You’re infatuated with van life and RV living, and you’re eager to get started in the digital nomad lifestyle. From what you see on YouTube and Instagram, it looks very easy. However, there are a few things you need to know about staying connected and earning a living while exploring van life.
Mobile Internet is Not as Reliable as Cable Internet
Despite what the big mobile providers tell you, mobile internet, especially outside of the cities, is always reliable. There are many places where you will not be able to get online. This is especially true if you want to go off-grid and camp in the national forests or BLM land. It’s also true in popular tourist and RV areas; the cell tower in a small town may not be able to handle an influx of seasonal visitors.
On the other hand, sometimes your internet is surprisingly good; you can be 50 miles from any town, and have a cell tower all to yourself. Then, your mobile internet will be better than ever.
Staying Online Consistently
If you want to stay online consistently, avoid crowded tourist areas; for example, the mobile internet during the summer at Lake Tahoe is often unusable. Everyone wants to go to Tahoe in the summer, and consequently, the tower becomes overloaded. Steer towards lesser-known areas that may not be as popular.
Also, study your cell provider’s coverage map, and plan your travel routes accordingly. You can also find maps online with the locations of cell towers. Parking within line of sight to one of your provider’s towers will give you the best coverage. Steer towards areas with good coverage to set up camp.
If you do find yourself in an area with an overloaded cell tower, try to do most of your work very early in the morning or late at night. Work at times when most people are off-line, for a more solid connection.
Choose Your Cell Carrier Carefully
You may think a cell provider offering unlimited, unthrottled data is the way to go, but be sure they have coverage outside the cities before signing a contract. Unlimited data won’t do you much good if you can’t travel away from the major cities.
Think about the areas you want to primarily travel, and choose a cell provider that has good coverage in those areas. You can also consider getting two different providers, if you can afford it.
If you are living and working in a self-contained van or RV, be sure that any RV parks you stop at have free wifi. While you’re there, you can do any heavy uploading or downloading you need to do.
Thanks for reading.
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