Taking Your Sonos On Vacation
You wouldn’t be alone if you have, or would consider, taking your Sonos with you on vacation. 75% of American’s consider internet a must have when traveling. As we’ve become attached to our streaming entertainment, smart devices and connected lives in general, it stands to reason we want to take those experiences with us when we travel as well.
In fact, it’s a lot more common than you think. Taking streaming and smart devices when vacationing is increasingly popular. In fact, it’s more than becoming popular, its becoming a necessity. So, if you’ve thought about, you aren’t alone as its becoming increasingly common and even important to some travelers. But, what does it take to bring along your Sonos when traveling?
Why Take A Sonos On Vacation
If you are like the vast majority of American’s you get most of your TV and entertainment from smart devices – SmartTVs, streaming devices, gaming consoles and smart speakers. Taking your Sonos with you is a great way to ensure you and your family have access to your favorite entertainment without the hassle of a new setup.
Not Just For Vacation
While our focus is on vacation travel, there are lots of other trips worth bringing a Sonos along for. They include regular business travel, where you often have lots of downtime. They are also great to take when staying with family to provide some additional quiet time.
What You Need To Take A Sonos On Vacation
In order to take a Sonos with you on vacation you’ll need only a few things
1) The Sonos (Or Similar Streaming Device)
Not surprisingly you need a Sonos or similar smart speaker (like a Home Pod). You’ll also need the power cord. While Sonos has two “travel” specific speakers in the Move and Roam, you can can use just about any recent Sonos for travel and vacation. This includes the Sonos Play 1, Play 3, Play 5, all of the IKEA based Sonos speakers, The Sonos One, etc. Of course, the bigger the speaker the harder it is to travel with.
2) WiFi Connection
While many Sonos speakers include an ethernet port but in most cases you’ll want the flexibility of the WiFi. Your vacation destination may not even offer ethernet connectivity or the location may not be ideal for speaker placement. If your destination does not offer WiFi or charges extra, considering bringing using your own hotspot on your phone or a standalone cellular hotspot.
3) Travel Router
While in some Airbnb’s and hotels it is possible to get your Sonos connected without a travel router or similar device, it will be a lot more painful. It may not even work at all.
Connecting The Sonos To Hotel or Airbnb WiFi
While you can use most Sonos speakers when traveling with Bluetooth, to get the full Sonos experience you have to get connected to WIFi. There are two ways to do this. The first, is to reset and reconfigure the wireless settings for the hotel or Airbnb. The other is to use a travel router or similar device to create your own WIFi network that mirrors your network at home. The later is simpler, but we are going to talk through both.
Configuring Your Sonos For Airbnb Or Hotel WIFi
Before attempting to connect your Sonos to the WiFi network we should first talk about captive portals. If you are staying at an Airbnb or hotel where you do not need to login, enter a hotel room number or accept terms and conditions at a creen, you can skip ahead. The reason we need to talk about captive portals is because the Sonos does not provide a way to deal with captive portals.
What is a Captive Portal?
Captive Portals 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 extremely common at hotels, as most regular business travelers know. In fact very few hotels allow you to use their WiFi without accepting terms and conditions, entering a room number and name or an additional password.
Still having trouble with captive portals? There are a few other solutions and work arounds.
Reconfiguring Your Sonos Speaker
Assuming you can get past the captive portal, or in the case where your hotel or Airbnb doesn’t have one, the next step is you’ll need to reconfigure your Sonos speaker for the WiFi network.
Here are the instructions to do so if you do it in the way Sonos recommends.
These steps apply when your Sonos system is in a wireless setup and you have changed your WiFi password, WiFi network name, or have replaced your router.
If you have more than one Sonos product in your system, this process will require you to temporarily connect a Sonos speaker to your router with an Ethernet cable.
1. Open the Sonos app and wait while it searches for your Sonos system.
2. When you see the message “Unable to connect to Sonos,” tap Learn More.
3. Tap Changed router or WiFi settings?
4. Follow the instructions to connect Sonos to the WiFi network.
This is definitely not a series of steps you’ll want to take with each new hotel or Airbnb.
We should also note you’ll need to perform these steps again when you return home or for each different hotel or Airbnb. We recommend bringing an ethernet cable with you OR factory reset the Sonos to do it in the event you have any trouble.
Private WiFi Network Approach – Recommended
The other solution is to buy a travel router and bring it with you. A travel router will allow you to create your own WiFi network at any hotel, Airbnb or RV park. You connect the travel router to the hotels WiFi network and use your phone to complete the captive portal. From that point forward every device connected to the router you brought with you will be on the hotel’s internet, but it will be using your own network.
Another advantage is that you won’t need to reconfigure your Sonos speaker for hotels or Airbnbs. And if you don’t have a dedicated Sonos just for travel, if you use the same network name and password as your WiFi network at home you won’t even need to reconfigure the Sonos speaker when you travel.
In addition to the ability to take your Sonos with you, a travel router will let you use your laptop, phone and other devices, including travel streaming sticks like a Roku in the hotel without needing to reconfigure them for each hotel, Airbnb or RV park.
Plus, travel routers are generally $30-75 dollars. So even with the price of an additional Sonos speaker, which isn’t even required, it’s still half of the price of buying a Sonos Move or Roam just for travel.
Getting your Sonos connected quickly and easily, without any captive portal hassles is just one of the few benefits of having a travel router.
Picking The Right Travel Router
If you travel regularly and are not highly technical, we’d recommend ensuring you find a travel router with an easy to use interface. Some travel routers have a highly technical interface and/or require technical experience to configure. So be sure to research the interface and ease of use before picking the best travel router for you.
Of course, here at Go Connect our travel router is designed specifically to be easy to use and for travel. A combination no other product can say.
What About Bluetooth Mode
One thing we should mention is that you don’t necessarily need to setup your Sonos speakers on WiFi to use them. In fact, in the case of the Move and Roam, Sonos official suggestion is not to use WiFi mode when traveling with your Sonos. This includes their travel specific speakers.
Using Bluetooth mode with your Sonos is definitely much simpler than reconfiguring your Sonos and/or taking a travel router. However, there are some limitations if you do that.
First, you won’t be able to play from within the Sonos app. Second is that your Sonos will be tied to a specific phone or device for control. Being tied to a specific device means that phone must stay in range for it to work. Lastly you won’t be able to control multiple speakers.
We hope this blog post was helpful and we hope you are confident enough to bring some additional entertainment along with you next time you are taking a trip.
Here are some additional blog posts that may be valuable as you think about bringing your Sonos with you when traveling.