Staying Connected While on the Road, Part IV: Camping, Cruises and More

Calming Anxieties Abroad
Staying connected while on the road, Part III: Working nomadically

So far in this series we’ve talked about contacting home while you’re traveling, how to keep in touch with your travel buddies, and working nomadically. This covers a few broad categories that many travelers fit into, but there are some unique situations that deserve special mention — even some that may mean sacrificing your phone and accepting the fact that you have to disconnect. There are a number of different scenarios we might find ourselves in where connectivity isn’t as simple as popping into the nearest cafe and snagging some WiFi — which brings us to the final part of our series.

Staying Connected While on the Road, Part IV: Camping, Cruises and More

Mobile Homes

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If your nomadic lifestyle is dictated by an RV or trailer, odds are that you spend a lot of time at campgrounds. These facilities may be great for a tight budget, and they put you right out in the wilderness, but they aren’t so hot when it comes to hooking up the laptop. Of course, for those who live their lives fully on the road, not logging on isn’t an option. What are they to do?

There are a number of internet options available, from turning your RV into a WiFi hotspot to installing satellite. My recommendation to anyone pursuing this lifestyle is to check out The Mobile Internet Handbook, a resource provided to me by Marie over at Ardent Camper, who is just beginning to pursue a life of motorhome nomadicism.

Camping and Backpacking Trips

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Sometimes the entire point of traveling is to disconnect. While the whole point of this series is to discuss staying connected while on the road, it’s important to maintain some perspective. When we head out into the wilderness for a backpacking trip we don’t want to tote our laptops along and we don’t expect to have cell service. Of course, if you’re absolutely desperate to stay connected you can invest in a bulky satellite phone that has service literally anywhere on Earth. But odds are this type of trip involves going off the grid a bit. With that in mind, it’s important that you properly prepare.

For your own safety, make sure you leave a detailed itinerary with someone at home before your camping trip, especially if you’re headed into backcountry. Make a note of where you expect to be at any given time and when you expect to return. If you ever do end up in a place with service, make sure to send a quick message home to let everyone know you’re safe.

Cruising

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Once upon a time boarding a cruise ship meant leaving your connections to the outside world behind for a week or more. These days, WiFi hotspots and internet cafes are a staple on most cruise lines, though the internet can still be frustratingly slow. This is because most ships will rely on satellite internet, rather than cellular service. While you can probably expect connected cruisers to become more and more prevalent, they’re never going to match your home connection in speed.

To alleviate headaches, make sure you get as much taken care of ahead of time as possible. Use the internet for emergencies, or to check in with people at home as-needed, but don’t rely on it for heavy workloads. The more you can do offline the better — and consider video conferencing a lost cause. You may be able to snag some reliable WiFi when you’re at port, but do yourself a favor and, unless it’s an emergency, shut it down, keep it in your cabin, and try to enjoy your day.

Final Thoughts

I can definitely understand the compulsive need to be connected at all times. It’s always a little unnerving when I turn my phone off for a weekend in the woods. That said, it can also be incredibly liberating; there are certain times when I want to get away. When this is the case, I take whatever efforts I can to keep someone at home in the loop before hitting the trails.

As people who earn at least part of their living online, we here at Outbound understand that throwing the cell phone to the wind isn’t always a viable option. Luckily, with a few exceptions, it isn’t hard to keep in contact, or even take your entire office, abroad. Connectivity should certainly never be a barrier between you and travel.

We hope that you’ve found our four part series on connectivity helpful. As always, if you have any questions at all don’t hesitate to shoot us an e-mail, or ask us in the comments!

Calming Anxieties Abroad
Staying connected while on the road, Part III: Working nomadically