Staying Connected as Truck or Van Dwellers? Cell Coverage & Internet Considerations for Simple Nomads

So you wanna stay connected? But you also want to live on the road. Without a permanent home and that home internet WiFi at your fingertips and without the reassurance of constant cell coverage, what will you do? Are you ready for nomadic living? How will the need for cell coverage and internet play into your plans?

We’re on a Budget! Our advice comes from our personal experience living on the road for several years. Its also important to consider that we do everything on a rather tight budget, so our suggestions are best suited for those looking for the most cost effective strategies.

We’re Off Grid! It’s also important to remember the concept of purpose. I talk about this a lot in video on YouTube and in other articles here. What is the purpose for living on the road? Why do you want to do it? Well, our purpose includes the chance to spend more time in nature, go hiking, be with the dogs, not work our lives away, and live a stress-free simple lifestyle. So, it follows that we spend A LOT of our time off-grid in the wilderness away from it all. Hence, we’re going to be away from service and amenities pretty often. But, remember, we aren’t millionaires and we do still need to work to pay our bills, albeit small bills. So, we do still need to be connected sometimes.

So, what do we do?

  1. Try not to need connection as much.
    TIP: If you can at least formulate a van life dream where you won’t need to be in service all the time, this will obviously help. For instance, you can try to get a job that allows you to be disconnected completely when you’re not at work or you can get a job where you work only weekends and have weekdays totally free or you can get a job that is remote or online but not full-time.FOR ME? I work a part-time job fully online. I find online work to be one of the best types of work for living on the road. You’d be amazed at what you can get done even in the middle of nowhere. All you need is a little service now and then. Mountain-tops almost always have cell service. My job may not pay huge bucks but it also doesn’t require me to be online 24-7. So, I can get service, get work done, and then check out for the day or week.
  2. Try to only need limited connection on limited devices.
    TIP: If you have one of those jobs that requires you to have 2 computers, 3 backup drives, 2 iPhones, and a battery backup system you’re probably going to find yourself tethered to the city for service. Sure you’ll be the ultimate digital nomad but you’re also going to be ultimately limited. You might make more money with these types of road life gigs but remember what’s most important – time or money?FOR ME? As mentioned above, I often do my work on mountaintops. How? I use my cell phone. Cell phone coverage is more ubiquitous today than you’d probably imagine. So, if I don’t need wifi and can do all my work on my cell coverage then I’m all set for camping off-grid in the middle of nowhere while still completing my work during a morning climb up the mountain.
  3. Keep It Simple.

    If you want to save money just keep it simple. This may sound like a bag of basic advice but it’s so important to take to heart! So many people out there have elaborate expensive systems equipped with hotspot internet, battery backups, storage, large solar panel setups, and/or a need to be plugged in. All of these things mean more cost & more stress. And they take up space. When we live on the road in a van or truck, space is precious. Basically, if you need all of this, cool. But most of us don’t. Don’t get bamboozled into buying more than you need.You do want to keep things charged, of course. But remember you can do this with a little solar panel that will cost around $50! Cheap and small. And if you like hiking and backpacking, there’s an added bonus. You can take it with you.