Stay entertained on vacation – how to travel with your Roku player

We’ve all been there. You’re on vacation and excited to catch up on your favorite TV shows, but the TV set up is less than ideal – just bad DVDs or even worse…VHS tapes! Stay entertained on vacation, pack up your Roku and enjoy Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and all your favorite channels.

It’s easier than ever to travel with your Roku player. Here’s how you can take your most entertaining travel buddy with you on the road!

First off, Roku players are smaller than ever. Our Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) is so tiny it will fit in your toiletry bag. Our other players are also very small – just the size of a hockey puck.

Next, ensure you’ll have sufficient Internet bandwidth where you’re going.

Staying with a friend or at a vacation rental?

These days some vacation rentals like Airbnb or VRBO offer complimentary WiFi, but be sure to ask! Don’t forget to find out what type of TV will be available as well. If you have a Roku 3 or Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version), you’ll need a TV with an HDMI port. Roku 1 and Roku 2 can connect via composite AV cables (the red/white/yellow cables).

Staying at a hotel?

Some hotels offer free Wi-Fi and it’s just a matter of plugging in your Roku and connecting to the wireless network. Others, however, require authentication using an Internet browser 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 (that was used to authenticate the connection) to your router.  It sounds complicated, 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 your destination doesn’t offer Internet access, here are some options:

  • The best and most reliable option is a MiFI/WiFi hotspot
  • Tether from your mobile device (check if you have this option enabled through your mobile carrier), to create a WiFi hotspot. Data charges may apply – again, check with your mobile carrier

Your travel checklist:

  • Your Roku player and accessories
    • Roku remote
    • All the essential cables and cords: HDMI, power adapter, Ethernet, composite cables (on Roku 1 and Roku 2)
    • Have a Roku 2 or Roku 3? Bring your headphones!
    • Don’t forget comfy pants (known to enhance the entertainment experience)

Do you travel with your Roku player? We’d love to hear your travel tips!

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  • Jason Kibbe

    If you use Roku + Netflix + 4G mobile phone hotspot, make sure you change the quality setting to SD on the Netflix website if you don’t have unlimited data. You will only use 600MB for a two hour movie vs. 4 GB on the best (default) setting!

  • nightwatcher2

    If you are away and forget to bring the Roku remote, like I did, one can be downloaded to your android cell phone from the Google Play Store for free… and it works great!

    • http://www.roku.com/ ROKU

      Yes! Great tip :-)

    • Etienne de la Borda

      Available for iPhone also.

    • Roku master

      Not a great tip Roku Mod! the mobile app work by connecting to the same network as the Roku is, how will you be able to connect the Roku to the network in the first place if you don’t have the original remote, since the Roku is not connected in the first place.

      • nightwatcher2

        Roku master: The downloaded remote app to a smart phone is a alternate way of selecting channels, movies etc. when the original Roku remote control is not available. When not at home, I have connected the Roku to a different network without a problem, by Ethernet (wired) connection. If it’s a Wi-Fi Network, a laptop may be needed to set-up the initial connection to a wireless network.

        • Roku master

          Great now you are being specific that your Roku has an ethernet port. I have Roku 1 2 and streaming stick. How can I use the app. When I bring my Roku to a hotel?

          • nightwatcher2

            My tip was about the remote control. I used the Ethernet connection on my Roku 3 while away last summer and it worked. I also had a Roku 1 & 2 but the 3 has the best features and performance. I think you may need to contact Roku directly with your question as I don’t know the answer to your specific problem.

  • MadhatterPa

    Would be even better for the Roku to have a Web Browser interface to support the Hotels with the Web Auth page/ MAC Auth with input via the remote so you wouldn’t need to take a laptop! Especially since a lot of hotels are moving from a wired in room connection to a wireless one.

  • tobocrs

    What about when I travel to Mexico? My suite will have wifi, and the TV has an HDMI port that Ii used last summer to connect with my Nook. Will this work there?

    • http://www.roku.com/ ROKU

      @tobocrs:disqus, Roku’s content partners place geographical restrictions on the availability of their channel applications, with Roku having no control. Currently the markets Roku serve are the United States, the U.K., the Republic of Ireland and Canada. In those markets, developers have created channel applications that work within those specific regions – with all of the necessary third party licenses to allow them to stream such content.

  • Casey Michelle

    My Macbook has an HDMI port. Can I use the streaming stick and watch my Roku content on my laptop (to avoid worrying if my hotel tv has a port, or if I’m out camping)?

