Are you Online while Driving?

September 27, 2009 by Chris Guld · 25 Comments  
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by Chris Guld, Geeks on Tour

I remember when we had to schlep our laptop up to the RV park’s office and plug in to their phone line in order to use dial-up to get online.  Then came Wi-Fi.  You could browse the Internet from the comfort of your RV.  We even got a Datastorm Satellite dish that gave us high-speed Internet *wherever* we were parked – in the middle of the desert, or in the most remote national forest.  What luxury that was.  We live fulltime in our motorhome and we need to work to make our living.  Our work is primarily on our website so it’s important that we be able to connect wherever we are.


Now with cellular datacards, or tethered cell phones, we can be connected to high-speed Internet while driving down the road! How wonderful right?


I won’t do it.  I’m a geek, but I have my limits.  It’s one of my guilty pleasures to be a passenger in our RV and simply enjoy the ride while my husband does the driving.  This is a time when I have permission to *not* work.  I enjoy watching the scenery and daydreaming about oh so many things.

I refuse to give that up.  How about you?


p.s. it does (unfortunately) work great – I have succumbed to the dark side once in a while when I needed to answer some emails, or had a deadline for some other web work.  I was glad to be able to get my work done without sacrificing our planned destination.  I just hope I don’t need to do it too often.

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25 Responses to “Are you Online while Driving?”

  1. Rob on September 27th, 2009 12:13 pm

    I totally agree with you I am a part-time Rver (beginning Snowbirding)
    And I would never consider a satellite internet system…too much internet!
    Even though, like you I make my living on line.
    I’m considering an iphone for the road.


  2. Dan Rambow on September 27th, 2009 1:22 pm

    There is on-line, and ON LINE, while traveling.

    The best on-line while traveling, was getting internet updates to traffic conditions ahead, and/or updates to my navigator (ATT – 3G – cell navigation) when running into detours.

    But I lump in internet browsing and email, with watching TV while driving. What fun is that, when you have a wonderful picture window in front of you, and can watch the world go by, in wide, wide, better than HD, windshield view.

  3. Eric on September 27th, 2009 1:27 pm

    We get online while driving once in a while… especially if we want to find someplace that we can’t find on our GPS. I really liked it one day while leaving Key West early in the morning and my wife took a sunrise picture as we’re tooling across a bridge and sent it by e-mail to her mother in Japan while they were talking using our Vonage phone. Pretty sweet when you think about it. We don’t do it often though. My wife gets a little motion sick doing stuff like this while we are driving.

  4. Curt on September 27th, 2009 1:43 pm

    Let alone looking for fuel stations, places to eat or of interest, and oh what about “streets and trips” Really handy!!!!

  5. Steve on September 27th, 2009 3:45 pm

    I think you are being lazy. You should be working every waking hour. You’re lucky to get any sleep.
    Jim needs to handcuff you to your computer.
    Pretty soon, we will be connected wherever and whenever we are. Watch out!

  6. Larry on September 27th, 2009 7:40 pm

    Never while driving, but we have Hughe’s Net with DirecTV on same dish while parked in a camp ground for several weeks, wife on laptop I am on desk top both watching 32″ flat screen TV. Works for us.

  7. Katherine Prawl on September 27th, 2009 7:49 pm

    I agree that watching the scenery and conversing with my driver husband is a preferable use of driving time, but I’m in an online Master’s degree program as well as deeply involved in several other online activities, so I do enjoy our mobile hotspot powered by a cellular modem. I’m much more relaxed about dry camping or stopping in state/national parks that don’t have WiFi since we have our own carry-along internet connection, too, and if a campground that advertises WiFi but it’s not up to snuff, instead of freaking out, I just smile and plug in our aircard. Like any other thing in life, moderation is the key to being rational about it, but that includes being moderate about denying ourselves useful technologies as well as overusing them.

  8. Lori on September 28th, 2009 12:54 am

    I LOVE being online while driving! Have you ever driven through western Texas? Not much to see, especially the 5th or 6th time I’ve done it. Our Verizon Broadband card is fantastic.

