Data Diet

I love my mobile lifestyle.  To be honest, the lifestyle can be quite addictive. What started off as we’ll do this for a year or two until we find that special place to settle down has turned into four years and soon approaching year five of full-time RV living.  Egads, where does the time go?Desert Wildflowers

My one big dislike, a bone of contention, to this RV lifestyle centers around the internet.  The internet?  However, did we manage to survive before this remarkable invention?  I still remember a time when the TV flipper was the youngest kid in the family.  The invention of a TV remote control was a life changer for my little sister.

butterflyBack to the internet … when we first hit the road in the RV full-time, we started off with a Verizon mobile WiFi hotspot / jetpack with 5 GB of data that worked fine for a few months.

However like any RV newbie, we were so busy running around exploring those first few months that we didn’t spend much time on the internet. But once reality set in, we needed to get back to business which meant back to needing steady and strong internet connection.

Thus, we signed up for 30 GB of data, first through a Verizon reseller, and then later directly with Verizon.  All was fine until about a year ago.  We never stream. We don’t watch videos.  I don’t use the GPS on my iPhone and yet we seem to gobble up data twice as fast as we did previously.

egret

Date usuage? Gag!

We’ve run in to other location independent folks who seem to be experiencing similar data problems.  Some have switched providers or changed their plans.  I still haven’t desert poppiesfigured out why the increase in usage since we haven’t changed our habits.  If anything, we spend less time on the internet.  It’s been extremely frustrating.  I’m not sure what the fix might be, but in the meantime, I’ll need to curtail my internet fun leaving the gigs for our internet biz.

So yes my dear friends, I’m on a data diet and it does not make me a happy camper 😭

Our two months in Texas really spoiled us.  The RV park offered strong free WiFi right at our campsite. And boy oh boy, did we take full advantage of endless internet.  The you tube videos were rolling regularly … the educational kind, not the funny cat trick kind ……. well ….. maybe the cute puppy dog kind, but mostly educational.

So much fun!  But now that I’m back to using our jetpack with limited data (sigh, sad face, tear), I’ll need to plan visits to the library or coffee shop more strategically, which is just not as enjoyable as sitting at home with feet propped in my jammies and socializing with all my blogging pals.wildflowers

Oh well.  Such is the life of a full-time RV’er.  Life could be a whole heck of a lot worse. Seriously! Check out these photos of the amazing desert wildflowers.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Phoenix valley covered in so many beautiful wildflowers.  It’s crazy pretty around here lately.butterfly

I’ve tried to get out with the camera to capture her beauty, but between RV repairs, health matters, visiting with our children and navigating data issues since our return to Phoenix, Arizona, it has been a bit of a challenge.

But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and with the valley heat soaring those flowers won’t be sticking around too much longer.  Thus, over the next couple of weeks this gal will be hitting the trails with the camera at every opportunity.  Stay tuned!wildflowers

Superstition Wilderness Trails West: Hikes, Horse Rides, and History
Hiking Arizona’s Superstition and Mazatzal Country: A Guide to the Areas’ Greatest Hikes (Regional Hiking Series)

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74 thoughts on “Data Diet

  1. We too had unexplained issued when we used our jetpack. Glad to leave that behind here at Jojoba. We now have unlimited data for next to nothing monthly. Photos once again are magnificent Ingrid!

  2. We already dumped our Jet Pack, useless piece of crap. We are now using either the iPad or our phones as hotspot and we seemed to be just within our data plan. We turned off all at night.

    • You think the jet pack was gobbling up data? We turn ours on and off all day long when not in use. That seems to help. We used to be just fine and can’t figure out why it all changed last spring… grrr!

  3. I feel like every time I increase my data allowance, I just burn through it in a week. I think it has something to do with the social media apps and everything is in High Quality now. It’s a total data suck! On a side note, I’m totally jealous of your lifestyle. My husband and I keep talking about doing too when the kids are out of the house. Only problem is it’s 16-18 years away!!!

    • Oh, don’t rush those kids growing up. It happens all too soon. We started off with camping trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area near Grand Marais, MN and our camping and equipment evolved over time. Good times!

    • Thank you – hmm, didn’t realize the GE was in breeding plumage but I guess that would make sense considering the roseate spoonbills were and it was spring after all. Love those birds!

  4. I’m with you, I hate data diets! I was forever increasing a bit more to get more GB, it was getting out of control. I don’t know how I survived without internet before and what would I do without it, lol. Although these last few months I’ve been mooching on the daughter’s unlimited plan AND I got to decrease the plan, yippee! Outstanding images, Ingrid, and a wonderfully funny post. Happy trails and shooting!!

    • Having the kids homes to mooch data is a perk of parenthood, huh! I’m currently at my son’s home and taking full advantage of unlimited data. The desert wildflowers this year are crazy pretty, but I do miss the birding along the coast.

