How We Stay Connected Sailing The World – Free Wifi, Phones, & Satellite
Sailing off into the deep blue and disconnecting from the mainland sounds lovely. But, in reality, we live in a digital era that requires at least a little connectivity. And, if you’re among those of us who are working while traveling, internet isn’t a luxury, it’s our livelihood.
Cell phones, internet and WiFi have become primary tools for travelers and especially us digital nomads.
Staying connected is fundamental to our work (yes, we do work) but its more than that. It’s how we monitor the weather, stay in touch with friends and family, do our bookkeeping, file our taxes, learn what’s going on in the world and (worst case scenario here) call for help in the middle of an ocean.
We say weather dictates our travels but if we’re totally honest, connectivity likely holds equal weight.
As sailors there is a big difference between connectivity while coastal cruising vs offshore sailing. We do both, so this is an overview of all the ways we stay connected while near land and offshore. Plus, sometimes we’re somewhere so remote that our offshore setup is our best onshore option.
Internet On A Sailboat & Around The World
We try to strike a balance between simple, efficient and affordable.
Very important to remember: we’re not experts, we’re experienced! After eight years of working and traveling about the world, we know what works best for us. And that is the key point here.
As with all things, what works best for us, may not be the same for you.
How you travel, how often you need to be connected, what kind of speeds, and how much data you consume are major variables. We’ll share what works for us and hopefully, it’ll give you an idea of where to start your research.
For us, a daily internet connection is ideal but a couple of times a week is obligatory for work purposes. We upload videos and photos, update our website, manage our social media accounts, answer emails, handle all of our bookkeeping and do lots of general surfing & research for our next destinations.
We consume around 25-50 gigs of data each month.
Public WIFI, Free or Paid
Finding a place with Free Wi-Fi is sometimes fun, but mostly a daunting task for us. Sure, if you’re in a well-developed country, finding good wifi isn’t difficult. Start wandering into the more remote, undeveloped parts of the world and this is where things start to get challenging.
If a hotel, restaurant, or cafe has decent internet speeds, going for a beer and an upload is awesome. But it’s not common since we left the USA. Most of the time, if we’re in need of internet, so are others. Meaning, that the WiFi signal is going to have a lot of users and slow speeds. Or, we’re simply in an area with slow and/or expensive internet (hello French Polynesia). If they are offering it up for free, it’s probably not very fast. The same rings true for public parks, libraries, and government offices. It’s a roll of the dice, some days it might work while others it can be bogged down so bad it won’t even download email.
Paid Wifi can be a good option if it exists. Cyber cafés are still common in certain regions of the world and while they may not be free, they are often more reliable connections with faster speeds.
Free or paid, we’ve learned to call ahead and ask questions such as: Do you have Wi-Fi? Is it currently working? Will it play a YouTube Video? Can I download and upload files? The answers to all of these questions vary each time and help us find the best place to get some solid work done.
Capturing and Boosting Free WiFi
We have a nifty little device that helps us find and connect to WiFi hotspots from long distances.
As we travel with our home, sometimes we luck out and a nearby restaurant, café or hotel has free wifi. When this happens, we turn on our Wifi Ranger and do a happy dance!
There are lots of wifi boosters out there. From our research, the two best options are the feature-rich Wifi Ranger ($749) and the more basic Rouge Wave ($360). They both are great at boosting wifi signals from long distances, but the Wifi Ranger has additional features that make it the better option for us.
- Load Balancing – WiFi Ranger can tether to our smartphone and other WiFi sources and simultaneously load balance data for maximum speed and reliability. However, it’s important to remember there is no compensation for slow internet speeds, this device just boosts the signal, not the service itself. When we’re working with super slow connections, knowing we can combine for a slightly better and stronger connection can be a game-changer.
- Networking – The router allows us to connect all our devices to one signal, which is great when a place wants to sell you a code for each device.
- Bandwidth Management – Keeps tabs on data usage and speeds for each device if desired, allowing for automated parental control and data plan conservation.
- Extra Security – WPA2 encryption, firewall, and SafeSurf feature encrypt all data to help add an extra level of security to unsecured public networks.
We’ve been using the Wifi Ranger since our RV days and it has proved its value even more aboard our sailboat. While others have to make their way to the marina office to get online, we’re comfortable working from our salon table. Or…here in French Polynesia, it’s not uncommon to have a fancy hotel near our anchorage. We can pop over for a happy hour, get a 24-hour wifi pass, and have 24 hours of decent free wifi on our boat! The bonus is the speeds typically pick up overnight so downloading that new episode of Peaky Blinders isn’t just a pipe-dream.
