Tricks of the Trade: Remote Work With No WiFi

These days, most of us store our work in ‘the cloud’ — which means that we can access it anywhere, at anytime. Sounds foolproof, right?

But what if you don’t have an internet connection?

*Silence* Life without internet….?

Here’s the thing; regardless of how well you plan out your remote work schedule, there’s always the chance that you’ll encounter a wifi problem. Of course, there’s a much greater chance of that happening on a campsite in Yellowstone than in a large city setting — but it’s definitely something you should be prepared for in advance. So we’ve come up with a few ways that you can continue to get your work done, with or without wifi.

1. SOS! I’ve gone camping for the weekend but I’ve tons of work to do/had a work emergency.

This situation is actually pretty easily fixed with the aid of your cellphone. How do I know this? Well, let’s just say that Google is an excellent resource when it comes to figuring out how to keep a tent standing upright….

You cellphone has a nifty little option called ‘tethering’, which allows you to use your mobile data on your laptop. Granted, you’ll need a cellphone reception for this to work, but it’s a pretty useful option if you’ve got that covered. Is it expensive? Maybe — it depends on your provider and your location. If you’re traveling outside of your home country then you may incur extra charges, so it’s wise to pre-purchase some cheap international data or upgrade your phone plan to cover data roaming in advance. Otherwise, many plans don’t charge extra at all for this service.

2. I’m traveling and visiting a new place every week, how do I get dependable wifi?

If a mobile hotspot isn’t an option, don’t despair, there are a number of resources available that will get you connected in no time. Once you’re out of the wilderness and in a more populated setting — you have tons of wifi options available.

Hit up a coffeeshop with wifi, find a window seat, and grab a coffee.

The key to getting your work done in a coffee shop environment, is to find the right kind of coffee shop to work from. By planning your trip in advance, you can scope out the local cafe scene and figure out what the clientele is like in each place, i.e. are you going to be surrounded by screaming babies or is it a more chilled and work friendly zone? Check out to find the best remote work friendly coffee shops, bars, and spaces in your local area. If you’re in Seattle, just click here for our top list of coffee spots that can cater for both you and your laptop.

Check out a few co-working spaces in your new locale

As we mentioned above, Workfrom is an excellent resource for finding co-working spaces wherever you are in the world. You can also browse popular Slack forums such as The Digital Nomad Chat Community, where you’ll often find recommendations for top secret wifi friendly spots in the area. Or you can check out our list of top coworking spaces across the globe.

Get {H}Appy

There are a vast number of apps that offer affordable internet access to travellers;

  • Wifi Analyzer; this will allow you to find the place with the strongest wifi signal in your vicinity, so even if they don’t have the best coffee…it might be worth the pay off.
  • Boingo is an app which directs users to their nearest hotspot wherever they are in the world. With prices starting at $9.95 a month (the first month is on offer at $4.98 at the moment), users gain worldwide wifi access via mobile, tablet, or laptop device. You’ll pay more for laptop access though — at a monthly rate of $39.
  • And although we all have our love/hate relationship with Comcast, their Xfinity wifi service allows you to access wifi from any of their routers as long as you sign into your account.

WiFi In A Box

If you don’t want to depend on public wifi, you can literally buy your wifi in a box and take it on your trip.

  • Internet On The Go is based solely in the US, but the coverage is a little limited in areas. To use this service, you order your hotspot online (circa $100 depending on offers at time of purchase) and then select a monthly plan starting at $10 for 300MB of data, no contract required.
  • Skyroam differs from Internet On The Go as it’s a global service, and users have the option to either buy or rent a box (starting at $9.95 per day for rental). Skyroam provides wifi access in over 90 countries across the globe.

Wifi In The Sky

Gogo and Inflight are great options for both frequent fliers and anyone who wants to get some work done whilst they’re in the air.

3. None of those options will work for me because I’m moving to the absolute wilderness for a month.

Ok! Well, in that case, why not download the desktop/offline versions of your usual digital work tools? Not all of your regular tools will offer this option, but it’s still pretty easy to plan out a to-do list in advance of your zero-wifi status.

If you’re a writer, do your research before traveling and store all of your notes on your laptop rather than in the cloud. If you manage a social media account; use a service like Buffer to schedule your updates in advance, and arrange for someone to check in on the account once a day for any tweets that require feedback. What’s even more awesome (for you) is that Buckets will eventually be rolling out an offline version too — so you’ll be able to get moving on your projects whether you have access to wifi or not.

Here’s a radical thought…

Or you could just, you know, take an actual holiday from the internet whilst you go about finding yourself or whatever it is that you’re doing in the middle of nowhere (finding wifi?!). Some might call it a detox; I’d call it hell. But hey, whatever works for you. Sometimes a digital detox can be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to taking a breather from the startup game.

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