image courtesy of familymwr on Flickr

Ever thought about taking your Roku player on vacation? Traveling with your Roku can be a snap with a little bit of forethought; we’ll show you how you can bring your favorite black box along to some of your favorite destinations.

Planning:
Broadband Internet is relatively common these days, but you should still consider the following questions:

  • Will there be sufficient Internet bandwidth at the place I am staying?
  • How will Roku connect to the Internet? Will I need a router or laptop?
  • What type of TV will there be?

If you are staying at a friend or family member’s home, you can usually rely on a stable Internet connection and the ability to plug into a router or connect over a wireless network.  You should let them know ahead of time that you will be using your Roku player –then tease them for not having one already.

image courtesy of MoToMo on Flickr

Most hotels offer free Wi-Fi and it’s just a matter of plugging in your Roku and connecting to the wireless network. There are some, however, that require authentication beyond a password–like your room number and name, etc. To share an Internet connection, even with the authentication, I use my laptop and an older Netgear wireless travel router (a travel router is just a smaller version of a typical router, and any brand should get the job done).

You will need to clone the MAC address from your computer to your router.  It sounds scary, but it’s typically a check box that you select in the router settings menu, which tells the router to use the same address as your computer. As every router is different, you should refer to the proper documentation.

If you have a Wi-Fi hot-spot, you’re golden wherever you go.  Just make sure you have a solid connection and connect your Roku player as you would at home.

What to bring:
It’s wise to pack HDMI, component, power and Ethernet cables–and don’t forget the remote. Left your remote behind? No worries, you can use our mobile app for iOS or Android as a backup!

Made by Waterfield Designs, this travel case should do the trick.

If you travel quite a bit and don’t feel like unplugging cables from the back of the TV every time you travel, you can find spare cables in our accessory shop and create a dedicated travel pack.

 

 

A few takeaways:

  • Internet usage at some hotels may require authentication, but once enabled, it’s usually good for a few hours. If you have trouble connecting, contact the hotel’s tech support team and ask them to bypass authentication by adding your MAC address to the system.
  • You can use a travel router to share the Internet connection with your Roku.
  • If you travel frequently, consider creating a travel case, like the one from Waterfield Designs, for your Roku with extra cables.

Have any travel tips? We would love to hear about them in the comments below.

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  • http://twitter.com/geekcoach Kimm Viebrock

    I have really enjoyed traveling with our Roku and would only add that if you’re thinking of traveling internationally, check to see if your favorite services will be available outside the US. Some key services are limited to domestic use only.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IWKTGWNSL2QSSIBS7DZS3J2E4A Brandon D

      Anyone knows if we can travel to Mexico and take our baby Roku with us!?!?!

      • http://contracthireguide.co.uk/ Contracthireguide

        Ofcourse you can mate. What can be the problem to take your baby with you ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.dorset Brian Dorset

    To truly make it a device worth traveling with you need to give us the ability to change DNS Server settings in the box. This way we can get US content overseas. You could do this with an Apple TV.

  • Admiralsequoia

    You can also call the hotel Internet support line and have them bypass the authentication by adding your mac address to the system. Then you’re covered for your whole stay.

    • blujkts

      this is the best way. I have to do this to be able to access my work’s VPN and its an obvious solution to everyone’s tired excuses and work arounds on here.

      • Guy

        This by far is the best way. After researching this topic and finding this little blurb in the comments I figured I didn’t have anything to lose by calling. Took the number from the log in screen (Day’s Inn) that popped up on my laptop, told the guy (word for word from above) I wanted to “bypass the authentication by adding my mac address” and it was all set up in about 5 mins. He asked what type of device it was and said nothing about not being allowed to connect a Roku. Thanks admiral and blujkts.

        • Jen

          This worked perfectly for us in a hotel. THANK YOU!

    • http://Sparkrealtor.com/ Joomla Real Estate

      That’s a good one ! LOL

    • Jeff

      This tip is really worth it. It works. Worked for me during a 2 week tour.