The WiFi Ranger is installed on our hardtop for a maximum line of sight (not at the top of the mast, then it would be too high, not line of sight & too long of a cable) and boosts any accessible WiFi signal from up to two miles away (but we say half a mile because that has been our experience. Any further and the signal drops often or the data speeds plummet).
The Ranger isn’t something we use often, but when we luck out it’s a downloading, uploading, updating party (overnight and respectfully. We are careful not to overload the WiFi so it doesn’t ruin the experience for others).
You can learn more and/or purchase on their website. Use discount code: WFRWYNN for a 5% discount on ANY/ALL products.
Cell Phone Data / Dedicated Hotspot
Whether it’s a hotspot created from a cell phone (which is what we do) or a designated device, a hotspot is typically the most simple, efficient and affordable way to go.
We have two cell phones on board with two different plans.
It’s always a good idea to have one unlocked, GSM, quad-band, phone to use with a local SIM. It works as our local phone number. We use our iPhone for this. We can take advantage of any affordable local data plans, make local phone calls and more importantly, locals can call us. Appointments of any sort such as customs, a doctor appointment, tour guide, taxi, local that invited us for dinner…there are lots of scenarios where a local number comes in handy.
SIM cards are available in most countries around the world. We simply head to the nearest convenience store, post office, or even grocery store and ask for a local SIM card with data (very important to specify with “data”, some SIM cards are calls only). More often than not, the person selling the SIM will even set up your phone for you. They want to make sure it works and you’re happy before you leave the store, this way you’ll come back to ‘top up’ when your plan is poked.
There are more options than ever out there for international cell/data plans. Most of them are expensive and don’t make sense for us as long-term travelers. We used to use Google Fi but they have started to crack down on people who don’t touch down occasionally back in the USA. It is for USA-based residents only for now, but it’s Google, surely they’ll expand?!?
So, we moved our phone number to Google Voice which is free and wifi based. (just use a VPN to sign up if you are outside of the USA). We have a consistent phone number for business purposes that doesn’t change, still has voice mail, and works great for calls back to the USA (long chats with our family and friends).
Do You Need A Burner Phone?
We have one of our old phones we use as a burner phone (the cheap phones you don’t care about) for one purpose: BIG uploads and downloads.
Why anyone would leave an expensive laptop in a marina office, restaurant, hotel, bar, or anywhere else is beyond me. My laptop is my main source of work. It would be a massive headache and expense if it were damaged or stolen. No Thank You!
When we need to download or upload a big file that will take all night, we use the burner phone. Many large software updates can be downloaded and then installed later. We transfer our YouTube videos to the phone and then leave it overnight for uploads. We always attach a business card with our contact info in case the night shift doesn’t communicate with the morning shift. So…if you have these sorts of internet needs, get a burner phone or just keep an old phone (broken screen and all) for these tasks.
Boosting Cell Phone Signal and Data
We have a booster that does just that, boosts our cell and data signal inside the sailboat. It can boost cell signals up to 32x and enhances 4G LTE and 3G signals. Meaning it can help drastically improve the quality of our calls and the speeds of our data.
Being out on anchor can really put some distance between us and the cell tower, especially in more remote, less populated areas. Having more powerful antennas to give us a boost makes a world of difference.
It’s amazing how many times this booster has taken us from no bars to making solid phone calls or from no data signal to 3g or 4g. It’s the difference of being able to work from the comfort of our traveling home or having to go into town and find somewhere with wifi.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been the only boat in the anchorage able to make calls or get online. It’s saved our butts in the Bahamas, Panama, Ecuador and now French Polynesia!
It’s important to know NOT all boosters are created equal. Many only boost cell or data, not both. Some are even illegal to use in certain countries. Plus, some claim to do the job better and cheaper, but will only disappoint in the end. So make sure to read the fine print when researching. WeBoost ($479) has been our go-to for over six years because we’ve always found it preforms well.
The weBoost 4G-X is the main device and comes with a basic outdoor and indoor antenna…but we upgraded both antennas and highly recommend doing so if you are traveling to remote areas. The bigger the antenna, the bigger the boost.
OUR CELL / DATA BOOSTING SET UP
- Drive 4G-X – http://amzn.to/29btEia
- Upgraded Marine Outside Antenna – https://amzn.to/2Rvbz18
- 20ft Cable – http://amzn.to/298I834
- Upgraded Inside Antenna – http://amzn.to/299hS6k
Satellite Internet On A Boat
If money & space are plentiful then so are your satellite options. For thousands of dollars in equipment, thousands in install costs and thousands worth of data every month, you can connect from almost anywhere (yes, there still are some limitations).
