Do you want to start RVing, but concerned about getting mail and WiFi on the road? You’re not alone. It takes planning to ensure your mail gets delivered properly and that you get WiFi to meet your needs. After 10 months of being on the road, we have learned a few things and hope this helps you out as you research your options.
Maintaining Connectivity – Getting your mail
Many full time RVers are not stationary, but move at least quarterly. So, how do you get your mail? Do you change your address every time you move? There are few ways to handle this.
- Family & Friends. You can have family or friends receive and hold your mail and packages for you or have them ship the most important items to you. This is of course the cheapest option, although it might be a burden on others. You will also need to keep your family and friends up to date on your location if they will be forwarding mail and packages to you.
- Have your packages shipped to you on the road. If you use Amazon or another online retailer, you can have your packages shipped to you on the road. You just need to find an RV park near you, stay a night or two, and have packages shipped to you there.
- Mail Service. You can always have your mail handled by a mail service. Your mail will go to the mail service and then held, scanned, or forwarded. This is a paid service…holding your mail is the cheapest option and then goes up from there. The service we are most familiar with is Xscapers, but there are others out there.
Maintaining Connectivity – WiFi
This one can actually be a bit more challenging than handling your mail. Most people are used to their internet at home that is basically unlimited, speed might be limited, but you don’t purchase it by the gig. If you are stationary, you can have the local internet provider connect your RV just like your home. On the road you have a few other options – satellite, phone data plan, mobile hotspot, RV park WiFi, and free WiFi.
- Satellite Service – There are quite a few cons to having internet via a satellite – it’s costly, you have to have a clear view of the sky, and it is slow. It is something you can take on the road though, so it is worth mentioning.
- Phone Data Plan – This is a viable option IF you don’t use a lot of gigs/month. There are some plans that will even let you binge watch YouTube and Netflix (can’t tether this to another device though…so smart phones only at this time). If you are a heavy user or want to watch on your smart TV or tablet, this may not be the best option. More gigs = more money.
- Mobile Hotspot – This is where it gets interesting. You can use your hotspots anywhere (well…maybe not if you are hiking on a mountain top or in the desert) and on any device. It can get very, very expensive unless you can find a 3rd party that sells grandfathered unlimited (well, almost all are now limited, but with many gigs…100+) hotspots. We found one by asking on some Facebook groups such as Fulltime Families and Internet for RVers.
- RV Park WiFi – Many RV parks now offer free Wifi. Great right? It would be if it actually worked. RV park WiFi is notoriously unreliable. We have been to only two parks that had fairly reliable WiFi, but I would have to sit outside the RV or directly under their boosters to get anything at all.
- Free WiFi – Lastly, there is always free WiFi at different shops. Lots of coffeeshops and fast-food restaurants, whether locally owned or chains, have free WiFi. It is reliable and supports the local economy without breaking the bank. This is a cheap option and can be quite pleasant. It just might not be as convenient.