Welcome to “Ask an RV Expert,” the advice column where RVillage experts answer your questions about the RVing lifestyle and common maintenance problems.
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Dear RVillage Expert: I’m preparing to begin working remotely while traveling in my RV. What gear do I need and what tips do you have for working from the road? —Brian M.
Corner offices are cool and all, but replying to emails with sweeping views of a national park, remote wilderness, or a beachside campsite can be just as rewarding—if not more. And with a growing number of companies offering flexible, remote positions, employees are ditching their cubicles for workspaces inside their roving homes on wheels.
While ever-changing office views and the freedom to take a leisurely hike or explore a new town over your lunch hour all sound amazing, the working-from-the-road lifestyle does come with a few obstacles of its own. WiFi, workspace constraints, outside distractions, and even travel schedules all play a role in successfully taking your job on the go. But with the right equipment, office setup, and mindset, you can create a productive working environment inside your RV, no matter where your rig is parked.
Whether you’re considering working full- or part-time from the road, here are a few things to consider before clocking in from the comfort of your camper.
If your occupation grants you the flexibility to work remotely, chances are you’re going to need an internet connection to perform your role. While some campgrounds and other public areas can offer free WiFi, these aren’t always the most reliable connections, and you shouldn’t solely count on them for work, especially if your job requires a fast, secure, and stable network. Most RVers use either cellular data plans or satellite internet to stay connected on the road. Here’s what you should know about both:
- Cellular data is the most common internet solution for RV owners, but it can be pricey if you use large amounts of data. Depending on the provider, you can purchase an internet hotspot to connect your computer and other devices to WiFi. While this can be a reliable internet connection, if you plan on boondocking or parking your rig in areas with limited cell phone coverage, you’ll want to invest in a signal booster to help strengthen your cellular connection.
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- Satellite internet services like Starlink are growing in popularity, but aren’t as widely used as cellular-based providers quite yet. However, that could soon change as the SpaceX internet service continues to develop and become more available to the masses. With the rollout of the Starlink RV plan, it’s now possible for rig owners to maintain strong connectivity, even in areas where cellular coverage is nonexistent. While the service still has a few kinks—like slow speeds in congested areas and power consumption obstacles—if you plan on camping primarily in remote areas, this is likely your best option.
Designating an area inside your RV where you can sit (or stand) to knock out some work is crucial for staying focused and organized. Depending on the size of your rig and how many people travel with you, everything from the kitchen dinette area to a toy hauler garage can be used as an office space.
A larger space is ideal if you have multiple computer monitors and additional office equipment, but any room, table, or countertop can double as a workspace. Plus, there are plenty of portable office accessories, like laptop stands, desk organizers, and monitor extensions to transform any space into a workable area. The idea isn’t to turn your entire RV into an office; rather, it’s to give you a designated orderly environment where you can take care of your tasks.
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Working from your RV inevitably isolates you from your coworkers and life in the office. Maintaining those professional relationships can be extremely important to ensuring your remote career is a success and that you don’t feel removed from your team. Don’t be afraid to call, video chat, or even plan a meet-up with coworkers and clients to keep those relationships strong, whether that’s virtual or in real life. While breaking away from modern society might be the goal of your remote working travels, don’t let your adventures keep you from staying in touch with your professional life.
Create a travel itinerary that’s conducive to your work schedule. Try to plan longer stays at campsites for the days or weeks where your work is the busiest so you’re not interrupting your workday with driving or setting up and tearing down your site. If you know you’re going to need a stronger WiFi connection for video conferencing or other work needs, consider camping in areas where connectivity isn’t an issue, instead of remote destinations that stretch your internet capabilities.
For most jobs, you’ll want to be flexible with your travel and fit it into your work schedule, not the other way around. Remember to update your co-workers and clients (if needed) when switching time zones so they know when you’re available for communication.
One of the best parts of working from your RV is the ability to change your location whenever you want. Unfortunately, this is also one of the biggest downfalls to working remotely, as it can be extremely distracting. Set boundaries for yourself and those you travel with to help minimize distractions throughout your day.
Stick to a schedule where you can work without interruptions for a set amount of time, and then give yourself a break to take a hike, play with your kids, or take the dog on a walk before getting back to your job. Maintaining a schedule can help you keep a healthy work-life balance that’s both productive and embraces life on the road.