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Viable options will depend on where you are traveling. Not all locations have the same view of "free wi-fi" as we know it in the US (or at least populated parts!).
If you do use your cell connection (3G, 4G, LTE) I would check into international rates before I travel, as roaming can get extremely expensive. When I was in Australia, it was cheaper to get an account with Optus and use that, as "free wi-fi" was not common, at least where I was. Not every McDonalds I went to offered free wifi, and those that did, only offered it in 15 minute increments, and at a slower speed than if you paid for the service at the counter.
Good luck, and safe travels!