How to connect WIFI in the car – so here is the deal. I originally posted this tech how to on July 23, 2012. You guys, that was 5 years ago and my how technology has changed. This post still gets quite a bit of traction so I am updating this with new content on top and you can comically read how we got WIFI in the car in 2012 at the bottom.
In-Car WIFI in 2017
We are a family of road trippers. Last year we completed a road trip from Dallas to Colorado to Salt Lake City to Portland to San Francisco to Las Vegas and home. It was a WILD ride and did I mention that we have 4 kids? Yes, 4 kids and we lived to tell about it.
Using Mobile Hot Spot on Road Trips
Why was it amazing? Mostly because our kids were so well behaved. Again, you guys – this IS NOT something that I typically say about my children. I love them so much, but good behavior – let’s just say it’s not a strength. How we kept sane for those nearly 5,000 miles that we road tripped is by having WIFI in the car.
Each of our kids have either phones, tablets or laptops (or combination of the such.) We did NOT put limits in the car on the road trip and we had open WIFI the majority of the trip. In the Redwoods we did experience zero connection, but come on – who wants to be connected to the internet when in the Redwoods? (Okay, if you are lost that’s one thing – we were in the car.)
We used our mobile hot spots and while we did have a hefty bill from Verizon (several hundred dollars) – we did enjoy the peace and calm in the car. It was like having a nanny.
We now have T-Mobile. Our next long road trip – we won’t have to worry about the extra hotspot fees as T-Mobile has an unlimited plan we are SO thankful to have!
Side note: We believe in balance with screen time. At home we have a few policies: No Screen in the Bedroom and Screen Free Sunday. On 2 week road trips – we don’t enforce screen free time for our sanity. Parent well-being is a priority, especially when trapped in a vehicle with 4 kids!
2017 Vehicles with In-Car WIFI
In 2017, in-car WIFI has become the norm. Crazy to think how far we had to go to connect back in 2012 when now it’s built-in. It’s pricey, but convenience costs. If you are looking for a 2017 vehicle that offers in-car wifi – here is a list of vehicle brand and models to consider if that is a priority for your next car purchase:
A3 A4 A4 All-road A5 A6 A7 A8 Q3 Q5 Q7 R8 RS 7 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 SQ5 TT
2 Series 3 Series 4 Series 5 Series 6 Series 7 Series Alpina B6 Gran Coupe Alpina B7 X3 X4 X5 X6
Cascada Enclave Encore Envision LaCrosse Regal
ATS CT6 CTS Escalade Escalade ESV XT5 XTS
Bolt EV Camaro Colorado Corvette Cruze Equinox Express Impala Malibu Silverado 1500 Silverado 2500, 3500 Sonic Spark SS Suburban Tahoe Traverse Trax Volt
200 300 Pacifica
Dodge Challenger Charger Durango Viper Fiat 500e
Acadia Canyon Sierra 1500 Sierra 2500, 3500 Terrain Yukon Yukon XL
F-Pace XE XF XJ
Cherokee Grand Cherokee Renegade
Discovery Discovery Sport Range Rover Range Rover Evoque Range Rover Sport
AMG GT S B-Class C-Class CLA-Class CLS-Class E-Class G-Class GLA-Class GLC-Class GLE-Class GLS-Class Maybach S550 Maybach S600 S-Class SL-Class SLC-Class
718 Boxster 718 Cayman 911 Cayenne Macan Panamera Ram 1500 2500, 3500
S60 S80 S90 V60 V90 Cross Country XC60 XC70 XC90
There you have it folks. In 2017, you use your smartphone’s mobile hot spot for WIFI in the car. Another option, you can purchase that offers in-car WIFI. I love technology.
Below is the original post from July 23, 2012. My how things have changed.
Connect to WIFI in the Car
Connect to WIFI in the car and your road trip will never be the same!
Last week the husband took a few days off, we stuffed the car with kids, food and luggage and the family hit the road. About an hour into our road trip, the sound of kids quieted, it was just me and the husband, XM radio, a beautiful cloudy sky, the road and WIFI in the car. My heart was happy. We are fortunate to be able to road trip often, but the only reason we are able to is that my job can be done on the go. As long as I have my computer and an internet connection – I can work anywhere, even the car.
No more “are we there yet?” from the kids – they can look it where we are themselves!
Here is how we connect to WIFI in the car:
Verizon Mobile Data Hot Spot
To get WIFI in the car or WIFI anywhere, that has a good cell signal – we use the Verizon Mobile Data Hotspot on our phones. My husband sports an Android, we signed up using his phone – though I could of used it on my iPhone as well. To connect to WIFI is super simple and it runs us $20 a month. For $20 a month – the kids can all connect their devices and I can happily blog from the road! We did have a good 30 minutes of no data access when cruising through middle of no where Oklahoma, but other than that, from Dallas to Oklahoma CIty we were able to stay connected. The kids were streaming NetFlix, my husband was listening to music thru Pandora and I was blogging away with no major lags. While it appears Verizon has done some shifting on some of their new plans (we’ve been on Verizon for 18 or so months now) – the mobile data plan is month to month, so if there is a sadmonth we aren’t road tripping – we can cancel. If you think about how much WIFI is in a hotel room (I’ve paid up to $20 a night) – the $20 a month is a great deal. If your phone isn’t hotspot enabled, check out the various hotspot devices available that will do the same thing. I previously used a Virgin Mobile Hotspot – here’s a little food for thought from my experience with that.
Virgin Mobile Hot Spot Review
While working in corporate America, I had a Virgin Mobile Hot Spot. For around $25 a month, I could connect up to 5 devices – but there was a problem. The Virgin Mobile Hot Spot had to be charged and the cord was proprietary. The charge wouldn’t hold for long making the device useless. Another downside, I couldn’t get the hot spot to charge and use at the same time. Talk about dumb!
Before you know it, WIFI will be everywhere. Look at the way New York City phone booths are now WIFI enabled. McDonalds, Starbucks, Panera Bread – all great locations for WIFI! Now if only my car came WIFI enabled… that will be the day.
Do You HotSpot?
Mom to 4 kids, Molly aka Digital Mom is the blogger-in-chief here at digitalmomblog.com. Talking technology and mom life, Molly shares the realities of parents digital kids.