A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away we traveled without the ability to call home. Oh sure, there was the occasional long distance call from a pay phone, but for the most part, you were on your own. Today, most RVers wish to stay connected with friends, family and their day to day lifestyle. From online banking to Skyping with the grandkids, anything you can do in a stick and brick house you can do from your RV with the right internet connection.
Here are the first three steps you need to getting started:
#1 Cell Phones
The best way to stay connected is with a solid cell phone plan. If you plan to travel, Verizon offers the best coverage hands down. If you plan to stay in one area seasonally, you may be able to consider a different carrier.
Verizon offers packages with data. Data can be converted into wifi internet by a simple phone app. This means that your data plan can create a private WiFi inside your rig. As long as you have a strong cell phone connection, you can convert the date you receive from the cell towers into usable internet.
In this process, you will want as much data as possible if you use the internet on a regular basis. I recommend you watch for a special. Last fall, Verizon offered a double data promotional, which I snagged. This allowed me to purchase 40 gigs of data for the price of 20. ince I work online, 40 gigs is just about right. At the end of the month if I have anything left over, I stream movies via Netflix to use up my remaining data. I have to budget my data supply and I use an app to monitor it each day. At $240 a month (not including the phone plan), I don’t want any overage charges.
If you are using the internet for basic surfing, email and banking try a 10 gig plan. For most people this will work well.
#2 Boost That Signal
Even if your cell phone gets 4 bar coverage outside, you may only get 1 bar inside your RV. Your rig is designed to reflect light, sound and for the most part, cell phone coverage. You can combat this frustration with a signal booster.
I suggest using something like a Wilson Mobile 4G Cell Phone Booster These units cost about $350 and are only worth it if you rely on regular internet strength. If you can go a few days with spotty reception, then I wouldn’t spend the money.
#3 Free WiFi
Many parks, cafes and fast food restaurants offer free WiFi. This gives you the ability to connect to the internet without a charge. Many RVers will park their rig at or near a location with free WiFi, boost the signal strength and connect online without using their cell data. This, of course, saves money.
The biggest problem with this process is free WiFi can also be slow WiFi. Still, it is free, so you may want to give it a shot. In order to increase your chances, you will want to purchase a WiFi signal booster for your roof. Many RVers use the Wifi Ranger system which uses an antenna to catch free internet wherever it may be.
I recommend using new technology whenever possible. Using the newest smartphone, iPad, laptop or other device will allow you to connect to the internet at the highest speed possible. The older the technology, the greater the challenge. Give yourself a break and keep buying new. You can often sell off old items on Facebook, Ebay or Amazon and then upgrade to the latest models.
There you have it. A simple 3 step process for getting and staying connected while living the RV life!