We admit that we're obsessive about staying connected through email but lukewarm on cell phones (calls or texting). That's just our bent. As a result, the information here is a "work in progress" and as we gather more information we'll add to the page.
INTERNET & EMAIL
Many campgrounds now offer Wi-Fi signals, so staying connected is possible, even under the stars and in the Great Outdoors. It's not a make-or-break deal for us but because we are often working from the road, it's nice to be able to check email, send messages, do a little research, etc.
If the spot we're staying does not have a signal we usually find a local coffee shop or library and dedicate a bit of time to checking in. We especially love the libraries as they often have a section of used books for sale - we often leave with a few additions to our on-board bookshelf.
While in transit we can find reliable, free Internet on the fly at:
We know there are options out there that could turn our camper van into a mobile hotspot but we're still in the investigation stage (high cost and cross-border versatility are issues). We'll update this spot as we find more information about what works for Canadians travelling across country and south into the United States.
- McDonald's restaurants.
- Lowe's home centres.
- Local libraries (because we can usually settle into a comfortable work space as well).
We're not really tethered to a glowing cell phone, so for us a comprehensive mobile phone plan (data, phone, text) has never been a priority. When we're on the road we usually just . . . turn it off. And the sky has not fallen (yet).
Last time out we knew we'd be in some remote areas through Arizona and New Mexico, so we did a little research and signed up for a U.S. phone plan with our carrier, Bell Canada. The deal they offer fits our needs perfectly - 1000 local/long distance minutes and unlimited texts for 30 days for $30 with no roaming charges. They also offer text only and data plans. It makes sense to start with your own carrier - call and ask what comparable plans they offer.
On other trips we purchased a TracFone (available at stores in the U.S. including CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, etc) - a prepaid cell phone with a pay-as-you-go plan. It worked just fine but we do prefer to travel with our own phone.