      Jeff @ http://www.cleaningserviceswallington.co.uk

    • hamw24

      Wow this actually worked! Thanks for the tip :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IE6EQFETX5KDL4Q2TDPFXXRMCY Paul

    Hey! We take our Roku on pretty much every family trip. It’s been our experience, though, that if you intend on connecting over WiFi DO NOT forget the remote. Without the remote there is no way to set up the WiFi connection. Not even with an iPhone or other network based remote app, because the Roku has to be connected to the network for the iPhone app to connect (obviously). So you have to connect via Ethernet. Then you can use the iPhone app, but if you try and then set up the WiFi, for some reason the Roku drops the Ethernet connection during the setup so you can’t complete it. So at least with the Roku 1, no remote = no WiFi. Lesson learned on a recent trip to the beach. :-)

    Also, a Crown Royal pouch makes a great carry bag for the Roku!

    • devlin7

      tip… if you are bringing a travel router give it the same SSID and password as your regular home router the Roku is normally connected too. Your Roku will then try connecting to that router by default and automatically enter the SSID’s password. That way if you do forget your remote as I did recently your Roku will be connected and waiting to hear from your tablet’s Roku app!

      btw, I love the last hotel because it had both wifi (weak but there) and hard wire which I prefer since I carry a travel router anyway for added security.

  • Steve

    You’ve got to be kidding if you think lugging a laptop and router around with us and creating a ad-hoc wifi networks “can be a snap with a little bit of forethought.” Roku needs to include a web browser for this problem. It doesn’t have to be fully-featured. It doesn’t even need JS or CSS support. Just throw some text up on the screen and let us tab through the fields to enter the info.

  • Lovemigod

    Anyone have a problem putting in their carry on? Traveling and would like to know if I’m going to get stopped for having it. Don’t want to pay extra to check a bag.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/cmainard Christopher Mainard

    Many “Smart” phones now have data plans, if you have unlimited plan and your phone pushes a wireless HOTSPOT… you should be good to go

    • Trump Kelly

      How would this work? My son does not have cable so I thought of getting him a Roku. He only has internet on his phone as well. He is able to get on his laptop off of his phone wifi as well. Can the Roku work off just a phone? Please explain in detail since I am not so computer savvy…lol! Thx!

      • Robert B

        If your son’s phone is already setup to share it’s internet “wirelessly” and not through a cable, you simply enter the phones WIFI share information (he would know this because it was used on the laptop), connect the Roku to a TV or monitor it should work.
        Caveat: Some phones do not share their high speed internet and the low speed may cause video buffering. Again, your son will know about the speed according to his laptop experience.

        Sorry, I just saw your post was a year old. Oooops

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1403092401 Jordan Webber

    “If you have a Wi-Fi hot-spot, your golden wherever you go.”

    This should be “you’re golden”.

    • Son

      Hahahaha! This made me laugh!

    • YouWannaArmWrestle

      Douche!

      • greenbeam

        YouWannarmWrestle – no, correct English is correct English. otherwise you look like the dolt you apparently are . .. .

  • http://twitter.com/BuffNakedButler Buff Naked Butlers

    no problems – travelled over christmas internationally (to america) with roku packed in hand baggage.

  • Moses_mails

    Has anyone tried to fix roku in the power outlet of, say, a minivan and connected the AV cable to the DVD screen in it?

    • YouWannaArmWrestle

      lmao, you drive a minvan!

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    • dougcouch

      Would just depend on the video IN connections on the DVD player (if it even has video IN), matching the video OUT on the Roku. Mine has composite (yellow, red, white RCA) on the Roku XD…also has HDMI, but I don’t know if that’s for video IN or video OUT. If it doesn’t match, you might be able to find a converter online.

  • http://www.tuscanyfinerentals.com/ Aburlington

    can you tell us more about the mac address cloning?

  • Anonymous

    I like my Roku 2 XS. And its just the right size to travel with wired and wireless streaming. No more buying movies.

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  • http://twitter.com/ORHull Ray Hull

    Does anyone know if there is a 12 volt (cigarette lighter) power supply for the Roku

    • dougcouch

      Dunno about a 12V-DC power supply for Roku, but you can take an ordinary converter which plugs into the cig lighter socket and converts the 12V-DC to 110 V-AC, then just plug in the Roku box.

  • La Quinta Fan

    If you have a laptop running Windows 7, use Connectify (www.connectify.me). Works great!

    • Anonymous

      How do I connect my Roku to Connectify?

