The Internet and RVing: A Complete Guide
Camping and being on the road no longer means being disconnected from society. This is great news! It used to be that when you left home for vacation, you were unplugged from the world. While there are some advantages to taking a few breaks like this, it’s not realistic for many people. In fact, there is an entire group of digital nomads around the country right now that are full time RVing while making a living on the road. The ability to connect to the internet when and where they need it is crucial for their success.
RVing and the internet has come a long way in recent years. And, that’s a good things since we now use the internet to:
- Keep in touch with family and friends
- Pay bills and do our banking
- Make a living
- Enjoy entertainment
- Keep our trip itinerary straight
How staying connected is different on the road
When you’re at home, connecting to the internet is easy. It can be as simple as plugging in a cord. It’s not that simple when you are on the road. What works in one place might not work as well in another. You are going to have to be willing to adjust as you go to finding the best options for where you are.
There are four main ways that RVers are able to stay connected:
- Cellular Data
- Public Wi-Fi
The biggest advantage of using cellular data is that it’s everywhere you are that has signal. That’s most places these days. You can use it with your smartphone, hotspot, router, or tablet.
It’s also getting faster and faster all the time. However, the drawbacks of using this type of internet are that the reliability of service really depends on your location. And, it usually comes with some type of cap on usage. You may have unlimited use, but service will slow after a certain amount.
If you want to use cellular service for your internet usage while on the road make sure you compare plans between different carrier to find what one will work the best for you. Don’t forget to check what their coverage map looks like. Verizon and AT&T are the top contenders of the list. Although T-Mobile, which is merging with Spring, has a growing coverage map as well.
You can’t beat free Wi-Fi and there are plenty of campgrounds that now offer it. You can also find it at coffee shops, doctor offices, marinas, breweries, libraries, hotels, restaurants, and plenty of other businesses around the country.
The problem with it is you have to find it from place to place. And, the speed and reliability are completely out of your control. When a lot of people are sharing the network it’s going to bring your speed down. Some locations may be great and other ones may cause you to not want to use it at all.
Most likely you will be able to get a good enough connection to do the things you have to do, like check your email, but you aren’t going to want to spend time surfing the net or trying to stream your favorite show.
If you are struggling to use the Wi-Fi at a campground, you may just need Wi-Fi extending gear to boost your signal.
The best thing about using satellite for the internet is that it’s super mobile-friendly. But, that comes with a high price, capped usage, and it can be unreliable.
Keep your eyes out for this to be an option that continues to improve in coming years.
There is no one-size fits all answer
If you were hoping to find out what the best option is, we can’t give you a clear answer. I know that’s frustrating, but there just isn’t one answer that’s going to work for everyone. It usually involves trial and error to see what works best in the locations that you are taking your RV. If you are near a city and need a good internet option for work, there are co-working spaces available that you can look into as well.
If you’re ready to set off on an adventure, come see us at Sky River RV to find the perfect RV for your needs.