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Surviving Remote Areas: Top 5 Tips

In today’s era of constant connectivity and technological dependence, the prospect of venturing into a remote area can be quite daunting. Over the years, we’ve faced this situation countless times, and we’d like to share our top five tips on how to be prepared and thrive when your phone transitions from 5G to No Service.

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Conduct In-Depth Research on Cell Service Coverage

When planning your adventure, it’s essential to do advanced research on cell service coverage in the areas you’ll be visiting. Most cell service providers offer online maps displaying approximate cell coverage. For instance, if you’re an AT&T customer, you can check their website for coverage details. Before our trip to Crater Lake, I consulted the map to find that Crater Lake National Park had 4G LTE coverage (though some parts had noreception), but the camping area west of the park lacked any service. Conducting thorough research can help alleviate anxiety by setting realistic expectations.

Download Maps for Offline Navigation

Once you’re aware of potential service gaps, it’s crucial to have a backup plan for navigation. Popular map apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps offer the option to download map areas for offline use. Ensure you expand the downloaded map area to cover your anticipated route thoroughly. Check out the videos below for a walk through on both Apple and Google Maps.

Create a Comprehensive List of Favorites

Within your chosen maps app, make sure to mark as favorites all the places you intend to visit. Prepare for unexpected changes by having Plans A, B, and C. We’ve often found ourselves in crowded parking lots, prompting us to switch to alternative hikes, overlooks, or visitor centers. Sometimes, roads and attractions close unexpectedly for various reasons. Having a well-curated list ensures you’re never left aimlessly driving around without cell service. If you overlook this step or your list falls short, consider picking up a local paper map and seeking recommendations from locals during coffee or dinner stops.

Preload Your Entertainment

Few things are more frustrating than losing your streaming signal mid-jam session. To avoid this, download your favorite playlists, podcasts, and audiobooks before embarking on your trip. This way, you’ll always have something enjoyable to listen to, even in remote areas.

Prepare for Essential Services

While most of our advice has centered around dealing with a lack of cell service, it’s also essential to consider situations where other services may be scarce. We’ve encountered campgrounds without showers, parks with subpar restroom facilities, and the dreaded scenario of being unable to find potable water. Here are some links to must-have products that can save you in any of these challenging situations.

By following these five tips, you’ll be well-equipped to handle the challenges of exploring remote areas while maintaining your peace of mind. Whether it’s navigating the wilderness or ensuring you have entertainment and essential supplies, thorough preparation is the key to a successful adventure.

8 Comments

    • Jenn

      Love these tips!! I’m off the grid often and can use these ideas. Sometimes I will screen shot my gps directions as a backup and retrieve them from my camera since that never goes out. Thanks again!

  • Linda (LD Holland)

    When we rely on constant access to cell phones, it is definitely challenging to head out into remote areas. We travel everywhere with offline maps to deal with cell drop outs. Our daughter often is off grid and she bought an emergency beacon so we could find her. We definitely make sure we have checked on essential services before we head out. This is true when we travel in bad weather. A good post with things for people think about before they head out.

  • Shweta

    Your tip on downloading the route and alternatives beforrehand, is bang on. We lost our way across a easy hike to a waterfall in Iceland this summer. It was just a chance that one of the grouop members was carrying a dongle and was able to connect and figure the way back. Else getting lost can be hell!

  • Taylor

    This is really useful. I always think to download map areas for offline use but always forget to. Will definitely think of it next time!

  • Bekah

    Have you looked into the National Parks App? You can download a whole park for offline use, which in many National Parks is most of the park, lol!

    It’s been a game changer!

  • Cosette

    Helpful tips! We usually stil bring paper maps with us, just in case. Gasoline is also a good one to keep in mind, since the next gasstation can be many miles away.

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