels

The Starwood Preferred Guest card offers complimentary in-room premium internet access while staying in participating SPG hotels and free unlimited Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than a million Boingo hotspots around the world (after enrollment).

Make the Best of a Bad Situation
If you find yourself at a hotel that charges for Wi-Fi, take a look at the other available networks in your Wi-Fi settings. If you’re in a business district or touristy area full of hotels, you just might find an open and free Wi-Fi network to connect to.

Do you have tips that we didn’t cover? Tweet ‘em @thehipmunk or share them in the comments section.

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Last Days of Summer at The Beach Waterpark

splashSchool may have started in a number of locations but you still have plenty of beautiful, warm days left to visit The Beach Waterpark in Mason, Ohio. They are open until September 13 every weekend so make plans to spend the day at this fabulous place.

Conveniently located just a short drive from Cincinnati, Ohio, it’s a wonderful location for families to spend one of the last weekends of summer and early fall. There are plenty of accommodations in the area if you want to spend the night after an exhausting day!

We recently spent the day there and took two little boys who enjoyed every single second. With just over 35 acres, there are tons of different water slides of varying degrees of difficulty, a heated wave pool, an interactive kids play area, and plenty of comfortable chair lounges, seating areas, and shade. They have 2, 600 tons of white sand, over 150 live palm trees, and more than 2 million gallons of water adventure!

Great play areas

Great play areas. Photo courtesy of The Beach Waterpark.

The Beach Waterpark has been open since 1985, and we paid it visits way back when our kids were small. On this visit, I was with our grown daughter, our grandson, and a friend, so life truly comes full circle!  They reopened in 2013 as an Adventure Landing park and have added new attractions and invested over 6 million dollars in renovations and additions.

Riptide Water Slide

Riptide Water Slide. Photo courtesy of The Beach Waterpark.

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Five Great Southern Resorts for Families this Summer

Beach Houses

Wild Dunes Resort

Resorts are the perfect family destination because they offer a wide variety of activities for every member of the family without ever having to load up the car and drive somewhere else. Many come complete with restaurants, pools, plenty of on-site activities and even complete kids camps; and most are located in beautiful, idyllic destinations as well. When you are planning your next family vacation in the southern United States, check out these options.

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Step into the astonishing Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, and you may not be able to believe your eyes as this is truly a unique location. The hotel has 9 acres of lush indoor gardens, waterfalls, and a wandering river that runs through the entire area, right inside the hotel! Be sure to book a room with a balcony overlooking the interior of the hotel as it’s quite an amazing sight. You will also want to take the riverboat cruise on the river, which takes you around the inside of the entire hotel. With two outdoor pools, an indoor pool and a special pool for kids, it’s easy to find a place to swim and have fun. The hotel has several different restaurants but Stax on the Delta Island is great for kids since you can create your own burger and choose the sides to go with it.

Read the rest of this article on HERE.

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Cities Less Traveled – Badhoevedorp, Netherlands

Badhoevedorp is a charming and typical Dutch village in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands. Visitors are often confused by the country of Netherlands, and refer to it as Holland, while Holland is actually one of the provinces in this welcoming country.

Flowers in Holland

Photo by Emmett Bratt via

Because Badhoevedorp is only about a half-hour from Amsterdam by train, you can easily stay in this beautiful and historic city in one of the many Amsterdam hotels and take a train to Badhoevedorp. From the central train station in Amsterdam, you will arrive at Badhoevedorp train station, where you can spend time strolling around this lovely village.

Amsterdam Train Station

Photo by Emma Golpys via

Be sure to stop at De Chocolate Apotheek (the Chocolate Apothecary) in Badhoevedorp for some special treats to enjoy, or take home for gifts. They take their delicious chocolate very seriously in the Netherlands, and this small and locally owned chocolate shop is the best place to sample some. The owner and her staff will help you choose just what kind of treats you want to buy.

Canal Boats in Amsterdam

Photo by Shawn Ng via

Once you are back at the Amsterdam central train station, walk to one of the many canals which wend through the city. They are the perfect places from which to take canal boat tours. Buy a pass good for several days. Then you can just hop off to see such iconic sites as Anne Frank House, Rembrandt House Museum, andRoyal Palace Amsterdam, or just enjoy the interesting homes, hundreds of bikes, and charming houseboats you will see along the canals.

Kroller-Muller Museum

Photo by Pieter Gallas via

Kroller-Muller Museum, a beautiful and interesting site, is only about an hour’s drive from Amsterdam or Badhoevedorp. Just outside Arnhem, in the middle of Hoge Veluwe National Park, which is an experience by itself, it is well worth spending an afternoon there. Allow some time in the park before or after your museum tour. The park covers 5,500 hectares of area and is a habitat for a variety of wildlife. Borrow one of the free white bicycles from the park entrance, at the Visitor’s Center, or at the museum, and you are free to roam around the area, or take a picnic lunch to relax and just enjoy being outdoors.

