If you are planning to take a road trip in which you will be visiting many different campgrounds, chances are you will want to stay connected to the Internet to check your email messages, surf the Internet, and use your online connection as a reference for travel. Internet access when you are going camping can be spotty depending upon where you plan to go camping as well as some of the locations where you will be stopping to set up camp.
If this is your first extended camping trip you may not be familiar with a few of the options you have when it comes to Internet access at a campground. The following information will provide you with an overview of your options with a few tips on how to achieve the best Internet access when you reach a campground.
Campground Internet Access
Since staying connected to the Internet has become a way of life for most people, camping trips are no exception to the rule. Within the last few years many campground owners have realized the importance of offering Internet access to their campers.
Before you depart for your camping trip map out the campgrounds where you will be staying and then find out if they offer wireless Internet access. Make note of whether they charge for access or it is free when you register as a camper. There are many travel websites online that you can visit to learn more about Internet access at campgrounds.
If possible, try to learn more about the location of the WiFi access points and their actual distance from the campsite. Depending upon distance and where you will be camping it may be necessary for you to bring a WiFi extender to avoid experiencing a slow connection. Additionally, the connection may be slower if there are many campers accessing the Internet at the campground simultaneously. It does not hurt to inquire about the speed of the connection and if possible, read some of the customer reviews associated with the campground listing.
Map Out Public WiFi
For each of the campgrounds where you will be staying during your camping trip do your research and make a list of public WiFi availability in each location. Although the campground may provide Internet access, if the connection is intermittent or too slow you will be able to quickly find a backup connection in a nearby public location.
Public locations can include parks, nearby coffee shops, libraries, transportation hubs, and shopping malls. This way you will not have to waste time trying to locate a hotspot if the campground Internet access is nonexistent or too slow.
Consult with Your Mobile Phone Carrier
Pay a visit to your cellular carrier in advance of leaving for your camping trip. You cellular carrier can help you with Internet access availability information according to where you will be staying and they can provide you with the necessary equipment for establishing connectivity. Many cellular carriers can outfit you with a USB modem that is prepaid or attached on to your regular cell phone plan. The device can be carried with you and plugged into any device which offers a USB port.
It is also important to mention your cellular carrier may not provide coverage in all of the areas you will be visiting. You should make a point of learning more about coverage in advance of your trip so you can design a backup plan for accessing the Internet in areas where there is no coverage by your mobile carrier.
Look Into Obtaining a Mobile Hotspot
If you have more than one user who will require Internet access you should consider getting a mobile hotspot. This is a device which is commonly referred to as MiFi and is about the size of a credit card and provides secure Internet access for more than one device. The nice part is you can secure the connection so other campers cannot piggyback on your connection and compromise performance speed.
Again, in order to use a mobile hotspot at the campground, your cellular carrier must provide coverage for that area. This is something you should find out about from your cell phone provider before you consider investing in a mobile hotspot.
Consider a Portable Satellite Dish
If you plan to go camping in a very remote location, the campground may not be able to offer you Internet access. You may also have trouble getting phone service depending upon the cellular carrier you are using.
By opting to take along a portable satellite dish you can obtain both high speed Internet access and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) as long as you have a clear view of the southern sky. A satellite dish requires the purchase of additional equipment however, if it is your only option you should consider it. There is a variety of different portable satellite dishes which can be mounted to your RV or placed on a stand if you are not traveling in a camper. There are more specific details on portable satellite Internet when you are camping in another article on this website.
Using Your Cell Phone as a Hotspot
If you have one of the newer cell phones on the market you may have a built-in hotspot on your phone. This allows other users to access your Internet connection using a variety of different devices. If the campground offers Internet access you can connect to the Internet using your smartphone with a built-in hotspot and then allow other users to access your connection.
In the event other devices you or your family members are using are Bluetooth enabled you can tether your smartphone to other devices to establish Internet access at the campground. If you plan on a 3G or 4G connection, it is important to check with your mobile phone carrier for availability in the campground location.
These are a few of the different ways you can get Internet access at a campground. If you plan ahead you can save a lot of time during trying to stay connected during your road trip.