  5. We just upgraded to the new Verizon unlimited plan. It didn’t cost us any more than what we were previously paying for 24 GB. We’ll see how good it is.

  6. I hear you about the data diet! We’ve been considering getting a larger data plan to tether our laptops (right now we always have to find wifi if we need to use the computer. Or blog ;)) but I’m concerned that the extra $50-$60 a month won’t get us much.

  7. You have lovely photos.
    I’m currently in a park with great wifi. Soon I’ll be back to my data plan only. I’m moving from a private park to a county park. I’m looking forward to the woods and larger sites.

      • In this park most the sites are close together. There are are a few exceptions that are raced for when they become vacant. I’ve been here long enough to laugh at that. Sometimes I have a really close neighbor on one side.
        As parks go, Rolling Hills is pretty good. Good wifi, 3 lakes for fishing, a pool, and it is on the country side of suburban. Fifteen years this was rural. The next exit down (7 miles) is rural. There is nothing but a gas station and another RV park.

  8. Your opening photo with mountains in the background is killing me Ingrid So gorgeous. As is the rest.

    I guess your mysterious data usage requires more forensic investigation. Have you confirmed that automatic updates while on wifi on both your computer and phone were not turned on? I found that photo backup, cloud storage backup, apps updates eat up a lot of my data, so I don’t let it happening automatically unless I’m on unmetered wifi.

    I found that many bloggers post a full or very large resolution photos on their blogs without scaling down the size first. That can be a drain on the data. If I read only 10 blogs each day and each blog has 10 photos with the size of 8 MB/photo. That’s already at least 0.8 GB per day I would be consuming. Ugh.

    • The Superstition Mountains on the far east side of the Phoenix valley is one of my favorite areas. I love the hiking here.
      I don’t use the cloud. I have very few apps and they’re simple and basic. Nothing auto updates. All my photos are downsized. I don’t run video. My forensic investigation will continue along and the possibility of switching providers as an option.

  9. Absolutely beautiful wildflowers! Love the pink one at the end, the contrast of the purple with the orange, the butterfly, and the first one with flowers and mountains in the back. Ok all of them are gorgeous! It’s the perfect time and hopefully these lovely flowers will last just a bit longer before the heat gets to them 🙂

    • Thank you Holly. I appreciate the comment because it’s hard for me to tell if I’ve progressed. My photography has been an enjoyable journey and something I hope to continue improving upon.

  10. Whenever I travel, I will ‘queue up’ everything up on the laptop top with the phone as a USB hotspot, and when the wi-fi becomes available, upload on the public wire. Really saves on the data usage.

    Good luck on your diet!

    • Yeah, I do my best at uploading photos using other data. Since I travel full-time, I don’t have the luxury of queuing things up at a home base. Oh well, we’ll figure it out!

  11. We totally feel your pain! We allow ourselves about 1/2 gig/day. We manage but cannot stream anything. We are headed to Antelope Canyon tomorrow, hope to get some great shots in the next few days!

  12. We have that same 30gb Verizon plan, and use every last drop. The mobile has the binge on thing, where you can watch Netflix, you tube, any of it, and it doesn’t use data. We were going to get a t mobil as a second account, then my son just added us to his. $30 a month for basically unlimited. It’s a handy backup if Verizon is running out. The biggest problem is that they don’t have great coverage. Since we spend so much time in the back of beyond, we don’t have service with T mobile often enough. Look into it though, as a second source for Internet.

    • Yeah, we’re looking at different options. That’s awesome your son added you to his T Mobile plan. We’re kind of waiting to see what these companies will do over the next year. We’ve read mixed reviews and I don’t want to give up my 30 GB special price that we received when Millencom closed until I know it’ll be worth the change.

  13. Lovely photos! You always amaze me! The bird looking like he is about to gag! I soooo cute!
    I too have been trying to photograph all the super bloom but GUESTS seem to take a bit of my time. Plus the Rock Show has demands.
    Text me on the 27th and lets set a date for the 28th- 31st. Escargot is all I can think of. Hugs Girlfriend!

  14. The desert must be incredibly beautiful (and bearable) right now. If there is any place I would rather be than in Sonoma Valley right now, it would be the desert – or any other warm place without rain! We know all about not having decent internet and being totally dependent on it. That’s why we invented our product The Wirie! 🙂 That being said, you are always dependent on what is around you and I cannot count the amount of times we had to leave an anchorage because there was no internet. While on our boat, having internet was the number one priority, because of work and it is the same with house sitting. Believe it or not, but there are properties without WiFi needing pet sitters. Not for us… We are looking forward to easier and more basic times on an RV again, when we don’t have to work anymore. I can’t wait to not have to rely on the internet as much anymore!!

    • Well, we definitely need the internet as we aren’t fully retired either. Thus, the blogging quite often has to take a backseat and wait for the library or coffee shop and I’m ok with that, but it can be frustrating.
      The desert is stunning right now. I’ve never seen so many blooms here before.

