A seasonal hold, also called a vacation hold, allows customers to temporarily pause their internet, TV and phone services at a minimal cost. Traditionally, this service has been of particular interest to snowbirds — people who travel from cold climates to warmer areas and back again when the weather changes.
However, these days there has been an enormous rise in digital nomads who are looking for flexible internet solutions during their travels. If you have internet service, pausing or canceling your service may be an option, depending on your provider.
Reasons you might pause your Wi-Fi
So, why the uptick in timeouts? Between retirees taking advantage of their freedom by splitting time between two homes and the advent of the ability to work from anywhere as a digital nomad, it’s not hard to understand why pausing wifi might be a popular choice.
Putting your home phone, internet or TV service on hold or paused can be a real money-saving option if you fit into one of the following categories:
- Retirees or snowbirds
- Families with second homes
- People who rent out multiple private properties
- Families who need a break from services due to personal or financial reasons (hospital stays, digital detox, etc.)
- Long-term travelers
- Digital nomads taking advantage of working from home
ISPs offering seasonal holds
*Last updated 7/18/22
Pros and cons of pausing internet service vs. canceling
Disconnecting and reconnecting services is the other option for part-time residents, but this method can be much more costly. Getting set up with a brand-new service is expensive since most companies have fees for activation, installation, one-time equipment costs, early-termination fees (ETFS) and deposits.
Suspending service via a seasonal hold lets you avoid most fees and makes it easier to reinstate your service when you return from your sabbatical. Canceling Wi-Fi, on the other hand, means you might pay a hefty fine upfront and will have to deal with a new setup and finding the right plan all over again. Plus, when you pause internet service, you can typically:
Cheaper than monthly service
You can keep your same phone number and/or email address
You can save any unwatched DVR content and leave complicated equipment undisturbed
There is still a monthly cost or fee for the hold
There are typically limits for how long you service can be suspended
You may have to contact customer support to reinstate service, or service may be automatically restored after a certain period
Read your internet provider’s fine print
As with any change, make sure you pay attention to the fine print and don’t be shy about asking questions. Before you suspend your service, most companies will require:
- Your internet service account is in good standing
- You have had the internet service a minimum number of days (varies by company)
- You request the turn-off and turn-on date far enough in advance
They may also insist that government taxes and regulatory surcharges continue to be paid while the account is on hold.
If you are in a contract, be aware that a seasonal hold does not count as time toward the contract. For example, if you suspend the service for six months, those months will be added to the back end of the term. The upside is you can usually maintain your promotional rate throughout the contract. Again, make sure you request these details if they are not on the company’s website.
Additional ways to purchase internet
- Month to month contracts: There are some service providers who offer no-contract plans. These allow you to cancel at any time so you have greater freedom over your service.
- Prepaid internet service: Prepaid service is another pay-as-you-go solution for service. You can pay upfront for a term of your choosing.
- Contract buyouts: If your provider does not offer vacation holds or if it is too expensive, you may be able to switch to another provider and save a ton of money in the process.
- Bypass providers and use a mobile hotspot: With cell phone providers offering mobile access, you could ditch your internet provider altogether and opt for a mobile hotspot instead. The additional fee for service may be cheaper than the cost of adding another service.
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Written by:Lena Borrelli
Lena Borrelli is a Tampa-based freelance writer who has worked with leading industry titans, such as Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and Simon Corporation. Her work has most recently been published on sites like TIM… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content