#4 Getting past the email block
Some Wi-Fi hotspots block the traffic on port 25 for SMTP, which is used to send email from clients like Microsoft Outlook. Additionally, some ISPs require customers to send email from accounts they provide at only their Internet connections. These two measures might help cut down on SPAM messages, but can be a real headache when you go to check or send your email from public networks.
You should try to use Web-based email when away, so you won't have to deal with any of these issues; plus it can be secure. Your email provider may already offer this in addition to the POP3/IMAP access. If not, you still have options. If you are using email addresses provided by your own Web site, consider using a utility like JMailbox to host the service yourself. If the Internet or email provider doesn't give you Web access, try a SMTP relay or other service, such as Mail2Web.
#5 Sharing a wired connection
At hotels you might find yourself using a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi. If you're traveling with others, you'll probably all be fighting over the connection in no time. However, you can wirelessly share a wired connection.
The person connected to the Internet via an Ethernet cable can create an ad-hoc wireless network. Using the Internet connection sharing (ICS) feature of Windows, he or she can share their Web access with others that connect to the computer-to-computer network.
Another way around this issue is to bring along a wireless router. There are small travel routers you can purchase; or you can buy a regular router, as most are relatively small. However, if you have a router at home, and it isn't needed while you're gone, you can just take that. It would also already be set up with encryption (or it should be) and ready to go, just like at home.
Eric Geier is an author of many computing and networking books, including Home Networking All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (Wiley 2008) and 100 Things You Need to Know about Microsoft Windows Vista (Que 2007).