The Best RV Internet Options (for 2023)

Traveling around in an RV is a fantastic way to explore and see the world. But just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you can’t have access to fast internet service.

As a half-time RVer who works online as I travel, having access to the internet in my motorhome is incredibly important. Fortunately, there are several different RV internet options meaning it’s totally possible to stay connected while on the road.

Whether you need it for work, trip planning, or simply getting directions, finding ways to stay connected to the internet can be one of the many challenges to RV living.

Tucson-Lazydays KOA, Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

These days, you can manage to stay online even while boondocking in the middle of nowhere.

If you’re wondering how to get internet in your RV, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’ll discuss the best RV internet options so you can have broadband in your RV no matter where you roam. 

Bakersfield RV Resort, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

First, know your internet needs 

It is important that you understand what your needs are while traveling in your RV. Do you simply want to be able to surf the web and check your email? Or do you need to be able to hop on Zoom meetings regularly? What you need to get out of your internet connection will directly affect the type of RV internet options available to you. 

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The 4 RV internet options

There are four main RV internet options to consider:

  • Free Wi-Fi networks
  • Paid Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Cellular options
  • Satellite internet

Each way to get online in your RV has pros and cons. 

Grandmas RV Camping, Elizabethtown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Free Wi-Fi networks

Wherever you go, you almost always have the option of connecting to a public Wi-Fi—whether it is in a campground, Starbucks, or public library. Using public Wi-Fi can be a great way to save on internet costs especially if you plan to stay in campgrounds and RV parks and don’t want to wander too far into the wilderness. 

This is the most common use for multiple reasons. It is very widely available and often it’s free.

Still, campground Wi-Fi has its drawbacks. Often, these networks are slower and less reliable and there’s a good chance you’ll find it difficult to join video calls or stream TV. Since it is a public Wi-Fi, be sure to take the necessary safety and security precautions to protect your device and your information.

Using public and campground Wi-Fi networks is the least reliable option because public Wi-Fi is not always available—and even when it is the connection isn’t necessarily going to be great. However, public Wi-Fi is also the best way to get free internet on the road. It can be a good choice if you really only need the internet for recreational purposes.

Some things to consider are:

  • If it’s being used by lots of people, the speed can be slow.
  • Need a secure internet connection? Public Wi-Fi isn’t going to be your best bet.
  • Not all public Wi-Fi is free and unlimited. Some are monitored and you will receive a certain amount of usage over a timed period either free or paid. Access to some public Wi-Fi will have a fee possible to connect or for a time or data limit.

What I like about free hotspots

  • Cost: Free
  • Availability: You can find a free hotspot in almost any cafe or library

Things to consider

  • Safety: Public internet access can be risky
  • Location: You must be in a specific place to access it.
Frog City RV Park, Duson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Paid Wi-Fi hotspots

Many internet providers have nationwide hotspots that you can access through the service you have registered at your home address. Although they likely aren’t available in the wilderness, they are readily available in cities and towns throughout the country. For instance, Xfinity, one of the largest internet providers in the U.S. has over 8 million hotspots nationwide through which you can access the internet. Keep in mind that these hotspots are similar to public WiFi so use caution to keep your device and data secure.

What I like about paid hotspots

  • Mobile: It’s always with you
  • Data: If you have an unlimited plan, you don’t need to track usage

Things to consider

  • Availability: Some areas you travel to may not be covered
  • Data: If you don’t have an unlimited plan, overage costs can be pricey
  • Location: You must be in a specific place to access it.
Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Cellular options

Getting online with your phone or hotspot device is popular. It’s easy to get, easy to use, and is something most people have some experience using already. That said, you can’t get cell reception everywhere and getting enough data can be costly. There are also a number of different cell carriers to choose from so you will need to do some research to decide which is best for you. 

Nomad Internet takes away the need for mobile hotspotting with one carrier by providing cellular internet from available carriers. For traveling nomads, this can be a great option for RV internet service. With a starting price of $149/mo. after a $99 one-time membership fee, you can enjoy unlimited data from the largest rural internet provider currently. 

