RV INTERNET for Full Time Living
One of the biggest questions that I get asked is Brandi, how do you get internet in your RV? What is your solution? How do you work and travel and watch TV? How do you stay connected all the time? So In this video, I’m going to share with you some ways that I’ve found a stay connected on the road, both free and paid.
FINDING RV INTERNET FOR YOUR NEEDS
When you’re trying to determine the best internet option for you (especially if you’re going to be full timing in your RV and staying connected) is you want to ask yourself two questions.
Are you going to be out in desert fields, remote parking lots, or are you going to be close to major cities? Is there going to be some type of cell phone tower that you can connect to? Or are you going to need some type of satellite option or something else. Where you’re going to be using the internet can really affect the type of service that you can actually get in the locations that you’re going to be. And if you’re going to be full timing, you really want to consider where you’re going to be at to see if the Internet is going to connect in all of those places. For me, if I can’t get Internet connection there, then I actually won’t stay.
Are you using it for work? Are you going to be using it for some type of gaming, watching TV, like a Netflix series or Hulu, watching YouTube videos or taking zoom calls. Video takes a little bit different than just surfing the web. So you really wanted to determine how much data you’re going to need in order to figure out the best RV internet solution for you. And one other thing to keep in mind is how many people are using that. So if it’s just you, then that might be easy to calculate, but you also have to think about the other people that are traveling with you and how much data they need.
If I’m traveling on the road and I want to get wifi, then one of the first options that I always look at is an RV park that I’m staying at or campground. And I try to see if they have Internet there. I’ll always call ahead to confirm some information about the Internet such as: is it just in the common areas? Is it free or paid? How good is the wifi? And usually if I’m checking in, I’ll tell them, Hey, I really need wifi. And sometimes they’ll be able to put me close to one of their towers or close to somewhere that they know the internet is really good throughout. And when I say common areas, that might mean that you have to go to the office or the pool, or one of the recreational areas within the park to get wifi, or they might have towers throughout the park where you could get wifi in your RV. And again, that could be free or paid. I always call ahead. And one of the things to keep in mind is the reliability of that Internet. You don’t really know till you get there. And also the security of that Internet, which I’ll give you some options for that here in a second.
Another option for getting internet on the road is free public wifi. So you might be able to find free public wifi at travel centers and truck stops. Department stores, coffee shops, malls, amusement parks, pretty much everywhere when you’re traveling, you can find free public wifi. I mean, even if you just go to a fast food restaurant, a lot of them have free wifi. If you buy like a dollar drink and sit down. So those are options.
One of my favorite options is Love’s truck stop. So I kind of found this thing while I was traveling and figured this out, but Love’s truck stop offers free wifi for their loves rewards members. Now I couldn’t do this all online. I had to actually go into Love’s and get a little key tag and they give you a number on it, just like if you go to a grocery store and sign up for their rewards program. So you might have to ask at the register, they actually had to go back and get one from the office for me. And I just asked if I could get a Love’s rewards member card. So that allows you to rack up points. And you can get food, sleep, Fuel up, hop on wifi and get rewards to save on gas, free showers, drinks, and more. So you can redeem these rewards that you get, as well as get free wifi. They have the free wifi, but they also have upgraded wifi. So when you go there, you can just hop on the free wifi with your account. But if you need something stronger or more, maybe it’s not uploading or downloading the way that you want, or maybe a video is not playing, or you want to watch videos, Then you can do their upgrades for either daily or monthly. And they’re pretty reasonably priced. I want to say it’s maybe like $5 a day or $20 for the whole month. I’m not a hundred percent sure. Now I’ve only used the free option so far. I’ve never actually had to pay to upgrade, but it is a really good, um, place to get wifi. Love’s truck stop while you’re on the road.
