How to offer or get good service while staying secure with Wi-Fi at a vacation rental
Whether you’re the host for a vacation rental or guest at the same, a solid internet connection is as important as a comfy bed.
Before you press “book” on your next getaway, or open your door to travelers, put some thought into that Wi-Fi experience. These small steps just might head off a lot of headaches, and make the lodging experience more harmonious for all.
- Set up a guest network with a strong but simple password.
That’ll keep guests from accessing your private network, and potentially your bank account and other personal information, too.
The Viasat Wi-Fi Modem (and most others) includes an option for creating a separate guest network. This gives visitors a unique avenue for tapping into your internet so they can browse, check email and online shop to their heart’s content – all without using your personal network, learning your password or passing along any viruses or malware.
- Get a higher-speed plan and advertise that in your listing.
Small things can boost your rental’s popularity, and for most, connectivity’s an important consideration. So check your options and consider upgrading to a higher-speed plan. (Viasat offers residential internet plans with speeds up to 50 Mbps in many areas of the country.) The higher price can easily be offset by more bookings and might justify a per-night rate increase. And don’t forget to highlight your guest network fast speeds in your listing.
- Check your signal strength throughout the home.
If your rental room or unit is far removed from where your modem or router is, your Wi-Fi signal might need a boost. Consider creating a mesh network or buying a higher-powered router. Also, you can check Wi-Fi signal strength with an app such as NetSpot.
- Hide or lock up your Wi-Fi router to prevent guests from tampering with it.
- Establish data limits.
On a limited data plan and worried about a guest draining your monthly allotment? Most routers – including the Viasat WiFi Gateway – will let you set time limits on usage as part of the Router Access Restrictions or Parental Controls options. Find out how here.
- Use a VPN
If you’re not reasonably comfortable that your host’s Wi-Fi connection is safe, use a VPN. A guest with nefarious intent and access to the router could infect a host’s Wi-Fi connection, potentially giving them access to your information. Using VPN or your phone as a hotspot can also lessen that possibility.
- Avoid online banking or checking confidential email on a host’s connection.
Most people think about this when they’re using public Wi-Fi, but can be lulled into thinking a private home’s connection is safe.
- If speed is vital to you, ask the host what their internet speed is before you book.
Tell them you must have a certain level and if they’re not sure theirs meets it, ask them to test it using speedtest.net. A host who wants your business should be willing to take this extra step for you.
- If the Wi-Fi connection is poor or not available, use your phone as a hotspot. Just keep an eye on data if you’re not on an unlimited plan.
- Don’t assume your host has unlimited data. Some of the most desirable vacation spots are also among the most remote, and that means hosts may not have the option for an unlimited internet plan. Ask before your stay, and if data’s restricted, either book elsewhere or extend your vacation to include a screen break, too.