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How to get internet in your RV: your guide to Wi-Fi on the road

Headshot of Cara Haynes
Researched by
Cara HaynesContributing Writer
Headshot of Bri Field
Reviewed by
Bri FieldAssigning Editor
Updated 2/3/23

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RV internet can unlock some pretty cool things for you: working from a national park, streaming Netflix out in the boondocks, or even just posting your latest adventures on social media are all possible when you have solid RV Wi-Fi that works where you need it to. But how hard is it to actually get RV internet?

Well, the good news is that RV internet connections are more accessible and faster than ever—but finding the best option for you while traveling will still take some research. After extensive research into internet plans, data caps, speeds, and how RVers use internet on the road, we’ve identified the four best RV Wi-Fi options available.

Best RV internet options

Best overall: cellular hotspots

  • Speed: 5–30 Mbps for 4G LTE; 50–1,000 Mbps for 5G
  • Monthly data: 2–150 GB
  • Plan price: $10–$80/mo.
  • Device price: $2–$11/mo.

Best for roamers and boondockers: Starlink Mobile

  • Speed: 5–50 Mbps
  • Monthly data: Unlimited
  • Plan price: $150–$200/mo.
  • Device price: $599 one-time fee

Best portable option: Nomad internet

  • Speed: 30–150 Mbps
  • Monthly data: Up to unlimited
  • Plan price: $150/mo.
  • Device price: $99 one-time fee

Best for cheap RV living: public Wi-Fi hotspots

  • Speed: 1–50 Mbps
  • Monthly data: Unlimited
  • Plan price: Free
  • Device price: N/A
Internet-related icons representing key factors when choosing rv internet

The three big factors to consider when weighing the best RV internet options are availability, speed, and data. Every plan has its availability restrictions, which we’ll give you more details on below. Consider where you travel in your RV the most and which locations you want to have guaranteed internet service.

Once you’ve got a good idea of that, decide how much internet speed and data you’ll need. Data gets more expensive the farther away you get from the city, so paying for just what you need will keep you from throwing away money or getting frustrated by consistently hitting your data cap and experiencing throttled speeds.

Best overall: cellular hotspots

A woman using a cell phone to create a mobile hotspot with an rv

Best hotspot provider: Verizon

  • $20–$80/mo.
  • 15–150 GB of premium data/mo.
  • Unlimited 3 Mbps speeds or slower once you hit your cap
  • Hotspot device is $2–$6/mo. for 36 mos.

Runner-up: T-Mobile

  • $10–$50/mo.
  • 2–100 GB data/mo.
  • Unlimited high-speed data on Magenta Tablet plans
  • High-speed hotspot data included up to data limit
  • Hotspot device is $200–$265 upfront or $4–$11/mo.

Cellular hotspots are the best option overall because they offer great reliability and availability for the price. A cellular hotspot works by using either your phone, tablet, or a separate hotspot device to create a Wi-Fi network via a cellular signal. Once your hotspot is up and running, you can connect multiple devices to its Wi-Fi network (just be aware that your speeds could slow down if you share hotspot bandwidth with too many devices at once).

A quote with a wifi symbol indicating cellular hotspots are the best option for RV travel

We’d recommend Verizon as the best cellular hotspot provider. Verizon was just awarded the most reliable 5G network for the third year in a row (1). And reliability is a huge factor with RV internet: you can usually deal with slow internet on the road, but no internet is another issue altogether. Verizon also offers bigger data plans than T-Mobile.

That said, T-Mobile was awarded best 5G availability by the same study, so going with a T-Mobile hotspot might be a better option for you if you plan on using your RV in more urban areas where 5G speeds are available. T-Mobile also offers slightly more affordable plans than Verizon. So if you want something super cheap that you’ll just use when you need it, T-Mobile is about as cheap as you can get.

Either way, you’re likely to experience better service in some areas than others no matter which provider you go with. One common strategy that road warriors employ to avoid this is to purchase hotspot plans from multiple cellular providers. That way, you’ll have an available internet connection in a wider range and you can switch between plans depending on which one has the best signal.

You can also purchase a cell phone booster to get the most out of the signal you have. But even with a cell phone booster, keep in mind that there are some wooded or mountainous areas that simply can’t get cell coverage even if you’re technically in a cellular footprint.

Not sure which provider is available where you want to go? The Coverage? app can tell you. Download it on your device ahead of time, then check out its cellular network maps while planning your travels or after you've hit the road.