Another option to get Internet on the road is to actually use your cell phone and tether. It’s called tethering. So you’re using your cell phone to log into your computer and get internet from it. If you were at home, you’d log into your modem router in your house somewhere. Instead, you actually just look for your cell phone and you log in to that. Plans are usually very limited in the amount of data allowed by using your cell phone and tethering from it. They may only give you the option of 22 gigabytes or less. It really depends on your service provider. It may throttle. So that’s the other thing. If I use my cell phone and tether from it, I might get 22 gigabytes of data that I could use, but after that 22 is gone, then it’ll throttle down and it won’t be as fast. So I could do, I could be going lightning fast and watching a movie and work in. And then all of a sudden it might take hours to upload a document or just download a picture. That’s kind of the downside of some of the cell phone plans with tethering. One thing I’ll tell you is to make sure and check these cell phone plans regularly, like once a year, because they change. And I was paying the same amount for eight gigabytes of data on an old plan as what you can get on a new plan for 15 gigabytes of data. So I was literally getting half of what I could get for the same price all because I was just on an older plan and that I did online. I didn’t even have to call in, but it’s a really good idea to check these plans yearly. See if they have a better option for you.
Another way that you can get Internet on the road. And pretty much my favorite way is to have a hotspot device. This was the old one that I had. This was from Cricket. Cricket also runs off of AT&T. And I think this was limited to maybe 15 gigabytes or that’s what we had it for. So this is what’s called a hotspot and you just log into this device from your computer. You can’t like make calls from it. It’s just a device that you just sit down and you log into from your computer. It’s a little bit different than tethering from your phone. And another thing with this hot spot is sometimes tethering on your phone is also called a mobile hotspot, but I’m referring to this standalone device. Okay? So this is what I’m referring to is getting this a mobile hotspot with these. You have to get a mobile data plan. So you buy the device or you could rent it. It just depends on the setup, but I would probably just buy it either new or go online, find it on eBay, Amazon buy used one, even a used phone, depending on what you need. Speaking of hubs, hotspot. I want to tell you my RV Internet solution. I use the Internet for work, downloading documents, uploading documents, surfing websites, sometimes watching YouTube videos or videos online tutorials, things like that. And I do zoom calls. I don’t watch a whole lot of TV. Now you can watch TV. It does eat up more data, which I’ll explain to you a little bit more about some things you can do to check that here in just a second.
For my internet solution, I have a hotspot. This is an HTC 5G hub. I purchased this device on eBay. So I found a used one and bought this on eBay. If you buy this straight out I think it’s like 600 bucks, but I found a used one for like $200 on eBay. Then I took it in to the store, or maybe you could call them and they have to put the SIM card that you need in it. But I got this on a sprint plan and you get between 50 and a hundred gigabytes of data. Sprint, and T-Mobile just merge. So keep that in mind that you have sprint
And T-Mobile. Another thing is this can connect up to 20 devices. So you might be limited on how many can connect in your phone or even on some of these other HubSpots, I’m not sure, but for my HTC device, I can do 20 devices. And I actually have two of these, well, I don’t, but I use one. And then my boyfriend, when he travels, he brings his own. So he got his first and then I didn’t want to be limited on the Internet that I wanted to use. And he likes to watch TV and all of that. And he will use his data to the max. And the other thing about the plan that I’m on is it actually after a hundred hundred gigabytes of data, I can roll it over. So I get, I think 200 total of rollover that I can use or a hundred rollover.
I don’t know, but I’ve never run out of data or maxed out on data. Um, he has, but I’ve never had an issue. You have to have this device and to have it right now, which that may change. You also have to have a phone service on the plan. So you have to buy a phone, which you can get on eBay or Amazon. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and buy the device. And then you set up your plan. So plan for the phone and a plan for this device. Buy two devices, buy two plans. But it’s all in one once it’s all together. So in total for the two of these every month for my phone and my internet, I pay $104, but to get set up, I had to pay like a hundred for the phone and 200 for the device. So it costs me like 300 or more, and then, you know, initial setup fees.
So that’s what I use now.
Some things that you might want to think about or what ways that you can get better Internet while you’re on the road, wifi boosters and extenders. I actually do not use one of these. I have one, the one that I have is called wifi on steroids. You can get these boosters and extenders. And what they do is they either pull the internet to your RV and you can log in to that device, or it will allow you to get internet really far away. So you might be able to get it a mile or two down the street. So it really depends on what you get and you can get cheap setups and really expensive setup. So just depends. Like I said, I don’t use one. I have my own internet set up and I either tether from my phone or use my hotspot.
