Whether it’s catching the latest season of Stranger Things on Netflix or revisiting one of your favorite movies, watching TV from your home country can be much-needed comfort food when you’re traveling abroad. In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the tips and tricks you’ll need to stream from anywhere in the world.
Use a VPN for TV
A virtual private network, or VPN, is typically used for added privacy when using a public or private Wi-Fi network. In addition to this extra layer of security, it’s also useful for travelers who want to access U.S.-only streaming services.
Because VPNs create a temporary IP address for your connected device in your home country, you can access most streaming services without issue. Most VPNs charge a small monthly fee for their service, with an average cost around $3/mo. For more information on choosing the right VPN, check out our guide here.
Unfortunately, some services, like Hulu, block VPNs, so you won’t be able to stream abroad using this method. But if you want to stream from a live TV streaming service like YouTube TV or Sling while you’re abroad, a VPN is essential.
Take advantage of streaming services abroad
Every streaming service has its own rules about streaming outside of the U.S. Here is a breakdown of how the four major services address the issue:
- Netflix is available in over 190 countries — the vast majority of the world. The one major exception is China, but it’s also unavailable in Crimea, North Korea and Syria. Keep in mind, though, Netflix’s selection of movies and TV shows might change slightly when you’re abroad.
- Hulu is only available in the U.S., so you won’t be able to stream it in any foreign countries. Hulu also blocks VPNs and doesn’t allow you to download content, so there’s no way to stream outside the U.S.
- Amazon Prime Video only allows you to watch Prime originals abroad. However, you are able to watch downloaded titles from anywhere.
- HBO Now does not work outside of the U.S., but you can use a VPN to access it while abroad.
Download content before you leave
The simplest way to access content from streaming services while you’re traveling abroad is to download it before you leave. That way, you won’t need to rely on a foreign internet connection or the streaming service’s international policy.
Both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video allow you to download much of their libraries for offline viewing. iTunes and Google Play also give you the option to download movies and shows when you buy or rent them through their services. Unlike the rest of these services, though, you’ll be able to download them to your laptops, too — not just your tablet or phone. Unfortunately, Hulu and HBO Now don’t currently provide offline viewing.