When you connect to someone else’s network, you are possibly opening yourself up to attack from other computers on that network. The other computer owner’s may have no idea that their computer is even infected or that it will attempt to attack your machine. You also open yourself up to liability issues if your computer is suspected of infecting the other network to which you are attaching. The easiest solution is:
Do not connect to any networks other than your own. That way you know your IT professional has made your own network as safe as it can be.
However, what if you travel with your laptop and you want to connect? Consider using a wireless broadband solution from AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, or one of the other services. These cards offer coverage in most populated areas. Most of them will give you a 30-day trial to see how well you like the service. I use multiple companies and it is very rare that I cannot connect with at least one of them. I have four broadband cards with me on the road today in fact. You do not need four cards, just one.
In addition, if you are going to connect at hotels and hotspots, then you are strongly advised to allow your IT professional to provide you with a VPN or some other encryption to protect your information while you are in your hotspot.
See the video http://www.keepmynetworksafe.com/hackingvideo.html that shows how people can monitor your traffic unless you allow your IT professional to protect you.