It’s one thing to have the equipment and capability to make a basic phone call or download a 250kb weather grib file…but quite another to be able to upload a video to YouTube or stream Amazon Prime from the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Satellite on a boat is tricky and not just because of price. Boats move and moving requires a high-tech satellite that can maintain a connection and compensate for angled signals as the boat veers towards the poles. Starlink will start to become an option soon…but it’s not available to us yet.
But sometimes entry-level is better than nothing and, in this case, it’s pretty freakin’ amazing. Enter the Iridium Go!
We’ve been using the Iridium Go for years now and while it is basic communications and connectivity, we couldn’t imagine sailing about the world without it.
Why? Because being able to download the latest weather, send photos, text messages, and emails, and make calls from the middle of an ocean is pretty freakin’ incredible!
Ok, what is Iridium Go?
- A compact, rugged and portable device that provides global SAT voice and data on up to five different devices (smartphones, laptops or tablets).
- Simple operation – flip up the antenna and it auto connects to create a wifi hotspot.
- Once connected to the hotspot we can use the Iridium apps to: make voice calls, access our iridium specific email, tweet, send photos, send SMS (text), create GPS tracking, send an SOS alert…and most impressive/important…use our Predict Wind Offshore App!
- It’s compact and made as a standalone unit. Water, sand and dust resistant, it can be tossed in a backpack and taken on any adventure.
- Works with the PredictWind Offshore App – Hands down our fave feature and go-to for weather forecasts. PredictWind is off the charts fantastic for all things sailing/wind/water-related. Detailed PWG/PWE, ECMWF, GFS and GMDSS forecasts. GRIBs, satellite imagery, weather routing…seriously, its nuts. We’re like our own meteorologists with this much info.
Sailors Need The Marine Package
Because we’re out on the open seas and not just going on a remote mountain trail, we have the PredictWind Iridium GO! Marine Package ($999). It’s an outdoor antenna that is essential for connecting while sailing.
Iridium SIM Cards from PredictWind have no activation fees and open term contracts that can be canceled at any time (they even pro-rate). This is very important! Because we can turn on and off the service as needed. If we are going to stay in one area for a month (or more) with good connectivity, why pay for a monthly service we won’t use?!?
We activate our service just before each offshore passage that lasts more than 24 hours. We always go with the unlimited data plan which currently cost US$139.95/month. This gives us a 150 minutes of voice calls and unlimited data. So, we can send photos, emails and download weather as much as we want without worries of a massive SAT bill.
Plus, if you purchase through PredictWind, they offer a GPS tracking page for your boat. It can be embedded into your own blog or simply shared with family and friends. It has automatic hourly updates, so others can monitor your progress.
If you stop or have a drastic change in course, friends can see you may need assistance…and send you a text message. Like the time my uncle wondered why we had just made a sharp left turn. That’s when I had to explain that sailboats don’t always sail in a straight line, they tack.
We also have the Garmin InReach ($449) which is a punchy little device we’ve come to love. It’s geared towards the adventure seeker and that is exactly why we like it. This one goes with us everywhere, not just on the water. You need a monthly plan and they vary from $12 – $80 per month depending on your needs.
- GPS Navigation / TOPO Maps — Built-in digital compass, barometric altimeter, and accelerometer help maintain accurate bearings. Plus, detailed TOPO graphics and route mapping.
- Tracking – We have our own tracking map with waypoint marking and breadcrumb trails. We use it to track our sailing routes and big hikes so friends and family can see how we’re doing in real-time (we also share access to this map with our Patreons).
- Two Way Texting – 100% global iridium satellite coverage
- Weather – We can get basic weather reports or choose a premium marine forecast for an extra $1 fee. We found the weather info helpful during our Ecuador road trip inland. Lots of cellular dead zones in the Andes Mountains.
- Interactive SOS – Triggering the SOS sends a message to GEOS, a professional 24/7 global monitoring center. They respond to your message, track your device and notify emergency responders in your area. GEOS will stay in touch with you and your emergency contacts until your situation is resolved. The tracking/SOS gave us peace of mind heading up into extreme altitudes of Ecuador and the Cloud Forest of Panama.
- Connected – The inReach is fully functional on its own, but it also connects with our smartphones, iPad, and Garmin Quantx Watch which makes it more user-friendly.
