Cellular and Hotspots
Service might be spotty when traveling to remote destinations and when driving through service “dead zones.” Cell phones are one of the best ways to access the internet on the road. Some service providers are better than others for travel because their towers have a broader range of services. All smartphone devices come with WiFi, once you’ve chosen the right service provider. And many, if not all smartphones, have an option in the settings to turn on a “hotspot.”
Service provider plans come with a specific amount of data usage for a mobile hotspot. This data can be increased or decreased along with your usage. When you turn on a hotspot, your device and other devices can access the hotspot. Of course, provided with a username and password.This is not limited to cell phones, but any device that can connect to a WiFI hotspot. This is similar to the way multiple devices would connect to a router at home. Choose a data and hotspot plan based on the amount you plan on using the internet on the road.
WiFi dongles work similarly to hotspots. The difference is they are physically separate from the device with the hotspot, until they are plugged in. They are small and portable USB sticks. They require a USB port to plug into. Those traveling abroad use them. A couple of downsides are slower speeds and limits to the amount of downloads in areas with high levels of cellular activity.
Satellite RV Access
This option for internet access on the road is useful for those who plan on camping out in remote destinations. But even this can be tricky. Satellites typically need a clear signal to the sky. If you plan on RVing in wooded areas with thick canopies overhead, you might have difficulty picking up a signal. Satellites can be installed directly onto the roof of your RV. Many come with additional hardware that needs to be installed along with the satellite. Check with satellite internet providers to figure out the best package for your travels. Be sure to factor in monthly / yearly cost, hardware required and range of service.
Free Wifi and Internet
Many campgrounds come with internet access at the location you’ll be staying. Oftentimes, it is for an extra fee, but sometimes it is free. Campgrounds aren’t the only places with free WiFi either. McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and several other pit stop locations offer free Wifi to their customers, and even for those who don’t decide to buy a drink or grab a bite to eat.
Booster and Repeater
These are extras you can add to your cell phone plan. Not every service provider has these as options, so do your research first. A booster is exactly what it sounds like. It helps to increase your signal and boost internet speeds. A repeater can enhance campground signals when you are either too far away from the WiFi router or there is too much interference. A repeater repeats and extends the existing signal. These are both used in combination with a data plan or a fixed signal at a site.