Please read my new article “Chromecast in a Hotel Room – Four Easy Ways To Get It Working” which supersedes this article.
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Updated 11th May 2016.
I love using my Chromecast in my hotel room while traveling. Chromecast makes an excellent traveling gadget because it’s small, inexpensive and it uses your smartphone as the remote control (less stuff to carry around). My laptop is free to use for other things while I’m watching my favorite Netflix shows. The problem is, in hotel’s you’re using public Internet access which requires a login via a web browser. Chromecast doesn’t have a web browser but needs to be connected to the internet independently from your smartphone or laptop.
How to Use Chromecast in Your Hotel Room is a how-to guide. You can use this guide for connecting other streaming devices to your hotel room TV such as the Roku Stick, but I prefer the Chromecast because of its simplicity, compactness and it’s cheap.
Here’s What You Need
1. Before booking your hotel, research the hotel’s WiFi speed and reliability at HotelWiFitTest.com. It’s pointless trying to hook up your Chromecast to the hotel’s TV if the internet is too slow. I aim for a web speed of 2.0 Mbps or higher.
2. The most obvious things you need is a Chromecast and Smart Phone. Chromecast comes with a small HDMI extension cable about two inches long. You need to travel with this as it’s required on some Televisions where the HDMI ports are facing down in a recessed square on the back. Also, take along the USB power cord and power supply that comes with the Chromecast as you may need this item too.
3. A Travel Router. I use a TP-Link Travel Router because it’s inexpensive (around $20) and it’s small. Remember, size and costs of items are important when traveling. You can use any travel router you wish, but the setup graphics here are from my TP-Link Travel Router’s setup screen.
Setup Your Chromecast at Home First
Setup your Travel Router and Chromecast at home first. You can do this by connecting your Travel Router to your home internet. Set its SSID to the one you can easily remember and setup wireless security. Run the Chromecast Setup App on your smartphone and connect Chromecast to your Travel Router. Tip: It’s best to set your Travel Router to hide its SSID as it will help prevent anyone else from trying to access it.
Hotels With WiFi Only
1. On your Laptop computer, log in to the hotels WiFi and login to the internet.
2. Connect your travel router to your Laptop Ethernet port and if you wish, power the travel router from one of your laptop USB ports.
3. On your laptop, open the Network and Sharing Center by clicking on WiFi Status on the right of the taskbar (see Fig. 1)and then click on Network and Sharing Center at the bottom of the popup Wireless Connection list.
4. From the Network and Sharing Center, Click on Change adapter settings (see Fig. 2).
5. Right click on your wireless network adapter and then click on properties from the bottom of the popup list (Fig. 3)
6. In the Wireless Network Connection Properties dialog box, click on the Sharing tab at the top.
7. Check the checkbox at the top “Allow otter network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection” (see Fig. 4) and then from the pull-down list “Home network connection:” (See Fig. 4)select Local Area Connection.
8. Click OK, and close the other windows. You have now set up a personal network in your hotel room.
Note: There are programs available that will allow you to create a hotspot using your laptop, but the ones I’ve tested don’t seem to be very stable. I’ve found using this method with a travel router to be the most stable and reliable.
9. Next, connect your Smartphone to your Travel Router and check you have internet access.
10. Plug your Chromecast into the hotels’ TV HDMI port. If the TV has a USB port labeled “USB In,” then you can power your Chromecast from this port. Otherwise, you will need to power your Chromecast from the power supply it came with or another USB power source.
11. Change the TV input to the HDMI port your Chromecast is plugged in too. I’ve found that on most Hotel Room TV’s you will need to do this from the menu buttons (usually located on the right-hand side of the TV) as there usually is not an option to change the Source/Input on the TV’s remote.
Note*: Hotels with On Demand Video systems such as LodgeNet, you will need to obtain a universal remote to change the TV’s input. The front desk usually keeps one on hand so that guests can use their own video games. You can also pick one up cheap (around $4) from Walmart.
Update: On some LodgeNet TV remotes, you can press the zero button to change the source input to the HDMI port.
I’ve recorded a short YouTube video for steps 3 to 8 above in Windows 10. Please view at full screen!
Hotels with Wired Internet (Preferred)
This is much easier and more reliable than the WiFi method.
1. Connect your Travel Router to the Hotel’s wired internet.
2. Login to the Hotel’s internet from either your laptop or smartphone.
3. Connect your Chromecast to the hotel’s TV HDMI port. If the TV has a USB port labeled “USB In,” then you can power your Chrome Cast from this port. Otherwise, you will need to power your Chrome Cast from the power supply that it came with or another USB power source.
4. Change the TV input to the HDMI port your Chromecast is plugged in too. See step 11 above for further information.
*See note above for On Demand Video systems such as LodgeNet.
Using VPN if Outside Your Home Country
Note: Netflix and Hulu are cracking down on VPN use and are actively blocking known VPN networks including ExpressVPN.
This is basically the same at Hotels with WiFi only accept for the following:
- After Step 1, Start your VPN software and connect to a server in your home country.
- In step 5, right click on your VPN Network Adapter and then click on properties from the bottom of the popup list. Do not right-click on the Wireless Network Adapter otherwise, you will bypass the VPN.
Now you can relax and enjoy your favorite shows in your hotel room while traveling.
Please read my new article Best Streaming Stick to use in a Hotel Room and feel free to leave a comment.