We think the inReach is an exceptional device for all of our adventures. If we’re taking Minion (our dinghy) on a long trip or heading inland it’s always with us. It’s way more feature-rich than the SPOT or Ocean Signal rescueME, and we think a better gadget to have on board. If you’re debating between the Iridium Go and the inReach I can only offer this: We have them both, we like them both for different reasons and redundancy is always good on a sailboat. Land adventures, the Garmin wins hands down. But, if you are offshore sailing and crossing oceans, the PredictWind + Iridum Go would be my first choice.
Internet Creepers & Safety Concerns
You know, those creepers in the corner drinking cheap whiskey attached to the same network you are. If they really wanted to, they could connect to your computer and intercept credit card numbers or worse, your deepest darkest internet searches! We all know we should never use a public network to log into bank accounts or check our credit card balances…but there’s a simple workaround.
VPNs (we use SurfShark) can be a globe-trotting-working-nomads savior. Like that time when we wanted to YouTube Live chat with our Patrons, but YTL was blocked in Ecuador (true story). Once we realized what the issue was, we turned on the VPN, and voilà, we were live streaming (and probably violating some Ecuadorian internet laws…but hey, what’s a YouTuber to do?).
What about SSB?
Because I know some will ask. We do have an SSB, and it works, but we (almost) never use it. We have tuned into a weather report once, just to see how it functions, but that was it. I have scanned the channels while out at sea, yet never heard a peep. With the increase of sailors having other options, like the Iridium Go, less and less people are using SSB. I’m not saying its dead, as I do know a few sailors that still love it. But, I am saying it is the backup to our backup and nowhere near our primary.
You have reached the end of the internet
Or, at least the end of this mobile internet discussion. And honestly, I can’t believe you are still with me! Whew, you are in serious research mode. Good for you! Then I have another goody for you.
If you are based in North America or planning on spending a solid amount of time there, I have one recommendation. Check out the Mobile Internet Handbook and join the Mobile Internet Aficionados group. Internet options in North America, and specifically the USA, are plentiful. It can be a bear to wrap your head around. These guys are the gurus and can help guide you along based on your needs and budget. They have more gear reviews than I have sunglasses. And for those that know me, that’s a statement.
What’s working for you?
Maybe you’ve found something brilliant that could help us all out. Share the knowledge friend, share the knowledge! If we’ve just saved you hundreds of dollars or at least a few hours of research…buy us a brew.
you’re videos are awesome! thanks so much, we’re just starting research and you both have made this so much less intimidating and realistic!! stay safe !
First – great work on the world adventures! Love it, must be so exhilarating!
Second – thank you for all of the information on connectivity options. Very much appreciate the efforts you went to to post this.
Third – I wondered if you could help me. I am looking for a solution that will provide good enough connectivity for 1) connecting to my organization’s VPN while traveling to remote camping spots in the USA where ordinary cell signal is very weak, or non-existent, 2) connecting to the internet to access email and perform searches and 3) enable or boost my cell phone signal for texting/whats app/wifi etc. (My carrier is currently t-mobile).
I looked at the Garmin and Iridium GO! that you mentioned but it isn’t clear from their website whether this would be sufficient to connect my work laptop to from my tent to work (email, join video calls, search internet etc).
Are you able to suggest the best options for my needs as mentioned above?
Many thanks and never stop adventuring!!!
For the most comprehensive info, check out RVMobileInternet.com for the newest gadgets, plans and testing data. Good luck with it!
I’m hooked on you guys for sure, what a dream, your 36/37 good on you brave people
I am 73 full of arthritis and can only dream now, I sailed(raced) all over Lake Ontario when I was younger
My favourite was called NorthStar a 43 ft. CnC a ocean sloop. We won some big races with a crew of 6 or 7
Love all your exploits,I get nervous when I see you in caves, swimming with sharks (fish or anything)
You are incredibly adventurous & can’t wait to see your next endeavour
I started watching you guys mid pandemic times and have been sucked in. The tech/off grid stuff is always interesting. I am not sure if you have heard of a company called AST Spacemobile, it is pretty much Starlink but for the common folk. They are a space based broadband connection (company is based out of Texas) that you will not need any special phone or equipment to use. It will work with your normal 3,4 and 5 G phones. They are building this for under served countries and area, and the cost will be very affordable. It is still in the trial stages, but their first satellite goes up in March. If all goes to plan, they will have a system that will more or less bring coverage to the whole world. I am not a sales person or anything, just someone who finds the company interesting. Here is a good video they put out that explains it. https://youtu.be/OF3talrmxiQ
What’s your recommendation for cellular data (streaming, etc…) in the Exumas?
