How to access the internet in your caravan or motorhome - 2022 Guide
It’s more important than ever to have reliable internet connectivity whilst travelling and many people now need internet access while they are staying on campsites in caravans, motorhomes and tents. Many of the larger caravan parks, campsites and marinas have installed dedicated WiFi for guests, but if WiFi is not available there are other options you can consider if you need to connect to the internet.
How to connect to the internet in a caravan, motorhome, tent or on a boat
Check if the campsite or holiday park or marina has guest WiFi internet available
Check what average speeds can be expected and if there is a charge for access, most of the time connecting to a guest network is the best option, however speed can vary greatly from one campsite to the next and most campsites have to charge for wifi due to the cost of maintaining a guest internet service.
Use your mobile phones internet connection if you can pick up a good 4G/5G signal
A quick coverage check online enables you to find out which mobile networks are available at the caravan sites you are visiting and whether there is reasonable 4G or 5G coverage. If you can pick up a 4G or 5G signal then you will get pretty fast mobile broadband. (Remember any data used will come off your allocated data).
Buy a MiFi internet device or dongle for your own dedicated portable internet hotspot
If you buy a portable MiFi box or dongle you can get a personal wifi connection using 4G or 5G mobile broadband, there are many offers both on payg & with a pay monthly data plan. Some networks will even supply an additional sim card on mobile contracts for this.
Satellite internet is also a possibility if you do a lot of camping & wild camping off the beaten track
Satellite internet services are generally more expensive than other options and you will need to buy some specialist kit including a satellite receiver, a satellite router and pay as a monthly subscriber for a connection. Most satellite internet providers will have a minimum contract period of at least 12 months and prices start around £29.99 a month. In theory you could sign up for a home connection and buy extra kit to take with you when camping/caravanning if your provider allows this via a single account.
Campsites & marinas with WiFi guest networks
If the campsite, holiday park or marina has guest Wifi, it’s usually straight forward to get online – just connect to the ‘guest’, ‘campsite’ or ‘marina’ wifi network and follow the instructions. Most guest WiFi solutions use a shared internet connection and guest wifi is often charged for, to help cover the cost of running a guest WiFi system.
The main draw back of guest wifi is that speeds can vary greatly from one place to the next. At busy times buffering can be an issue as data and download speeds may be throttled to ease pressure on the network.
Mobile phone internet, how to make your mobile phone a hotspot
If you have inclusive or unlimited data on your mobile phone it is often viable to connect using your mobile phone. A fast mobile internet connection requires good mobile reception and a 4G or 5G data. Most of the UK already has 4G connectivity and 5G is also beginning to reach more locations in the UK
Most mobile phones have a ‘make phone a hotspot’ feature in the settings. This allows you to turn your mobile phone into a router to share you phones mobile internet connection with other devices. When you make your phone a hotspot you can connect multiple devices including laptops & tablets just as easily as how you connect to your wireless router at home. Connecting to the internet this way is convenient but it will mean you will be using your mobile data allowance, if you only have a limited data plan it could run out quickly, especially if people are playing online games or streaming content like video & music.
What is MiFi internet and how do I get it?
MiFi is similar to mobile phone internet connectivity, you basically access the mobile data network via a MiFi router box. A MiFi router is a small portable router that provides wireless connection to the mobile broadband network. MiFi boxes usually allow you to connect up to 10 or more devices via a single connection mobile network connection.
A MiFi box requires its own data sim card as well as a good 4G or 5G signal. Check the 4G/5G coverage at the locations you will be staying to make sure there is reception.
Top Tip: Take your MiFi box with you when you travel (even abroad if you have roaming data) and share your MiFi ‘mobile broadband’ connection with multiple devices including laptops, tablets and even smart TVs.
Where can I buy a 'MiFi' mobile internet router?
You can find a great selection of 4G & 5G MiFi routers and dongles on Amazon. We have selected some of our favourites below, all feature rechargeable batteries so they are fully portable.
Prices for a 4G MiFi router start at under £40 so they are affordable, even if you only buy one and use it as a backup plan.
Check out some of our favourite 4G MiFi routers available to buy on Amazon below.
Prices for 5G MiFi routers are more expensive starting at around £350 for the cheapest solution, however as more manufacturers release new routers the prices are likely to become more affordable.
Check out some of our favourite 5G MiFi routers available to buy on Amazon below.
NOTE: A MiFi box requires a mobile data plan or PAYG data sim card. A MiFi box or dongle will only provide good internet speeds if you are able to connect to the 4G / 5G mobile network.