Working while traveling on the road isn’t ideal. Traveling is meant to be a fun experience full of adventure and new sights. But there may come a time when work must be done and you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and in need of internet access. It’s times like these that can make life on the road a bit frustrating but we’re here to help you through it because we experienced it.
Finding the Elusive WiFi
These tips are built for adventurers who don’t have WiFi built into their campervan, car, or RV. These guidelines are for more rugged trips where you’re farther removed from civilization. Perhaps on the beach enjoying the ocean breeze or you’re in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness and you need the internet to see exactly what bear that was outside your window.
Traveling extensively in a vehicle can be exhausting – which we cover here – and if you add on finding internet to the mix, you’ll be even more exhausted. More often than not if you’re away from cell towers, your phone won’t have the necessary juice to connect to the internet. One bar may be enough for browsing Pinterest but it won’t be good enough to stream Netflix so you can watch Henry Cavill strike down monsters as the handsome Witcher Geralt of Rivia. Prepare to do some driving.
There are many options when it comes to tracking down WiFi. One of the best is Starbucks (which is not one of our sponsors). Of course buying a coffee or dessert is preferably if you plan on parking outside and eating up their delicious WiFi – that is if you’re lucky enough to fit the vehicle in the drive thru and parking lot. Or you could just go inside if regulations allow.
Another location is McDonalds and trust us the urge to consume your own weight in nuggets may be high.
Public libraries are also great for finding WiFi and for hunting down that book on your read list. Or you could check out our fantasy series Thread of Souls.
Also, many rest stops may have their own WiFi you can pull from.
One we found most useful was a WiFi hotspot. If you are absolutely unable to locate a strong and dependable WiFi signal, the next best thing is to use your phone’s service. By either plugging it directly into the computer’s USB port or turning on tethering, you’ll have access to WiFi in no time, as long as the cell service is strong (three bars or higher should be fine).
Aside from using your phone – which will consume battery rather quickly – an actual hotspot device is another viable route. Keep in mind that these work similarly to a cell phone plan, each can be paid on a month to month basis or an upfront fee where you choose how much data you think you’ll use.
If fast and reliable internet is something you desperately need, hotels may be the best choice. Though you will have to pay for a room if you want to use their service. Or you may be able to ask them for the WiFi password and if you’re lucky enough, they may oblige.
As we’ve learned from experience, doing work on a laptop in a camper isn’t the most comfortable. Having a table or area specifically designed for working is key. Backs and necks can get sore without having a chair with good lumbar support.
Working and traveling on the road is a time consuming process. There may not always be a restaurant, rest stop, or coffee shop nearby so plan accordingly and find whatever way works best for you.