We are planning to sail the Carribean for a year. Google Fi looked like a great replacement for our Verizon service. When I researched Google FI, their terms of service say that it is not intended for extended international use and they can suspend your service if you have too much international use. How did you get around this caveat on the terms of service?
Are you able to use WhatsApp with one of the mentioned communication devices ?
charles e hester
You mentioned a VPN recently on one of your webcasts but I can’t remember the name of it? Love your show and watch every episode.
There’s a link near the end of this blog post along with a discount code that will give you $$$ off and a few free months as well! Check it out here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/24-hours-at-sea and happy surfing!
Do you plan on trying out and reviewing Starlink for data while sailing and in more remote areas? very curious to see how Starlink will fare out as a viable alternative to iridium go and others.
They of course would love to have Starlink but it remains to be seen what the equipment for boatlife would look like and, of course, what the costs will be. We’re getting closer to finding out though as it rolls out to more areas all the time.
I appreciate all the helpful info.
I just purchased a 50′ monohull and want to put a wifi booster and cellular booster on it.
I can’t seem to find the wifiRanger for sale. At least not the one you have a picture of. Is it still for sale or is there a newer model out there?
It seems to me like these aren’t really designed to be installed on a mast, but more on an RV rooftop or boat cabin top. What would you recommend if I wanted the antennas out of the way, up on the mast or a spreader?
Thank you for the great info and post! I love your videos & blogs! They are always so straightforward, informative and fun. I was wondering if any of these options work for those who need to host video conferences / screen share through work? Is this even possible while anchored or in more remote areas?
I would say you can’t depend on that. The Iridium Go satellite system – definitely not. But if you read through the article, Nikki & Jason talk about using WiFi on various islands – sometimes with success & other days too slow to even download their e-mail. If you need regular access to good internet, “civilization” is probably going to be a must.
Here’s a question I have:
I’m loving your vids, blogs, Instragram posts, etc. so I’ve become interested in becoming a patron. But question: is the $10, $5, $25 a video “charge” prospective, or retroactive, or how does that work exactly? I love you guys and want to support, but want to know what I am signing up for exactly 😉😉
Well thanks Tom! It means a lot that you are even considering. Patreon is pretty simple once you get into it. It says per video but you set how many videos you want to support in a month. You can also scale your pledge up and down as you like or stop at any time (some people just want to support for a couple of months, others like the community and stick around). We like the per video option because if for some reason we need a break and don’t publish a video, you don’t get charged.
Now, if the community aspect and extra interaction aren’t what you are looking for, then we have a straight forward tip jar for a one-time donation. Hope that helps and thanks again!
Very much enjoying your travels.
Thankyou for all your information.
We bought our boat in French Polynesia a few months ago currently moored in Vairie marina Moorea while we update a few essentials. We purchased the google fi that came with a Motorola phone. We flew back into French Polynesia with our new google fi phone. All worked well for 3days then yesterday we kept receiving a message no SIM card. Looked at the website for assistance.
The phone worked with another sim just can’t use the google fi sim. ?
Ordered a new card via USA.
Hopefully that’s all it needs.
Congrats on the purchase! But sorry to hear about the phone issues. I remember Jason & Nikki also having trouble with their Fi and spending some time with Google tech support, but I’m afraid that’s all I know. I’ve made sure they see your message but they are deep into editing this weeks’ vid. I hope you get it resolved quickly!
Oops – Nikki & Jason didn’t have a SIM issue, but if you can get to a place with WiFi & contact Google support I’ll bet they can get the issue resolved. Good luck!
By the way, I found this link for you: https://www.submarinecablemap.com/#/submarine-cable/natitua and it turns out that French Polynesia has fiber. That means you should be able to find plentiful WiFi connections around the area for a fairly inexpensive price. What is your current connection strength and cost?
Oh yes, we are well aware and waiting with bated breath! The cable is laid in several places but the service has not been activated yet. Sadly I think we will be gone by the time it starts to roll out.
Hey Nikki! I have Project Fi already and am obsessed with it 🙂 We travel in our van and sailboat with plans to cruise the world on our sailboat. Did you find that the WeBoost works well with Project Fi service around the world? I’m trying to figure out whether to install it in my sailboat or in my van 🙂
Excellent article! Thanks very much. I’m particularly delighted to see that this article mentions that Google Fi is only for US residents.
The Google FI website completely buries this rather important info, and I was halfway through checkout before realizing.. URRGG! Glad to see your article is more thorough and less provincial than their site! Anyhoo, thanks much for this article & video!
