McDonalds (the fast food chain) has become an important part of my life. As they offer free WiFi, which is a solution to my internet access problem.
I’ve never really liked McDonalds food. I grew up in Cornwall in England, and I can’t remember the first time I saw a McDonalds, or ate at one. But it was in my late teens or early twenties.
Until a few years ago I would never normally eat there, maybe a McFlurry a few times a year. Almost never a burger.
Then, a few years ago whilst traveling in Southeast Asia I started to eat at McDonalds more. Every so often I would find myself in a big city, like Kuala Lumpur, and the only local restaurants I could find weren’t appealing, so I would have a McDonalds. To be honest I always seem to prefer a Burger King or even a KFC, but occasionally McDonalds will do.
I don’t particular like their food, and I don’t like their business practice (e.g. appealing to kids, whose parents can’t say no), but I don’t hate them. Business is business, kids are kids, and parents should be parents.
On the last few months of this trip I have been using my iPhone as a 3G modem to get internet access on the go. It’s been great whilst in places like Portugal and Spain, where finding a cafe with WiFi can be difficult.
But now we’re France, and 3G access via a phone costs a lot of money. Finding Wifi enabled cafes and campsites is easier in France, and generally easier and cheaper than the cost and hassle of 3G via the French phone providers.
Now enter McDonalds. Almost every McDonalds, worldwide, has free WiFi. So all one needs to do is to buy something, anything (a coffee is about €1.50) and enjoy the wifi. Some of their restaurants (their word, not mine) have unsecured Wifi that reaches a long way, perhaps into the car park. So some people might sit in their vehicles and access the WiFi without even paying. I don’t recommend this as it might be illegal. But I don’t think their business will suffer financially for it.
Still, nothing beets having great WiFi in a great campsite. We’ve just spent 2 weeks at Camping Sitges, and had just that. So we’re missing it a bit, but like everything in out travels, we adjust very quickly.