When traveling (as a house sitter), we get to stay in many beautiful homes with every kind of entertainment system under the sun. It has long been important for me to get a careful walkthrough of how all the interconnected boxes, remote controls, and apps work, so I can find the shows we like to watch while we are there. That can be a challenge. My solution – the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Fire TV screen
Screen when Fire Stick is loading your menu

Every home entertainment system configuration is different, and some are fairly complicated. I’ve even met an owner or two who has given up trying to make their systems work, so I have to be attentive, when the homeowner explains the setup to me. Most are using two or three remotes to control their TVs. Crazy, but understandable, they might even say inevitable.

One of the biggest hassles is just learning how to use all those different remotes. Switch to this input on the TV to get to this box, access the apps on that device. Use this remote for sound. Use this remote for… It can be a maze.

One reason for this is that many now have Netflix and Amazon Prime in addition to, or instead of cable TV, which seems nice at first, but they do add complications.

It never fails that there are shows that I am watching, that the owner is watching also. In my Netflix account, Netflix remembers what episode I watched last, but not when I am using another’s account, so I have to probe around to find where I was last time I watched – I like to watch them in order.

I could log in with my own accounts, but then I have to remember to log out of all them before we go, including Amazon Prime, Hulu, CBS, Britbox….  You get the picture.

I also don’t like to leave the owner having to log back into their accounts when they return – I can’t do that for them, as I don’t have their account login info. (This alone makes it worth it for me to have my own setup.)

So you might be saying, “what’s the big deal?” Well, I like simple. 

Fire stick comes in two pieces
Fire stick comes in two pieces – remote control and device to plug into the TV

So I found a solution. I purchased an Amazon Fire TV Stick HD 4K, the best model. With this, I just plug it into an HDMI port on the TV, log into the Wifi, and I have my entire TV portfolio of shows, right like I left them the last time I watched. All apps installed, all passwords in place, and the latest episode cued up.

Plus, I am using a familiar remote, no fumbling. The Fire Stick has a microphone built-in, so I can just ask for what I want, and Alexa will find it for you if it is available on any of your services. The Fire Stick can even control volume and mute on some sets with a little bit of setup. 

two types of controlers
Here are two different Fire Sticks, the regular and the premium. You can also buy a cover so you know which one is yours.

A growing number of the house sits we have done have a Fire Stick, so it is a simple thing to simply substitute ours for theirs. But how do we know who’s controller is who’s? We bought a cover for it. Since our blog is Blue Bag Nomads, we bought a blue cover – perfect.

If you like your TV, and you can relate to any of my nuisances, a remote like the Fire Stick just may be the answer for you too. (I believe a Roku may provide similar functionality, but I have not tested that.) And fear not, there are no fees beyond the initial $50 price tag for the model I bought.

So enjoy taking your movies and TV shows with you when you travel. Simple.

This is not an affiliate link, but it will take you to the Fire TV Stick on Amazon – Fire Stick