You just never learn about some things until you run into issues while traveling. We have found quite a few and they have been completely absurd.
First of all, PayPal has a major flaw for being such an innovative payment technology. You are only allowed to put a travel notification on your PayPal card for two weeks at a time. What makes this a royal pain is that they do not have an international phone number or voice-over-ip for you to call toll free so you can renew your travel notification. Even my bank’s mobile app allows me to set a travel notice on my card through their app.
AT&T Mobile cancels your account when you port your number. That’s fine, I get it, but let me explain why this is pretty dumb. When you port your number you still have an outstanding balance on your account. But because they’ve canceled your account you can’t login to pay your final bill. They also do not have an international number or voice-over-ip solution so you can call toll free, but they charge you extra to pay over the phone anyway. What also gets canceled is any scheduled auto-pay that was associated with your account, so on their end they’ve basically canceled your final payment. When we did get ahold of them the rep told us it was easiest to walk into a store to pay. ðŸ¤”
At least we could visit the web sites of both of those, Verizon blocks you from even visiting their site if you are outside of the US so if you wanted to manage your Verizon account while out of the country, or look up their customer service number… good luck.
Another one that blocks your access is our storage facility. So you can’t even login to see when your payment is scheduled or if your payment went through. Odd given that someone may put stuff in storage while traveling abroad don’t you think?
It doesn’t end there though, Google determines what language to show you based on your IP address instead of the language setting that your browser sends to them with every request. So basically it doesn’t matter if you tell them via your device settings that you prefer English, if your IP address is in a Spanish speaking country then Â¡Tu hablas espaÃ±ol!
And Google isn’t alone, you would be amazed at how may websites determine your language without even considering your browser’s settings. Every time your browser sends a request it adds a field in the header that specifies your preferred language, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
Didn’t they teach any real world stuff in those CS courses?
But here is your solution, the magic wand for all of your issues with the internet while traveling… a VPN (Virtual Private Network)
The VPN is your gateway to wherever you want your connection to appear to be from. Basically you can pay as little as $5/month for a server somewhere in the world (in this case the US) then following some simple instructions like how to set up a vpn or setting up a vpn you can create your own VPN so your phone or computer can connect, enjoy added security for your connection and appear to be wherever your server is.
So if you want to see your search results on the English .com version of Google you turn on your VPN and go. You can visit your bank, pay your bills, etc and never get blocked because you are out of the country.
And back to the blocking foreign IP addresses, I guess there would only be two arguments for this.
1. Security, so you can block potential hackers from other countries. But this is pretty dump seeing as I just told you how to get around being blocked.
2. You are not authorized to do business in another country. This one may be legitimate but only for certain things. For example if you go to Bloomberg.com and try to look up exchange rates or stock prices while overseas you may run into a gateway page that makes you agree that nothing on the site is intended as a sales pitch or service for anyone outside of the US. It’s their way of saying, we’re not doing business over there but we are not going to block our customers who may be on vacation. Smart! But a self storage facility with no physical location overseas, my bet is that nobody would consider that to be a problem.
What I have found is that even though a company’s web site will block you because you are using a foreign IP, their mobile apps do not. So if they have a mobile app and it’s installed on your phone that’s usually a quick solution without having to learn how to set up a Linux server. ðŸ˜‰ … unless they cancel your account