When you’re travelling you often end up having a very busy and quite tiring schedule during daylight hours which is often incremented by social activities in the evening. However at times it’s nice to be able to relax in your room and watch a TV show or a movie.
And if you’re stuck in a hotel somewhere for a few nights and don’t speak the local language fluently or simply don’t want to watch the pay per view selection in your room, then being able to access your Netflix streaming account is probably the sanest option open to you.
While Netflix is available in a growing number of countries, it’s still not available globally.
So what can you do?
Essentially there are two options:
1. Use a VPN. Most biggish companies use VPNs so you might have access to one already. If you don’t have access to one there are a LOT of providers out there that offer solutions or you could “roll your own” if you’re a bit of a geek.
2. Use a 3rd party service that masks your location. This is “similar” to a VPN in some respects, but instead of having to configure complicated VPN software etc., you simply change which DNS resolvers your computer or mobile device uses.
I’ve been using UnblockUS for the last couple of years and love its simplicity.
However you can run into issues with trying to use VPNs via hotel wifi – sometimes simply because the hotel wifi sucks so badly that the connection will time out.
Switching the DNS around seems to work fine in a lot of hotels and is one of my preferred “hacks” for making the connection more usable in some places. However not all hotel wifi will let you change DNS resolvers so you might need to experiment. I know it won’t work with a lot of the Hilton hotels for example 🙁
If anyone has any other tips or hacks for getting Netflix working while on the road please share them via the comments.