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How to Get Internet in Your RV

James Murray / Updated May 18,2023 | Pub Nov 19,2021

Whether you’re traveling for the weekend or planning on an extended road trip in your RV, there are certain things you absolutely need to make your adventure more pleasant. Water, flashlights, and camping gear are the bare essentials. But what about having a reliable Internet connection? Even if you want to disconnect from day-to-day life, the reality is that having Internet in your RV is a necessity that can help you during an emergency or be a guide whenever you’re lost. Figuring out a way to get an Internet connection up and running in your RV is just as important as making sure you have all the other essentials for your trip. 

One of the most common ways to get Internet in your RV is through a satellite. However, if you’re a casual road-tripper that’s only planning a quick weekend trip, then satellite Internet is not the best option as it is slow and not very cost-efficient for a quick trip. Satellite Internet works better for people that are planning on traveling for weeks or months at a time that will require an Internet connection in very remote areas of the country. However, for shorter trips, a cellular connection is more efficient and effective.

The next thing you’ll want to consider is how much you want to spend on an Internet connection. Is it something you want to include as part of the cost of your trip? This will come down to what you need the Internet for while you’re away and how important it is. For example, if you still have to meet work deadlines or have health concerns you’re worried about, then an Internet connection is important during your trip; you’ll want to consider how much you’re willing to spend to have peace of mind while you travel.

You’ll also want to think about backup plans. Chances are that if you’re only planning on going on a quick trip, you’ll more than likely stick to populated campsites and places that are not too far away from the city. If that’s the case, you’ll still have access to public Wi-Fi. However, even when you’re still near an Internet connection, a lot of things can happen when you’re traveling and it’s essential to have one or two backup plans in case something goes wrong with the connection you’re relying on. Here’s everything you need to know about how to get Internet in your RV. 

Everything You Need to Consider to Get Internet in Your RV

what to consider before getting internet in your rv

Before you change your current cellular plan or sign up for a service, take a minute and ask yourself the following questions. 

  • Are You Working Remotely?
    Since the pandemic started, about 42 percent of people work from home full time. And many continue to do so even as businesses and offices open their doors to the public again. If you’re one of those people that are working from home, then having a reliable Internet connection while you’re on the road will be important. As a remote worker, you’ll need multiple backups and options to stay connected 24/7.
  • How Often Do You Travel?
    How often you travel directly affects the Internet plan you get for your RV. If you’re someone that travels every once in a while, or during weekends, then your data needs will be lesser than those of someone planning on traveling for months at a time. If you prefer to travel during the seasons, a month-to-month contract service might be the better option for you as it will give you flexibility with costs and the amount of data that you use.
  • Are You Planning on Traveling to Remote Areas?
    There are two different areas you could travel to very remote areas and populated, suburban cities. If you’re traveling to places that are outside of a major city and not too far from civilization, then you’ll probably be able to connect to the Internet by staying on campgrounds that are within range of cellular service for most of your stay. However, if you’re planning on going to extremely remote areas that are away from everything, then you’ll need a satellite to connect to the Internet. A mobile hotspot will only work if you’re within proximity to a cell tower.
  • Do You Use the Internet for Entertainment While Traveling?
    If you’re planning on streaming movies through platforms like Netflix or Hulu, you’ll be using a lot of data which will affect the type of Internet connection you get in your RV. Experts rarely recommend satellite Internet because it’s too slow for streaming and the cost for the service is high. It’s best to rely on cellular data for streaming or gaming because it’ll offer a more consistent connection. 

What You’ll Need for Internet in Your RV

an rv driving into the sunset
If you’ve been wondering exactly how to get Internet in your RV, then you need to know exactly what you’ll need to establish the best connection possible while you’re enjoying the open road. The best way to go is to have mobile service with a hotspot available for connectivity. Depending on how much data you plan on using, you can get away with using the free hotspot from your mobile device plan

  • Internet Hotspot
    A hotspot is a good way to get Internet in your RV when you’re away from home. This is because you don’t need a landline to connect, and instead, you will make use of a cellular or satellite hotspot. If you’re looking for a faster, cheaper option, then a cellular hotspot will be the best option for you. While you won’t have coverage in remote areas, you will stay connected when you’re close to suburban cities and you won’t need a lot of equipment.
  • Internet Service Plan
    Of course, the hotspot won’t work on its own. In order for the hotspot to provide you with the Internet you need in your RV, you’ll also need to sign up for an Internet service plan through a provider. The most popular providers for this are Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. 

What Should You Look for in a Hotspot Service?

  • Battery Life – considering you’ll be on the road and unable to plug devices into an outlet often, the first thing you need to look for in a hotspot device is how long the battery will last. Hotspots typically last well over ten hours—assuming that you’re not online the entire time you’re on the road. Some hotspots that are able to provide you with a 5G network will have a shorter battery life, usually less than ten hours. 
  • Network Compatibility – in order for your hotspot to be functional, it will need the help of a service plan from a provider. You will find a lot of different providers that can offer services for standalone hotspots devices, but to make it easier, it’s best if you stick to the mobile provider you’re already using and keep it all under one bill.
    Keep in mind that while you may want to keep your hotspot connection under the same carrier, depending on where you’re planning on traveling to, another provider might work better. Make sure to research coverage areas thoroughly to make sure that you’ll have coverage wherever you’re traveling to.
  • Number of Connected Devices
    Because the hotspot is a “to go” Internet service, it’s only capable of supporting a certain number of devices, as it doesn’t typically thrive when there are multiple users connected to one hotspot service. Some services will allow you to connect up to ten devices, but it’s always best to check with your particular provider to know exactly how much your hotspot can handle. 

Can I Use my Phone to Connect to the Internet?

Using your phone as a way to connect to the Internet is definitely an option. However, you’ll have to make sure that you have a plan with unlimited data so that you don’t go over your limit and end up with a higher-than-normal bill at the end of your billing cycle. Also, keep in mind that a mobile hotspot doesn’t work well when multiple devices are connected at the same time as it eats up your phone battery faster than normal. It’s a good idea to have a backup connection so that you can continue to stay connected. 

Can I Get Satellite Internet for My RV?

Absolutely. Satellite Internet is a great option for when you’re looking to get Internet in an RV that you’ll be living in for the foreseeable future. A satellite connection is an investment because the equipment is expensive and the service contract fees can really add up. Besides that, satellite Internet is not typically fast and won’t be great for streaming or gaming. Think of satellite Internet as something that you use strictly because you’re planning on being in a remote area for a long time. It’s the only way to connect online when you’re far away from civilization. 

No matter where you decide to go on your next RV adventure, there is always an option for you to get Internet in your RV. A lack of an Internet connection should not stop you from staying connected while you’re enjoying the great outdoors. It all boils down to what’s most important in an Internet connection and how much you’re willing to spend.