Vacations are great for getting away from the stress of day-to-day life, but that doesn’t mean you want to be left completely out of touch! Maintaining an internet connection means you can enjoy beautiful and relaxing locales with the security and confidence that your normal life will be running smoothly when you get back. In this post, we’ll walk you through how satellite internet and hotspotsincluding smartphone tetheringcan help you stay connected during your summer vacation or while working remotely.

Satellite Internet

How Satellite Internet Works

Using a dish mounted on your house, satellite internet service sends wireless signals to an earth-orbiting satellite that then beams the signal back to the provider’s network access point. Although this occurs at a very high speed, there will still be latency due to the distance the signal must travel. Because of this latency, satellite internet isn’t ideal for playing online games or streaming video content.

When to Use Satellite Internet

Satellite internet is good for staying connected from remote and rural areas, such as a vacation home in the mountains. Thanks to the wide-reaching capabilities of satellite internet services, you can connect from just about anywhere you can set up a satellite dish. To sweeten the deal, some satellite internet providers offer phone or TV bundles so you won’t have to worry about separate bills while you’re lounging in paradise.

Available Satellite Internet Provider Plans

Monthly Pricing

$49.99–$99.99 per month

Monthly Pricing

$49.99–$149.99 per month

Download Speeds

Up to 25 Mbps

Download Speeds

Up to 25 Mbps

Anytime Data

Up to 50 GB

Anytime Data

Up to 150 GB

Additional Benefits

Offers phone bundles

Additional Benefits

Offers DIRECTV and phone bundles

Monthly Pricing

$49.99–$99.99 per month

Download Speeds

Up to 25 Mbps

Anytime Data

Up to 50 GB

Additional Benefits

Offers phone bundles

Monthly Pricing

$49.99–$149.99 per month

Download Speeds

Up to 25 Mbps

Anytime Data

Up to 150 GB

Additional Benefits

Offers DIRECTV and phone bundles

Data effective 7/6/2017. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.

Important Satellite Internet Equipment

You’ll need a satellite dish and modem, which HughesNet and Exede will include with your contract. Both companies’ modems have built-in Wi-Fi, so you won’t need to worry about buying a wireless router to enjoy internet all around your home away from home.

Provider Hotspots

How Provider Hotspots Work

Provider hotspots are common in public places like cafes or in neighborhoods where the Internet Service Provider has a strong presence. An ISP can set up hotspots using its local customers’ Wi-Fi connections. These provider hotspots run congruent to a customer’s service without interfering with their own home signal.

When to Use Provider Hotspots

Provider hotspots are good for staying connected on the go. Before you head out on vacation, you’ll want to check your provider’s availability map to make sure it has a hotspot available at your locale. If AT&T or Xfinity is your Internet Service Provider, you can access their Wi-Fi hotspots for free. AT&T also has a Wi-Fi on the Spot option to help non-AT&T customers use its hotspots for $3.99–$7.99 per session.

Available Provider Hotspot Plans

AT&T cancellation page

Type of Service

DSL, Fiber

Type of Service

Cable

Download Speeds

5 Mbps–75 Mbps (DSL), 100 Mbps–1,000 Mbps (Fiber)

Download Speeds

Up to 250 Mbps

Price

$40–$60 per month (DSL), $60-$80 per month (Fiber)

Price

$29.99–$299.95 per month

Equipment Fees

Included

Equipment Fees

$10 per month

Installation Fees

$99, often waived

Installation Fees

Varies

Data Caps

1 TB (DSL), No data caps on 1,000 Mbps plans

Data Caps

1 TB

Availability

AT&T Hotspot Availability Map

Availability

Xfinity Hotspot Availability Map

AT&T cancellation page

Type of Service

DSL, Fiber

Download Speeds

5 Mbps–75 Mbps (DSL), 100 Mbps–1,000 Mbps (Fiber)

Price

$40–$60 per month (DSL), $60-$80 per month (Fiber)

Equipment Fees

Included

Installation Fees

$99, often waived

Data Caps

1 TB (DSL), No data caps on 1,000 Mbps plans

Type of Service

Cable

Download Speeds

Up to 250 Mbps

Price

$29.99–$299.95 per month

Equipment Fees

$10 per month

Installation Fees

Varies

Data Caps

1 TB

Data effective 5/25/2017. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.

