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Figuring out how to get WiFi when traveling in North Carolina is often a top question for those planning a mountain getaway. The plan of disconnecting sounds great for vacation goals. However, the reality is that so much of daily lifestyle requires a WiFi connection. Think about online banking to streaming a favorite television show; all require access to the internet, even if for a brief moment.

There are a number of options to consider for how to get WiFi when traveling. The list includes portable WiFi, mobile hotspots, free public WiFi and satellite internet. According to the Appalachian Regional Commission almost a quarter of households in the mountain region lack internet service.

Tourists heading to the mountains of North Carolina can certainly benefit by utilizing one of these options to bridge the gap to obtain a WiFi connection when traveling. Whether conducting a video conference, sending documents to the office, or checking in on a popular gaming session, locating a WiFi access point is possible while on the go. The diverse needs of internet access will dictate which method works best for each user. Here are a few solutions to stay connected.

How to Get WiFi When Traveling?

In North Carolina, the state plans to use a portion of $5.7 billion from the American Rescue Plan to address expanding internet infrastructure, especially in rural areas that have limited or no access. 

Portable WiFi

1. Portable WiFi

What makes portable WiFi a top option is the ability to navigate seamlessly to the internet using a SIM card and function in a similar fashion to the router at home or the office. Pack up a portable WiFi along with all the devices you will need and have a dedicated connection. Travelers may opt to use portable WiFi that can be packed and unpacked easily and it’s ready to go. Popular Science advises selecting the best portable WiFi based on functionality, size and connectivity to start.

How Much Does Portable WiFi Cost?

The cost of a portable WiFi can range from units under $50 to others in excess of $300. In addition, there is a monthly fee for the data plan that varies depending on the service. As a general note, the price tag will depend on the functionality of the user, if a basic connection is needed to take care of a few tasks while traveling, uploading or downloading files, or a short video conference meeting. If gaming or other entertainment like streaming a movie is also on the itinerary, a unit able to handle that volume will come at a higher cost.

How Reliable is Portable WiFi?

The reliability of portable WiFi units continues to improve making them one of the best options for secure access to the internet while traveling. On average portable WiFi connection can be maintained for at least 5 hours to as long as 12 hours depending on the unit’s battery life and how many devices are connected. And once the internet connection is established, it will be a similar experience as users have a home or an office. Reliability is certainly needed for important video conference meetings while traveling. Gamers will also want to make sure they are connected to the action and other entertainment like streaming a movie also depends on a reliable connection.

Does Portable WiFi Work Anywhere?

Travelers throughout the country can use a portable WiFi unit just about anywhere. Most areas have access to a local signal which is the access point for the portable WiFi to convert the signal into a private WiFi signal for all the devices connected to it.

2. Mobile Hotspot

Understanding what is a mobile hotspot may help simplify how to reach the internet while traveling. A mobile hotspot is typically offered through a cell phone provider and in essence, turns the device into a personal hotspot to connect a tablet computer or other device. The service provider may require an unlimited data plan since the mobile hotspot can be used in various ways, much like portable WiFi. Some travelers on the go may prefer to rely on a mobile hotspot on their cell phone, which keeps everything in one place without the need to pack an additional device.

Do I Need a WiFi Signal Booster?

If there is a certain area where it seems slow or impossible to connect to WiFi, a signal booster may help bridge the gap in this space. Signal Boosters outlines what is a WiFi signal booster and how does it work, which may be an option to consider when traveling and unsure of how well a signal will be in a remote area. In general, a WiFi Signal Booster can help improve your internet connection.

3. Free Public WiFi

Take your smartphone out, and check your settings for WiFi networks and see how many show up that are in close range of your location. In many cases, a location providing free public WiFi will send a notification to the device within the signal reach. It could be a café or restaurant, a library, a venue like a convention space or meeting facility, even some retail outlets that offer free public WiFi. So while traveling, be sure to check what free public WiFi network may be available to use. However, be cautious of sharing sensitive information on this network that may not have the same level of security you have at home or the office. Consider using a virtual private network or VPN that will keep your connection secure.

4. Satellite Internet

As the name suggests, satellite internet is an internet connection made via a satellite in space, beaming back to be picked up by a satellite receiver on a home or other location. While the speed is rated as one of the slowest in the industry, technology for the internet option continues to be upgraded to enhance the user experience for streaming. The big three satellite internet companies – HughesNet, Viasat, and Starlink – covers a large portion of the U.S. with internet service.

How Do I Get Internet Access in the Mountains

How Do I Get Internet Access in the Mountains?

The natural beauty of the mountains of Western North Carolina may leave a bit to desire when attempting to connect to the internet. Locating good coverage in an area can be challenging, depending on what you need to do online. However, there are options to work around having limited access to an internet connection.

A portable WiFi unit or a mobile hotspot are available to ensure there is access on the go when needed. Utilizing free public WiFi can also fill in the gap if few options are available, along with satellite internet service. However, the functionality differs between platforms, so travelers will have to search out the best fit for cost, size, connection speeds and data plan.

What are the Best Rural Internet Providers?

North Carolina’s western region is home to the state’s famous mountain region, most notably the Appalachian Mountains. The state’s rural sector explodes in population during certain times of the year as visitors flock to the region to relax. And most are searching for reliable access to the internet to stay connected to the office, family or entertain themselves by watching movies or gaming devices.

According to, their list of the best internet for rural areas includes Viasat, Rise Broadband, Kinetic by Windstream and others. The price point averaged about $50 per month, with download speeds ranging from 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps.

Can I Have WiFi without Internet?

The lack of an internet service provider does not mean being fully disconnected or unable to connect. There are workarounds and options to accomplish the goal of reaching the internet. So yes, it is possible to have WiFi without the internet by utilizing a portable WiFi unit or a mobile hotspot. In addition, free public WiFi is also an option.

How Can I Stream without WiFi?

To stream without WiFi access is not impossible, it just may require a few logistics to line everything up to work effectively. Access to Bluetooth, a lightning cord, or an HDMI adaptor are some of the tools needed to connect to a mobile phone and mirror content on a television screen or tablet for optimal viewing. Advice from iKream is to prepare well in advance of traveling if planning to watch movies other content without WiFi.


A number of streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube allow viewers to download free movies that can be viewed offline.


Chromecast, through Google, allows content to be “mirrored” to a device like a cellphone or a television to be watched.

Mobile Data

Although some mobile providers offer a variety of perks like entertainment to stream content, most will tap out basic mobile data caps. So it’s best to know ahead of time how your mobile data will be impacted so it can be upgraded or plan to stay within the limit.

Find Your Vacation Home with Landmark

Find Your Vacation Home with Landmark

Wondering how to get WiFi when traveling in North Carolina should be the least of your worries when planning the trip. We have provided a few useful tips to make it easy to connect to WiFi while here in North Carolina or speak with a talented Landmark Real Estate broker to get a few more suggestions.

Contact Landmark Vacation Rentals today at (877) 926-1780 or browse our North Carolina vacation rental properties portfolio to select one to fit your vision of a romantic getaway.