Internet access when travelling

So, it’s day 6 of my first big tour of the season and we’ve done London!… we’re just sitting on the train at King’s Cross for the 4.5 hour journey to Edinburgh where we stay for 3 days before continuing our tour of Scotland till the 24th. London’s been fast and furious as usual but the group seem to have enjoyed it – the highlight with this group seems to have Stonehenge, but many of them said how much they loved Bath during our day trip there from London. I’m pretty sure they’re going to be impressed with Scotland though! What I’m noticing more and more (not just with student groups, but with adults too) is the desperate need for constant internet access when travelling!!! Social networking has become so engrained into our lifestyles that so many people now require access not only to keep everyone constantly updated on what they’re doing, but also to check on what’s back happening back at home… this can prove a problem during travel though. Mostly because internet access is not so readily available, but also because it means that you miss opportunities as a result of being distracted. It’s easy to say that you’ll ban internet access if you’re travelling with groups of kids but you can be sure that that won’t go down too well, so making a point of giving specific times for them to get online is probably the best option. But many hotels charge for Wi-Fi or for the use of their computers so the cost can really add up! Even small hotels these days tend to have at least one computer available for public access, but charges range drastically from one place to the next e.g. it can cost £1 for anything between 5 minutes to 1 hour. Wi-Fi at our first hotel this week (Master Robert, near to Heathrow Airport) was free but was only available in the lobby and bar area, and every night we came back to the hotel the kids ran to the lobby to get every possible second online! Personally, I’m lost without internet in my room but I managed for the last few days! Most Premier Inn hotels in the UK charge have public internet and computers, but I often stay at places like Premier Inn Wembley during London city stays so I can buy a week’s worth of access for around £15-£20, which is by far the best way to do it as long as you’re in a hotel for a few days. I’m suspecting that most of our hotels in Scotland are not going to have free internet access like our first did, and many will not have public internet available at all – some hotels are really out in the wilderness… one is 7 miles from the nearest village! The bottom line is that due to people’s expectations of easy access to the internet these days, you should really discuss this before you travel so that you have a plan one way or another, or at least so that people get a better idea of what to expect.