The Internet has become an essential part of our lives. Whether you are working, gaming, or just browsing the internet for fun, it is hard to live without wi-fi these days. Knowing how to get internet while camping is highly convenient at the least, and might just help you out if you find yourself in a tricky spot.
For those who love camping and want to stay connected on their next expedition, there are many ways to get internet while camping.
Here are 10 ways you can get access to the internet while camping:
- Use your mobile hotspot
- Use the Wi-Fi at the campground
- Drive to a nearby café, convenience store, or gas station
- Find a nearby library
- Purchase a data plan for your tablet
- Get Google Fi
- Rent a hotspot
- Purchase a portable hotspot
- Use a Wi-Fi booster
- Ask your neighbours in an RV
Different solutions will work best for different circumstances. If you’re in a very remote location, getting a portable hotspot may be best. If you’re at a campsite with lots of amenities, you may have access to the internet at your site or at the camping headquarters building. Let’s dig in a bit deeper with some of the ways you can stay connected even when far away from civilization!
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How to Get Internet While Camping
Getting internet while camping involves thinking of creative solutions when there is a limited number of options. Here are 10 ways that you can get Wi-Fi access during your time in the outdoors:
1. Use Your Mobile Hotspot:
Did you know that most phone plans come with a data package that allows you to turn your phone into a wireless source of internet? This may already be available through your provider, so make sure to give them a call and ask about this feature.
If it doesn’t come with your current plan, you can ask your provider to add a hotspot feature for an extra fee. You can also request for more data to be added to your account for additional browsing and even video streaming.
This method works best when using the internet for simple activities such as checking email or browsing social media photos.
To access your phone’s hotspot, go to settings, and then select mobile hotspot & tethering. Choose a username and password, and then you can turn on the hotspot function to start using the internet.
Phone hotspots are a great way to get internet while camping, but you need service for this solution to work properly! Make sure that your provider offers good coverage in the area where you’re planning on camping before relying on it as an option.
2. Use the Wi-Fi at the Campground
Many campsites have a wi-fi connection, which you can access by typing in the password that is posted on a sign or given to you by staff members. This is a convenient solution because you won’t have to use any additional equipment other than the device you want to connect to the internet.
The best way to know if a campsite is going to have internet access is by calling or emailing them before your trip. You can also do some research to find databases with Wi-Fi information for various regions and countries. Here is one list of several campsites that offer complimentary Wi-Fi in the United States.
3. Drive to a Nearby Café, Convenience Store, or Gas Station
Even if you’re in a more remote area on a camping trip, there is usually a nearby convenience store or gas station that will have Wi-Fi. If you’re just looking to check your email and send messages, this may be enough of a connection for what you need while camping!
Many restaurants will also offer free Wi-Fi, especially if you’re a customer that is dining in. You can try to take your device into the restaurant and see if there’s an area where it will work. It’s a great rule of thumb to make even a small purchase from any area that you go to for free Wi-Fi as a courtesy to business owners.
Some cafes have limited hours of operation or may be closed on certain days of the week, so make sure to check this before driving all over town looking for a place to get internet.
4. Find a Nearby Library
Another great option for public internet access is to stop by a local public library. There is a library in almost every town, so you will likely have an easy time finding one that is close to where your camping trip takes place.
Most libraries have Wi-Fi access for customers and visitors, but there are also computers available that can be used if you don’t have your own laptop or device to use. Public libraries are a great resource because they’re free of charge to enter.
If they do have an associated fee for service, consider making a small purchase so that they can keep offering this amenity to others.
5. Purchase a Data Plan For Your Tablet
If a tablet is the right size for your internet needs, you can talk to your phone service provider about adding a data plan to your tablet as well as your phone. This is a great solution if you plan on using your tablet for movies, music, and video calls.
You can also purchase a Bluetooth or USB keyboard that can connect to your tablet for when you are sending emails or writing. Tablets are easier to charge with portable or solar chargers, lightweight, and more durable to use than laptops. They’re also a better option for backpackers that don’t want to carry a lot of equipment with them.
Similarly to using your phone as a hotspot, you will want to make sure that your provider offers coverage in the area you are camping in. If not, you can usually drive out a bit to get a signal and use the internet.
6. Get a Pre-Paid SIM Card
A SIM card, or a subscriber identity module, is a small chip that contains all the information about a mobile phone account. When you insert a SIM card into a phone, it activates the device and allows it to connect with your provider’s network.
You can also purchase a pre-paid SIM card to install on your device so it has mobile service no matter where you are. If your cell phone company doesn’t offer coverage in the area of your camping trip, there is usually another carrier that does – just keep an eye out for deals and offers!
You’ll need to make sure that your phone is unlocked before you can use a SIM card from another provider. Unlocking it is easy if your cell phone company still has the unlock codes for your device or can help you get them. You will need to make sure that they don’t charge any fees for this service, as sometimes companies do not provide unlocking at no cost to their customers anymore.
The company OneSimCard offers the International SIM Card, a plan that offers 4G data coverage in over 50 different countries. This can be a simpler alternative to purchasing a new SIM card for each region you’re traveling and camping in.
7. Rent a Hotspot Device
If you really need to get internet access for your camping trip but don’t want to commit to a plan for the long term, consider renting a hotspot device. This is an option that’s available through companies such as TravelWiFi. You can pick up your rented device or have it shipped to you for the duration of your rental. When you’re done using it for your camping trip, simply mail it back.
