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Smart Home

Why you should take Alexa with you on vacation and how to do it

Alexa isn't just great for the home, it can also help while you're on vacation. Here's how.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you have a house full of Alexa speakers, you're likely accustomed to telling Alexa to do everything for you — turn on the lights, set timers, make coffee. So much so, you'll likely miss that interaction while you're away.

That said, you don't have to miss Alexa while you're on vacation. Bring it with you instead.

Alexa is already on your phone

While bringing an Alexa-enabled speaker along isn't a bad idea by any means, you can still bring Alexa with you without adding any heft to your luggage. Alexa now works on both Android and iOS devices. Just open up the Alexa app, tap the logo in the center at the bottom of the screen, and talk to Alexa as you normally would.

You can control your smart home from anywhere

Whether you prefer to just use Alexa on your phone or want to bring along a full-blown Alexa speaker, one of the main advantages is being able to control your smart home while you're gone.

You can do this to make it seem like someone is home by turning lights on and off at random, make sure the temperature is still set to away mode, or gain peace of mind in knowing the doors are locked. Also, if you have a friend or family member checking in on your home, you can use Alexa to temporarily unlock the door for them.

Listen to music while you relax

One thing a lot of hotel rooms or Airbnb rentals lack are music-streaming options. Just like you might bring an Apple TV ($249 at Apple) or Chromecast with you on vacation, you can bring an Alexa-enabled speaker along for the ride to enjoy some tunes while you cook or help lull you to sleep at night.

The only thing you will need to do is open the Alexa app on your phone and go to Settings > [speaker name] > Update Wi-Fi to connect the Alexa speaker to the Wi-Fi network at the hotel or Airbnb location. The downside is that some hotel Wi-Fi networks won't work with some devices. You might also want to bring a travel router along or use your phone as a hotspot just in case.

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Build routines before you leave

If you have a fairly rigorous itinerary for your vacation, something you can do before you leave is create routines for the Alexa speaker you bring with you. Build these routines to match your itinerary and to work as an alarm clock. Then you won't have to set an alarm or worry about oversleeping each day. Alexa will take care of the rest for you.

Mobile concierge

Alexa also works really well as a concierge. Want to know what the closest coffee shop is? Just ask Alexa. The same goes for finding a restaurant with a particular cuisine or locating a nearby department store.

Just make sure you change the location of the speaker you bring along in the Alexa app. Go to Settings > [speaker name] > Device location.

Alexa at your hotel

In June of this year, Amazon announced that it's bringing Alexa to hotel rooms, starting with select Marriott hotels. When you're in your hotel room, you can use Alexa to turn on the lights, call the front desk, ask about the hotel's amenities, find a place to eat, check out of your room and more.

It's only available in select hotels this summer, but expect to Alexa in more hotel rooms in the future.

Looking for more ways to use Alexa? We have the list of every command you can ask.

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