Speed And data is another thing to think about. You want to be conservative when you’re streaming. You want to watch videos on free wifi, or maybe even on your phone if you can on that data plan before you use up your larger data plan, if you’re limited. I really don’t worry about watching TV or using the Internet. I just leave my phone, my computer connected to this all the time, watch videos on free wifi or your phone. You also want to run a speed test via speedtest.net to get an idea of how reliable the internet connection is, where you’re connected. Say before you try to upload something really important, or if you’re doing a really important YouTube video or a zoom call, because what might happen is you might get spotty connection during that call or that upload.
And it may not be what you expected. So I advise on running a speed test and you can just Google speed test or head to speedtest.net.
You want to check how much data you will need for streaming and email versus movies. And you can do this with an online data calculator. So you could probably go to any of your cell phone providers and get this, but you’re just going to look up like online data calculator on Google. I Think Verizon has one of these and I’m sure, um, for me, I have sprint and T-Mobile have one of these, but you just go and kind of say, okay, well, this is how many emails I use, or how many hours of video I watch, or just plug it into what you actually think you’re going to use. And that will give you an idea of how much data you might need to buy.
And I would also recommend only buying the amount of data that you need. And then if you need to upgrade later on, then you can always upgrade the plan. Don’t pay for more data than you need though. You’re not going to use because you usually just lose that.
The other thing that I want to mention is Wi-Fi security. Now you can always find free wifi, but it may not be reliable or secure. And you don’t want to enter any important passwords to things like your personal data or your bank accounts, especially if you’re on a free wifi, like at an RV park or at one of these truck stops, I would be really hesitant about putting any kind of passwords or anything in what you can do is sign up and get a virtual private network. You might’ve heard of this called a VPN in, you may want to use a service.
Nord VPN is one that I’m familiar with and have used. I don’t necessarily use it because I have my own data. So if I’m on free wifi, that is something that I might log into, but this protects you while you’re surfing on public web. If you have your own mobile hotspot, you’re obviously more secure. You can still use the VPN for added protection, even on your hotspot or your computer or your phone. Another thing for wifi security and something that I would recommend is a place for storing your passwords. So storing your passwords, you want to use an online and encrypted place to store your passwords. If you’re doing it online and one that you can access from anywhere. So one that I really like, and you can get started for free is lastpass.com to store and secure your passwords. You can use this on your computer and it stores your logins and your passwords, and it will also encrypt them or change them. And you can also get the app on your phone and use this on your phone when you’re on the go wifi security is really important.
So one of the things that you saw I may not have mentioned is satellite Internet. So satellite Internet is something that you can get. It’s not something that I’ve ever used, and there are new programs coming out all the time. I’ve heard of companies going under as well. If you look into some of these special specialty like nomad type deals or RV specific type deals. So just be a little bit wary of that, but there are some reliable satellite Internet service providers. I just personally have not used one or don’t need one. So that’s not an option that I need.
LOCAL SERVICE PROVIDER (LONG TERM – RV PARK)
And another thing to think about is if you’re setting up at an RV park. Especially, if you’re going to be there long term, you might have to have Internet connected from a local service provider. So it just depends on how you’re RVing and where you’re RVing, what type of Internet that you need.
WARNING ABOUT FREE INTERNET
My warning to you about free Internet versus paid Internet is the reliability and security factor. When you’re getting free wifi at places like restaurants, coffee shops, department stores, and establishments, You really want to consider, like I mentioned, what you’re putting into these, how reliable they are and the security of them, both reliability on the speed and service that you need, like how fast you need it to be for what you’re doing as well as if people can steal your information. The most reliable and secure options are going to be your phone and the data that you can use from like a hotspot device. These Are going to be yours that you control. And those are a lot more secure. You can also use the VPN, like I mentioned, and then satellite services are probably going to be pretty secure.
Now, you know how I get iInternet in my RV and ways that you can get Internet on the road, both paid and free options. So it really just depends on how you’re going to be using the Internet, but this is what works for me in my full time RV life. And if I’m traveling or when I was traveling before I had my own Internet set up, these are a lot of the things that I did. So now I’ve pretty much used my setup and that’s what I stick to. But setting up your RV Internet is just one part of getting set up in full-time RV life and getting your RV life started or starting your business on the road and making an income and making your life mobile.
So I know there’s, that’s a lot and there’s a lot to that. I do coaching and consulting and help people get this started up. That’s why I started RVersity. So if this sounds like something that you want to get into, I want you to book a call with me. So if RV life is calling your name, you can give me a ring.