This service currently starts at $6.95 a day, making it an affordable option and comparable to buying a coffee and a doughnut and using free Wi-Fi at a cafe. The device also has coverage in over 140 countries, making it a great choice for international camping and travel camping.
8. Purchase a Portable Hotspot
Renting a hotspot is a great idea for short-term trips. But it will likely be more affordable to purchase your own portable hotspot if you plan on using it for a year or more. The advantage of purchasing your own hotspot over a SIM card is that it will be compatible with many carriers and therefore will have access to many campsite areas.
You will need to purchase a hotspot device first. The company GlocalMe offers reasonably priced hotspots and pay-as-you-go data plans that are flexible for different user needs. You can also use the Glocalme App to purchase additional data if you go over your plan limit.
This device doubles as a portable charger, making it a great multi-use tool for camping. This is a good budget solution if your cell phone company doesn’t offer coverage at your camping destination or on your route there.
9. Use a WI-FI Booster
A Wi-Fi booster will require an electrical outlet to power it, but will likely be able to increase your existing Wi-Fi signal strength by up to 15 times. This means that you may be able to access the internet at a nearby office and extend it all the way out to your campsite. If you’re camping on private property, you can ask your hosts if you can use their Wi-Fi to connect to your booster.
The HooToo Tripmate Nano is small enough to throw into your bag and take with you on your camping trip. It’s a fantastic price and just may save you when you need internet in a pinch during a camping trip.
10. Ask Your Neighbors in an RV
Many RV campers have satellite connections and Wi-Fi, so be sure to ask your neighbours if they can give you a signal. You can share their signal by connecting your hotspot or tablet to their Wi-Fi connection with a cable.
If you want to connect to satellite internet while camping, there are a few companies that provide portable options at a hefty cost. This satellite phone kit is a great choice and can provide signal in the most remote camping areas. You can purchase a reasonably priced monthly plan or a prepaid service if you don’t want a long-term membership.
How to Use the Internet Wisely While Camping
Even if you’re able to get access to the internet while camping, you will want to be mindful of how much you use it. Usage is usually measured by the amount of data that you use. Downloading and streaming can be expensive if you’re not on a plan with unlimited internet access.
Here are some tips that can help you to stretch your internet use while camping:
Download Any Media Beforehand
If you want the internet so that you can watch movies and listen to music, try to download anything that you want before leaving. You can then stream or download media instead of having to use your data plan for downloads, especially if they are large files.
You can download your Spotify and iTunes playlists directly onto your phone. You can also download movies, TV shows and books onto your tablet or phone.
Disable or Remove Any Unused Apps You Have on Your Phone
Many people have unnecessary apps running in the background of their phones without realizing it. These apps use data even when you’re not using them. To save data, simply remove any apps that you don’t need or disable the ones that are running in your phone’s settings.
Do Any Word Processing Offline
If you need the internet for work and will be doing a lot of writing, editing, spreadsheet data entry work, or anything else that requires typing, you can do it offline. Most word processors will allow this and save your work locally onto your device before allowing you to connect back up with the internet.
This is a great way to avoid internet use altogether and only hop on when you need to send a document or project through an email.
Turn Down Your Streaming Quality
If you plan on streaming movies or music, consider turning down the quality. Streaming HD movies will use up more data than streaming standard definition videos. Media players usually have a few different quality settings you can choose from. Use the lowest quality setting that still provides you with a good viewing experience, especially on smaller devices where the difference won’t be as noticeable.
Choose Your Favourite Streaming Sites Wisely
If you have to use your data plan, consider choosing only sites that provide free streaming content or allow for limited downloads of media on their site. There are many companies that have made partnerships with major phone carriers and hotspot providers.
For example, T-Mobile offers a program called Binge On. This allows subscribers to stream an unlimited amount of video from Showtime, Starz, ESPN, Sling, HBO, Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix. There are enough options here for all types of viewers, and none of these platforms will use up any of your data.
Turn Your Wi-Fi Off When Not In Use
You can save your data by turning your Wi-Fi off when you’re not using it. Some devices have an option to automatically turn WiFi back on if there are active connections in the area, but most of them will default to just being powered down.
This is especially great for those who want to use their phone as a hotspot, because it will save you the trouble of having to turn it back on every time that you want to use your device.
Even if you follow all these tips, there is no guarantee that you won’t exceed your data plan limits while camping out in nature for a few days. It’s important to be prepared and know what options are available so that you
Use Public Wi-Fi When Possible
It’s always best to use Wi-Fi in the campground office when possible. It is usually free to use, and you won’t have to worry about using up your data plan.
You can also take care of any downloads at this time and then use your computer or device offline later in the day. Just remember that the Wi-Fi speed and strength at the campground may be slower than what you’re used to at home.
Turn Down Your Screen Brightness
Although this isn’t a tip for saving Wi-Fi data, it’s an important tip for making sure you preserve the battery life on your phone, tablet, or laptop.
For even more battery-saving benefits, you can go into the settings of your device to put it on standby or battery-saving mode. This can help save your battery even more by turning off the wireless connection and dimming the screen brightness to conserve power.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to stay connected without worrying about going over your data usage or getting any unwanted charges at the end of your billing cycle!
It can be tricky to get access to the internet while camping because most people value the woods as a place where they can disconnect from the world.
However, there are a few tricks that you can use to get Wi-Fi while camping without sacrificing too much of your enjoyment!
Be clear about what you want to use the internet for, how often you will need to use it, and how many camping trips you plan on going on. These factors will help you to decide which Wi-Fi option is most reasonable for you.