Having just returned from Europe, where the price of internet access is extremely high compared to the US, I highly recommend visitors subscribe to a WiFi plan from one of the US providers like Boingo, IPass, Wayport or TMobile before heading to Europe – especially if you are staying for more than four days.
A WiFi provider may sound useless if you’re from and travel throughout the US, where you can get free WiFi by buying a cup of coffee or going to a hotel lobby. However, Internet access in Europe is still quite expensive and limited. For instance, the Madrid airport and its airline lounges charge EU 9 (or around US$12 as of Oct 2010) for an hour of WiFi internet access at the airport terminal. A cheaper alternative is to use a terminal kiosk offered by a local provider which costs EU 1 for 10 minutes or EU 2 for 25 minutes. Furthermore, most European hotels charge guests at least EU 9 per night for internet access - some hotels even limit your data usage.
So if you’re planning to be in Europe for at least four days, I strongly recommend you pick up a “pay as you go” global WiFi plan with a US WiFi carrier that allows you to roam without extra charge. For example, Boingo has a US$59 per month Global WiFi plan which allows you to roam with European WiFi carriers while you are abroad. There is a data limit to this plan, so make sure to check the fine print.