Amazon Fire TV Stick For Travel

Amazon Fire TV Stick For Travel

June 2, 2020 Travel Tech Blog 0

How well does the Amazon Fire TV Stick work for travel, and how does it compare to other devices? We dive into how the most popular small formal streaming sticks that are physically ideal for travel do in actual travel scenarios. This includes how resilient it is with potentially inconsistent Hotel WiFi, some common problems and solutions you might need while away from home with your Amazon Fire TV Stick.

We’ve recently recently tested a number of streaming sticks to determine which streaming devices are best for travel. I you are interested in knowing the other options available and how they compare, check out our Best Streaming Sticks for Travel.

Travel Features

Hotel/Airbnb WiFi Support

The Amazon Fire TV Stick generally works well on hotel or Airbnb WiFi. Unlike the Chromecast the Fire TV Stick does not need any special configuration for each hotel. You just need to connect to the hotel’s WiFi. However, most hotel WiFi systems do have a captive portal. You can read more about that below.

Captive Portal

What are captive portals? They are the popups you get that prompt you to login or provide additional information prior to using the Hotel, AirBnb or other locations WiFi. Captive portal are rarely used at most AirBnb’s. However, for regular hotel travelers they are a primary feature for sure. Very few hotels allow you to use their WiFi without accepting terms and conditions, entering a room name, an additional password screen or other consideration.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is actually the only streaming stick that truly supports captive portals. It will popup and allow you to use the remote to navigate and enter any information needed, which is usually room number and last name, on most captive portal screens.

Captive Portal Issues

Still, despite this don’t assume the Amazon Fire TV stick works with every captive portal. Many captive portals, particularly at older hotels or using older WiFi access points, will display a captive portal that doesn’t screw or click correctly. The newer the Fire TV stick, the better it handles different captive portals but it’s still not a sure thing.

If you come across a captive portal that doesn’t work with the Amazon Fire TV stick you have a couple of options

  • IF you have a PC you can use internet connection sharing. Simply connect your laptop, clear the captive portal, share the connection and then connect the Amazon Fire TV stick to the laptops WiFi network
  • Use a travel router. A travel router will allow you to clear the captive portal on your phone or computer. You can then connect any number of devices to the travel router without having to clear the portal again.
  • Use your phone’s personal hotspot. Note: this method does not use the hotels WiFi and may consume your data. Your phone or carrier may not even support personal hotspots, so this isn’t for everyone.

If you do have multiple devices you want to put on the hotel WiFi, a travel router can help you avoid this extra step. With a travel router once you pass the captive portal on one device, usually your phone or laptop, any additional devices you connect will work normally. But if you generally only use the WiFi for streaming to your Fire TV stick it clearly is the best of the group.

Automatic Remote Config

Something rarely discussed by non-travel sites is the automatic remote configuration feature of many streaming sticks. While at home setting up your remote is a one time need, at least until you buy a new TV. When traveling each new location has a new TV. If you want to be able to use a single remote to control the volume and power on your TV and your streaming stick, you’ll likely want a device that can automatically detect the TV.

For the devices that have this feature, all you need to do is connect via HDMI to a newer TV. Most TVs since 2016 support identification via HDMI that the supported devices can use to configure the remotes.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick supports this feature. It will automatically detect the TV and control it’s volume and power features without needing to enter any codes or identify the TV model yourself.

WiFi Performance

In our recent comparison of Streaming Stick Wifi Performance, the Amazon Fire TV Stick performed very well. It essentially tied at the top of our performance list with the Roku stick. Bottom line the Amazon Fire TV Stick will be as capable as any other WiFi stick at dealing with inconsistent or poor hotel WiFi.

Common Problems and Solutions

Finding Power For Your Amazon Fire TV Stick In A Hotel – Many hotel rooms don’t make it easy to find power sources for your streaming stick. Here are a few tips and tricks that may help you.

Changing Input On Hotel TVs – many hotel TVs don’t make it easy or obvious how to change the input on the TV. This guide will provide a few tips and tricks.

Resolving Issues With The Captive Portal – while the Amazon Fire TV stick works with many captive portals, you may still encounter a situation where you cannot scroll, browse or enter information into a hotels captive portal. Here are a few tips and tricks to bypass the captive portal.