  • http://bestplumbersinedinburgh.co.uk/ James Simpon

    Hey Vince, Thanks for the tips… I am a business man, and i travel a lot. I have neve thought about doing this for some strange reason. I always have my laptop cables etc with me on EVERY trip, so next time you know what im going to bring!! great post thanks again

  • http://www.twitter.com/davezatz Dave Z

    I’ve been to at least one hotel that blocks whatever port Roku was streaming over. I called support about manually changing the port and it couldn’t be done. But this was a long time ago, maybe the situation is different now.

  • dougcouch

    I guess people who “travel” only go from point A to point B and then hookup whatever. If you’re really “traveling”, you might stay in a dozen places. Individual pain in the bulgebottom for each one is a bit much. Would be nice if to ease that pain, a step-by-step were provided for doing a quick on-the-fly setup. I have an XD at home, and could take it with me…or even get another box for travel only. But if I arrive at a location and need to bang myself on the head anytime I want to do a setup, that’s bum. Many WiFi hotspots are both free and non-password, but to say it’s a piece of cake to get hooked up might be misleading. A step-by-step to follow for with and for without a password would be helpful. The whole point is to make life easier and more enjoyable, not more painful. LOL So here’s the deal: I would be taking my Roku box with me and my video glasses…and just kick back and watch Netflix on my glasses by the nearby pool perhaps…or on their set if it has composite hookups, etc. (which it probably does). Netflix has an app for my iphone which can also hookup on the WiFi, but their app cannot transmit composite video for the 3GS phone, only the 4G series. So something to stream Netflix would be way cool…like uh, a Roku box via a triple cable composite to single plug video such as my glasses have. The Netflix will stream properly at home with that setup and my WiFi home network handy…but at home, I’m about big screen, etc.

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  • AndrewTV

    I have tried to travel with my Roku many times and have never been able to get it to connect in a hotel room. I already bring a travel router with me (TrendNet TEW-654-TR), but I always get a “Code 014″ error. Does anyone know if there’s a travel router that reliably allows the Roku to connect in a hotel?

  • AndrewTV

    I have tried to travel with my Roku many times and have never been able to get it to connect in a hotel room. I already bring a travel router with me (TrendNet TEW-654-TR), but I always get a “Code 014″ error. Does anyone know if there’s a travel router that reliably allows the Roku to connect in a hotel?

  • Microsoft

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  • acw21

    I’ve been super successful with calling the hotel support number, telling them you’re trying to connect a Roku, and 4 min later, watching netflix.

  • Windrider

    Does Roku work in Africa? Any content restrictions to wash US Channels?

    • Windrider

      lol meant to say Watch US Channels.

  • Carlieanne2005

    How do you use your Iphone hotspot as an internet source for roku? Do you need to hook it to a router? What cables would I need? Thanks!

    • DTM

      It can be done very easily. Eats gigs like Cookie Monster eats Cookies.

  • David Stainberg

    Great tips. “If you have a Wi-Fi hot-spot, your golden wherever you go.” this one is my personal best.

  • bob

    Hi:
    Been doing this for about 3 years now, and only had a few cases when ROKU didn’t work while on vacation:
    – the TV only had COAXIAL CABLE input (no HDMI input, no RCA yellow-red-white jack)
    – the ASPEN CO TV was mounted on the WALL, and provided no INPUT jacks.
    However, we had a few cases, where ROKU could NOT establish the WI-FI connection (Hatteras NC), and yet, we were able to stream NETFLIX. We are mystified why ROKU would work? Does anybody know?
    -dbednar

  • Jessica

    Can you describe the MAC cloning a little more? I’m not that tech savvy and am a little hesitant about screwing up my router settings. Am I to just log on to my router via the PC and click the corresponding check box, and once I travel all is good to go? It can’t be that easy..?

  • geekinthecockpit

    I travel for a living. I bought a cheap Asus travel router. It’s the size of a deck of cards. Getting up and running with my Roku (and all my other devices!) takes minutes. Easy.

  • fibble

    Some hotels have a device on the TV that does not allow access to the input ports, like every hotel on the Vegas strip, because they want you to use Pay-per-View. And most hotels now use universal remotes that don’t have an input-select button. You can sometimes get around that last point by using the manual buttons, but it depends on the brand of TV. But if you can’t access the inputs, or switch the TV’s input port, there is no sense in bringing the Roku.

