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Ever since wireless companies instituted data caps and started charging expensive data overage fees Wi-Fi offloading has been becoming more popular.

People are flocking to their favorite places that offer free Wi-Fi to reduce their 3G and 4G data usage.  Most people who are the least bit smartphone savvy already have their favorite places to sit and enjoy free Wi-Fi and maybe some coffee or a breakfast sandwich.

From time to time I get asked to find a meeting place for a few people to meet that has a free Wi-Fi connection.  I became quite proficient at learning all the places in the Silicon Valley that offer free Wi-Fi.

I decided to put together this mini-advice post on how to offload your data to free Wi-Fi hotspots.  All you have to do is find the free hotspots and connect.

OK, OK, I’ll be a little more helpful.

Many corporations offer free Wi-Fi and I have listed a few here in no particular order.

Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, Panera Bread Company, McDonald’s, Borders Books, and Office Depot all provide.  No, I didn’t forget Peet’s coffee, but they only offer 2 hours for free and you need to get the code from the cashier.

I can personally vouch for the following: Barnes & Noble, Panera Bread Company and Starbucks.  I can also vouch for one McDonald’s having a sign on it’s wall limiting time spent in a booth to 35 minutes and another McDonalds “encouraging” me to leave when the lunch crowd started to show; I had ordered a couple of large breakfast burritos and a couple of coffees.

I also tracked down some web sites that provide lists of places you can fine free Wi-Fi.  Here they are in no particular order.

Wi-Fi FreeSpot Directory, Open WiFi Spots, Wi-Fi Hot Spot List, Ji Wire, Hotspot Locations, and Starbucks searchable finder directory.

There are also many local mom & pop businesses that offer Free Wi-Fi all across the United States and even the world.  One is Jim & Patty’s Coffee in Portland Oregon.

There are several companies that also offer a free wireless service.  One is Devicescape.

Now go enjoy some free Wi-Fi!