Hogue Veluwe National Park

Photo by Megan Smith via

In the park Visitor’s Center, you can learn more about the nature, landscape, animals, culture and history of Hoge Veluwe National Park by viewing videos and walking through the underground museum. A variety of activities takes place in the park year-round, including lots of things for children, such as puppet shows and workshops.

When you are ready to tour Kroller-Muller Museum, it has both indoor and outdoor areas. The outdoor area includes a nice sculpture garden walk, which is a lovely way to spend some time. There are sculptures inside as well as paintings, and other types of art, and you can also choose an audio or guided tour of some of the displays.

You will enjoy the beautiful country of the Netherlands!

I am a writer for Hipmunk and this is an article for their Cities Less Traveled series. #‎HipmunkCityLove Project

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10 Ways to Make Coming Home from a Trip More Pleasant

Travel-Clipart-274x300You drag in your suitcases and other assorted paraphernalia (especially if you have been on a car trip), drop it all in the middle of the floor, and collapse onto the couch. Your trip was amazing in every way but now you are home, and you are exhausted. After several years of travel, here’s what I have learned that makes that coming home part of the trip a little less painful.

  1. Before you leave on the trip, make your bed.Am I the only one who loves getting into a nicely made bed with clean, fresh sheets? Surely not. If you are leaving really early so that stripping your bed and changing the sheets is way too much trouble, do it the night before. Then just quickly make up your bed before you leave. You will be so happy when you fall into it, especially if you arrive home late at night.

2. Toss used towels in the hamper and put out fresh ones the night before. Those fresh towels are going to feel so nice after your shower or bath to get off that yucky travel smell and feeling.

3. Leave duplicate toiletries in your bathroom. There is nothing as annoying as rooting through your suitcase for your shampoo and soap when all you want to do is relax in a hot bath after your travels. It’s much easier to have duplicates and, in addition, that way you can just leave your toiletries bag packed up ready for the next trip.

Read the rest of this article on Travelhoppers HERE.

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Testing Our Limits at Adventures on the Gorge

View of the New River Gorge Bridge.

View of the New River Gorge Bridge.

Press Trip

Considering that West Virginia is one of our closest neighbors, it’s amazing that we haven’t done any sort of traveling there. We just discovered that this has been a huge mistake because Adventures on the Gorge is in West Virginia.

And Adventures on the Gorge is amazing.

Tom is a huge fan of cabins in the woods so, when we were invited to this location and he saw they had cabins in the woods, it was a given that we would go there.

I’m absolutely fine with cabins in the woods as long as they are air-conditioned, have a nice television and Wi-Fi, and a comfortable bed. Luckily, the cabins at Adventures on the Gorge have all that and more.

Adventures on the Gorge is located in the amazingly beautiful New River Gorge in the Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia, which is part of the New River Gorge National River. Designated part of the United States National Park Service in 1978, the area sprawls for 53 miles along the New River and includes some of the most prime white water rafting territory in the United States. The river flows north through deep, scenic canyons and is one of the oldest rivers on the continent. With over 70,000 acres of land, the park is also popular for world-class rock climbing, hiking, zip lining, a bridge walk above the river, and plenty of other water sports in addition to white water rafting.

Adventures on the Gorge as a resort providing a variety of experiences in an idyllic and relaxing atmosphere which includes a variety of accommodations and great restaurants, has evolved over the years. Mountain River Tours began in 1969 and was the second commercial raft company in West Virginia to offer whitewater rafting on the river. In 1977, River Runners was set up the same site where Adventures on the Gorge now perches and in 1978, Songer Whitewater began. In 1980, Rivermen followed their lead and also set up a whitewater rafting company.

But in 2007, whitewater rafting was not as popular as it had been and it became obvious that, in order to survive and prosper, the four companies would need to make some changes. Getting past their naturally competitive natures, they formed a partnership to create a one of kind resort destination where travelers from beginners to hard-core adventures could enjoy the gorge and everything it had to offer. They needed a place where their guests could run the river and then return to luxurious lodging, great food, and surprisingly luxurious amenities. And so Adventures on the  Gorge was born and has been gradually growing, changing, and developing into the amazing destination we visited.

This is not your average vacation or even your average resort; rather, it’s a completely unique adventure resort – and we loved every minute.

The first thing we loved was our quite fabulous and luxurious cabin. The resort has an amazing array of lodging options from basic camp sites all the way to large and luxurious rental homes. We were in one of the brand new cabins called the Sunnyside Suites which could not have been more comfortable. Pristine and beautifully decorated, they are actually a duplex with a bedroom, small kitchen, and bathroom on each side.

