I’m a die-hard streamer, which is partly why my Roku Streaming Stick 4K was packed in my luggage before any clothing or toiletries.
For context: I knew the Airbnb I was staying at had a TV and Wi-Fi, so I knew I didn’t need more than my Roku. Also, I was going with a friend who loves two of the same shows I do and they were about to debut new episodes: The Rehearsal and Harley Quinn.
But while some might think that packing my Roku might be overkill, I knew it was the right call. And wouldn’t you know it, I was right. So, I thought I’d explain that there are two main reasons why I always bring a Roku. Of course, if streaming doesn’t matter much to you – you’re on vacation, your time – you can skip it. But if you’re as into unhealthy TV as I am, here’s what you need to know.
Entering a one-time password
Say your hotel or Airbnb has a good TV, even a smart TV. That TV may also have its streaming device (more on that in a minute) locked. But the real reason I found room in my luggage for the Roku Streaming Stick 4K dongle is simple: your host or hotel probably won’t offer you streaming services included.
So when I connected my Roku to that TV, all I had to do was find the Wi-Fi password and enter it into the menu. After that, I’ve logged into every single app I subscribe to and I’ve probably used them.
On Thursday and Friday, as I explained above, I was binge-watching HBO Max for the season 3 premiere of Harley Quinn and the third episode of The Rehearsal. But that was during the evenings.
When we were staying at the Airbnb, either in the morning (I’m an early bird) or in the afternoon when we came back for a nap, I was watching YouTube Premium, the most underrated subscription payment I make every month. If you don’t know about YouTube Premium, it removes ads from YouTube videos — legally. I know some people use ad blockers, but this is not for me.
Then on Saturday night when we got home from the event we were at (WWE SummerSlam 2022) we turned on the Peacock to watch some of the matches again as we wanted to see how they were on TV.
Oh, and if you have Sling, YouTube TV, or any of the better cable TV alternatives, bringing your streaming device from home means faster access to your DVR. The variety of streaming services you use during any given week makes this even more pressing.
Rokus are better at hotel Wi-Fi (at least for me)
But what if you are in a hotel? Hotel Wi-Fi is much more complicated than normal Airbnb Wi-Fi, as there are screens where you have to enter your hotel room information and so on. And streaming sticks don’t play well with them.
That said, on a recent weekend at a hotel, I discovered that the Rokus actually works with the hotel Wi-Fi. This is a very far-fetched situation—it could change, but in my testing, Chromecast with Google TV and Fire TV Stick 4K Max couldn’t access the network.
Of course, you can’t own a Roku. The Roku Streaming Stick 4K might be our pick for best streaming device, but you might prefer Fire TV for side-loaded apps, or a Chromecast for whatever reason.
Either way, packing a streaming stick means you’re not dependent on your hotel room’s channel selection and overpriced video-on-demand content.
Outlook: Make your vacation easier
You might think your phone is the only device you need while on vacation. But I don’t think “watching video on a small screen” is a break. If you know your hotel or Airbnb has a big TV, take advantage of it.
By packing my Roku on trips, I can make any room feel like home. Or at least I won’t have to type my very long passwords that I store in one of the best password managers.