Many travelers choose to bring their Sony PlayStation 4 with them to their destination. As with most things travel related, planning is everything. The last thing you want is to accidentally damage your PS4 console because you did not properly protect it. You will also make sure the TV in your hotel has HDMI inputs that will support connecting a console. Many do, some don’t, hotels usually use special hospitality TVs that are not like the ones used in homes. Planning is the single most important step you can take to be successful in your travels. Here are some key tips on how to travel with a PS4 in 2022.
Packing Your PS4 in Your Suitcase
The way that you pack your PS4 console in your suitcase will play a critical role in preventing damage while traveling. This is especially vital if you are flying, but also applies to travel by road, rail, or sea. There are several ways that you can safely pack your console in your suitcase.
Use a Box of Suitable Size
A great option is to use a cardboard box of similar size to your console. If the box is too big your console will slide around and potentially get damaged. Place your console in the box and use packaging material to protect it on all sides. I generally prefer to use air cushion pillows for padding as they are environmental friendly and do not make a mess the way that foam often does. Packing peanuts will also work if that is what you have access to. Do not tape the box shut if you are flying and plan on putting your console in your carry-on suitcase. TSA will require you to open the box at the security checkpoint, take your PS4 out, and place it in a bin like you would a laptop.
Pack it in Your Suitcase Without Using a Box
Another option when traveling with a Sony Ps4 is to not use a box. This is perhaps a riskier option since it could leave your console vulnerable to damage, especially if you are flying. With this method you are going to want to place soft objects on all sides of your console. Clothes, towels, and other fabrics work well for providing padding. This option is probably best suited to a road trip where you are the only person handling the suitcase. You will want to take extra care to ensure that nothing can fall on the suitcase. This packing option offers the least amount protection and would not be my preferred option, especially if flying.
Bringing Your PS4 on an Airplane
According to the TSA, you are permitted to pack your PS4 console in either your checked bag or your carry-on suitcase. With this out of the way, let’s discuss this, checked bag or carry-on? The carry-on option is going to be your safest bet if you want to ensure that your console does not get damaged. Checked baggage can get tossed around kind of roughly when being handled.
There are a few issues with putting your PS4 console in your checked luggage. The primary issue is the way bags often get handled getting on and off airplanes. Even the Baggage carousels can cause damage. Some airports use chutes that essentially drop your bag on to the carousel . Your best option is to put your console in your carry-on. If you absolutely must put your PlayStation 4 console in your checked luggage, you will want to make sure it is packaged really well. Using a box would be highly recommended.
It is also possible to have your checked luggage get lost or delayed in reaching your destination. This is not super common but definitely happens from time to time.
Tips for Navigating the TSA Security Checkpoint with a PS4
Make sure that you can easily remove your console from your suitcase. Just like a laptop, you are generally going to be required to take your console out of your bag when placing it on the conveyor belt to get x-rayed. It is recommended by the TSA that you put your PlayStation 4 console in its own bin to be scanned. If you forget to take it out you will likely be pulled aside while your bag gets searched by hand. Depending on how busy the checkpoint is this can add substantial time to the security screening process.
If you have TSA PreCheck you generally do not need to remove electronics, but on rare occasion you may still be asked depending on the airports policy. Therefore, it is best to still pack your console in such a way that you can easily take it out if necessary.
Connecting Your PS4 to Your Hotel Room’s TV
Connecting your PS4 to your hotels TV is generally a simple process. In most cases all you will need is an HDMI cable. Make sure you pack an HDMI cable of suitable length. Generally a minimum of 8 feet is a good idea. You want to be sure the HDMI cable will reach even if the TV is in a unusual position.
You will usually need to change the input on the TV, generally this can be done with the remote control. In some cases the input can only be selected using buttons on the TV itself.
In some cases you will run into issues using the TV in your hotel room with your console. This is because most hotels, especially larger hotel chains tend to use special hospitality TVs that are heavily locked down. On some of these hospitality TVs you are not able to change the input to the HDMI input. This will prevent you from being able to connect a console to the TV in your hotel room. If you find yourself in that situation you will want to check with the hotels front desk. Often times they are able to change a setting to make it work.
If using your PS4 console at your hotel is important to you it would be a good idea to call the hotel prior to making your reservation and make sure that it will be possible. Once again, planning is key when traveling.
Connecting Your PS4 to Your Hotel’s WiFi
If you want to play online from your hotel room you have a few options for connecting to PlayStation Network, each with their own pros and cons.
Option 1) Connect Your PS4 Directly to the Hotel’s WiFI
This is the way most people think of connecting their console to the internet in a hotel room. This is a great option in many cases but may not always be possible. This method is easy if your hotel uses a WPA 2 password to connect to the WiFi rather than a captive portal. This is more common in smaller independently owned hotels. Most large chains all use captive portal-based authentication. Authenticating through a captive portal is usually possible with a PS4 but may not be possible in all cases.
The PS4 does has a web browser. This makes connecting easy in most cases. Generally once you select the WiFi network all you need to do is open your web browser and login to the captive portal / accept the terms and agreements. However in some cases this may not work properly. In these situations you might be able to connect it by calling the front desk and giving them the MAC address of your console. This works in some cases but not all.
The other issue with using the WiFi provided by your hotel is network congestion. Hotel WiFi is notoriously slow. In many cases your online gaming performance will not be as good as you would expect. This is quite common and almost to be expected. Your NAT type will most likely also be a NAT type 3 when using your hotels WiFi.
One thing to remember is that a hotel’s WiFi is not inherently secure. If you are going to do anything remotely sensitive connected to your hotel’s WiFi you should encrypt your traffic using a VPN. A VPN is an affordable way to ensure that your data is secure when using public WiFi, whether at a hotal, airport, or coffeeshop. The VPN that I personally use and recommend is ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN offers servers in many countries and one of the fastest VPN connections, all for an affordable price. VPN can also help to change your NAT type from Type 3 to Type 2.
Option 2) Use Your Phones Mobile Hotspot
If you have great cell phone service in your room, and a cell phone plan that includes mobile hotspot data, using your mobile hotspot could be a viable option. It eliminates all of the issues associated with using the hotel’s WiFi including captive portal issues. In many cases your mobile hotspot will actually provide a better gaming experience than the hotels WiFi. This is especially common when hotels are really busy and lots of people are all fighting over the limited WiFi bandwidth.
The downside is that it requires having a cell phone plan that includes mobile hotspot. It also requires you to be mindful of your data usage as most cell phone plans only offer a certain amount of hotspot data per month. Fortunately, online gaming does not use that much data per hour as long as you do not download any massive updates. Using a mobile hotspot is especially attractive if your stay is going to be relatively short.
If your console is not able to be connected to your hotel’s WiFi, a mobile hotspot could be the best option to get connected. Remember that using a mobile hotspot will generally result in a NAT type 3 due to the nature of the technology.
Option 3) Use a Carrier Provided WiFi Hotspot
If you subscribe at home to internet services such as Spectrum or Xfinity (Comcast) your subscription often includes the use of their public hotspots. In many areas these hotspots are widely available. If you have a subscription that includes this feature this could be a great option, especially if your hotel’s WiFi is not working very well.
In many cases this option will provide you with the fastest connection. If your hotel’s WiFi is unusable or just too slow with is a great option.
Traveling with a PS4 is not difficult, but planning is everything. You do not want to arrive at your destination only to find you are missing what you need, or worse your PS4 got damaged. A little planning can go a long way for ensuring smooth travels.