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Having quality internet in your RV is essential for digital nomads who rely on computers to support full-time RVing. The two main RV internet options with reliable service are satellite and mobile hotspots. Below are the pros and cons of each option. Before selecting your RV internet plan, you should calculate exactly how may GB of data you currently use across all of your devices. Knowing how much data you need will allow you to select the best plan.
RV Campground Wi-Fi:
Many private campgrounds provide free Wi-Fi to anyone staying at the park. However, the quality of these networks are not always great. In our first year of RVing, we did not find any parks where the Wi-Fi actually worked. In the past year, we have found more parks with reliable internet. I am not sure if this is luck or if parks are investing more in Wi-Fi. If you just need internet for personal use, relying on Wi-Fi at campgrounds and local cafes is fine. If you work from your computer full-time, you probably need to select one of the other options below.
- Unlimited data
- Not available at most state and national parks
Mobile Cellular HotSpots
Many wireless plans from cellular providers offer the option to set-up a mobile hotspot to tether internet from your phone to your computer or other devices. I have a plan with Verizon that includes 30GB of data for my phone and hotspot. The plan costs $169 per month and provides reliable internet anywhere Verizon has coverage. I can check the Verizon coverage map online to see if I will have a good 4G connection before booking an RV spot. My husband has his plan through AT&T and it includes 15GB of hot spotting so I can use his phone in areas where Verizon doesn’t have good coverage. I won’t recommend a specific plan as wireless providers change their offerings frequently (my 30GB plan from Verizon is not available to new customers). You should look for plans with the most data and good coverage nationally. Keep in mind, that unlimited plans often have limits on mobile hotspot usage or slow your connection down once you have hit a limit. I also recommend buying a hotspot device or jetpack separate from your phone as hotspotting from your phone eats up battery life quickly.
- Affordable if you bundle with your cell phone plan
- Reliable coverage across the country
- Does not work in places where there is no cell coverage
- Data may be limited or connection slowed down after limit is reached
The final option for traveling RV internet is satellite. RVDataSat offers satellite internet plans for RVers. This is the most expensive option with high speed plans costing several hundreds of dollars per month. When I first started full-timing, many blogs and RV resources recommended satellite internet but the cost of cellular plans has dropped quite a bit in the last few years. The only reason to choose satellite internet is if you plan to stay way off the beaten path in areas that do not have any cell service.
- Works anywhere you have a clear southern sky
- High speed available
- Super expensive
- Requires bulky equipment