With the right equipment, some know-how and bit of savvy any RVer can easily access the internet through reliable connections daily while on the road. Some even successfully keep full time jobs after giving up their traditional residences completely and taking to the road full time.
The first step is making sure you have the right equipment. Laptops are more functional than desktops when it comes to RVs simply because laptops are more mobile and therefore suited for life in a moving vehicle. Desktops may not deal well with typical jostling while on the road. Most laptops come equipped with a built in wireless device which makes accessing intermittent hot spots and wireless at RV campgrounds quick and easy. Other RVers choose to access internet through a cellular service (such as Verizon or AT&T). This type of internet connection will make you capable of connecting to the internet at any point where cell phone service is available.
When taking advantage of hot spots and RV Campground WiFi while on the road remember:
- The further away from point of origin you are the lower your signal will be; if you’re signal is so low that it isn’t functioning try another location. If you’re at a truck stop, etc. try the dining room. If you’re camping check the wireless connection prior to setting up your campsite. If it’s low, try moving to another open spot (trees, larger motorhomes and structures can block the wireless signal).
- Built in wireless cards vary in power: 200mW card is 8 times stronger than the 30mW card and products with external antennas (recommended by a large portion of RVers and industry experts) are 32 times stronger.
- Don’t be limited by products available in your local electronics store, look online to find the more powerful devices whose primary use is for the trucking, motorhome and commercial markets. Look for a long range or high power device to get the best access.
- WiFi is typically slower between 4:30 and 6 pm at a typical RV campground due to the increased amount of 2.4 Ghz frequency use (microwave ovens, cell phones, etc. in addition to wireless home networks and WiFi).
- Don’t be nervous to request the best spot for wireless access at the registration desk. They’ll know exactly what you’re talking about and point you in the right direction. You can even start the process early and mention your need for a good WiFi spot when making your reservation.
- Some WiFi hotspots are free and others come with a nominal fee (usually a daily charge, but you can sometimes obtain a better deal by arranging for weekly payments if you’ll be in the same spot for a while). Although if you’re new to the WiFi game you need to be aware that paying for wireless at one hotspot does not entitle you to WiFi access at another hotspot. They are all processed separately.
- To find out which campgrounds offer wireless connections access a directory of campgrounds like Woodall’s. You’ll be offered an indication of wireless availability and it will also indicate any applicable fees. Although the most reliable method of obtaining the most recent info on any given campground is to call and ask. You might also want to verify whether WiFi is available throughout the site or only in a central location like the clubhouse.
- Ask other RVers for recommendations on good hotspots in the cities you’ll be visiting. There are plenty of free WiFi locations throughout most of the US.
Telecommuting is a major source of income for RVers. While the RV lifestyle has been a popular retirement option for years the increased development of the wireless network has made the RV lifestyle an option for a much larger portion of the general public as they continue to fulfill their daily work obligations while enjoying their time on the road. The RV is a great accessory for vacationing, but many see it as much more than that. It’s a lifestyle they can enjoy not just for a week or two or even a month out of each year, but all year long.