Pros and cons of cellular hotspots


  • Multiple plan options
  • Up to 5G speeds available
  • Easy setup
  • Wide network availability

  • Limited to one provider’s coverage area (unless you get two hotspots)
  • Weak signals and slower speeds in rural areas
  • Slowed speeds once you hit your data cap

Best for roamers and boondockers: Starlink Roam

an RV using satellite internet while roaming
Staff rating
Customer rating
Price: $120.00 - $250.00

  • Low latency
  • Expanding coverage
  • Options for mobile satellite connectivity

  • High upfront equipment cost
  • Slower speeds than originally advertised
  • Poor reputation for customer service

Speed: 100 Mbps

Disclaimer: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply.

Starlink is the satellite internet solution we’ve all been dreaming of. It’s capable of offering fast speeds and unlimited data virtually anywhere, which is practically unheard of when it comes to rural internet and internet on the go.

To be honest, it was a tough call between Starlink Roam and cellular hotspots earning our “best overall” spot. What it really came down to is price and ease of use. Although Starlink's mobile dish is certainly simple to set up (you just find a clear view of the sky and then use the app to get the device going), there are some possible logistical glitches that could arise with things like bringing the Starlink cord back into your RV where it connects with the router. A cellular hotspot doesn’t have to be outdoors or calibrated, so that makes it a little more immediately accessible than Starlink.

But where Starlink has cellular hotspots beat is availability, data, and speed. Starlink will work literally anywhere you have a clear view of the sky, so you won’t need to worry about leaving your provider’s coverage area. Starlink is still in the process of fully rolling out its network, though, so there are some areas of the US that will get faster speeds than others. You can check what speeds will be available in your neck of the woods by using the Starlink Coverage Map.

The hardware fee could also be prohibitively expensive for some folks at $600–$2,500, but it’s a one-and-done setup that’s refreshing in a lot of ways. That said, it does still make Starlink significantly more expensive than our other options, so Starlink Mobile is likely worth the investment only for people who spend most of their time roaming outside of cellular coverage or boondocking in highly remote areas. Another thing to note is that you can just pay for Starlink on a month-by-month basis (but still keep the equipment), so you could keep it around to use during certain trips but save your $135 for other things when you’re not on the road.

Pros and cons of Starlink Roam


  • Unlimited data
  • Nationwide availability with a clear view of the sky
  • 5–50 Mbps speeds
  • Super easy setup

  • Dish must be outdoors to get service
  • Expensive one-time equipment fee ($599)
  • Fastest speeds not available nationwide

Best portable option: Nomad internet

A man using portable wifi internet inside a traveling RV

Nomad internet

  • $150/mo. with a one-time $99 fee
  • 30–150 Mbps
  • Up to unlimited data (depending on your plan)
  • Battery-powered router and plug-in router available

Nomad Internet is not our first choice for RV internet, but it is a viable solution. Nomad Internet is essentially a portable MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), which means it resells wireless capacity from major cellular providers like Verizon and T-Mobile under the Nomad Internet name. One key difference to note about Nomad Internet is that it combines bandwidth from multiple providers into one service, so you can get the benefits of buying two hotspots through a single hotspot that automatically uses the strongest signal available in the area.

One other cool thing about Nomad Internet is that it offers two device options: one is a plug-in router called the “WiFi Router,” and the other is a battery-powered router called the “Travel WiFi Router,” which is ideal if you don’t plan on having electricity available. Nomad Internet also offers a 7-day free trial, so you can take Nomad Internet on the road and see if it gets the job done before you commit to paying $150 per month for it. Nomad Internet also offers month-to-month service (similar to Starlink), so that’s a nice flexibility perk as well.

Although it does have a lot of unique features and relatively fast speeds, Nomad Internet is still really expensive, and the speeds are highly dependent on how close you are to the cell tower (which is likely not very close if you’re going out into the hinterlands). If you’re willing to pay $150 per month for RV internet, we recommend you just bite the bullet on the hardware cost for Starlink and go with that over Nomad Internet. You’ll get more available service and faster speeds in more places.

