Traveling across the country by train is an amazing experience – but many people need an internet connection, especially on long trips.

This guide provides easy tips for having reliable internet on cross-country train rides. We’ll explain how to choose backup internet plans and get the strongest signal.

Planning For The Journey

Cross-country train journeys are an amazing way to experience a country and its landscapes.

However, considering how long certain journeys can be, it’s important to be prepared.

With these friendly tips, you can enjoy the amazing scenery out the train window while still using the internet when needed. 

Do Your Research

A successful journey begins with a well-laid plan. It’s wise to check out the different connectivity options for your specific route before you set out. 

Train companies usually have their own websites and mobile applications where they show whether Wi-Fi is available on various routes. 

Do some research online by browsing various rail company websites – this can help you make informed decisions.

Here’s a pro tip: Find out how long your trip will take and the places you will need to go through. 

If the journey is long or goes through less populated areas, it’s possible the internet connectivity won’t be very good, or maybe not available at all.

Have a Backup Plan

Don’t leave your connectivity to chance. Onboard Wi-Fi can be unreliable or unavailable, so be proactive and pack a portable hotspot device. 

This little gadget can turn your smartphone’s data plan into a personal Wi-Fi network, keeping you connected on the go.

Traveling with friends or family also means you can save on data costs. It’s a good idea to split the cost of a mobile hotspot and enjoy shared internet access. 

This can ensure everyone stays connected and entertained throughout the journey.

Optimize Your Devices

Data on the go can be a budget buster. To stretch your data allowance further, you should optimize your device. 

Here’s are a few ways you can do that:

  • Kill Background Apps – Check if any apps are open in the background and close unnecessary ones. This can stop you from draining your data.
  • Don’t Update – Disable automatic updates for apps and software. You can always choose to update them manually when connected to a stable Wi-Fi network later.
  • Restrict Data Usage – You can adjust the settings on applications such as social media and streaming services to limit data usage. Many of these apps provide options for video streaming at a lower quality or downloading content offline.

By following these steps, you can make sure that data doesn’t accidentally go to waste. This way, you’ll keep your data for when you need it.

Browse Safely

When you use Wi-Fi in public places, such as on trains, there can be many security risks. 

It’s a good idea to protect yourself with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), especially if you’re dealing with private information, like online payments or account logins.

A VPN enhances your online security by establishing a secure pathway for your data to travel through.

When you use a VPN server, you browse websites safely, even when traveling on public-heavy transport like cross-country trains.

And as a bonus, read an information source on how to access your favorite shows even while traveling.

Bring External Antennas or Signal Boosters

Certain areas may suffer from poor reception due to factors like network congestion or geographical obstacles like mountains.

A smart move is to invest in external antennas or signal boosters to boost the reception on your device. 

By using these, you can amplify weak signals and improve internet connectivity even in remote, rural areas.

Know Your Train Stops

To capitalize on Wi-Fi hotspots or cellular coverage in station areas, maintain awareness of the train’s schedule and upcoming stops. 

Keep yourself updated on these opportunities for swift update downloads, email checking, or critical file syncing.

Choose Your Seat Smartly

Experiment with various seating arrangements during your journey to identify the optimal position for internet connectivity. 

Choosing to sit near windows or selecting areas with fewer obstructions might enhance signal strength and boost overall connectivity.

Be Flexible

Despite your research, internet access on trains can be unpredictable, especially in rural areas. This can leave you momentarily disconnected.

Here’s what to do when that happens:

  • Pack Offline Entertainment – A good idea is to download movies, audiobooks, or podcasts beforehand. And if you’re a reader, pack a good book or two for the ride.
  • Use Offline Features – Take advantage of offline features available in certain apps and services. Many streaming services, map applications, and work-related software allow for offline use that lets you see content and do work even while disconnected.

The Bottom Line

Traveling by train across the country is not only about getting to where you need to go, but also taking pleasure in the journey itself. 

To ensure a seamless experience with technology during your trip, prepare for internet availability beforehand, tweak settings on your gadget accordingly, and think about adding more security measures.

Whether you’re doing work, talking to friends, or just gazing outside – make sure to enjoy your journey.


About Maya Steiningerova

Heyo, I’m Maya! An adventure athlete currently living near the Canadian Rockies with my partner in crime Michal. I love running in the mountains, jumping in the ice cold lakes, mountain biking and trying not so common activities, such as mountaineering. By showing that an ordinary person can live an extraordinary life, my hope is to inspire you to live an adventurous life and provide you with tips and tools for your own adventure.

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