RVing and working from home are both trending lifestyles, and they are now often combined. Many motorhome owners find they can easily work online while on the road, wherever they can get good internet. This is creating a new generation of digital nomads who earn money while making the most of the US’s diverse destinations.
But if you want to join this community, where can you visit great places and also get that vital internet connectivity? Many RV campgrounds offer WiFi for free, and fast local internet speeds — plus a WiFi extender in your RV — may make this an adequate service. In addition, there are always cellular networks, and travelers who go off the beaten path can now use ‘satellite internet constellation’ technology at the cost of the hardware and a subscription.
We looked at US destinations with a significant number of campsites for RVers and ranked them for mobile digital nomads using a combined score of electric hookups and WiFi provision at campsites (from CampgroundViews) and average local internet speeds (from Broadbandnow). Putting in a strong showing, Texas has four destinations in the top 10, while Florida has three and the capital cities of Arizona and New Mexico are joined by the family resort of Branson, Missouri.
Cities in Texas and the Southwest lead with fast internet and many attractions
The average internet speed in the Texas cities of Austin and Houston is super-fast, around 459 Mbps, and San Antonio and Tyler join the top 10 destinations with 381 and 331 Mbps, respectively. In Houston, campsites help with more than three quarters of them offering WiFi, and San Antonio is not far behind. Campers in these cities also get the great entertainment and lifestyle options available with a short trip into downtown.
Arizona’s spectacular scenery is on many RVers’ bucket lists. Phoenix scores with an average internet speed of 469 Mbps and WiFi is offered in most of its campsites. This ‘Valley of the Sun’ region is well equipped for winter-month visitors, so you could make use of the facilities here and work in a pleasant climate rather than pay heating bills back home. Nearby cities offering similar deals include Mesa — and Tucson, in 13th place, has even faster internet speeds of 482 Mbps.
Following the Sun Belt west into New Mexico, its capital, Albuquerque, offers an average internet speed of 328 Mbps, which is fast for the region, and WiFi in almost three-quarters of its campsites. Further south in the state, most of the dozen or so campgrounds in Deming — a top-50 RVing digital worker destination — offer WiFi and also the possibility to explore sites made famous by Mexican, Wild West and Native American cultures.
Mid-Florida is a classic RVing destination and a good place for longer stays
No list of great US destinations is complete without contributions from Florida. Along with beaches, Bradenton, in fifth place for mobile online workers, also has the exciting options of the neighboring city of Tampa. The average internet speed is 379 Mbps, more than two thirds of the campsites have WiFi, and around the same percentage offer swimming pools. Be warned that the kiteboarding and windsurfing along this coast can become addictive!
Further south, Naples is in sixth place and has an enormous number of golf courses and retail options. Or, if you need to avoid high winds, try Kissimmee, in tenth place, which is 100 miles inland. As you might expect, both these destinations offer good provision of internet — at average speeds of around 315 Mbps — and WiFi at the campsites, not to mention swimming pools.
With its year-round weather, the whole mid-Florida region is a great place for settling in for longer periods. In addition, both at the coast and in the theme parks around Orlando you may also find short-term employment possibilities to cover any lull in your online work. To assist a longer-term stay there and to keep your RV uncluttered, put some possessions in Tampa self storage — including those windsurfing and paddle boards — or in Orlando self storage.
Mountains appeal to active RVers and satellite internet helps them work there
Our recent survey of RVers found they are attracted by the activities and great views that mountainous destinations offer. Branson, Missouri, nestling in the heart of the Ozarks, is the second-placed destination for remote working RVers. With an average internet speed of 356 Mbps and WiFi supplied in the great majority of its two dozen or so campgrounds, it adds great advantages for digital workers to a wide range of entertainment options.
Remote places, such as those in the mountains, may not have WiFi or cable, and while cellular networks can be used for online tasks, performance may not be ideal. However, satellite internet is coming to the rescue! It is already available in most of the US — just not always in urban places with good terrestrial internet — and the whole country should be covered next year.
True mountain lovers could also check out Colorado’s Pagosa Springs and South Fork, in 24th and 34th positions for digital nomad RVers, whose campsites frequently offer WiFi. They also, of course, have wonderful air quality, and the big expanses of sky don’t hurt when you are using a satellite internet service for your connection.
The experts’ advice: Have a range of internet options, take your time and enjoy
We asked Morgan Youngblood of The Home That Roams, a website that chronicles the mobile lifestyle, to provide some expert comments about getting internet on the move. “When we started RVing full-time four years ago, our plan for internet access was to use our phones as hot spots,” he says. “We overestimated the reliability of campground WiFi and underestimated how much monthly data we used.”
Morgan Youngblood confirms that Starlink, a company which offers satellite internet connectivity, is “an increasingly popular option for RVers to stay connected in remote areas.” He has stayed up-to-date with the latest technology: “Now that we work from the road, we realize the importance of dependable hardware and multiple mobile carrier options.”
Newbie RVers often have long lists of places they want to see right away. But Morgan Youngblood has this final recommendation: “In reality, it can be pretty stressful to travel this way, especially if you are working from your RV. When you make RVing a lifestyle instead of a vacation, you learn to travel slower and appreciate longer stays at fewer locations.”
Whether you intend to spend a year near Florida’s beaches, a season in the Southwest’s deserts or up in the mountains away from it all, you can find good internet to help you work online. Just remember to plan, giving yourself a range of connectivity options so you are never without the ‘net — your employers won’t thank you if you accidentally go offline! — and take your time. A wide variety of wonderful destinations across the US is waiting for you.