Our 5 Favorite Free Streaming Channels When Traveling

Our 5 Favorite Free Streaming Channels When Traveling

March 1, 2021 Family Internet Travel Blog Travel WiFi Blog 0

If you bring your Roku, Firestick, Chromecast or other streaming stick with you when traveling you and are looking for some new entertainment, or just simply an alternative to what feels like a cable bills worth of streaming services, our list is for you. Free streaming can be a great way to watch movies and shows on the go.

Forgot to bring your streaming stick with you, or don’t do that yet? Not to worry, free streaming channels are also a great way to watch a hotels’ internet TV, or the smart TV at your Airbnb without having to have paid subscriptions or enter your username or password into someone else’s system.

While there are dozens, even hundreds, of free streaming channels they are not all equal. Some are simply a collection of short videos; others are chocked full of ads, logins and other issues. Regardless, most free services will contain TV like ads, and that should be expected.

Pluto TV

Pluto TV was a pioneer in the free streaming channel space and they’ve grown in size and popularity since. While some of their better content deals have expired, you still can watch 100s of channels and thousands of shows for free. There are even rumors they will soon offer local channels and watchlists.

Pluto’s channels include drama, comedy, westerns and of course travel (because you are traveling, right?). The shows generally contain a mix of older TV shows and movies. While you generally won’t find first rate shows, you’ll find plenty of cult favorites.

Another pro to Pluto TV is the interface. It’s easy to use. They’ve designed it work just like a cable TV guide. So even those who are not technical or use to streaming interfaces will find it easy to use.

Finally, they have 1000s of shows on demand. So just because they default to the linear cable TV style interface you don’t necessarily need to use it. You also are not limited to what is playing “right now”.

Pluto TV Overview

Available Platforms: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, Google TV and more

Price: Free

Sign-Up Required: No

More information: https://pluto.tv/


While Vudu made it’s name as a place to buy movies they have since moved into the new movie and TV show space a few years ago. Supported by ads, you can easily watch hundreds of free movies and TV shows right from the app.

In our experience, the movies provided by Vudu are often more premium than we see with the other free channels. We’ve been able to catch some of our favorites on Vudu.

However, trade offs exist. First, Vudu isn’t available on all platforms. Specifically Amazon Firesticks do not support Vudu. Vudu and Amazon compete for video sales, so this is likely to do with being competitors. Also, Vudu requires a login to watch their free videos. You can signup for free, with no obligation, but it’s still an extra step and/or a login to use.

In terms of interface, Vudu’s is pretty straight forward. Still, it’s a little more confusing than most. Also, it puts for sale movies front and center. It’s a quick browse through the navigation to get to the free movie list. Still, for the non-experienced streamer it’s not the easiest.

Vudu Overview

Available Platforms: Roku, Apple TV, Google TV and more

Price: Free for On Us movies, purchases available

Sign-Up Required: Yes

More information: https://www.vudu.com/

Roku Channel

Despite the name, the Roku channel isn’t just for Roku users. The Roku channel is actually available for nearly every major streaming platform, including Amazon, Apple, and Google. It’s also of course also available from the Roku channel store.

In terms of premium level content, Roku Channel is among the best free streaming channels available. In addition, Roku has been leveraging their large install base to force providers to show their content.

Like Amazon, Roku also offers premium content through their Roku channel. These premium content services are optional. In most cases if you already have the premium content through a cable subscription or direct through the premium provider you cannot use it with the Roku channel.

Still, despite all of this, there are hundreds of channels as well as thousands of movies and TV shows available. Mainstream TV hits including 24, Hells Kitchen and Married at First Sight are available. Live linear channels include WeatherNation and Hallmark Movies and More.

Roku’s interface is typical of streaming platforms. The linear live TV portion leaves a lot to be desired, but finding something to watch isn’t hard even for those who are not familiar with streaming systems. Still, don’t expect a cable TV like interface.

Roku Channel Overview

Available Platforms: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon FireTV, Google TV and more

Price: Free, with optional premium subscriptions

Sign-Up Required: Optional

More information: https://therokuchannel.roku.com/


Crackle was a pioneer in the free movie streaming space. Since then they’ve added television and even originals. The shows range from older but popular mainstream titles to independent films. With Crackle’s original ownership including Sony, much of their catalog regularly rotates through.

Crackle’s interface feels like a streaming channel. It’s very similar in functionality to Netflix. This is good news for anyone who is used to streaming interfaces. If you are considering Crackle for someone who is less experienced with streaming there may be a little bit of a learning curve.

Also, while Crackle is free and most movies and shows are available without a login, they do encourage you to sign up. The primary benefit is the ability to remember favorites and resume shows. However, feel free to skip and only watch the free shows when traveling.

If you stay in Marriott hotels when traveling you’ll actually find Crackle pre-installed and almost all of their internet TVs.

Crackle Overview

Available Platforms: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, Google TV, most Marriott internet TVs and more

Price: Free

Sign-Up Required: Optional

More information: https://www.crackle.com/


Tubi has been around a while and has attracted some of the best content due to it’s advertiser friendly platform. The platform has content from nearly every major content provider. Ultimately, this is what sets Tubi apart from many of the other services.

Tubi’s interface helps set it apart. While it’s pretty typical of streaming services, Tubi has a deep catalog with a very granular set of categories. This may be a bit daunting for the browser, but it’s great for those who want to focus in on a type of show or movie. In addition Tubi has a separate kids area, which is a nice plus. Most free services target adults or have kids programming mixed in. The interface clearly takes cues from Netflix.

Tubi Overview

Available Platforms: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, Google TV and more

Price: Free

Sign-Up Required: Optional

More information: https://tubitv.com/

Honorable Mentions – YouTube & IMDB TV

YouTube When Traveling

As an honorable mention we wanted to include YouTube. While you may think of YouTube as the place for self centered wanna be celebrities, video gamers or collection of videos attempting to be funny you’d be missing out on the substantial volume of full length TV episodes and even feature movies available for free. All without a login.

While there are plenty of the other types of content mixed in, it’s a worth a look. You may be surprised to find some of your favorites. Still, the difficulty in finding these first rate shows amongst the millions of other videos is the primary reason why it’s an honorable mention instead of one of our favorites.

IMDB TV When Traveling

If you normally think of IMDB as a website to lookup that actor or actress you recognize in a movie but aren’t quite sure where you saw them from, you are not alone. What you may not know is that IMDB TV is a free streaming channel that was recently acquired by Amazon.

There is a lot to like about IMDB TV too. Amazon shares some of the catalog it licensed for Prime TV, but without the paid subscription. In addition, Amazon has begun commissioning IMDB TV exclusive shows to attract more attention. Amazon’s longest running series, Bosch recently got a spin off that will be exclusive to IMDB TV.

IMDB TV is available for Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google TV and most major console systems like XBox and Playstation.

Make Traveling With A Streaming Device Easier

If you routinely travel with a streaming device, like a Roku, FireTV stick or Chromecast/Google TV, you may be interested in something that will make it easier to use. While you can certainly setup the streaming device at each hotel, along with your phone, tablet and laptop, you may also realize this is a lot of steps. In addition, hotel and airbnb WiFi are notorious unreliable, which can be streaming a hit and miss affair. You may also want some help to secure any type of public WIFi.

If you’ve dealt with any of these common issues, you should take a look at a smart travel router. Smart travel routers will streamline connecting all of your devices, getting through any needed hotel login or captive portals and even make that poor WiFi more reliable for streaming. The best part is, with Go Connect’s travel WiFi products the interface is so easy you’ll be online in minutes. And anyone in your family can do it.