Best Ways To Stay Connected On The Road – An RV Road Trip Guide

A great way to de-stress and escape the stress of everyday life is to take an RV road trip. A road trip helps you live in the moment and create beautiful memories. However, there are several things you have to put in place before you begin a road trip. 

You have packed up the gear and are ready to go, but then you remember Internet connectivity. How do you stay connected and up to date during your RV road trip? 

There are quite a number of ways for you to stay connected during your road trip. These options include WiFi and a Hotspot. However, choosing an option mostly comes down to your personal budget and your personal and travel needs.

If staying connected to the internet is why you haven’t gotten on that road trip, read on to find out simple ways to fix this.

How Do I Stay Connected?

Technology has simplified communication, but it has also greatly improved to the extent that no matter where you are in the world, you can stay connected through a reliable internet service provider.

When it comes to RVers, there are four pretty reliable options to stay connected on the road. These options are:

  1. Satellite
  2. WiFi
  3. Cable Internet
  4. Cellular

Each of these options might work better for some RVers than others, depending on the situation. Let’s take a look at what each of these options offers as well as their advantages and disadvantages, to determine which is best for you. 

Which Option Is Best For You?

WiFi

WiFi is an external network source. With this option, you can find connections at rest stops or other public locations. You should find many free WiFi network options at coffee shops or RV parks along your trip. With the Wifi option, you don’t necessarily have to pay a monthly subscription payment or sign up. 

Advantages

  • It is cheap since they are mostly free to use. 
  • They are easy to use, all you have to do is sign in.

Disadvantages

  • You need to be at a specific location to enjoy access.
  • Since it is free, so many people would try to get online at once, and that can cause a poor connection. 

If you don’t require much internet and would rather just explore and enjoy the outdoors, then you can consider the Wifi option. 

Cellular 

The cellular connection is basically gotten from the same connectivity source as your smartphone. They work quite strongly and tend to be very fast in areas with good reception. There are two possible connectivity options here:

  • Mobile Hotspot – For most Cellular plans, this requires no extra cost. Your data consumption is deducted from your monthly smartphone data allowance as long as you stay within your monthly limit. All you have to do is turn on your mobile hotspot on your smartphone and connect. 
  • Mobile Hotspot Devices/Jetpacks – These are small connectivity units that also use cellular data to keep you connected. This is an extra option offered by your carrier and which requires an extra payment. These separate devices are used in the same way you would use your home WiFi.

Advantages

  • They are easy to use. All you need is to turn on the mobile hotspot option on your phone or connect to an external hotspot device.
  • Connectivity quality is typically fast and reliable.
  • It is a portable option that you can take around with you. 

Disadvantage

  • You might experience reception problems. It is best to confirm your carrier has reception on your route. 
  • For RVers who don’t intend to move around much or might have to work, this is the best option. Provided they have confirmed their carrier has reception along their route.  

Satellite

If you have ever seen a parked RV or one in movies with a dish on top and you’re wondering what it is, that’s a satellite dish. It is also used for connectivity on the road. This dish sends and receives signals in space.

They are mostly used for internet and TV connections. The prices range between a few hundred dollars to thousands for the dish. While the internet service can cost between $50-$150 monthly depending on the plan and provider. 

Advantages

  • Wide service range. Since it gets service from space you can typically pick up a signal anywhere. 

Disadvantage

  • Quite pricey

The satellite dish usually requires an unobstructed and clear view of the sky to transmit properly. 

This option is most recommended for people who tend to wander off into rural areas with poor cell reception.

Cable Internet

The cable internet option is only found at parks or spots that offer cable services. Connectivity is obtained from fiber optic cables or telephone cables. It isn’t used often because it requires physical connectivity. The kits also come with modems or routers at extra costs.

Advantages

  • You don’t have data limits with this option.
  • Connectivity is super fast and reliable too.

Disadvantage

  • Physical connectivity limits usage to a single spot.

This is great for individuals who have chosen a spot with this option.

Hacks To Staying Connected

RVers, here are a few connectivity tips to keep in mind before you get on the road.

Usage Plan

Dead spots are unavoidable with some internet options. You can plan ahead for this situation by getting things like entertainment options on your devices. 

Choosing A Service Provider

Conduct proper research. Before you choose a particular carrier, you should check their coverage map. Learn from customer reviews and forums about which option is most suitable for your route.

Backup Options

Make sure you have backup options in case of any unplanned hiccup. Take a map along with you and some board games or DVDs. 

Pre-information

If you’re not sure of connectivity around a particular area, pre-inform your family or friends that you would be offline. Try to prepare safety measures in such circumstances too Incase you get lost or in an accident.

Conclusion

Going on an RV road trip alone or with your family is a sure way to wind down and re-energize. However, it does not mean you have to disconnect yourself from the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a few miles or cross country. 

There are several options to keep you connected. The options outlined above are some of the best ways to stay connected on an RV road trip.

Carry out proper research, choose an option that suits your budget and needs best, prepare your RV and get on that trip. 

Lydia Yang

Lydia Yang is a Singaporean city girl who decided to ditch her high heels for hiking boots and become a full-time traveler and digital nomad. She has been to more than 50 countries to date and shares her travels in her adventure site Lydiascapes Adventure Site! She has a knack for adventure travel, especially outdoor rock climbing, and always hunts down the best climbing spots around Asia and the world.  Her latest bucket list goal is to go rock climbing in Patagonia someday.

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