Inevitably, the first question most people—even full-time RVers—ask before getting out on the road is, “What will I do for internet?”
There are a few important questions you need to ask yourself first to ensure you get the right setup—and to make sure you aren’t shocked by the bill at the end of the month. This is going to depend heavily on what it is you plan on doing.
How much internet do you actually need?
If you’re a light user and are primarily just checking email or your fantasy football scores, you can probably get away with just a smartphone and the data plan you already have. Check with your phone service provider and see what they offer for using your phone as a hotspot. You can often get a small, short-term package that will fit your needs for $10 to $30 a month.
Keep in mind that this is going to be a very minimal data plan package. If you’re looking for something more robust, this will likely not work for you.
If you’re looking for a little bit more speed or are worried about the amount of data you might be using, then the entry level hotspot plans on your phone aren’t going to be enough. This is when you need to look into a traditional hotspot data plan.
All of the major service providers offer this, but they often vary wildly in the types of service you can get with them. For example, Verizon has the best network and overall speed for your phone, but you are limited heavily in data speed on their hotspots. You can often get a better deal overall by adding it in to whatever service provider you already have, but it’s worth shopping around to see who has the device that’s going to fit your needs.
If you’re going to binge the latest season of Game of Thrones from the road, or take on your friends in the latest round of Call of Duty, you’re going to need the holy grail of mobile internet options and that’s a grandfathered mobile hotspot through Verizon. These are much more difficult—and expensive—to come by, but they definitely live up to the hype.
These are getting harder and harder to come by as Verizon continues to shut down these accounts. Personally, as a full-time RVer, I’ve already gone through 3 different providers in the first half of 2018 alone. If you are going to be RVing long term, look into taking over the line from someone else. This process is called Assumption of Liability. Technomadia has fantastic resources on this and you can learn more about this process on their blog.
No matter what your internet needs are, the biggest factor in your decision is going to be what works for where you are going.
If you are going to be in one location, it’s easy to pop in the address into each of the service providers coverage maps and see what kind of service you can expect. If you’re going to be moving around from place to place, make sure you check all of them. Don’t just assume that it will work everywhere, because even Verizon has gaps in coverage.
No matter what plan you choose or what your data usage is, make sure—even if you have full Wifi access—to get outside and enjoy the view. After all, what’s the point of being able to travel if you’re just inside the RV binging Netflix?
Rent the perfect RV today and get out there!