Pros and cons of Nomad internet


  • Connection to multiple cellular providers to offer better coverage and speeds
  • Two Wi-Fi router options to choose from
  • Month-to-month plans

  • Performance variability based on proximity to cell tower
  • Restricted data if you are deemed to be using too much
  • Expensive monthly price

Best for cheap RV living: public Wi-Fi hotspots

An RV connecting to the internet using free public wifi spots

Although this option may go without saying, free Wi-Fi hotspots are prolific (at least when you’re in civilization). And although the speeds are less reliable and the network security is iffy, the data is completely unlimited and the price is impossible to beat. If you want internet for cheap RV living, we recommend checking off your internet to-do's from a Wi-Fi hotspot in town or at the campground, and then returning to the confines of your RV for some peaceful unplugged time.

There are many websites, like Campendium, that make it easy to scope out Wi-Fi options before you head to an RV park. You'll have to plan more, you might buy a few more coffeehouse lattes than you would otherwise, and you'll have to get used to not being connected 24/7, but it's possible to make free Wi-Fi hotspots your primary source of RV internet. That said, free Wi-Fi hotspots have a tendency to get overcrowded—especially if you’re visiting a popular locale during the busy season. When this happens, your speeds can slow to a nearly unusable crawl.

Planning to use a public hotspot? Get a VPN. A VPN can add an extra layer of protection for your device and information. Learn more about what a VPN is and why we recommend them for public Wi-Fi users.

Pros and cons of free Wi-Fi hotspots


  • No cost
  • No extra equipment required
  • Unlimited data
  • Available in most urbanized areas

  • Weak security
  • Limited access inside your RV
  • Prone to slowdowns from overcrowding

Other things to consider about RV internet

How often will you use the internet?

Deciding how much you want to use your RV internet each month will help you decide which plan to choose. For example, if you just want internet available in your RV but don’t plan on using it every day, it might not make sense to pay $135 a month for Starlink (even if you can pause and unpause it).

What will you be doing online?

What you do online has a much larger effect on overall data usage than how much time you spend online (although they can both combine to really take a bite out of your data cap). For example, if you want RV Wi-Fi for streaming your favorite shows on the road, get a plan with more data. Streaming takes a lot more data than you think, and that can add up quickly even when you’re streaming just one or two shows per night. We recommend a plan with at least 100 GB of data per month if you plan on working or streaming on the road.

Use a speed test

Downloading a speed test app (or just bookmarking a page on your computer) can save you a lot of time as you evaluate what kind of service you have available and how well your internet connection is living up to its promises. You can also check out our guide to help you figure out how much internet speed you need.

Combine multiple options to meet your needs

If you can afford it, don’t feel like you have to choose just one RV internet option. The great thing about portable Wi-Fi for RVs is that the technology is super flexible, so you can easily have two internet options in one RV. Furthermore, combining two internet solutions that complement each other can make it more likely that you’ll experience consistent internet coverage, which can be a game changer if you’re doing something like working on the road.

An RV using multiple types of internet types

You don’t want to pay for more internet service than you need, but keeping a Verizon hotspot and a T-Mobile hotspot on hand is one example of how you can prepare for varying signal availability throughout your RV travels. Another solution could be to sign up for Starlink and purchase the equipment but only pay the monthly fee when you need it (Starlink offers billing in one-month increments). For example, you could save your Starlink service for when you need long-term, guaranteed internet access on your big RV trips to the most remote locations. Then you could also keep a Verizon hotspot around for your quick trips on the weekends when you just want to check email and post on Facebook.

Just like life on the road, it’s important to stay flexible in how you approach how to get internet in your RV—there are lots of ways you can make it work, so don’t be afraid to get creative.

The people behind our research
We believe the best information comes from first-hand customer experience and methodical research by subject-matter experts. We never source information from "content farms," and we don’t generate content using artificial intelligence (AI). You can trust that our recommendations are fact-checked meticulously and sourced appropriately by authentic, industry-recognized people.
Contributing researcher
Headshot of Cara Haynes
Researched by
Cara HaynesContributing Writer

Cara Haynes has been writing and editing about internet service and TV for six years. Previous to contributing to Helpful, she worked on HighSpeedInternet.com and SatelliteInternet.com. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your lifespan.

Contributing reviewer
Headshot of Bri Field
Reviewed by
Bri FieldAssigning Editor

Bri Field has a background in academia, research writing, and brand marketing. She has edited scientific publications, conference papers, digital content, and technical communications. As Assigning Editor, she enjoys ensuring all content is accurate, clear, and helpful. In her free time, you can find her in the kitchen trying a new recipe, out on a hike, or working through her massive TBR list.

Endnotes and sources

1. “The state of 5G in the US: has C-band changed the 5G landscape?” RootMetrics. Accessed 27 January 2023.