computer use in USA
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Jan 22, 2013 5:21 AM Last Post By: ned111
Jan 18, 2013 7:02 AM
computer use in USAGood evening.
My wife and self will be travelling to the USA and travelling in a RV for just under 3 months. I have planned our trip and I would like some advice and suggestions on how I can use my computer notebook to look at web sites.
As my wife and self travel fulltime in our caravan, I use a prepaid USB from Telstra to obtain the internet.
Can anyone inform if I can purchase a prepaid USB in the USA and which would be the better provider in regards signal
I do not have an Ipad or newer type mobile.
Any help would be apreciated
Jan 18, 2013 7:45 AM
1You can purchase a USB modem (a thumb sized "stick" ,or dongle as I believe you call it , that plugs into a usb port) and get Month to Month service. for it. The cheapest I have found (and used) was with Cricket. The modem itself is now around $69, plus the monthly fee for service was $40. However Cricket does not cover the whole USA so look at their service map to see if its in the areas you want to travel in. Other service providers such as T Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon offer similar modems/plans which are more nation-wide. They appear to charge around $60 a month, plus prices for the USB modem starting at $120. The plans all appear similar in that they provide "fast" service for up to 5 gb, then unlimited "slower" service. I'm not a techie, so cant really say much about signal strength or quality, or discuss mobile hot spots, etc But you should look at the service area maps first before buying to see if they have good coverage in the area you will be in. You should also look into if your Usb modem at home can be used/reprogrammed for use here in the US so you dont have to spend money on some hardware you wont use in 3 months, though you could alway use it on future trips or sell it to other travellers. Good luck and have a great trip
Jan 18, 2013 9:04 AM
2Do what I call prospecting for a wifi signal which is unlocked.
This is harder to do these days when people are afraid and lock their routers with passwords.
Park outside office building or coffee shop, easiest after dark when businesses are closed and you can park close in.
Open network preferences and see if any signals are unlocked which you can share.
Jan 18, 2013 9:50 AM
Jan 18, 2013 10:13 AM
Jan 18, 2013 5:38 PM
Jan 18, 2013 6:43 PM
6I have used a dongle for my laptop (Sprint sold by Virgin with unlimited download) and it's usable for getting your e-mail and stuff like that. However, these connections can be rather slow and there's sometimes problems getting a data connection if you're out in the boonies like at a National Park. When you get out of towns and off main highways, you find a lot of smaller cellular companies that only handle voice.
It's usually easier to just use wi-fi at a chain restaurant like McDonald's, Burger King, etc. And almost every Starbucks has free wi-fi now. In a lot of cases, you have to register first but then you're free to use the service every time you're at a restaurant. Many of these systems are strong enough to use from the parking lots. And as you're traveling, always look for local visitor centers where there's often a free internet connection. (And sometimes a free dump site for your sewage.)
Jan 18, 2013 7:07 PM
7My local McDonald's offers a choice for its free wi-fi, including fast AT&T. It does not have electric wall outlets as I observed. Starbuck's does have electric wall outlets and excellent wi-fi access. Remember, when you use these wi-fi access points, you are on public access and others may be able to easily hack into your computer.
I have found the Virgin through Sprint is economical. Verizon is very expensive.
Jan 18, 2013 8:14 PM
8Appreciate all the replies. Will most probaly go with a USB from for the security. We will be staying in a lot of National Parks and if its anything like Australia they have limited coverage so will most probaly go with T Mobile or similar.
Thanks for the info denver_mugwamp about the free dump points at some information centres very handy to know.
Jan 18, 2013 10:24 PM
9Hi ned ... Ian from Melbourne.
We used a T-Mobile on our last US venture, and I was not that happy with it ... we did a large loopy road-trip through the Northwest and Southwest, admittedly including a lot of national parks and rural areas, and we found the coverage pretty spotty indeed once outside an urban area.
We are off again in May, and not sure what we will do - possibly just rely on the free wifi that almost every motel chain seems to offer (not that that helps the RV traveller). Are you staying mostly in RV parks, or out in the sticks?
The other option of course is to get nothing much at all, and use the computer much less (or at least wait until you find a free wifi at a McDonald's or whatever). Free legit wifi is pretty common I think.
Jan 19, 2013 12:32 AM
Thanks for the info. Sounds like we are doing similar to you. Mainly staying in BLM, National and State Parks. May also be staying overnight (5 occasions) at Flying J fuel stops as they have RV parking and hot showers.
Staying in RV parks Tucson, Miami, Washington DC, San Francisco and aprox every 4th to 5th day.
We start in Los Angeles visit South West (Joshua Tree, Tucson, Sedona, Grand canyon, Glen canyon, Monument Valley, Arches NP,Bryce Canyon etc ) Colarado national monument, New Mexico(Taos, Santa Fe etc ) Texas, walk into Mexico at El Paso. Carlsbad caverns, New Orleans, Miami.
Cape Canaveral, Washington DC. (With overnight and two days stay along the way) New York (staying at Croton on Hudson state park for week). Niagra falls, Badlands, Mt Rushmore,Custer State park, Deadwood etc, Yellowstone and Salt lake city.
Onto San Francisco. Yosemite (3 days) Sequoia NP and Las Vegas.
We have 3 months and as you can see a lot of stays in parks.
I mainly want the internet to check where supermarkets are, train and bus time tables check on National Park reservations etc I think with the T Mobile and along with free wi fi at Maccas etc I should get by.
Any info on your trip would be appreciated
Regards from Ned
Jan 19, 2013 2:42 AM
11That trip sounds wonderful ... I trust you have the LP USA Book to cover all of that!
We've found on our long road-trips (not quite as long as yours in one go, though) that 150km-200km average per day is about right - I trust you've worked out your mileage as well.
When you leave the Grand Canyon NP South Rim, go via Glen Canyon (Lake Powell) to Zion NP - it's a beauty - then east to Bryce Canyon NP and Hwy 12 to Moab (Arches, Canyonlands etc), Monument Valley, Mesa Verde NP, and then on to Santa Fe (lovely place). Colorado NM is nice enough, but perhaps is not worthy of the diversion required.
Jan 19, 2013 2:46 AM
12And can I suggest after Yellowstone NP (and Grand Tetons NP too) you consider Redfish Lake Resort in Idaho - wonderful camping there - then westward via Crater Lake NP in Oregon (also wonderful) and then the giant redwood state and national parks right down the California coast to San Francisco ... well worth it indeed.
Jan 19, 2013 5:07 AM
13I recommend that you purchase a copy of Woodall's RV Campground Directory, including Canada and Mexico. A membership in the Good Sam Club gets you a gasoline discount at Flying J and Pilot Travel Center truck stops. Camping World has lots of accessories and the campground directories and membership forms for RVers.
Wal-Mart supercenters are open 24 hours and in most cities and towns. Most of them allow free overnight parking for RVs. They are discount supermarkets, but you still need to compare prices on some items.
Jan 19, 2013 2:46 PM
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