Internet options for full-time RVers
Monday, August 05, 2019
In today’s world, having internet access is an absolute must for most people. This is even the case for many of us on the road. A couple of the biggest fears in today’s world of technology are having the internet go out or it not being available.
There isn’t a perfect solution for everyone who’s on the road full-time and needs internet access, but there are multiple options for everyone. In this article, we will look at what those options are.
Why do you need internet?
Work: When it comes to making money, having access to fast and reliable internet is important.
Entertainment: While you don’t necessarily need internet for entertainment on the road, it ranks high on the scale of needs for teens’ and parents’ sanity.
Social networking: Many nomads have family back home and having access to social media is very important.
Information: Browsing the internet to gain knowledge, research destinations, campgrounds, and read RV reviews are all good reasons to want internet access. What if you are on the road, a storm hits and your windshield wiper breaks? You will be happy to have access to the internet to find the closest auto parts store.
School: Many families homeschool their children and some adults choose to continue their education online. Many colleges now offer strictly online education, so you will need internet to accomplish this goal if you’re a full-timer.
Banking: Almost all banking can be done online now. With one app, you have banking at your fingertips. I was recently in Michigan visiting friends and I got a call that I had two checks arrive in the mail.
I had the checks forwarded to my friend’s address. Upon arrival, I was able to sign the checks, scan them with my phone and within 24 hours the money was in my bank account.
Marketing: Marketing falls under work to a degree because it is about making money. One needs internet to market themselves or their product.
Cellphones: Cellphones are great for checking email, social media, banking, information, marketing and entertainment. Schooling would be difficult to do using only your cellphone, though.
Today, many companies offer family plans and unlimited data. Some companies offer Wi-Fi hot spots, also known as tethering. While this is included in some plans it can drain your battery quickly.
To learn more about using your cellphone as a mobile hotspot, click here. My company does offer tethering but at an additional cost. So, make sure you check with your provider before going down this path.
Campground Wi-Fi: Occasionally this is free, and occasionally you have to pay. But it’s mostly shoddy at best.
It is usually only accessible in certain areas like the lodge or recreation area. Strength, cost and reliability varies per campground. While it is doable, it is not the smart choice.
GM/OnStar: GM, in conjunction with OnStar, offers an unlimited data plan using a three-watt antenna on your vehicle. Ford is now following GM’s lead in 2017 and started offering Sync Connect on eight different models. Other vehicle manufacturers are likely to follow this new trend.
Verizon Jetpack: The Verizon jetpack offers a variety of internet devices to choose from. Click here to see what is available.
Library: Most towns have libraries while you may need to go inside you can sometimes use the Wi-Fi from the parking lot. Accessing Wi-Fi from the parking lot is handy when it is after hours, but make sure there are no loitering signs. The good thing about libraries is if you do not have your own laptop, you can get a guess pass and use their computers.
McDonald's/Starbucks: Nowadays, many restaurants and fast food joints offer free Wi-Fi. The downside to that is everyone uses it and it is slow. I frequently grab a drink and lunch and access the internet at my local mall while my grandson plays in the playground at a McDonald’s.
While I am killing two birds with one stone, he gets to play, and I get to work. The downside is the connection is slow and there are a lot of distractions. Nonetheless, it is free.
Cable companies/satellite: Many companies offer their home-based customers access to Wi-Fi hotspots, free of charge, across the country.
Net Buddy: Net Buddy is a smart choice for those who travel. William Prowse has detailed information about what Net Buddy is, how to install it and where to buy it.
If upgrading to a new connected car is in your budget, then it is worth considering. Most cellular companies offer tethering at a cost and some even have it included in their plans already.
As time advances so does technology; prices will decrease, and speed will increase. The smartest thing to do is do your research and find what fits your needs.
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