What I like about cellular options

  • Availability: Nomad can keep you connected almost anywhere by accessing service from many major providers

Things to consider

  • Price: Can be expensive
Jack’s Landing RV Park, Grant’s Pass, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Satellite internet for RVers

Satellite internet was super slow and clunky up until recently. That said, Starlink RV internet is now on the market providing fast and reliable satellite internet pretty much anywhere you can clearly see the sky. Now you are no longer limited to cellular coverage areas. The issues:

  • You won’t get connected while parked under trees
  • Bad weather and the number of users in the area also impacts connectivity
  • The Starlink equipment requires electricity to get online
  • Some users find that it’s a bit expensive for their budget (at $599, the basic Starlink hardware isn’t inexpensive but the Flat High Performance kit more than quadruples that to $2,500)

Starlink RV internet just isn’t at a place where it can be the sole internet provider for travelers because of the connectivity issues.

What I like about Starlink RV

  • Availability: Starlink is available most anywhere and growing
  • Mobility: Surfing and streaming is available while you are driving

Things to consider

  • Price: Startup cost is expensive
Sun Outdoors Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Get internet redundancy and good hardware

Once you decide which internet service option will work best for you, take a second look and decide on your second best option. Then, go ahead and invest in both the first and second pick. Some even have a third option in their back pocket as well. This is known as having internet redundancy.

Redundancy is especially important if you NEED to have internet access to do remote work from your RV. Both cellular broadband service and satellite internet are far from flawless. You may have connectivity issues when using either. And as I mentioned before, you never know when a public Wi-Fi network might not be usable.

However, if you have two or even three connectivity options available to you, you should be able to get online consistently pretty much anywhere. 

Hilltop RV Park, Fort Stockton, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider a cellular router

If you choose to go with cell service for your RV internet (and really, it’s best to have at least one cell plan available for use), you might want to consider investing in a cellular router. A good router will help pull in a better signal and amplify it throughout your rig. 

A router is especially handy if you have multiple cell plans.

Purchase a router with multiple card slots and you can use the router for all of your cell plans simultaneously rather than having an individual hotspot for each one. Some routers will even intelligently hop between networks for you, ensuring you always have the best connection possible. 

Try a cell phone signal booster

In addition to the aforementioned router, you can also invest in a cellular broadband booster. This device boosts whatever cell signal you’re pulling in. It ensures that if you have a connection at all, it is a stronger one. 

Get a Wi-Fi repeater

Want to take advantage of the free public Wi-Fi networks out there? Some RVers get a lot of use out of Wi-Fi repeater systems. These pull in Wi-Fi signals from the area and will actually amplify a signal making it usable inside your RV. This is one of the least expensive RV internet options but is also probably the least reliable.

Columbia Waterfront RV Park, Woodland, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pro Tip 1: Plan RV trips around cell service

If you’re counting on cellular broadband internet service and/or public Wi-Fi networks, there are some areas you will need to avoid unless you can afford to be offline for the duration of your stay. 

In order to figure out whether you will have cell signal or access to Wi-Fi in a certain location, I recommend using campground review websites. Here, you can see if other campers have been able to connect to campground Wi-Fi or to various cell carriers. 

Katy Lake RV Park, Katy, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pro Tip 2: Avoid crowded places

My next tip for ensuring you have decent internet speeds? Avoid super crowded areas whenever possible. Cell towers can get overloaded when there are lots of RVers around trying to use them simultaneously. Likewise, Starlink for RVers will slow down when there are too many people using the service in one area—not to mention all those nearby rigs acting as obstructions to the sky. Because of this, ensuring you stay away from the crowds will give you a better chance of having good speeds. 

Starlink’s active high capacity coverage promise includes most of the US and Canada although about a quarter of the US from the Great Lakes down to Florida is less than perfect.

Sonoran Desert RV Park, Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider your needs and get connected

Getting internet in an RV is not as hard or as complicated as it can seem.

Figure out which of the RV internet options will work best for your needs? Then, start putting together your setup right away! Doing so will ensure you can work (and play) no matter where in the country you end up playing, working, and living.

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Worth Pondering…

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

—Stephen Hawking