    • http://www.roku.com/ ROKU

      Sorry, Casey. Roku players are only compatible with televisions.

  • organicbob

    Two Qs: Can a Roku device bought in Canada, stream a US based program and the other has to do with this subject. Is this a US based streaming stick?

    • http://www.roku.com/ ROKU

      Hi @organicbob:disqus, a Roku device bought and set up with a Canadian account will not have access to the U.S. store, thus cannot stream US-based programming.

      The Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) we noted above is a U.S. version, but you can still follow the same steps if you’re traveling within Canada.

  • Llednil

    To someone like me, this is all totally unintelligible. It could not be more meaningless and worthless

    • ruko

      Meaningless and worthless only to you and others like you who don’t understand this concept.

      • Elder

        Beware of snide responses most of your Roku customers are not geeks

    • bukzin

      Ahh, this is an excellent point. Roku would do themselves and customers a huge favor if a menu for complete beginners were made available.

      Super basic for the non-techie folks that also want to play! Having a separate sub-page (so as not to bore more experienced users) would be a great option for both type of users.

  • Dave

    Will this also work overseas in Europe?

    • http://www.roku.com/ ROKU

      Hi Dave, are you based in the US or UK?

      If you’re US based and heading to the UK, you can follow the same steps as noted above but keep in mind you’ll need a UK power adapter converter. Also, Roku’s content partners place geographical restrictions on the availability of their channel applications, with Roku having no control. If you’re hoping to stream a specific channel, be sure to check with them to be sure they’re available to stream in the UK.

  • organicbob

    I’m now told I can have a US account from Canada. So I “should” be able to stream US content. No?

    • ALG

      I spent the summer in Toronto. Tne TV had ROKU which was new to me. I paid extra for ACORN and USA News, which did give real time programs on a number of USA channels. ALG.

  • confused roku vs cable

    I want to get rid of cable, what kind a stations will I get with roko?

  • Terry Stronks

    Anyone know if Roku, will work on a TV with a PAL format (Australia)

  • Mbphoton

    Can I stream videos stored on my phone to the tv without using the hotels connection at all? I’d like to make a network just between the phone and the stick. I want to be totally independent. Is that possible?

  • Jennifer Waldrop

    Please help! Not very tech oriented- but can follow instructions. I’m stuck in a free wifi hotel with an authentication page!!! Saw this article, thought it would be easy bought a travel router— then it got interesting. The setup instructions were HORRIBLE!!! Roku 3, TV is HD, Travel router-TP-Link 150 Mbps Wireless N

    So could some very nice tech person- send me instructions on how to setup all of the hardware? I miss my shows!!!! Please and thank you!

  • madai

    Can roku work with optimum hot spots ???? Can someone tell me asap pls

    • Jd_309

      I’m trying to figure that out too. I tried hooking it up today and it found the wireless signal, but wouldn’t connect to my network. There was no option to enter the Optimum username and password. I found some info online that leads me to believe it will work with a travel router, but haven’t bought one yet to try.

  • Bec

    would it be at all possible to play movies via my roku outside of my house, like in the backyard? im planning on using a projector and extension cables, the works :) would this involve maneuvering my tv?? if this is possible, i would love instructions so that my more tech-savvy boyfriend could set it up!!

  • Georgia

    If I buy my Roku in the US and take it to the UK, will I be able to stream the UK channels?

  • Aaron

    ok i get easily confused when talking about all this stuff. If i were to buy a roku in the us and set it up with a us account. then i travel back to Saudi Arabia for work would i be able to watch my us channels via wifi

  • Ady

    Hi i am travelling to france with a streaming stick, chalet has wifi and tv has hdmi port. Whats the deal with cloning mac address ? Do i need to do this or can i just plug and play ?

  • Adrian

    Hi i am travelling to france with a streaming stick, tv has hdmi and chalet has wifi
    Do i need to clone my mac address and if so how do i do that please ?

  • Nester Midsmith

    If the hotel requires you to use your room number and name (Like the large chains like Fairmont do), try calling the Hotel Internet support line. Give them the IP address of the Roku and they can add the device to the list of authenticated devices for the room. Trust me it works

    • Jon

      How do you know/determine the IP address of the roku stick, to let them know?

    • Peter Pantelis

      No…. they need the physical or MAC address … not the IP address

  • Ernie

    Do the Roku Sticks sold in different markets have different firmware? If I buy a Roku Stick in Ireland and then emigrate to the U.S., will it be the same as a U.S. one?