We recently wrote a blog post about having a tech-free relaxing holiday at your rental caravan. However, what if work commitments require you to have access to the World Wide Web so you can keep up to date with your emails, accounts and work colleagues; and also have internet for recreational use? These days there are many options to enable you to have internet access from your caravan, from sites up and down the country and even further afield.
The most important question for caravanners is how best to get online, from the many choices available, using the same factors that you would use at home to access the web: your location, how much internet data you need, and of course, how much would you like to spend.
Most people have a device that allows them to connect to the internet while away from home, laptop computer, iPad or similar, notebooks, mobile phones and many other options.
There are two main ways to access the internet when away from home, either by a 3G connection or a Wi-Fi one. Most devices have the ability to use Wi-Fi built in, but for access to the 3G (or 2G or 4G) telephone network, you will require a SIM card, a small memory chip card like those found in mobile phones. Some tablets can have a SIM card inserted directly into them but other computers, lap tops and similar will need another way of connecting your SIM to the device. This can be done directly using a dongle (which usually connects to your USB outlet) or by using an intermediary item to transmit the Wi-Fi signal.
Free Wi-Fi Access on site
Many caravan sites offer free Wi-Fi access, mainly to be found in the public areas, reception, restaurants and bars, whereas some caravan sites will give you total caravan access. You may find there is a small additional charge to your rental fees to cover this, it may be negotiable with the owner when you decide to rent, included in the price of rental or it might be free. It’s best to get this defined before you book your caravan holiday.
Connection speeds at peak times sometimes leave a lot to be desired on site with the many holidaymakers making use of this facility at the same time. One option to increase the Wi-Fi speed is to connect a signal booster to your lap top, normally connected via the USB output socket.
Dependent on your internet provider, such as BT or SKY,”hotspots” are sometimes available on sites, usually dependent on a reliable connection. Other and more popular options include mobile phone tethering, internet dongles or mi-fi access to the internet.
Mobile Phone Tethering
By accessing your mobile phone’s 3G/4G data connection, you can create your very own Wi-Fi tether spot. Once you have set up access via your mobile phone, and by applying a created password, any Wi-Fi enabled device can connect to the internet. This creates a secure network connection with information being sent directly through your phone. Be aware however, that this can drain your phone’s battery rather quickly and keep an eye on your maximum contract data download limits.
Internet Dongle and Mi-fi access
A dongle is a small unit that houses a SIM card which fits into the USB socket on your lap top or computer. Likewise, Mi-fi access is powered from a small unit, some small enough to fit into your pocket, and is capable of powering several small devices at once to mobile broadband services. Most of the major networks now offer these units on both contract and pay-as-you-go terms. But firstly do a network search for the area in which you intend to take your caravan holiday to ensure the best coverage. Most areas now offer a strong 3G signal, or even better 4G, and you can usually check out this information on the companies’ websites. Even better, is to ask anyone you know from the area to confirm this.
It is also possible to buy an in car Wi-Fi router that plugs into and charges via your car’s 12v socket, capable of running several small devices.
By using one of the above options, internet access is available to everyone on a caravan holiday. It is even possible to take your work with you, be mobile and keep up to date with your friends and family on-line.