Stay Connected During Your Move

When you're moving, there's a good chance you’ll be disconnected from the Internet for a period of time. Whether you'll be offline for a few hours or a few days, planning ahead for your unconnected time will help minimize stress as your family moves.

Planning for Your Move

Monitor your Internet usage in advance

An important first step in planning for your unconnected time is taking note of how you use the Internet now. Though there are ways to stay connected as you move, limiting your reliance on the Internet during your move can save you money and aggravation.

Stock up on any medication, household supplies or other important items that you order online. If you prefer not to move them, update your address and schedule your refills to arrive at your new home after your move. This way you won’t have to worry about refilling these items on the road.

Don't forget to pack board games, a DVD or Blu-ray player, books and other non-Internet–based entertainment items for your family. This is especially important if Internet streaming programs normally make up the bulk of your family's evening entertainment. An easily accessible box of toys, games and favorite books can keep stress low and your family happy as you settle in to your new home.

Preparing to move your Internet

As soon as you know your new address, research Internet options in that area. Once you decide on an Internet service provider, set up an appointment to have your service connected. You can call before you move to schedule an appointment for the week of your move to minimize your time without the Internet.

Pack all your network equipment (router, modem, and cables) together. Clearly label this box and either load it on the truck last, or take it with you in your car. That way you'll be able to have your network ready once your Internet provider arrives. Or save time by having the experts at Geek Squad® set up your network for you.

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Finding Wi-Fi Hotspots While Moving

If you're going to be without Internet for a short period of time, relying on free Wi-Fi hotspots may be an option for you. A number of places have publicly available Internet, where you can connect your laptop, tablet or other wireless device to access the Internet.

Keep in mind that public Wi-Fi may be too slow for streaming or large downloads. They may also have time or data usage restrictions that limit your ability to do what you wish — like Skyping with a friend or uploading images.

Check local businesses

Most McDonalds and Starbucks locations have Wi-Fi, but if there are none in your area, think creatively. The Yelp! app rates nearby businesses and restaurants. If you are able to access the Yelp! app, you can look up local businesses and restaurants to both check reviews and check for free Wi-Fi.

If you are moving a long distance, try connecting to Wi-Fi at a truck stop. Many have free or low-cost high-speed Internet. If you run into some unfortunate car trouble during your move, most auto shops have an Internet connection they'll let you use.

Public and municipal buildings

Libraries, rec centers or the lobby of a city hall or government building may have free Wi-Fi for you to use. Many of these places are designed for community Internet usage and make it easy and comfortable to complete your daily tasks

Housing complex

If you are moving into an apartment, townhome, condo or residential community, check with your landlord or housing association about any Internet-accessible areas. Many complexes have community rooms, lobbies and meeting rooms equipped with free password-protected Internet.

Learn how to set up Internet service at your new place ›

Devices to Keep Connected On the Go

When you're without a home network it could be hard to find and connect to Wi-Fi hotspots. 4G LTE devices let you access the Internet on the go — whether it's in your new living room while you wait for your Internet to be installed or at a rest area as you travel across the country.

A variety of 4G LTE-connected devices are available. A standalone device, such as a laptop or a tablet, connects directly to the 4G LTE. A mobile broadband device creates its own mobile Wi-Fi hotspot that can connect multiple devices simultaneously. Or your smartphone may be able to act as both a standalone device and a hotspot.

For all 4G LTE devices, you should pay attention to the amount of data you use and adjust your data plan to meet your needs in order to avoid overage charges. Try to decrease your Internet usage because video streaming, downloading and other Internet activities can become prohibitively expensive using 4G LTE.

Using your smartphone

A smartphone is the most common and versatile 4G LTE device. It can be used as a standalone device (accessing the Internet alone) or a mobile hotspot (connecting other devices to the Internet) anywhere it detects a cellular signal.

If you anticipate a lengthy Internet outage, you probably want a physically larger device than your smartphone. One way to connect a tablet or laptop to the Internet is to turn your smartphone into a hotspot. Once the hotspot capability is activated on your smartphone, you can connect up to five devices at a time. For more information on how to turn on this feature and if there are any associated fees, contact your mobile carrier or stop into a Best Buy store.

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Laptops and tablets

A laptop or tablet with its own 4G LTE connection is simplest for a long-term on-the-road connection where you may want a larger screen or more computing power without using a separate device.

If you already own a laptop or tablet, and it is 4G LTE-enabled, you can contact the affiliated carrier and activate it for Internet access. Also, many devices allow you to turn the data plan on and off as you need them, so you can use the 4G LTE only when you're traveling, moving, or otherwise without regular Internet access. Check with your carrier to see if there is a monthly fee to keep the device activated.

If you aren't sure if your device is 4G LTE-capable or what cellular network it operates on, visit a Best Buy store and speak to a customer service representative.

If you want to replace your tablet or laptop during or after your move, look into ones with a 4G LTE connection. Then you can use it as your Internet connection during your move. Most carriers let you choose a long-term contract or a month-to-month plan that you can turn on and off as needed. Cellular carrier fees and device pricing vary depending on the plan you choice and its interaction with any existing cell phone plan.

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Mobile broadband devices

A mobile broadband device is a hub that connects multiple devices to the Internet at the same time, creating a mobile hotspot similar to a smartphone hotspot, but freeing up your phone to use for calls and other activities. A mobile broadband device is a great option for those living in short-term rental housing or a hotel as part of their move.

You can add a mobile broadband device to your cell data plan for a fee. A broadband device connecting multiple devices can take a lot of data to run, so limit your data usage or adjust your carrier data plan to avoid data overage fees.

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Learn more about 4G LTE devices ›

Learn about apps to help you move ›

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