In this article, I’m going to discuss how to get free RV wifi for internet access wherever you go.
But first, let’s reflect on the fact that internet connectivity is absolutely vital for many Rvers. And as time goes on, no doubt the need for mobile connectivity will only increase.
With that in mind, I have made a few videos that demonstrate how RVers can stay connected on the road. They cover subjects like what equipment you will need, the right kind of internet data plans for RVers, etc.
Those videos can be found here:
Click here for RV internet video #1
and also here:
Click here for RV internet video #2
The information in these videos is very helpful for those who need internet access wherever they go. So it’s probably a good idea to view those videos before finishing this article.
But is it possible to find yourself in an area where mobile connectivity is very poor? Places where all of the best mobile internet solutions just don’t seem to work well?
Cellular Mobile Internet Access
Actually, there are several ways to access the internet if you are a mobile RV traveler. But the most popular method by far is through cellular phone towers.
After all, the cellular carriers already provide a certain amount of internet access for phone users. So using a cellular network for internet connectivity makes a lot of sense.
But this means that you will need certain pieces of equipment to access cellular internet service. These include a dedicated hotspot, a good antenna, and probably even a cell booster.
And some RV travelers seem to indicate that if you are armed with that equipment, you are always online. But unfortunately, the truth is just not that simple.
Of course, a good mobile cellular internet setup will work in the vast majority of places you go. But the reality is that if you travel a lot in your RV, you will eventually find places where it doesn’t work well.
Why Cellular Internet Service Doesn’t Always Work
The reason for this is that cellular networks can sometimes get overloaded. This can happen easily when an area gets a sudden increase in cellular usage. For instance, when lots of tourists flood the area for a special event or season.
If there aren’t enough towers in the area to help out with the overload, the whole service slows to a crawl. In fact, it can become so slow that meaningful cellular internet service just disappears.
You may be able to check email and do some basic web surfing, but not much more than that.
And it doesn’t matter how fast or expensive your mobile internet equipment is. None of that means anything when the system it is using is clogged and unusable.
We faced just such a situation last year in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. There was so many summer visitors in the area, that the few cell towers available were overwhelmed. And as a result , our mobile internet access was useless.
Free RV Wifi In RV Campgrounds
So if our mobile internet solution that we normally use on the road didn’t work, what then? What about the wifi offered by our campground?
After all, the RV park that we were staying in was a very nice park with lots of amenities. So, surely free internet wifi offered by the campground would solve our problem, right?
Well, the sad truth about RV campground wifi is that in most cases it is also pretty useless. Especially if there are a lot of campers in the park at one time.
You may see free internet wifi being advertised by RV parks and campgrounds. But that doesn’t mean that it is always a consistently reliable internet service.
Very often, the wifi systems installed in these parks simply can’t handle a lot of internet usage. So when the park fills up and lots of RVers want to stream movies, the whole system slows down.
We experienced this in the Poconos at the park where we stayed. The free wifi offered there just wasn’t very usable.
Other Places To Find Free RV Wifi
So, if you find yourself in an area where the cellular internet service is unusable, what can you do?
The good news is that there are lots of places that offer free internet wifi these days. It’s just that it may not come with the convenience factor that you are used to having for internet service.
But if you are anywhere near a town or a city, you most likely can get free internet access through wifi anyway.
Places like Starbucks, McDonalds, Panera Bread, Best Buy, Target, Office Max and others offer free wifi. You can also find free internet access at many public libraries and gyms.
Of course, they aren’t offering you free wifi for nothing. They want to entice you to visit them and hopefully buy some products while using their wifi.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money while there. So you can grab a snack at places like Starbucks and McDonalds. Or make a small purchase at Best Buy or Office Max.
Believe me though, you will be happy to make a small purchase when you really need to get online.
So can we say that the wifi offered in these places is truly free then? Well, it’s up to you. But the low cost of a purchase is worth the internet access in my opinion.
Of course, public libraries can be an excellent choice for free internet wifi since it doesn’t have to involve a purchase. Very often, you can find a comfortable chair and get your internet work done in peace and quiet.
A Warning About Free RV Wifi
But one caution needs to be mentioned here. Make sure that you don’t send sensitive data while you are on a public network.
There are those who troll public wifi spots to steal data from unsuspecting users. So use encrypted sites that begin with https in the URL as much as possible.
And don’t carry out transactions that could reveal your credit card information over public wifi either.
What About Streaming Entertainment?
One of the favorite uses of internet access is to stream entertainment like videos. And of course, I am all for that since I have a YouTube channel with lots of videos to watch.
But video streaming eats up a lot of bandwidth, or available internet access. And free wifi services don’t usually have a lot of bandwidth to spare.
Of course, when you have your own personal hotspot and mobile cellular service, this is often not a problem. All you need is to have a robust data cellular plan and you are in business.
But when that kind of service is not available and free wifi services can’t handle streaming, what do you do?
Well, for the few times that you may find yourself in such a situation, there are some alternatives to consider. But it may involve altering your normal pattern for getting entertainment.
For instance, if you like videos, why not play some DVDs that you like? You may have some of your own or you can rent them in lots of places.
Or better yet, why not try unplugging from using digital entertainment exclusively for a while? Maybe you could read books, or play some games with a fellow traveler or family member.
Interestingly, you may find that you kind of enjoy engaging in other activities other than video streaming. It might even open up a new avenue for enjoying your leisure time that you hadn’t considered before.
Engaging in these activities also means that the time you have to spend on free internet wifi networks is lessened. So there is less pressure to rely on free wifi sources.
So clearly then, there are free wifi alternatives that can help when our normal mobile connectivity isn’t working.
These alternatives may not be as convenient as just connecting to our own mobile internet wifi. But they do work, and can help us get through until reliable internet access is restored.
And that brings me to my last point on this subject. If internet connectivity becomes too much of a problem for you as an RV traveler to handle, just move.
The odds are that you can find an area not far away that can allow you to use your normal RV internet access equipment.
That’s why there are wheels on your RV. You can choose to leave and go somewhere else whenever you choose.
And if you do, hopefully internet access will be better there. But hopefully what I have discussed in this article will be helpful in those few cases where free wifi is a necessity.