It’s common today to be able to stay connected to the internet just about anywhere. Still, there are some situations that make accomplishing this goal a bit more challenging. One of these is when camping or traveling in a recreational vehicle. If this is what you have plans to do, there are two main options with staying connected while on the road:
1. Pulling a signal from a nearby Wi-Fi network
2. Utilizing cellular data from a provider
As for how what’s termed “RV Wi-Fi” works, the concept is the same as any wireless connection with how it actually works. However, there are some added considerations to keep in mind as well due to the unique factors that apply. Continue reading to discover what you need to know about RV Wi-Fi.
How Will You Be Using the Internet in Your RV?
The answer to this question provides a general guideline you can use to determine what kind of connection you’ll likely benefit from most while RVing. Let’s break this down by typical internet-related needs while on the road and staying at various RV parks or campgrounds:
Minimal Internet Needs
If you’ll only need to check emails or post to social media and take care of a few other tasks occasionally, relying on what’s available from accessible networks should be fine. Should you need to a little more connectivity, you could always briefly park at a nearby Starbucks or other locations that commonly have fairly reliable Wi-Fi access.
Mid-Range Internet Needs
When RVing, you may have some days when you need to check in for work-related updates. And if you have kids coming with you, they might want to play online games on rainy days or later in the day. Internet usage of this nature falls within the mid-range as far as connectivity needs go. With situations like this, you may be mostly fine with tapping into Wi-Fi networks and only occasionally relying on access from a provider.
High-Demand Internet Needs
Even when camping and exploring the great outdoors, some people have more demanding internet needs. This is category you probably fit into if you know you’ll need to:
• Regularly keep up with work by video conferencing and similar online-related methods
• Post online on a fairly regular basis
• Streaming TV shows and movies while on the road
With situations like this, expect to use somewhere around 100 GBs of data per month if you’ll be on a longer road trip. An unlimited data plan is worth considering for higher-demand internet needs.
Common RV Wi-Fi Options
Once you’ve determined your connection needs with RV Wi-Fi, you’ll need to pick a solution that’s right for you. The main options include:
• Cellular data: You’ll need to purchase a hotspot from a provider like AT&T or Verizon to benefit from cellular data. This is an option to consider if you’ll be staying in locations without Wi-Fi, or if you prefer to stay connected on the road. A phone booster can come in handy if you’ll need to rely on a data plan in more remote areas.
• Public Wi-Fi: A Wi-Fi extender can boost the signal strength if you prefer to rely on public access to wireless internet connections. This is an option to consider if your connectivity needs are fairly basic and you’ll be primarily visiting campgrounds or RV parks with decent amenities.
• Satellite internet: You’ll need a dish for this option, so it’s only worth considering if you’ll be staying in one place, like a campground or RV park, for a long enough period of time to justify the setup efforts.
• Global internet: Designed with international travelers in mind, global internet gives you the option to purchase 24-hour data plans. This option is worth considering if your RV travels will take you across borders.
Lastly, let’s briefly discuss boondocking, which is essentially off-the-grid camping or RVing that often involves unofficial camping locations. With situations of this nature, staying connected is more hit or miss. Even if you won’t be relying on the internet too much with this approach to RVing, it can still be helpful to consider a data plan on the lighter side to be prepared for “just in case” moments.