How to Travel With an Xbox One – Tips From a Seasoned Traveler

Many travelers choose to bring their favorite game console with them to their destination. In this article we are focusing on the previous generation Microsoft Xbox One, but most of the information would apply to traveling with other consoles as well. Naturally if you intend to do a lot of traveling with a game console a smaller unit such as an Xbox Series S may be a better choice.

As with most things travel related, planning is key. The last thing you want is to accidentally damage your Xbox one console because you did not properly protect it. You will also make sure the TV in your hotel 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 set yourself up for success.

Packing Your Suitcase

The way that you pack your console in your suitcase will play an important factor in preventing damage. This is especially important if you are flying, but also applies to other modes of travel. There are several ways that you could pack your console in your suitcase.

Xbox One Travel Guide

Use a Box of Suitable Size

The safest option is to use a cardboard box of similar size to your console. 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

Your final option when traveling with an Xbox one is to not use a box at all. This is perhaps the 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 protection and would not be my preferred option.

Bringing an Xbox One on Airplane

According to the TSA, you are permitted to pack your Xbox One 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 best option if you want to ensure that your console arrives safely at your destination. When you carry on your suitcase you assume the responsibility and can take extra care not to drop / bang around your suite case.

There are a few issues with putting your console in your checked luggage. The primary issue is the way bags often get handled getting on and off of 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 console in your checked luggage, you will want to make sure it is packaged really well. Using a box would be highly recommended for the maximum amount of protection.

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, and may be something to consider.

Tips for Navigating the TSA Security Checkpoint with Your Xbox One

Make sure that you can easily remove your Xbox One console from your suitcase. Just like a laptop or tablet, you are generally going to be required to take your Xbox 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 Xbox One in its own bin to be scanned. If you forget to take it out you will more than 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. It could also subject you to pat downs or further screening.

If you have TSA PreCheck you generally do not need to remove electronics, but on rare occasion you may still be asked. Therefore it is best to still pack your console in such a way that you can easily take it out if necessary.

Traveling With an Xbox One

Connecting Your Xbox One to Your Hotel Room’s TV

Connecting your Xbox One console to your hotels TV is usually a relatively straightforward process. In most cases all you will need is a simple HDMI cable. Make sure you pack an HDMI cable of suitable length. Generally a minimum of 8 feet is recommended. You want to be sure the HDMI cable will reach even if the TV is in a unusual position.

You will likely 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 many hotels, especially larger hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton, IHG, etc., 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 console at your hotel is important to you it would be a smart idea to call the hotel prior to making your reservation and making sure that it will be possible. Once again, planning is a key part to any successful trip.

Xbox One Connect to Hotel TV

Connect Your Xbox One to Your Hotel’s WiFi

If you want to play online from your hotel room you have a few options each with their own pros and cons. Keep in mind none of these options will likely offer performance similar to what you get at home. It is just the nature of public internet connections.

Option 1) Connect Your Xbox Directly to the Hotel’s WiFI

This is likely they way most people think of connecting their console to the internet in a hotel room. This can be a great option in many cases but may not always be possible. This method is especially simple 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 may not be possible in some cases.

The Xbox One console includes Microsoft’s Edge web browser. This may allow you to navigate through the captive portal. First connect to your hotel’s WiFi network. Then open your Microsoft Edge and navigate to nevelssl.com. This will force your console to be redirected to the captive portal. Then you can log in like you would on a laptop or smartphone. At this point you will want to test your internet connection and make sure you are connected.

If this does not work, you still might be able to connect your Xbox One by calling the front desk and giving them the MAC address of your console. This works in many cases but not all. Hotel staff are generally used to these requests give the popularity of game consoles.

Another potential issue with using the WiFi provided by your hotel is network congestion. Hotel WiFi can be painfully slow at times. In many cases your online gaming performance will not be as good as you would like. This is quite common and almost to be expected, especially when the hotel is really busy, or a conference is taking place. Your NAT type will most likely be either moderate or strict when using your hotels WiFi.

One thing to remember, as with any public Wi-Fi, your 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.

Check out ExpressVPN and their 30 day money back guarantee.

VPN for Hotel WiFi Xbox One

Option 2) Use Your Phones Mobile Hotspot

If you have decent 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 any of the issues associated with using the hotel’s Wi-Fi 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 WiFi bandwidth.

The thing to keep in mind is that this option requires having a cell phone plan that includes mobile hotspot data. 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 or new games. Using a mobile hotspot is especially attractive if your stay is going to be relatively short as it doesn’t require connecting to the hotels Wi-Fi and troubleshooting issues.

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 strict NAT type due to the nature of the technology. A VPN Service may be able to fix this.

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. It also avoids needing to use your mobile hotspot data.

Most of these services use a captive portal for authentication so this option is may be a little more challenging to get working. In general you should be able to connect, and then open Edge on your Xbox One to load the captive portal. Once you are in the portal, accept any agreements, and continue. YOu should then be connected and ready to start gaming.

In many cases this option will provide you with the fastest connection. If your hotel’s WiFi is unusable or just too slow this is a great option. You may still want to use a VPN for protecting your privacy and to get a less strict NAT type in games.

Conclusion

Traveling with a Microsoft Xbox One is not difficult, but planning is very important. You do not want to arrive at your destination only to find you are missing something critical, or worse your Xbox One got damaged. A little planning goes a long way in ensuring smooth hassle free travels.

Recommended Xbox One Travel Accessories

If you plan to travel frequently with your Xbox One you may want to consider purchasing some travel accessories. Here are our top picks.

Protect your console easily with a durable protective case. Includes storage compartment for cables such as HDMI cables, ethernet cables, and power cables. Also includes storage for game discs or blu-rays.

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TP-Link AC750 Travel Router

Travel Router Xbox One

Connect this travel router to your hotel’s WiFi network and then connect your own devices to the TP-Link Travel Router. Simple secure setup. Pair it with a quality VPN service for an added layer of protection on all of your devices. Once you set this up using a VPN service, it will be fast and secure.

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Dragon Touch S1 Pro 4K Portable Monitor

Travel Monitor for Xbox One

Connect your favorite game console, computer, or other device to the Dragon Touch Portable Monitor. Features a 4k resolution making it ideal for the latest generation Xbox Series X and PS5 consoles, as well as previous generation models such as Xbox One or PS4. Includes USB-C and HDMI inputs for maximum flexibility. Ideal for travelers who are frequently on the go.