RV travel is an amazing way to experience the world — and there are better options than ever for staying connected via Wi-Fi while you're on the road. While there are still some RV adventurers who seek the total off-grid, "get away from it all" experience, the majority of RVers still prioritize quick, reliable internet to stay connected to friends and family, enjoy streaming games, videos, and live TV, check maps, create itineraries, homeschool kids, and work remotely without interruption. In fact, a recent survey suggests that more than half of all RVers are remote workers, a trend reflected in newer RV features such as dedicated onboard workspaces.
Although high-speed cable and DSL aren't generally RV-friendly, there are still plenty of other workable alternatives for those who need to stay connected. So, what's the best option for you and your RV crew? That will depend on your specific connectivity needs, your budget, and where you'll be.
RV Internet Options to Stay Connected on the Road:
Mobile hotspots, or MiFi devices, offer internet access via cellular data networks. You can piggyback off your smartphone's hotspot feature if your carrier offers this, or you can purchase a hotspot device to harness the internet. One example is TravlFi's mobile hotspot device, a great option for RV travelers. The hotspot device connects up to five devices and automatically connects to the strongest cellular signal available among the major networks that have 120V outlets on board and are within a 4G LTE or 5G network.
Pros: Mobile hotspots are a nice portable solution and generally a breeze to set up. You can expect decent coverage in most locations, and several devices can usually use a single hotspot.
Cons: Data plans aren't always cheap. You might also be subject to a data cap, which is a downer for a crew that likes to stream entertainment. Also, multiple devices may slow down data speed.
An alternative option to obtaining a hotspot through your cellular service is to sign up for one with your internet provider. Many internet providers offer nationwide hotspots, including Xfinity, which has over 20 million hotspots nationwide. “You can connect to Xfinity WiFi from any wireless device, like a laptop, cell phone, or tablet, or any device that has a browser already installed.”
RV Campground or Resort Wi-Fi
Many RV campgrounds offer Wi-Fi access to guests, but the quality of the Wi-Fi signal can be iffy, as you probably already know if you've spent any time traveling by RV.
Pros: Plenty of RV resorts and parks offer Wi-Fi as part of the campsite fee for no extra.
Cons: Wi-Fi at RV parks can be notoriously spotty and slow, especially during peak times.
Wi-Fi Boosters and Extenders
These clever gadgets can pump up Wi-Fi access and extend Wi-Fi range from a public Wi-Fi source like an RV campground.
Pros: Not too expensive, makes the best of free or included Wi-Fi where you're staying.
Cons: It still relies on outside Wi-Fi sources and won't function if those are down.
Satellite internet is becoming a popular choice for those who are seeking reliable internet when adventuring off the beaten path. Boondockers and dispersed campers love the broad coverage offered by satellite internet options. Starlink Roam is a portable satellite internet service that many RV travelers use. There's equipment you'll need to purchase and a monthly service fee (a bit higher than the company's home satellite internet service), but many digital nomads find the value justifies the price tag.
Pros: Wide coverage, perfect for hardcore RV adventurers in far-off locales.
Cons: Satellite internet requires clear skies to work optimally, and bad weather can also compromise connection. Some lagging is common, which can be frustrating for work video conferences or online gaming. Also, satellite internet won't work while the RV is in motion.
Cellular Signal Booster
A cellular signal booster does exactly what it sounds like. It will improve cellular signal strength for better data and phone reception.
Pros: This is handy in areas where cell service is patchy or weak.
Cons: There has to be cellular coverage where you are for the booster to do its job.
Fixed Wireless Internet
If you'll be in one place for a period of time in your RV, it's possible to set up an internet connection at your site. You should check your campground or resort and see in advance if they are amenable to campers subscribing to a cable or DSL provider during their stay.
Pros: Possibly the fastest, most reliable option.
Cons: Usually pretty pricey, and availability is limited depending on where you are.
Rent a Spot in a Co-work Space
Many cities and towns now offer some form of co-working space where you can rent a work area by day, week, month, or year.
Pros: No need to furnish a workspace, and you'll often enjoy free coffee and snacks as part of your rental fee.
Cons: It's not a terrific long-term solution, but it's good in a pinch.
Boondock at a Friend's and Borrow the Wi-Fi
If all else fails, open up Facebook and track down that old college friend in the city you're visiting. Offer to swap some baked goods or craft beer for Wi-Fi bandwidth.
Pros: Cheap as heck.
Cons: Easy to wear out your welcome.
Come Home to Carefree Covered RV Storage
Realistically, you'll most likely get the best connectivity if you use a combination of these internet options. It's also smart to keep track of your data usage, as overage charges can be costly. Another tip: Be sure to use VPNs and other cybersecurity protections to guard your online information and identity when using public Wi-Fi like that of an RV
Campground. At Carefree Covered RV Storage, we'd love to know how you stay connected on the go — and we're always here to help you make the best choices for Wi-Fi on board your rig.
When you store your recreational vehicles with us, you’ll enjoy secure, quality covered RV storage with our extensive video camera surveillance, along with 365-day automated access with our phone gate app, charging outlets, free wifi, and free self RV wash and sewer dump.
We’ve even got complimentary bags of ice! Also need a storage unit for other small recreational toys, equipment, and supplies? We’ve got them! We’re always here for our customers at Carefree Covered RV Storage. Check out our facilities in Texas and Arizona, then stop by, and we’ll get your rig set up.
At Carefree Covered RV Storage, you’re guaranteed peace of mind, protection, and personalized, old-fashioned service. We make it easy for you to rent and make payments online, maintain your vehicle, and get on the road — so that you can keep living the carefree life.