While e were in Costa Rica we used a retailer that scan our “useful” mail and then lock it away. We used “Informed Delivery” to see what was being delivered . We also used a VPN. Twixt the two we lived in Houston. Packages were shipped every other week via DHL.
Which did you find more expensive, living in a motor home or living on a catamaran and why? I’m trying to choose which to retire to, on the water or on the road, thanks in advance for any info
Oh I think without a doubt it would be more expensive to live on a boat. Parts are specialized and can cost quite a bit more than auto and rv parts. If you’re living near salt water that is an especially corrosive and difficult environment and shortens the lifespan of everything from line to electronics. Even in a boat on freshwater, constant dampness is going to take its toll. But you can read up on it yourself since the Wynns have shared expenses on both. There is an expenses tab under the RV heading of the blog, and under the sailing heading. If you just want to look at living expenses, https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/rv-living-cost and https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/cost-sail-bahamas
Do you ever use the SSB to check into the 0300Z Pacific Seafarers Net on 14.300?
So beyond your cell phone you do not use a dedicated cellular device, MiFi or pep wave modem or other, for data?
Thank you for all the info!
Beth, s/v Kestrel
We’re full time cruisers who have been deciding whether to “go Fi;” usually we just buy a local SIM card when we cruise internationally. We currently use an iPhone and iPad, but an iPhone can’t be a hotspot with Fi, so we’re shopping around. What phone are you using? Did you buy it though Fi,or was it a bring-your-own-phone? Thanks so much for the details; you are, in fact, our favorite guinea pigs.
Hello Beth! I so understand the debate. Now that we have fi, we can’t imagine not having it. We also still buy local sims (except here in French Polynesia, where Fi is less expensive). It’s really nice to not have to pay for the data unless we use it. We have the pixel 2 (its a great phone/camera) and did buy it through google. As we mentioned in the video, we have a second free sim, that uses the same plan, which we put into our ipad. We can and do hotspot from our ipad. Perhaps if you have an ipad that could be a solution?
Rena Blades S:V Delos
This post is terrific and your detailed assistance is, as usual, so valuable. We switched to Google Fi, in part due to your advice, and after the fact discovered that we can’t use the iPhone as a hotspot. So, when you advised this other reader that you use a second free sim in the iPad to do a hotspot, is that a Fi SIM or a local SIM?
Yes, it is a Fi Sim and you can request one for free, from your google fi dashboard. It is super simple and if you have any issues just reach out to the Fi support. So far, we have found them to be very good at customer service.
Deb Northern Regius
Very much needed information here. We are Project Fi users and love it. But all the options for various situations that you list are extremely helpful. Thanks!
GoogleFi is now $10/GB up to 6 GB and then it is free. That’s a big update and difference from the deal you received. Basically, $60/month then free data.
That is the same as what we discussed and the deal we have.
This post is beyond awesome, and it’s so interesting to see how connectivity as a North American based nomad differs from international!
Thanks for the Mobile Internet Resource Center shout-out too – it’s our passion to help our community. If this YouTube/blog thing doesn’t work out for you (hah.. nah.. you’re beyond rocking it) – you always have a back-up position with us covering international mobile internet options 🙂
Much love to you guys, and miss you bunches!
Well, considering you literally wrote the book on mobile connectivity, I will take that as an incredible compliment. 😉 When the new satellite options become available, we will happily volunteer as on the sea reporters. Wynns reporting for duty!
Thanks for the google fi referral code! Was able to get a great Black Friday deal on new phone for our kid, which we’ll also use as global hotspot when we travel. Hoping to save on Verizon’s $10/day international option, which we’ve resorted to using a few times too many. We enjoy bareboat chartering…perhaps one day we’ll make the switch to liveaboard status. Thanks so much for continuing to put out high quality content…informative, entertaining, and inspiring!
my daughter commented “they are so smart”!
As my daughter said “they are so smart”.
Hi, love your vids 🙂
also not sponsored :)) but for my international travels, I am using prepaid airbaltic sim card. When you activate plans, data is rather cheap in many countries, and there are many plans out there. There are no monthly fees that I am aware of, and you pay only for what you use 🙂
Ha ha, don’t you feel silly having to say “not sponsored”. Paid commentary is so prominent now we have to disclose when its not. So sad.
Thanks for sharing! I will check out airbaltic, sounds promising!