Important Provider Hotspot Equipment

All you need to connect to a provider hotspot is a device that can connect to wireless internet. Whether you use a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, you’ll be ready to hop on a provider hotspot as soon as you’re in range.

Smartphone Tethering

How Smartphone Tethering Works

When a smartphone capable of tethering connects to a 4G LTE network, it can distribute its internet connection to other devices via Wi-Fi. It effectively becomes its own hotspot without any additional equipment needed. Eligible phone plans usually include a certain amount of data for high-speed internet connections, followed by slower speeds with unlimited data.

When to Use Smartphone Tethering

Smartphone tethering is a good choice for casual internet users who are trying to connect on the go, even outside of pre-established provider hotspots. Many national carriers include hotspot capabilities with their unlimited data plans, so if you’re already eligible or can easily upgrade, this may be a good option for you. This method supports adventurers who plan to travel to a variety of locales this summer and need internet connection from time to time.

Available Smartphone Tethering Plans

Sprint UnlimitedT-Mobile ONE PlusAT&T Unlimited Plus Plan
Cost for One Line$60 per month$75 per month$90 per month
Monthly Mobile Hotspot Data per Line10 GB, followed by unlimited data at 3G speeds10 GB, followed by unlimited data at 3G speeds10 GB, followed by unlimited data at 2G speeds
Cost for One Line
Sprint Unlimited$60 per month
T-Mobile ONE Plus$75 per month
AT&T Unlimited Plus Plan$90 per month
Monthly Mobile Hotspot Data per Line
Sprint Unlimited10 GB, followed by unlimited data at 3G speeds
T-Mobile ONE Plus10 GB, followed by unlimited data at 3G speeds
AT&T Unlimited Plus Plan10 GB, followed by unlimited data at 2G speeds

Data effective 5/30/2017. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.

Important Smartphone Tethering Equipment

Equipment for this method is simple: all you’ll need is your smartphone and a Wi-Fi enabled device, like a laptop or tablet. Then you’re good to surf the net anywhere you can get a clear phone signal.

Mobile Hotspots

How Mobile Hotspots Work

Like a smartphone tether, mobile hotspots turn a 4G LTE connection into a personal Wi-Fi signal. While mobile hotspots are one more gadget to keep track of, the more powerful signal, higher number of devices supported, and extended battery life are a fair tradeoff.

When to Use Mobile Hotspots

If you’re going to be working remotely during your summer holiday, you should seriously consider purchasing a mobile hotspot. This way you can connect to the internet without draining your phone battery. You’ll also be able to support more devices and have extra security options. PCMag has further details if you’re still conflicted between mobile hotspots and smartphone tethering.

Available Mobile Hotspot Plans

You can purchase a mobile hotspot and data plan through a or independent Wi-Fi hotspot companies like Unlimited LTE Advanced or Karma. There are a lot of options out there, so you can choose the device and plan that best fit your needs and budget. You will find the best deals for prepaid 4G no-contract plans on Amazon.

Important Mobile Hotspot Equipment

You’ll need to purchase a mobile hotspot device and have a Wi-Fi enabled device. Many mobile hotspots support ten or more devices, so you can also connect any friends or family you take with you on vacation.

How Will You Stay Connected This Summer?

Whether you’re trying to connect from a vacation home with rural internet or jumping from hotspot to hotspot as you travel around the world, there’s an internet option for you! Let us know in the comments below which option worked for you and why. We wish you a wonderful and safe summer getaway!