Smartphone vs Hotspot: Which is Better for RVing?

In today’s world, you probably don’t want to go very long without having a connection to the web. Even when you are out on a camping trip with your family, you may want to check in online from time to time. You might need to log on for work purposes, or you may just want to catch up on the news for a few minutes. Whatever the case, you will need a plan for how you are going to get online while traveling in your RV.

There are two main options which are often debated for RV owners when it comes to logging on – your smartphone, and a hotspot. Let’s take a look at which is better for the RV lifestyle.

Smartphone for Light Users

If you are only going to do things like log on to Facebook and check your email while on the road, your smartphone and its current plan will almost certainly do the job. You won’t be using up large amounts of data with that kind of activity, so acquiring a hotspot is probably not going to be necessary. However, if your web needs extend beyond simple tasks, it may be necessary to look into a hotspot solution.

Think About Power

Tethering your smartphone to another device to use its data is sure to drain the power on your phone in a hurry. Instead of running through the battery on your phone in short order, you can use your hotspot when you need to access the web and keep your phone fresh for other uses (such as taking pictures, for example).

Cover Yourself with More Carriers

When you travel, you never really know how your service is going to be until you arrive at your destination. Sure, you can check the coverage map for your cell phone carrier, but those maps are not always as reliable as you’d like to think. If you add a hotspot which is covered by a different carrier, you will basically double your chances of having a usable signal. In other words, the hotspot might be working if your cell phone isn’t, and vice versa. For the RV owner who travels to a variety of different locations, having more coverage is a nice bonus.

Look for a Pay-As-You-Go Hotspot

It would not make sense to have a monthly contract on your hotspot if you only travel occasionally in your RV. Fortunately, there are many pay-as-you-go options on the market today. These devices don’t require a contract, so you can simply add more service as you need it. Of course, it is often true that these kinds of hotspots don’t offer as much coverage as those which are on a monthly contract plan.

It’s Really About Work

At the end of the day, the deciding factor on this debate is probably going to come down to your job. Do you need to be able to access the web for work purposes while you are on a trip? If so, it is likely that you will want to get a hotspot to go along with your smartphone. However, if you only want to get online for recreational purposes, you can save the money and just get on whenever your smartphone will allow. Think about your own personal needs and travel habits before making this decision.


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