Are you struggling with a WiFi connection in your caravan? I know exactly how your feel. Over the years, we tried several ways to set up a reliable and fast internet connection in our caravan while traveling. And we’ve discovered the best internet connection for your caravan.
The best way to get WiFi internet in your caravan is by using a Mobile Router (MiFi) with a local (Unlimited) Data Sim Card. This option secures you the fastest, most reliable, and often cheapest WiFi connection everywhere you go.
The specific internet connection you need differs from what you plan to do when online. In this article, I share multiple options and ideas (for different situations) including information on internet connection pricing, reliability, and fastness. Ready to find out which WiFi connection is best for your caravan life? Let’s unpack right away!
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Use A MiFi Router In A Caravan (Overall Best)
The best way to get WiFi in your caravan is by using a MiFi Router with an unlimited data sim card. A MiFi router is a simple mobile device that can set up an internet connection in seconds when you’ve installed the data sim card.
Most MiFi routers allow connecting multiple devices at once. We love this feature because we work online as well. So we can connect our phones and laptops via the MiFi Router.
The newest versions are 5G ready, but I still feel a 4G connection is enough for most use cases. So we use the TP-LINK M7350 mobile router, which works perfectly. The battery life is up to 8 hours, and it charges relatively easily with a USB connection.
You can easily protect your network by setting up a personal network password and network name. So people can’t log in automatically. I feel it’s very important always to secure your WiFi connection, even when you only use it for streaming. You don’t want your details to get stolen that easily!
Since the router connects via a data sim and on 4G, the connection is reliable and fast anywhere in the world when using the correct data sim.
Also, since the mobile router is a small device and has a battery life of 8 hours, it’s easy to use on the road when going on a trip. We often bring the device in our backpacks to stay connected. And if we don’t feel we want to stay online, we just leave our MiFi router in our caravan. Since we don’t use data sims on our phones, we can easily choose when to be online and when not, which is perfect when traveling!
As I mentioned before, we use the TP-LINK M7350 Mifi Router, which works perfectly. There are other devices available that can do the same, but these are often much more expensive. I feel you get the best price and quality with TP-LINK M7350. You can find the latest price on Amazon here.
Why You Need To Buy A Local Data sim
Buying an unlimited local data Simcard is especially useful in Europe since the EU mobile broadband laws have a ‘fair use policy.’ The EU fair use policy means you can only use a limited portion of your current plan in other EU countries. Let me explain;
We’re from The Netherlands, and let’s say we use an unlimited data plan with a Dutch provider. They always say you can also use your data in other EU countries. However, this data usage is limited because of the fair use policy. Often up to 14 GB per month. And that’s not a lot if you want to watch a Netflix show, YouTube, or need to do some work online.
So, you can better buy a local data sim with unlimited data. Most providers offer specific data sims for long-term travelers. For example, we always buy a local data sim from Vodafone when traveling in Portugal. This allows us to use unlimited data for up to 30 days and costs only 30 Euros. After that period when can top up another 30 days online or simply buy a new sim card.
When traveling outside Europe, it’s much cheaper and easier to buy a local data sim card because your European (data) sim is often not valid for data use, or it’s super expensive to use it that way.
Set Up A Hotspot (Mobile Tethering) On Your Phone (Second Best)
Let’s say you don’t want to buy a MiFi Router, as we discussed above, but you need to connect several devices online while in your caravan. The second best option you have to connect different devices is by setting up a mobile hotspot, also known as mobile tethering. We always did this before we bought a MiFi Router.
Using a hotspot connection on your phone to connect to other devices is straightforward, and if you set a secure password, it’s also a safe way to do this. However, it can drain your phone’s battery very quickly, and if you don’t have an unlimited data plan on your phone, you probably have to pay a lot for data usage as well.
We also found while using this option that we continually needed to re-connect with the hotspot’s internet connection. Most phones automatically disconnect if you don’t use the hotspot connections for a few minutes. Which I find inconvenient.
Using mobile tethering or a personal hotspot can be an excellent way to get WiFi in your caravan. However, I would personally only use this if I can’t use my MiFi Router. But maybe you’re traveling for a shorter period and don’t want to buy a MiFi router; mobile tethering can be a good option.
The only thing is that it’s not so reliable as a MiFi router because it automatically disconnects.
Also, you need to find out if your current data plan is unlimited. As I mentioned earlier in this article, it’s always better to buy a local data sim card when traveling to a different country because you quickly get an unlimited data plan.
When you want to use a local data sim card on your phone, you must know if your phone has a sim lock. When your phone is sim lock-free, you can use every sim card, and you’re good to go. If there’s a sim lock on your phone, you first need to unlock it, which can be costly. In this case, it might be easier to get a MiFi router.
Use The Campsites WiFi (Often Unreliable and Slow)
Another way to get WiFi in your caravan is by using the campsites WiFi. However, these connections are often unreliable, slow, expensive, and have weak security.
Using the campsite’s WiFi is a perfect choice when you only want to connect a few times a day or week to send some texts or emails. But if you’re going to use your favorite streaming service, watch live television online, or need to do some work, I would not recommend using the campsite’s WiFi.
There’s a rule of thumb that modern and large campsites often have a better and more secure WiFi connection. But then again, during the busiest holiday periods, these connections get slower because many people are trying to use them simultaneously. It just can’t process all those requests fast enough.
So, using the campsites WiFi isn’t my favorite option. Often it’s an expensive connection as well. The average price in Europe for campsite WiFi is around 7 EURO per day. If you stay longer than a month, most campsites have a discount. However, when you’re traveling around, this equals 210 EURO a month! While the cheaper, secure and faster option is using a data SIM card, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article.
When you decide to use the campsite’s WiFi connection, I recommend installing a WiFi Booster in your caravan. This device boosts the signal of the nearest WiFi connection, resulting in better reception and speed. However, a booster might not always work very well when many people try to use it at the same time. The most popular WiFi booster for a caravan is the WiFi Camp Pro 2 (check the latest price on Amazon).
Set Up A Satellite Internet Connection (Most Expensive)
Another way to get WiFi or internet in your caravan is by using a satellite internet connection. However, this option is often quite expensive. Costs vary per company, but even the installation costs can run up to thousands of Euros. And that’s before you even use it!
To use a satellite internet connection in your caravan, you often need to use a monthly or yearly contract which can be pretty expensive. However, when you’re traveling to the most remote areas in the world and need to stay connected to the internet, this might be your only option. Also, you need to connect a large antenna on the roof of your caravan or motorhome most of the time, which isn’t ideal.
Before setting up a satellite WiFi connection in your caravan, you can save a lot of money by looking at this map. The NPERF network coverage map shows you the different available data connections in almost every part of the world. I find this really useful and use it to see if we can connect the internet for work when traveling through more remote areas.
I’m sure you know how to get WiFi internet in your caravan or motorhome and which option works best for you.
When you’re traveling with your caravan a lot, you might be interested in one of my other helpful articles;