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How To Get Internet and WiFi On The Road

Living on the road, restricts you from the luxury of having wifi 24/7. And while we love “disconnecting” and spending time in nature, it’s not easy to build this website without internet.

So if you work remotely it does have its downsides. So finding internet becomes an important part of life on the road. Here are some unique ways we have found wifi on the road while traveling full time in our campervan!

Wifi On The Road | Vanlife

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Protect Yourself With a VPN

Any time you connect to a public wifi, you should use a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN protects your location and sensitive information from cyber threats. They also allow you to access location-restricted content.

We love and highly recommend Surf Shark. It’s really easy to use, super-cheap price, and unlimited devices.  Sign up with our link here for a bonus free month to start.


Coffee shops and Cafes are a great place to get wifi on the road
Wifi On The Road At A Cafe

Cafe’s are an easy way to get wifi on the road. We usually try to support local coffee shops versus large chains (plus, they usually have better coffee anyways)! You do need to purchase their products if you go inside. Try not to get the cheapest thing on the menu and stay for hours on end. But we found that if you hit up a coffee shop every time you need wifi, it can become costly. 


Breweries can be a unique one, because you might feel a little strange bringing in your laptop to a brewery and being anti-social, but if you are buying their product who cares?! Unlike coffee shops where you can usually sip on a coffee for an hour or so, you tend to drink beer a little faster. So, this method can also get expensive if you do it often. But, we usually love visiting local breweries, so it can kill 2 birds with 1 stone, ya know?


A library is a great place to get free wifi on the road

Libraries have been our main FREE way to get wifi on the road. The best part about libraries, is that there is no obligation to purchase anything and they usually have reliable wifi.  They also tend to be the quietest place to get work done.


Watching NFL football in our campervan
Jake Streaming A Football Game Via Mcdonald’s Wifi

McDonald’s has free wifi that reaches out to its parking lot. Therefore, this gets a special shoutout for getting wifi on the road because we can even use it from inside our van! But the point here is that customers will come inside to spend money. And McDonald’s has a very cheap menu, therefore, you can basically get wifi for as low as $1! McDonald’s isn’t our first choice because we rarely ever like to eat there, but it’s okay to occasionally cheat.

Public Parks:

Wifi on the road at a public park
Vail, CO: Free Wifi At Donovan Park

Sometimes you can get lucky and public parks have wifi. It’s not very common, but occasionally they will have buildings for events and those may have wifi.

Fast-Food Restaurants:

Fast food restaurants have become smart and realize people are obsessed with having wifi, therefore a lot of big chain fast food restaurants provide FREE wifi. But the catch, is you have to go in and purchase their food. Some popular places are: Burger King, Arby’s, Jimmy Johns, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Chick-Fil-A, Subway, etc. 

Walmart/ Large Store Fronts

If you park close enough to the front doors, you might be able to snag walmarts free wifi from your vehicle. But, there is free wifi within the store, therefore you can go on your phone and get FREE wifi inside. Some other stores that have FREE wifi within their store are The Home Depot, Menards, Target, etc.


Drinking Cocktails in a restaurant
Wifi On The Road At A Restaurant

While it might not seem appropriate to have your laptop up on the table at a restaurant, it is still an option. It is very easy to get access on your phone, but if you need to use your laptop, then you can probably get away with it! Honestly, probably just ask if it is okay with the hostess or waitress and they will probably be okay with it! You also, won’t be able to sit there for an extended period of time, unless there is no one waiting for a table. But, if you are getting waited on the whole time, make sure to tip your waiter/waitress well! 


If you are traveling on the road, then you most likely will need regular maintenance done on your vehicle. Therefore, you can usually get free wifi in their waiting room. But this way won’t help you long term.

Laundromats | Wifi On The Road

Laundromats aren’t the most reliable way to get wifi on the road, but some of the nicer laundromats do have wifi. You can put in a load and patiently wait for your clothes to wash while getting some work done. If can be a great place to kill 2 birds with 1 stone!

Gas Stations:

While this isn’t the trustiest place to get wifi on the road, there are a few hundred gas stations around the U.S. that provide free wifi. Here is a list of some gas stations within the U.S.

Campgrounds/RV Parks:

We usually stray away from getting a campsite in a campground, but it can sometimes be worth it for bathrooms, showers and wifi! Be sure to check with the campground to see if they have reliable wifi first!

Mobile Hotspot + WeBoost:

weboost cell signal booster is a huge improvement for getting coverage

This method isn’t exactly wifi, but if you have mobile hotspot on your phone plan, then it can act as wifi!  And to make it even better we have a WeBoost Cell signal Booster and we find it works quite well.

For more details on the Weboost, check out our in-depth review on using a Weboost Cell-Signal Booster in our campervan.

It isn’t magic, so it won’t get you internet when you are deep in the middle of the woods with no service. Although we have been lucky at times to get service when we had no bars, but the internet is super spotty and not good enough to use as a hotspot or scroll through social media. But when we are places where our phones are working slow with 3G or 1x, it does speed it up so we can use our phones as a hotspot!

But cell providers usually have a cap on the amount of data you can use (at least at high speed).  Even our Verizon “unlimited plan” has a cap at 30GB of high-speed mobile hotspot.  If we didn’t use it for streaming video, we would probably never go over that 30GB.

Wifi Booster:

We don’t have this or have any experience with a wifi booster, but it could be a decent idea for people who stay near wifi range. You basically go to a parking lot or somewhere that has free wifi and it will extend the wifi to your location. This can make a significant difference, especially if you are trying to use Wifi from the parking lot.  People seem to like the Alfa Wifi Camp Pro 2.


Mifi is another way to get internet on the road. A Mifi device is an internet device that has wifi built into it. It can tap into 3G, 4G or 5G mobile phone networks and uses that connection to create a mini wireless broadband connection.

Check out Hilary Bird’s Mifi Review from Green Van Go for other best hotspots for van life


Starlink Roam Review Vanlife Remote Work

The newest and greatest way to get internet on the road is now having Starlink. It has been an absolute game-changer for us in vanlife. We use internet nearly every day for this blog, social media channels, checking in with family, etc.

But it is not an inexpensive investment. As of 2023, the dish costs $600 and for a mobile roam wifi plan, it costs an additional $150 per month. Look into our full in-depth review to learn more about Starlink and to see if it is the right fit for you.

Apps For Locating Wifi On The Road in Vanlife:

There are loads of apps available that can help you locate Wifi networks near you.  Our favorite is called Wifi Finder and its really simple to use.  You can look at a map of your location and it will show you nearby wifi. 

This can be really helpful if you are deciding between a coffee shop, campground, or library, etc.  Sometimes Apps don’t show every Wifi network, but they can still be a good tool in your arsenal.

Takeaway | How To Find Internet And Wifi On The Road

We tend to use a combination of all the above methods.  And with so many options we usually have no trouble finding free Wifi as we travel. Let us know if you have any questions or if we missed a great way to get wifi on the road?! 

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How To Get wifi on the road
How to get internet or wifi on the road

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