We are traveling route 66 in September and we want to have a mobile with us that has data attached so that we can access the net (google maps) while traveling and of course to make and receive phone calls from our family in Brisbane Australia. We not only want to surf via the phone but we also want to use the phone as an access point to connect via our Laptops or Tablets. I think the technical term is called "tethering".
I have visited Telaway who seem to have everything we need however it doesn't have tethering
Hopefully some fellow travellers can help as i know nothing about the telephone system in the USA.
How is phone reception generally along 66?
You will have spotty signal all along the road. For the most part good cell signal
nearer the towns or cities. I would recommend like AT&T Go Phones if you are
going to buy them when you arrive. Not sure what Verizon offers in a pre pay
phone but AT&T is around 45 USD This is a 30 day pay as you go.
This may have been too late as I see you were headed this way in September.
Not sure what Verizon offers in a pre pay
I have not driven Route 66 outside of Illinois, but I have always had good service with my Verizon phone. Several phones here of modest cost.
I always had problems with T-Mobile on Route 66, so I always take a phone booster with me. I ordered mine from here https://www.myamplifiers.com, chose the cheapest one and it was enough. So just in case it's worth taking care of it.
Depending on the service you use, there can be spots on Rt 66 without cell service, perhaps miles in length. I noted some on a recent (2019) trip from Flagstaff through Kingman and Oatman AZ to Needles CA. But you can count on service in the towns/cities that are big enough to have motels. This would even include small places like Tucumcari NM, population 6,000.
The postings here about wifi (although a couple years old) are still accurate: many motels and some restaurants have it, but it's not universal. The big motel chains all seem to offer it, but the smaller unique places may not.