When we first had the dream of living and traveling full-time in an RV, the question of how we would access the internet on the road came up right away.
Luckily, we both had jobs that could be done remotely. But we knew that if we were going to convince our employers to let us work while we traveled full-time, we were going to need to have a rock solid plan for being connected to the internet.
Dreaming of Full-Time Travel
Our story goes something like this: two 30 somethings, no kids, suburban 2000+ square foot house, excellent jobs, with much to be grateful for. We loved our jobs and yet we longed to travel around the US.
Knowing that we would need to continue to work as we were not in a position to retire early, we started looking into full-time RV living while working remotely for our current jobs.
After countless hours of research and weighing our options, we opted for a 35-foot fifth wheel with a 1-ton pickup truck. It was July and we had a goal to hit the road by November 1st.
It was important for us to keep our jobs and to have a plan for working remotely that worked for our employers.
So, we started researching options for accessing internet on the road.
In fact, as part of our negotiations with our employers to continue to do our work from the road, we drafted an internet plan. This plan outlined our internet solutions and how we would work around any disruptions or loss of service.
As longtime Verizon Wireless Customers, so we opted for their “unlimited” jetpack as one internet solution. Since we were not grandfathered into an actual unlimited plan, our plan begins to throttle (or slow down) noticeably at around 20 gigs per month.
Tip: pay close attention to the fine print when adding “unlimited” internet to your cellular plans.
John uses the Verizon device for his daily work connections, which average around one gig per day. So as long as we have good Verizon coverage, he uses that device.
Having a Backup Internet Option
The Verizon jetpack has worked well, but we knew we needed a backup. So we continued our research.
We read articles from other full-time RVers, researched different cellular companies and third-party companies that use the big cell towers for service, and we even looked at boosters for the campground wifi.
There were so many options that seemed to work for different scenarios, so we selected one that we thought would work for us.
We ended up purchasing a 4G LTE router from a third party Internet Service Provider (ISP), Unlimited To Go. We set up their “blue plan”, which uses the AT&T towers to provide our cellular internet service so this second device serves as an excellent back up to our Verizon.
We’ve used this AT&T device all over Florida, even when the AT&T service was questionable. We’ve streamed Hulu and Netflix, uploaded videos to our YouTube Channels, managed our websites and social networks, and participated in webinars.
This second device is what our computer and Apple TVs connect to automatically. It works great!
Our Internet Plan
In presenting our internet plan to our employers, we noted four key points, listed below. We knew we need a solid plan for connecting to the internet when submitting our proposals to work remotely. We identified the following four-part plan to ensure our ability to work with minimal disruptions:
- Have multiple cellular internet plans
- Confirm cellular coverage at parks before booking them
- Locate backup locations that offer wifi – hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.
- Test equipment and coverage regularly
Finally, we closed our proposal by pointing out that even home-based internet is not 100% reliable.
“We have considered the potential challenges that we may face and have come to the realization that the same problems can be encountered using “at home” internet; the difference is, we have the flexibility to plan and have our back up plans in place (generator for power; alternate cell coverage if an ISP goes down, etc.). These backup plans allow us to pivot quickly to ensure our work availability remains consistent.”
Internet connection and RVing Advice
When we embarked on this journey, we asked some longtime campers & RVers what their recommendations on stuff we should buy and the best advice we received was this:
Buy what you need to get out there and start doing it. Through experience, you will find what works and what doesn’t. As time goes on you will know what you need (and what you don’t) and you can adjust.
That statement was the best advice we’ve received about our RV internet set-up AND about RVing in general. Our original research uncovered insanely expensive hacks and setups, but we have not needed any of those… yet.
Bottom line: don’t get overwhelmed by all the internet options out there. Get what you need to get out on the road and get started. If you encounter issues, you can deal with them when they come up. That way you’ll have a better idea of what you need. Working remotely from your RV is possible and there are many ways to stay connected.
Have a mobile internet resource to share? Put it in the comments below!
John & Kathy are the husband and wife team of Inspired We Go – A Full-time RV Couple traveling the US in our RV.
Inspired by life and travel, they ditched the standard suburban life and traded it in for full-time RV Living.
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