As we move across North America in our vintage Fiber Stream camper, we continue to learn lessons of fulltime RVing life. Being frugal is a necessity. Managing the tanks, managing the food, and managing the energy are of the utmost importance. We can get by on minimal resources if there’s a plan. However, the one resource we need an ungodly amount of is data, and access to it.
We need the internet!
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but we’re still learning how to maximize our connectivity while staying true to our budget.
Here’s how we currently stay connected:
Straight Talk Cellular Service (AT&T Towers)
- Monthly Cost: $100 for two plans
- Data: 10 GBs (5 per phone plan)
- Access: The AT&T towers are almost everywhere. We’ve been pleased with the connectivity.
- Speed: 4G & 3G at most places.
- Overview: We’ve had the most success with this cellular data service. The only issue is that 5GB can get eaten up rather quickly. Once we’ve used this data, the service is throttled to a snails pace.
T-Mobile Hot Spot
- Monthly Cost: $60
- Data: 9GBs
- Access: The T-Mobile service has its focus in urban settings. We have access to this hot spot about 20% of the time. However, it has been extremely robust when connected.
- Speed: 4G or nothing
- Overview: When we’re connected to our T-Mobile hot spot we can do some seriously fast web surfing. It’s great for uploading data to our Etsy store, streaming Netflix, and connecting multiple users. When we have the connection we make sure to use it.
Tengo Internet (Paid Campground Access)
- Cost: From $2 to $5 a day
- Data: Unlimited, but sometimes throttled
- Access: We’ve connected to Tengo at many different campgrounds, and while its usually quick to connect, the signal moves in and out.
- Speed: Moderate to Slow
- Overview: Tengo Internet will be enough to surf the web and stream music, but trying any more will have me pulling my hair out! At some campgrounds Tengo speeds will decrease as data is used.
McDonalds (or any other corporate chain) Free WiFi
- Cost: Free (or the price of small fries)
- Data: Unlimited
- Access: The signals are super strong.
- Speed: Blazing speeds, good for business and pleasure.
- Overview: The connection speed can’t be beat. The downside is being away from the campsite (in most cases).
These are our current methods of connection. We look forward to investing in a signal booster. Eventually, we will drop our T-Mobile hot spot in place of a more consistent and price friendly option.
If you have any advice, please let us know in the comments section!
Help support our mission – to live freely and deliberately – by checking out our Etsy store or treating us to a virtual latte!