Our home away from home.

Our home away from home.

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Go Locally Sourced at The Cookery in Door County, Wisconsin

SignBeautiful Door County, Wisconsin, located on a peninsula of land which extends into clear and gorgeous Lake Michigan on one side and several lovely bays on the other, has plenty of great dining choices.

Locally caught whitefish, along with fried cheese curds, and the delicious local cherries are special favorites and you can find them in most of the local restaurants. But for one of the best gourmet dining experiences in the area, stop inThe Cookery.

Located in the charming coastal town of Fish Creek, one of many delightful villages which dot the Cape Cod-like area of Door County, The Cookery not only provides one of the best dining choices in the area, this family owned and family run restaurant prides itself on using locally sourced products as much as possible on their menu.

Back in May of 1977, Dick and Carole Skare honeymooned in Door County and proceeded to fall in love with the place, as many visitors do. But they were unique as they were aspiring restaurateurs who met a local shopkeeper named Hazel Elliot. Hazel realized she had future Door County residents and took the time to show them a small, twenty seat restaurant in downtown Fish Creek, right on the main street overlooking the bay.

Just two months later, The Cookery opened for business.

Read the rest of this article on Epicurean Traveler HERE.

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Sample the Delectable Local Fare at Harbor Fish Market and Grille in Door County, Wisconsin

SignTucked away in tiny Bailey’s Harbor on the charming and beautiful Door County peninsula is a hidden and undiscovered treasure which you would do well to locate on your next trip.

Harbor Fish Market and Grille is a wonderful, gourmet restaurant in a historic building on the main street through town. Featuring a lovely view of the bay complete with outside dining, the large building in which the restaurant is located was added to a smaller building in 1908. The small building was originally used as an ice cream parlor and later a tavern, and the larger building was used as a tavern and dance hall.

Whole families would come to the dances, and the children were put to bed upstairs while the adults continued dancing. In the ice cream parlor, cones were only 5 cents, and later on in the 40’s and 50’s, movies were shown, and there was roller skating on the hardwood floors on Sundays. The building went through a few owners until 1997 when it was bought by restaurateurs Carl and Karen Berndt, and we were thrilled to pay them a visit on a recent visit to Door County.

Read the rest of this article on Epicurean Traveler HERE.

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Visiting Lyon, the “Capital of Lights”

View of Lyon and the river SaoneLyon, like many French cities, is beautiful, charming, and historic. But it is truly unique in its location. Situated in east Central France between Paris and Marseilles, this UNESCO World Heritage site is located on a peninsula where two rivers, the Rhone and the Saone converge to the south of the historic city center. Because the city is located between two rivers, you can stroll east or west along cobblestone streets lined with lovely, local shops and restaurants, and end up on a river bank.

The city came by its famous nickname because of the popular lights festival called the Fete des Lumieres which occurs every December 8 and lasts for four days. The celebration is an homage to the Virgin May, who supposedly saved the city from a deadly plague in the Middle Ages. During the event, the entire city places candles in their windows and there are impressive large-scale light shows which are projected onto the sides of some of the most famous monuments.

Read the rest of this article on My Itchy Travel Feet HERE.

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Going to the Dinosaurs with Jurassic Quest

Hosted Activity

2012_10_sif_cal_dinosaurs_zRiding a Tyrannosaurus Rex is a good one to start the day.

Especially for a dinosaur loving 9-year old.

OK, technically the T-Rex was not alive but this is probably a good thing as you don’t want your face eaten off during a fun outing.

When I heard that Jurassic Quest was coming to Lexington, Kentucky, I knew that I had to get there with our grandson. We are the two dinosaur lovers in the family although both of my grown children were also raised to love these mighty beasts. They were honestly surprised as kids when others didn’t know the names of every single dinosaur.

Not only does our grandson know those names but he has far surpassed all of us and knows the names of dinosaurs I have never even heard of.

So, tickets were obtained, plans were made, and we headed to one of the best, and most kid-friendly events I have ever attended.

The first and best advice I have for you if you are planning to attend one of these events is to get there as early as humanly possible. Like, be there when they open the place. We were there a couple of hours after they opened and it immediately began to get crowded. Especially if you want to ride the dinosaurs – and of course you want to ride the dinosaurs – get there early. I suggest you walk back all the other exhibits, even though they are amazing and you will want to stop – and get in line for the dinosaur rides. You can always go back to the exhibits.

When we first entered the area, before we even went into Jurassic Quest, we heard the sounds of the dinosaurs roaring and calling.


It was like this.

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