5 Devices to Help You Stay Connected When Camping
While people often go on camping holidays to get away from everything, including unplugging from their devices, it’s often impossible to do that completely.
Maybe you’re taking a weekend away from the kids and need to stay connected to them while you’re away, or perhaps you’re going on a longer holiday with family and need to keep in touch with work to answer any questions that arise.
And, of course, you may like to use a map app to figure out how to get somewhere, or look for recommendations on restaurants or things to do.
There are lots of reasons you might need to make sure you get your emails, texts and other Internet-related information. No need to worry, we’ve got you covered with ideas on how to keep you connected to the outside world … and of course, most importantly, streaming services.
1. Hotspots and SIM devices
Our first recommendation is to check your phone and see if you can turn it into a personal hotspot to use Wi-Fi or data—many devices do, such as the iPhone, you’ll find it in the Settings. If you’re using it to connect your laptop, keep in mind that you’ll drain your phone battery if it is providing the hotspot.
So if that’s the case, then be sure you have ways to plug in your device or recharge it once it drains. (See below for information on chargers for all your devices.)
Another option is your iPad — did you purchase one that has a SIM card for Wi-Fi capacity? It could be possible to use data to check your email or check a document.
A friendly warning: If you’re planning to watch a show on Netflix or let the kids watch a movie, it might not be the best idea as it’ll blow through your data pretty quick. That means you’ll be reloading money onto your plan quite a bit over the camping holiday.
2. Pocket Wi-Fi
Before you go out and buy one, it is a good idea to check with your mobile provider and see if you can add a data plan that includes a pocket Wi-Fi device. For example, Telstra offers one of the more expensive plan options, but it gives you access to the Netgear NightHawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router.
This device allows you to connect to 4G service and load up to 20 devices to the Wi-Fi spot, plus a long battery life (up to 16 hours). Also, if you’d prefer, you can buy an unlocked Netgear NightHawk on Amazon, and then shop plans. This mobile Wi-Fi device is perfect for you if you have a family and everyone will be using different devices to stream or game.
Telstra does offer other mobile wireless devices and data plans, too. Most other mobile carriers also offer devices and data plans, so check out Optus, Vodafone, Ovo and SpinTel for options.
Keep in mind, no matter what device and plan you pick, you’ll need to recharge these mobile Wi-Fi devices, unlike the following USB modems.
3. Mobile Broadband Dongle
While less popular than a mobile Wi-Fi device, these devices are still around and certainly do the trick if you’re just looking to hook up your laptop. The dongle, also called a USB modem, looks exactly like a USB drive but rather than somewhere to store data, it provides access to the Internet.
If you already have one and still can purchase data for it, then it might be the simplest addition to your camping gear if you just need to stay connected via one device like your work computer.
If you don’t have one, but want to buy one for an upcoming trip, they are relatively inexpensive and feature a pay-as-you-go function so you don’t have spend money on it unless you’re using it. We recommend devices like this one: Optus 4G Prepaid USB Modem, which retails for $39.
4. World Travel Adapter and other battery chargers
One of the things you’ll won’t be able to avoid is the need to recharge your devices, especially if you’re using them to download work files or stream movies at night. Depending on what kind of campsite you reserve, you could simply use a World Travel Adapter (or two), which will plug in and allow you to charge devices through their USB port charging wires.
This particular one, Hero, is available on Amazon and provides you two ports to charge devices.
However, if you’re out and about during the day, then you may want to look into some solar-charging options, such as the Powertraveller Solar Adventurer Lightweight Solar Panel with Battery. This camping gear device will charge a smartphone 1-2 times or an iPad by up to 25%. The device retails for $139 and is sold on Wildearth.
5. Google Earth app
Here’s a free way to find Wi-Fi spots around you. So, if you’re out and about in Byron Bay and need to plug into a Wi-Fi spot, use the Google Earth app on your phone. That way, you won’t suck up too much data on your phone or drain the battery, but you can pull out your laptop or tablet and get some work done.
And while you’re at one of these Wi-Fi places, snag some free Wi-Fi and use the Google Earth app to find a nearby hike.
Bring all your techie gear to Broken Head Holiday Park
No matter what the reason is that you need to stay connected to the Internet during your camping holiday from work to ways to entertain the kids in the evening, we get it. Keep in mind, we do offer free Wi-Fi access to our guests during your stay!