Jim and Dody Marriott
Thank you so much! As much as we love the beautiful, scenic videos, we also really value all of your advice on everything from what you use to navigate, to what you use to cook your breakfast! It’s been quite a few years since our last sailboat. Now we are starting from scratch restoring another sailboat, and everything has changed! There are so many more options and it can be overwhelming. Having somewhere to start from is incredibly valuable!
Whoa! Fascinating article and right up this outdoorsy nerds alley! Thanks for all of these new research threads.
Really interesting post on all the aids you all use. I did your trip in 1975 without anything but compass and sexton. What a difference!!! 22 days from Costa Rica to the Marquesas and a lot of dead reckoning. I was really proud that we finally arrived at Tahiti. We the local paper’s reporter came by to chat, I was really excited to recount all that we had done to get there and was immediately deflated by her comment, “Oh the milk run”
Your posts are always interesting.
Oh wow, now that was a sailing adventure! You should be proud, its an accomplishment today but nothing like it was then. We techies have it much easier today vs 1975. It does feel like cheating sometimes…but it is oh-so-nice. How long did you sail in French Polynesia? Do you still sail today?
Do not still sail. We arrived Fatu Hiva June 25 (4 days), on to Takaroa, Tuamoto (3 days), Takapoto (1 day), Papeete (24), Moorea (7), Huahine (6), Raiatea (1), Bora Bora (20) then on to the Cook Islands, The Samoas, Tonga, and New Zeland. Left St. Thomas March 31, 1975 , arrived Russell, North Island, New Zeland Oct. 28. 66 days in French Polynesia. Took me a while to find my log. Only those who have made trips like yours have any idea what is going on. Your posts are like an escorted National Geographic tour. Congratulations.
Best post/article I’ve ever read on staying connected in language I can understand! The articles in sailing magazines are so full of jargon, they lose me. Thanks Jason and Nikki.
Great and informative video. I am not too familiar with most of what you spoke about but, I know it’s out there and available.
I love the turquoise, clear water, the multiple colored fish and of course you two and the cats.
Thanks. Safe boating to you.
Thank again for another interesting video. I am learning so much from your videos. You guys are great.
Thanks. Getting ready to motor from ft Myers to Georgetown in Bahamas for winter. We have installed weboost for cell and another system for wifi. We used inreach last year and it was great. I agree with your comments about getting Sim store to set up your phone. Very important!
We almost named our boat Curiositas much like your Curiosity.
Thanks I enjoy your info.
Robert and Susi
You guys continue to blow me away. I love your vlogs and the accompanying posts. Thank you so much for all the information, and all the hard work – I cannot begin to imagine how much time this all takes. You have certainly saved us countless hours by doing the research for us as we start our sailing journey.
Thanks Charles! 😉
Hi – first time poster, long time YouTube viewer – love your vids. What’s your thoughts on having SSB email as a back-up to your back-ups? http://www.bwsailing.com/bw/2014/10/ssb-email-and-weather-made-easy/
You can get e-mail via SSB but it’s text only and it’s not encrypted. Anyone on that frequency can get your mail too. Nikki and Jason need to send and post videos pretty much daily, so SSB really wouldn’t be much help.
Actually, encryption isn’t an issue. I can share some examples if you wish. You can easily run end to end encryption via a variety of formats. I understand the bandwidth needs for data uploads and what not, I was curious about the safety factor of a reliable email back up, mainly if they have used it to give some critique.
Maybe you mentioned this somewhere and I just missed it, but regarding Google Fi, the data charges are in addition to the base monthly fee, which is currently $20/month (plus tax, I assume), which includes the calling and texting. So it will cost a minimum of $20/month before any data charges (which, as you mentioned, are an additional $10/GB). In many cases, it’s still a great option, but you do pay for more than just the data.
Yes, we do pay the $20 a month for voice/unlimited texting, we were just referring to the data charges mostly. The beauty of Google Fi is month to month. So, you are not locked into a contract like most carriers. You can turn it on and off as you need.
I see this all the time in your vids and I keep thinking I’ll see you use it, or maybe you’d explain it during a tour. And maybe you did explain it once and I’ve missed it somehow. It’s been bugging me for months. What is in that red bottle (over Nikki’s right shoulder)?
It the “knockout juice” Jason and Nikki use when they catch a fish. You can see them use it a few times in the videos where they catch their awesome looking suppers! Lol!
That’s it! It’s cherry moonshine…which is why it’s red.
You’ve answered a ton of questions that we are always searching the answers for. Just getting back from Furnace Creek and Zion where we couldn’t get even data downloads was frustrating. Thank you for all the technical data in your video.
