How To Stay Connected to the Internet while RVing
One of the top questions we get from people is how do you stay connected to the internet while traveling in an RV. We’ve been on the road over 4.5 years full-time, started and run our business exclusively from the open road while RVing.
Technology continues to increase and has significantly improved over the past few years as far as coverage and signal strength. We often take for granted the conveniences and advances in technology that allow us to do some pretty incredible things such as working virtually anywhere you want in this beautiful country of ours. Here’s how we do it…
How Do We Connect?
We have mobile hotspots with Verizon and Sprint. We also can use our phone through AT&T like a hot spot. That strategy has been great when we have poor coverage with one provider we will usually be strong with another.
They have had the best overall coverage for us. Not only in coverage areas but in speed. For years we paid $100 for 20 gigs which weren’t enough to run our business and often when I’d have to do client uploads I would have to find a restaurant, coffee shop or some other place to connect.
Within the past year we’ve upgraded to $120 and unlimited data, however, they throttle us back quite a bit once we hit a certain threshold.
A very close second to Verizon’s coverage is Sprint. We’ve actually been very impressed because when we say a close 2nd, we mean they have been VERY close in coverage areas. Here’s the best part, we pay around $50 and have UNLIMITED DATA! It’s been incredible to be able to stream the shows Danielle loves to watch on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Youtube.
We’ve had great coverage with them also. I was against paying for the hotspot because we’ve been good on our coverage with the other providers. I can’t remember off the top how much we pay but it’s minimal. The big difference has been when we’re traveling and don’t have sprint or Verizon service and the kids are sick of riding in the truck. It’s bought us some extra travel time to give them some screen time.
This has been a fun way to explore all the different kinds of coffee shops. From the decor, the taste of the coffee to the way things are managed; it’s been excited to see the variations.
Not only is it fun but sometimes when I’m working with the kids and Danielle in the RV, I’m utilized to help out more than I should be. Heading to a coffee shop once a week ensures I start the week banging out top priorities and take that momentum into the rest of the week.
Restaurants are great spots to indulge in eating great food for a few hours.
Make sure it’s not a busy time of the day when you’re taking up a spot for the staff to be earning more income.
Often the wifi will be fast and we’ve utilized working while watching sporting events like football games (Go Vikings).
Campground Internet Rooms
Yes, some campgrounds are coming up with enticing solutions for their clients’ need to stay connected. We’ve noticed boosters being installed in campgrounds and resorts but once in awhile, you’re able to find a dedicated internet room with high-speed internet.
We Boost Our Cell Signal in the RV
Way back when we started traveling we bought a cell phone booster that was designed for being in vehicles and boosted the signal on the phone it was connected to in the harness. It worked but was inconvenient to be in the harness for what we were looking to do.
A few years ago we upgraded to a Wilson Electronics booster that boosted the signal of everything inside of our RV. To save money we bought a refurbished unit and it worked out really well.
We recently upgraded again strictly because technology improvements continue to make leaping changes and felt it was justified since our business relies 100% on being connected with decent speed. We got the WeBoost by Wilson Electronics and it’s AMAZING!
I can’t accurately express in words how nice it is to be able to use the booster and go from barely one bar of service to 3-4. It’s been a game changer in some areas for downloading, uploading and streaming on the TV.
It’s not only allowed us to run our business while we travel this amazing country but it’s allowed us to work in VERY REMOTE spots that people dream about.
Work Space While Traveling in an RV
Throughout the years of our travels, we’ve had A LOT of changes in where and how the workspaces are set up. Throwing kids into the mix was another restructuring of the interior of the RV causing my workspace to move into its current status.
We started in a Class C RV and use to work at the table the vast majority of the time.
In our 5th wheel Toy Hauler, I still use our Dining Table to work early in the mornings before anybody else is awake. Then I’ll move up to the bedroom.
Portable Stand Up Desk
We have a portable stand up desk. I was leery of buying it initially because it had a low price point but it ended up being a great investment. I can easily stand up at the desk down in the kitchen island or up in the bedroom. Easy to move and easy to set up.
It’s also sturdy which was one of my biggest concerns. I’m usually a little rough with my keyboards as I pound away on my blogging and needed something to last.
Whether it’s outside the RV or back on a hike deep in the wilderness; there’s something special about the ability to work effectively on a laptop in the outdoors.
Often when the weather is nice or the lighting is especially gorgeous, I’ll head out and work at the picnic table or chair outside of the RV.
It’s been a joy to see how often we’re able to get great cell service in very remote areas. Even down in the bottom of the Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon I had full bars.
My biggest struggle is with the glare on the screen but if anybody knows of a good solution let me know!
Back of the Toy Hauler
For years I used the back of our Toy Hauler and the back deck as my office. It was the perfect setup to enjoy the view of some of the most scenic areas of the country.
It felt like a little studio apartment on the back of this beast. I had my own bathroom in my office and would have it closed off to the rest of the RV so I could focus 100% on whatever work project was in front of me.
So how do you do it? How do you stay connected while you travel in your RV?
It’s good to know Sprint is a decent secondary provider to Verizon. Everyone always recommends AT&T, but after experiencing some absolutely terrible customer ‘service’ at their hands a few years back, I promised myself that AT&T would never get another dime out of me.
Yeah sprint has been really good for us!
Very informative, thanks much! We’re going out West for a camp host job in May and have been told that the cellphone signal is terrible. Which model of the WeBoost did you go with and was it easy to wire (or did you use your existing connections)?