    • DTM

      And, I lrt that particular hotel know I’ll never be back.

  • Tom Coburn

    its
    another reason why I wish Roku supported bluetooth headphones and
    bluetooth remote control to the iphone app, then you could use the
    iphone to connect the Roku to wifi if you had to

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  • harley

    i cant get my roku player to work at the motel im staying at it sais connected but nothing works what can i do to use my roku at the motel

  • Jayelle Kaye

    I was wondering if using Roku on an unsecured connection poses any security issues along the lines of those warned against when using your laptop on them. Is there any way they can access any personal info thru the Roku? Our cable company said that since they are turning our private modems into dual connections (one private and one public hot-spot), we should stream on that to avoid excessive data usage. Thus if they are encouraging it, I’m curious as to whether I’m opening myself up to prying. And (it just occurred to me) will anyone else be able to use the Roku to watch programming?

  • Jane

    Can I use my roku streaming stick on my laptop , in my Rv at KOA hooked up with their internet?

  • Mike

    Get this manual to setup a network http://www.amazon.com/Chromecast-Finally-Works-Hotels-Detailed-ebook/dp/B00M94ZIWA/ — just read the section that gives steps on how to set up the network, and connect your Roku to it. Requires a laptop, but until these devices put a browser in, this is your next best bet. And yea I know that manual’s for Chromecast, but the description states it work for Roku, too, and it does (the section that specifically talks about how to setup the network).

  • GAGP

    I hope somebody can help me this question: I live in Denmark and have Wi-Fi connection at home, and I want to buy a Roku 2 in order to stream from my laptop to TV.
    My question is if Roku will work oversea, or it just work in US…??? thank you…

  • riva

    How can I do that if Roku won’t provide me with the MAC address? And Roku’s support won’t help with with said Address or tell me how to connect with the hot spot? What a waist of time.
    So, so disappointed on both the product and the support service.

  • DTM

    I know I’m getting here a few years late, but since Roku hasn’t included a simple browser, it’s obvious they won’t and have no plans to do so. I’m moderately tekky, but I have no clue how to “clone my laptop’s mac address”. And, the time spent to do it would probably be about as long as it takes to call support. Aaaaand, over the years, the techs on the other end are up to speed on what’s going on, and just start out asking for the mac address. I have a few hotels I frequent that I’ve sweet talked into leaving the MAC address in for a month at a time, and that’s a nice treat to connect and BANG! You’re in. About that remote…2 things – 1.) being wifi connected, it’s flaky, at times difficult, and 2.) the iOS ap is crap…so DON’T loose the remote. Ultimately, hotels are wary of low lifes coming in to spam using their wifi, and so many different companies administering these networks, it appears that the only solution is for Roku to add a very limited browser to check off the Ts&Cs box.
    Ok, Roku – get it done.

  • Ronald Howard

    For Windows 7 I found a much easier and free way to connect my Roku3 in a wireless environment that needs authentication using

    my laptop and a network cable.

    I know you are probably wondering why I say we need an Ethernet cable when we are talking about a wireless environment. This is

    to take advantage of ICS (Internet connection sharing) feature that requires the use of two network connections.

    1. Open the control panel on your laptop

    2. Click “View network status and task”

    3. Click ” Change adapter settings”

    4. Select your wireless adapter

    5. Right click your wireless adapter (the one you are using to connect to to the internet.)

    6. Select properties

    7. Select the Sharing tab

    8. Click the box that says “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s connection”

    9. Under the home network connection it will say select a private network connection. Click it and select “Local Area

    Connection” (this is your Ethernet jack)

    10. Click the settings box and select “Web Server (HTTP)” and just in case also select “Secure Web Server (HTTPS)

    11. Make sure to leave blank the box that says “Allow other network users to control or disable the shared connection”

    12. Connect one end of your Ethernet cable to your Laptop

    13. Connect the other end of your Ethernet cable to your Roku’s Ethernet connection

    14. On you laptop establish your wireless hotel internet connection and complete the authentication process to make sure that

    you can see the internet.

    15. Go to your Roku’s setting and select the wired (Ethernet) connection.

    16. Now sit back and enjoy your entertainment via your Roku.