• Find the best Internet connection for travel
  • Mobile wireless broadband is great for camping and roadtripping
  • Learn your options for caravan Internet here

Our modern society thrives on connectivity, with the Internet becoming as essential as basic utilities like water and electricity. 

But what about when we choose to embrace a nomadic lifestyle? What about when we choose to up sticks and go on a long-term trip to explore Australia? How do we ensure we stay connected while on the move? 

You don’t have to give up Internet access, even if you’re camping or going off-grid. Whether you need to work on the go, stream videos, or just want access to maps and online banking, staying connected while travelling can be crucial.

Things to consider before you go

According to research from Statista, a larger number of individuals have shifted their viewing habits towards online subscription services such as Netflix and Stan - especially since COVID. This surpasses the viewership of traditional free-to-air TV. 

This shift indicates that streaming video content over the Internet has become more prevalent than using a TV aerial. Some important things to note when you are on a trip in your caravan include:

  • Satellite phones, data, or messaging systems work anywhere in Australia with a clear view of the sky but can have reception issues in bad weather.
  • For better two-way UHF reception, use higher-quality antennas placed higher up, similar to mobile phone external antennas.
  • Different UHF antennas are suitable for flat or hilly terrains.
  • Mobile data setups need dual antennas for reasonable speeds, identifiable by two antenna cables in some routers.
  • A 000 emergency call will connect in areas with any carrier reception, but your phone is useless without reception.
  • Remote Australian highways can have up to 300 km between roadhouses with no services in between.
  • The windscreen and metal body of a vehicle can reduce signal strength for Internet access inside, and communication quality depends on available speed, even with some signal bars.

You should also consider the various Internet options that are available to you. The best choice depends on your specific needs:

  • Mobile broadband plan: Ideal for flexibility and coverage across most of Australia.
  • Starlink Internet: A promising option for remote areas with satellite coverage.
  • Postpaid or prepaid phone plan: Offers data and data banking options for on-the-go Internet access.
  • Home wireless broadband plan: Suitable if you have access to mains power at your location.
  • Accommodation with Internet: Choosing places with Internet access can provide a reliable connection.

These options can provide reliable Internet access in remote parts of Australia, but the suitability depends on your requirements and the availability of mobile network coverage. Let’s explore these options in more detail:

Mobile broadband plans

When travelling around Australia, mobile broadband is often the most reliable way to stay connected to the Internet. It works using the same 4G or 5G networks as mobile phones.

Mobile broadband plans usually offer a data-only SIM card. You can use this SIM card in a tablet, like an iPad, or even in your smartphone. Some plans also include a portable modem or dongle. The modem lets you connect several devices to its Wi-Fi network. On the other hand, a dongle only provides Internet access to the device you plug it into, such as a laptop.

The best mobile broadband plan for you depends on how many and what type of devices you need to connect. Keep in mind that these plans often come with smaller data allowances and may expire after a certain period, similar to prepaid phone plans.

Starlink Internet

Starlink, introduced as an Internet alternative in Australia in 2021, uses satellite technology, making it a compelling choice for remote Internet access and one of the top options for travellers. 

Although Starlink is primarily designed for stationary use at home, there is a more portable version suitable for RVs. 

It's important to note that while Starlink offers great connectivity, it can be costly and may require installation in your RV, unlike the simpler setup of portable modems used for mobile broadband.

Mobile plan tethering

To improve your Internet access while travelling, consider upgrading your phone plan for more data and using a mobile hotspot. 

While Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone offer plans with 'unlimited' data, this data is often speed-limited and may not work with a hotspot.

Instead, look for a phone plan with a large data allowance. Many prepaid and postpaid plans offer substantial data options. 

However, some prepaid plans with over 100GB of data may have long expiry periods, requiring a significant upfront cost.

Home wireless broadband

Home wireless broadband, also known as 4G home Internet or 5G home Internet, presents an alternative for Internet access while travelling in Australia. It functions similarly to mobile broadband, using a 4G or 5G mobile network for connectivity. 

However, unlike mobile broadband, it is not portable and is intended as a fixed home Internet solution, requiring the modem to be connected to a power source. These plans typically offer large or unlimited data allowances.

While not the most suitable option for travelling in Australia, home wireless broadband can still be viable in certain situations where you can connect the modem to a power source, such as in a holiday home, a caravan with mains power, or if you bring a generator. 

Important note: However, this is only a viable option if your caravan is static and doesn’t move. If you want to tour the country, this is not the option for you.

Choosing accommodation as you travel

In some campgrounds the site owners will offer a Wi-Fi service that customers can either pay for or use for free. Occasionally, if your caravan is on a long-term/permanent site, you may even have a proper fibre line running in the ground to your unique site, thus opening up the option of faster, more stable broadband.

If you are sticking to Australia’s eastern coastline on your travels, you will find that many caravan parks and campgrounds offer free or very cheap Wi-Fi to guests. However, if you are planning on heading off the beaten track, you may need to invest in a portable hotspot.

Another convenient way to access the Internet is by staying at accommodations that offer its own Internet service, usually through Wi-Fi. 

However, not all campsites, holiday parks, or other lodging options provide Internet access, and the quality of the connection can vary. If reliable Internet is crucial for your travels, it's wise to select accommodations with Internet access in mind.

How to maximise your caravan Internet connection

Your caravan Internet Wi-Fi connection can be influenced by various factors while you’re on the road. Let's take a look at those considerations below:

Number of users

Your caravan's Internet speed may decrease when multiple users are connected. With only a couple of users, you'll experience faster speeds and more bandwidth compared to having four users. This is important to consider, especially when streaming live sports or TV online.

If everyone connects their mobile phones and adds laptops or tablets to the network, the likelihood of experiencing frustration significantly increases. 

Always disconnect devices that are not in use to free up bandwidth for streaming.

Things blocking the way

The performance of even the most advanced caravan Wi-Fi booster can be affected by obstructions. If your caravan is parked near tall buildings, under trees, or next to larger RVs, your Internet connection may experience slowdowns.

Having multiple users can exacerbate this issue.

To optimise your connection, try to stay close to the caravan Wi-Fi router inside the van.

Do you really need the Internet while you travel?

Before splurging on a caravan router, consider if you truly need Internet access during your trip. These devices can be costly, and its cumulative expenses can add up.

It's true that our reliance on the Internet has become excessive. Perhaps it's an opportunity to limit your children's screen time and enjoy other activities. If you're keen on watching a game, why not visit a pub instead?

Travelling offers a chance to unplug from your routine and immerse yourself in a new environment.

That said, this might not be just another weekend away. Maybe your trip is extended because travelling in a caravan is your new normal while you explore. You’ll need that Internet connection to work remotely, or to be able to find where you’re going. 

You might want a way to home educate the kids and be online while you do it, so you’ll need a great Internet connection for that, too. Maybe all you want is to stream music on Spotify while you go.

Contact Compare Broadband

No matter what your data needs are, there is a mobile broadband plan out there that will suit you. With a little bit of research, you can find the perfect plan for your needs and budget. Contact our team to get connected today.