      • We just returned from the Mohave Desert in CA and NV. Took a day to drive around the Borrega Springs area. Billions of blooms!!! Absolurly incredible. I have never seen the desert so green or full of blossoms. Each elevation was different. Even saw blooming ocotillo, Joshua trees, and various cactus. Beware the teddy bear cholla spikey balls rolling around. They eat shoes!

        • We are intimately familiar with those teddy bear cholla’s – evil plant. Oh, how I wanted to make it over to Anzo Berrego. I hear it’s amazing this year. The desert blooming is always a special treat, but some years are better than other.

    • Thanks Cindy. We never imagined ourselves living this mobile lifestyle this long, and we don’t see an end anytime soon. We’ll be back in Prescott this summer!

  15. I hear ya my friend!! We ran totally out of 4g data at the beginning of March. Our plan did not cut us off it slowed us down to 2g…. at that point I thought I would need counseling!!! We have now changed our plan and we are hopeful. I think we just do so much via phone or laptop it just adds up quickly.
    Your pictures are awesome!! Such vivid colors!! I think with all the rain this winter the desert is just gorgeous!! Get out there and enjoy!!

    • Haha – counseling? I hear ya! It’s amazing, we can live without TV, but pls don’t take away our internet.
      The desert is stunning and I need to make it a priority to get out as much as possible before the blooms are gone.

  16. Great photos. Look under Settings —> Cellular on your iPhone and that will show you how much each of the applications that use cellular data are using. There has been some hype that Wi-Fi Assist can eat up cellular data, but on my phone, it’s one of the smallest users of data. Email is the single largest user of cellular data for me 733MB followed by Safari 168MB and then Fitbit 52MB, but I have wifi connections most of the time. You can turn off all the services you don’t use and they won’t be using up your cellular data when you are not connected to wifi.

    • I have done this Tim and it helps tremendously when I am away from home and Data Usage kicks in. Texting and emails especially if you have files in your emails hogs up data as well.

      Funny thing is… we had no idea what data was up until 10 years ago… maybe more. But now we talk about it like a staple in our pantry. HA HA HA

    • Thanks Tim. I do have everything on my iPhone turned off and on days when we don’t turn our jetpack on, we don’t use any data. So I know it’s not the phone 😖

      • We have unlimited data as long as our cellular connection stays in the T-Mobile network. But if the phones roam onto another network, that’s a whole different story. When we were in France in 2013 we just left out phones in airplane mode and only used our computers for communicating over the wifi we had available.

        • Traveling part-time opens up a bunch of different options. We still have biz to attend to via the internet and thus it’s a bit more challenging which is why my blogging needs to take a backseat from time to time…sigh!

  17. I get what you’re saying. We too go through our monthly 30 GB fast. I don’t understand why that is. Like you, we don’t stream, watch YouTube, etc. We’re not doing anything different than we did when we first started & had less GB’s to work with. What’s one to do, it’s a necessity in this lifestyle.
    When I imagine what the desert looks like, never in my wildest dreams have I pictured it in bloom & so very beautiful. Nice work Ingrid!

    • See! It’s not just us! Personally, I think Verizon is calculating things differently. Kind of like when a package of bacon was once 16 oz. and now most are only 12 oz. for the same price… grrr!
      The desert is ALWAYS beautiful in the spring but this year it’s exceptional 😎

  18. Amazing pictures! So beautiful. As a newbie, I’ve been a little worried about this upcoming data thing. A little trial and error is in store, I think. Thanks for the insight!

    • We monitor our usage daily to make sure we don’t go over 30 GB. It is definitely a little trial and error to see what works. Glad I could enlighten somewhat 🙂

  19. Ingrid, I feel your pain! The last time we were away from our home WiFi for a few weeks our data just got gobbled up. I use my phone as a WiFi hotspot when on the road in a park with no Wifi and it goes fast! We’ve been known to search for a McDonald’s or other restaurant just to check email.

    • To upload photos to WordPress or watch any video, I’m off to McDonald’s or Panera Bread, but then I feel obligated to buy and my poor waistline is feeling the effects 😄 Oh darn, it’s time for another scone and coconut milk latte!

    • I hate any kind of diet, but this one has been exceptionally frustrating. I think it would be difficult to take a bad photo surrounded by the desert in all her glory – thanks!

  20. you can save a lot of data by turning off automated upgrades of apps, cloud sync services and autoplay features in apps like facebook. I am grandfathered into an unlimited dataplan, so I never cared about usage but on our last 3 week trip I burned through 120 GB of data and that seemed very excessive. I since then put myself on a data diet as well.

    safe travels

    • Yikes – 120 GB? We do have everything we can think of turned off and we never use the cloud. I will ck FB though. Lucky you to be grandfathered into an unlimited plan.

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