  9. Bill on September 28th, 2009 4:27 pm

    I don’t need to be online when I am on the road but it would be great to have that option available to me. If I spent more time on the road I would definitely invest in one of those Verizon Broadband cards or that service through Verizon that you can use by hooking your computer up to your cell phone (you wrote about that a while back).

  10. Jerry Schrum on September 28th, 2009 10:20 pm

    I found it very useful when I was able to tether to my AT&T cell phone to my laptop. Originally, AT&T allowed one to activate the cell phone-tethered internet-access service ($60/mo) when I traveled, and deactivate it when I wasn’t traveling. Following some sort of “Dilbert” logic, the AT&T corporate brain-trust decided to offer only a 2-year contract for the same monthly price. I think that Verizon still offers the “use it when you need it” option, so when my AT&T contract runs out, I will switch to Verizon. The only times that we used it while actually moving in the coach was when we were checking out camp sites. But it was quite convenient to have secure internet access for banking in addition to just being able to connect when I needed to do so.

  11. Jim Casper on September 29th, 2009 10:25 am

    Hi Jerry,
    Spring also alllows you to put your broadband card on standby for $5/mo. for up to 6 months. That is what we do for the winter months while the motor home is in storage.

  12. Jim Casper on September 29th, 2009 10:26 am

    Sorry Jerry,
    That first word is Sprint not Spring.

  13. BARRY ENGLEMAN on September 30th, 2009 2:02 pm


    Question regarding an earlier blog about Streets & Trips 2010. I erased that blog.

    I already have 2009. Do I need to purchase 2010 for the added features or is there an upgrade? I didn’t see any upgrade info on the Microsoft website.

    Barry Engleman

  14. Paul Goldberg on October 6th, 2009 1:10 pm

    My wife seldom gets online when I am at the wheel, however when she is at the wheel (half time) I may be “at the office”. I devote about an hour a day to talking with clients and acting on whatever changes they want me to make. Other than that my only use of online while under way is searching for overnight stop or attractions.

    We run two laptops off one tethered Blackberry (Verizon) using a cradlepoint wifi router. It keeps getting better!

  15. John Shelton on October 26th, 2009 6:58 pm

    I would be lost without my Cradlepoint MBR 1000 3G Router and Verizon Aircard. This combination creates my own WIFI zone and is “hot” even in areas that cell voice is undependable. Much more reliable, not to mention the convenience, than campground or Motel WIFI hotspots. Even your campsite neighbors or the people following you down the highway love you if you haven’t paid adequate attention to personal web security. This combination is powered by a very modest capacity 12/120 volt inverter while traveling down the road of parked in a rest area.

  16. Beverly Gilmore on October 26th, 2009 7:17 pm

    WIFI, have had Verizon for years and let me tell you I get it even in the most remote places you could imagine, even so on my phone. So a real advocate of Verizon cards. The only problem I have is the expense I have when I go back to Canada in the summer, BUT Verizon has come out wiht a plan now that will cost me a little over a $100 per mo, but give me the same great service I get on the phone. So will probably look at that this summer.
    The park I am in for the winter in Quartzsite has wifi, $20 a mo for monthly and yearly people and free to overnighters. It is better this year but still has to be tweeked daily, in other words the mgrs have to unplugg it ot clear out the cookies that have built up from downloads. Sounds like this is par for the course. Nothing is perfect.

  17. Terri Johnson on September 25th, 2010 7:02 pm

    I use my laptop tethered as we go down the road, we are lucky enough to have the old Alltel contract for unlimited tethering for $9.99 a month. We won’t be upgrading anytime in the future, even though we are Verizon customers now since the buy-out. (Must set Verizon’s teeth on edge, I’ll bet!)
    I love to have my internet up as we travel, I chart our course, check out lodging and check out points of interest for the Hubby as we roll along. I get a kick out of photographing something and blogging it as it happens, being an old fashioned kind of girl, I still think it’s a miracle you can do something and then see it posted in seconds!
    There are some stretches I just sit back and enjoy the scenery, but for the most part, my internet is ready to run at a moments notice to get us through any situation.

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