Death Valley is dead for internet, right? A WeBoost would probably have helped you at Furnace Creek. It really can take an almost unusable signal and turn it into something you can work with.
I had 4 bars lite on my cell but data would not download.
That’s the worst! WeBoost has sometimes helped us in that situation & sometimes not. At a place like Furnace Creek which has the only connectivity for miles, the tower can easily get overloaded with too many people trying to access data. We’ve often found that an unusable signal during the day (with so many people trying to access the tower) is completely workable in the late evening when day visitors have gone and most campers have gone to bed. I know that doesn’t help, but sometimes it’s the reality of remote areas.
We are just coming back from Death Valley where we had no connection problems. Thanks to our WeBoost.
Great piece of information , thank you and well done . We have gone all through this ourselves many years ago , so it’s nice to have up to date info .
Thanks again .
Thanks for the information. I love these technical sessions.
Julia R Hodges
saw a recent video on SV Delos from when they were in India – the Indian Governement has a ban, of sorts, on Iridium products. SV Delos had to either hand over the Iridium to the local government or put it up on Delos under lock and key. They were able to store it, and had a pass through, that only they knew about…so once the Government was off the boat, they could use the pass through to get to the Iridium. Just food for thought, if one day you go to India.
Thanks for continuing to do these written blogs on your website, they are much more comprehensive and of lasting reference value to those interested in the topic. Their video companion is entertaining and I love to watch them and experience your personalities when both of you talk, but for sheer information value it is much faster to quick scan the written blog for items of detail instead of re-watching a 20 minute video searching for the section of interest.
Uhoh! I may have given you a reason to abandon the written blogs that I enjoy as I understand that You Tube pays you for the number of views. To force me to re-watch the video for a sliver of information might be beneficial to you in view count, but I trust you to do the right thing as I suspect that you share my high regard for the written word. I love you guys, keep on keeping on!!
I also prefer the written posts and found this one to be VERY helpful!
We don’t get paid on views. Only way we get anything from YouTube (which isn’t much anyway) is if someone watches the ads or clicks on one of the ads, which are all placed by YouTube. We also value written blog posts, especially for info like this. Our audience is split and many, many people prefer to watch vs read. We continue to put in the extra work of doing both. So, it’s always nice to hear it is appreciated. 🙂
Does your navigation require internet connectivity or is it downloaded charts already loaded?
No, navigation is all offline. We can connect it to the internet for updates/new charts and such though. Which is very convenient.
Hello there you two,
glad its going all ok. I enjoyed your new post. Lots of good info. we have towers up on a mountain here in Anacortes,WA, they just recently increased the output. I have 4g all the time here. My carrier is Verizon. Curious and out there, do most islands carry this carrier or is it always a different one.
Carriers are different in each country we visit.
Thank you for all of the information which I found to be very interesting and informative. I am a ham radio operator and know there is a maritime net operating daily on the 20 meter band. Wish I had taken up sailing at your age but at least I have a RV for my adventures. Keep up your post and enjoy life Safe sailing.
Did you guys put up something similar for your RV road tripping? I heard Jason mention 7yrs for the cell and data booster or was it range extender. Would love to know what worked great for you guys in the RV as well.
The WiFi Ranger and WeBoost are carried over from RV days. This post is older but the principles are still good: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/mobile-internet
Thanks for all the great info. We will be out there soon enough. Look out for “Seniors On the Run”
Ha, love the name!
Can you do a video on your navigation gear?
We very well may try to tackle that sometime soon.
That was a great update with a ton of good ideas. I’ve used Google Fi for international trips twice over the last 1.5 years in about 10 different countries. It works great. It is a real game changer for international travelers. I’ve just cancelled the service when I get back to the states. There are a couple of additional things that weighed into my consideration:
You need a compatible phone. They’re listed on their website, but in general Google Pixels all work as do the older Google Nexus phones. They added one Motorola phone earlier this year.
Voice calls and texts are included for those prices. It’s not just the data.
Once you cancel the service, you’ll need to order a new SIM to reactivate your phone for the next trip. The old SIM won’t work. The SIM card is free.
If you have just one line of service, they’re a pretty legit low cost option for full time US use.
It’s month to month – no contract term.
Correction – international voice calls are not included. We used WhatsApp for voice calls to circumvent the voice call charges.
We use WhatsApp a lot too. It’s great for calling friends and family back home.
Love the new website: I can’t wait to take three hours and really dive into this blog post. We are going full -time Rv’ing in the spring and would love to get to know the latest in tech gear. Thanks for the in-depth post.
Congrats on the RV, I bet you are counting down the days.