Probably best to explain a bit about myself and why I can use the camper van as a mobile office. I am a self employed web developer and nearly all of my work just requires my laptop, internet connection and phone signal.
Being a web developer means a lot of my work is just coding on the computer and occasional phone calls to clients discussing the work so this means location does not matter to me either, I mainly work with clients in Cornwall where I am from but spend the majority of my time living in Scotland which has no detrimental effect on the work that I need to do. So to step this up to the next level as long as I have phone signal and an internet connection I can be parked up in the van working.
There are certainly a few steps to overcome to manage to do this comfortably and the first one internet. Initially I tethered to my phones data plan and was able to use that but often found the speeds fluctuated and often had to reset the connection with it timing out, this was fine for checking in on emails or some quick updates, but for being productive and working for a few hours at a time I would end up spending a good percentage of the time sorting the connection.
Another internet solution is wifi and I have found a lot of places where I have been able to piggy back onto an open wifi network, but this means hunting for wifi rather than finding a nice location. I have found good luck with BT Openzone and previously being a broadband customer it gives me free access to their hot spots. This can be a great solution for areas with poor data coverage.
On to my solution which is an Osprey Mini 2 from EE this is a dedicated mobile internet wifi box and has so far been great. In areas where 4G is strong I regularly get a faster connection than actual broadband connections in the area. I also find in weaker signal areas it still does a good job with the internet speed and have occasionally found it will find a connection when my phone has none.
The mobile data sadly is not so great and can work out pretty expensive. I have found by far the cheapest way is to purchase 6gb sim cards from eBay which last for 90 days and then once run out of data or time buy another rather than topping up.
I would highly recommend looking into your phone providers coverage maps beforehand to see if the areas you are thinking of using it have a good signal.
The next issue is power I can get 4 hours out of my laptop battery which is fine but being away for a few days or doing a whole days worth of work means I could be running out of power. Two methods to get around this issue would be to run an inverter to use your standard charger, or find a 12v charger for your laptop. For me a main criteria in choosing a laptop was that they had their own charger I could use with it and most of DELL’s laptops do. Due to the laptop being a critical work tool for me I was unwilling to use a third party charger that may cause damage, though I have used third party chargers in the past and had no untoward problems.
With those issues out of the way its down to the last choice where shall I go to work today?