By Stephanie Mayberry
We live in a technical age and not only prefer, but have grown accustomed to being connected. For RV full timers this is a constant area of interest. When the full timers are also technomads, connectivity is essential.
So just what is a technomad?
The Urban Dictionary defines a technomad as “An individual that is free to wander the globe/travels more often than not using all the tools of technology to simplify, educate, and better their life and interaction with their surroundings.”
That just might describe the majority of our society nowadays.
Technomads come from all walks of life from moms to businessmen to teens. There is no clear demographic and sometimes the only characteristic that may connect technomads is their love of their mobile devices. So naturally, technomadic RV full timers find this to be particularly vital. They may use their devices for work or to stay connected to loved ones. Whatever the case, they can’t do without their devices so solutions must be found.
Staying connected on the road
The one drawback for technomads is the cost of their equipment. Often it can get pretty pricey. However, once it is set up, the costs are fairly comparable (sometimes even cheaper) to having internet in your home. There are several fairly good options for staying connected but there are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding which one to choose. For instance, if you like to camp in heavily wooded areas then you may have problems with line of sight if you are using a satellite dish (especially if it is mounted to the roof and is immovable). This guide will help you think through some of the better or more popular options.
Technomad equipment favorites
There are actually quite a few good options for wifi when you are on the road. The equipment that will serve you best depends on who you travel and where you park. For instance, if you are staying mostly in campgrounds that have wifi, like A Country RV Park in Bakerfiels, CA, your equipment needs will differ from those who prefer to be “in the wild.”
Tethering your cellphone or mobile device
It’s pretty safe to say that most cellphones now have hot spot capabilities. Many folks who stay on the road prefer this option because of the ease and minimal expense. If you can afford a phone with either lots of data or an unlimited data plan then you are probably good to go. Savvy users choose the PdaNet+ app to connect their Android phones to their mobile devices. You’ll need to check the terms of service or your cell provider because this app is a violation on some contracts.
Use a booster to get the most bang for your buck
A booster will give you more bars and more G’s from your phone or hotspot device, especially if you are in an area that has less than stellar carrier coverage. There are varying levels so do your homework to find out which would work best for you. The Wilson Sleek is popular among RVers and they have a home accessories kit that has some pretty cool stuff to help you get the most out of your equipment.
Mobile hotspots might do the trick
Mobile hotspots allow you to get wifi just about anywhere you go. You have to purchase (or sometimes rent) the device which looks like a small box. Once activated, you connect to the device just as you would a wireless router in your home. You purchase the data plan by the G’s so depending on how much data you will use in a month’s time, you will pay for 10G, 20G, or whatever you need.
These work quite well since they work off of cell phone towers – you can work online while going down the road. You have to watch it, though, because if you go exceed your data it can cost you a small fortune. If you aren’t watching it can rack up a serious bill very quickly.
Try a wifi boosting combo like the WiFiRanger Sky and antenna or flagpole
WiFiRanger has several range extenders to meet different needs. This device will detect any wifi signal that is accessible and strengthen it. Ranger specializes in wifi options for RVs and boats and are pretty respecting in those communities. It is often used to boost an existing hotspot device or cellphone tethering and mounts on the roof of the vehicle. An antenna or flagpole mast can give a nice boost to your booster.
It isn’t a favorite but sometimes a satellite dish will work
Satellite internet is not a favorite with most RVers. Of course there are some that like it, but there tend to be too many issues with it, especially when there are options that are easier, more reliable, faster, and less expensive. You have to be parked in order to use it and if there are trees – or anything interfering with line of sight – you can forget getting a signal. Some of the plans are pretty bad when it comes to usage so read the fine print if you decide to go this way. It may work, though, if you are parked in one spot for long term. Then again, if that is the case it is cheaper to just go with a local internet carrier.
The one thing you don’t want to be without
The Mobile Internet Handbook is an absolute must for the technomadic RVer. This invaluable guide is updated yearly with the most current information on connectivity on the road. For about $10 you can get this book in one of your favorite electronic formats or get the print edition for around $20. Grab your copy at Mobile Internet Hanbook's website.
You can have your internet and travel too! What’s your favorite connection on the road? Share your favorite equipment and plans in the comments.
Enter your email address above or text SEPUB to 22828 to receive new and information about RV Resorts and the RV industry.