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How to use the internet while you’re in a caravan

No matter where you travel, the one thing you’re going to be asking is “can I use the internet?” Luckily in Australia we have heaps of options for staying connected while we’re travelling.

Don’t worry, you’ll still get your Netflix hit or do your work. With the right set up, it’ll be a breeze.

We’ve rounded up the easiest ways you can use the internet while you’re travelling below.

Just before we get started though – a quick reminder. It’s best to check your internet provider’s website for a coverage map before you hit the road, that way you’ll be sure you’ll get coverage where you’re going.


This is the easiest one! Many caravan parks and campgrounds in Australia have WIFI access for guests. While this can be a convenient option, it really depends on what you’re using it for because the quality and reliability can vary significantly.

If you’re using it to access easy documents or emails for work or accessing social media, it’ll be fine. It might even be okay for a nightly Netflix binge – but keep in mind WIFI like this will be used by everyone inside the campground, so during peak times when other guests are using the network it will probably be slow.

If you’re out and about and need some WIFI, similarly you’ll find cafes, fast food restaurants, libraries and public spaces will offer free of paid WIFI access.

Entertainment options are endless if you’ve got internet in your van. PHOTO: Canva


Looking for a super easy way to use the internet for various things while you travel? Hot spotting from your phone is by far the easiest way to get your social media fix or if you need to connect your laptop to the internet.

Most people are on generous plans these days that come with a lot of data. But if you’re using this method regularly, you’ll need to check your data usage to ensure you don’t use it all up.

Also be aware that some smart phones can’t handle too many connected devices at once – for example if you’re using the internet on your laptop but also trying to stream Netflix on an iPad at the same time, you’re probably going to have some issues.


Depending on what you want to use the internet for when you travel, mobile broadband is also a good option.

Mobile broadband is different to home broadband as it refers to being able to access the internet on a specific device only. So, if you’ve got an iPad with mobile broadband, you’ll be able to surf the internet or watch Netflix to your heart’s content, but if you’re trying to do the same on a different device that doesn’t have its own mobile broadband, it won’t work.

This is perfect though if you only want to stay connected using your iPad, but not so much if you’re going to be working during your trip.


Depending on how many people are travelling in your van – for example you’ve brought the whole family along and all the kids want to use the internet – a WIFI dongle might be the right option for you.

With a dongle, you’ll get your own private secure WIFI network. These handy-dandy little devices come in all shapes and sizes and are available from most internet providers. They need a SIM card to operate, and you can purchase a mobile data plan for everyone to use. Then just connect everyone to the device and you’re ready to go – it’s like bringing the internet from home.


The next step up from a WIFI dongle is having a dedicated 4G or 5G router. These routers are bigger than the little dongle and have more features (think VPN, extra security, guest WIFI networks etc) and in most cases better internet speeds. These set ups are costly though, so you need to decide how often you’ll be using the internet. If you’re working a lot while you travel and need faster speeds, think about choosing a router.


If you’re really going remote and you really need a connection, get satellite internet. In short, it uses satellites orbiting the Earth to deliver internet access. While it’s more expensive than the other options, its coverage and reliability is a game changer.

While Starlink isn’t the only one available (there’s more options), it’s great.

You’ll get super-fast internet speeds from many locations in Australia – and you only need an unobstructed view of the sky (no trees above).

Check out the Starlink coverage map here https://www.starlink.com/map?source=rv

Tom Rice installed Starlink in his van. PHOTO: Network RV Caravans Owners and Admirers Facebook Group.


If you’re in a real pickle and can’t find any WIFI anywhere else and you need to do some urgent work, see if you can find a Telstra payphone – they have Telstra Air hotspots available for you to use.

You can usually find Telstra payphones in most major towns so these will help you out in a jiffy. Not sure where your nearest payphone is? Use the payphone locator tool to find one.