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My Number One Piece Of Advice If You Want To Move Abroad

by sara burdick about a month ago in travel advice
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This is not what you expect, and I tell you because I did not do this. Yes after 3 years of traveling I still have not learned.

My Number One Piece Of Advice If You Want To Move Abroad
Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash

This is going to be for my fellow unorganized friends. Trust me, I wish I was organized, but it is not how I function.

I have my system. My brain functions a little off-kilter. This means sometimes I lose things, break things, and sometimes do not have a backup plan.

Thanks to my computer, I have now achieved a much higher state of disorganization. — Ashleigh Brilliant.

Phones and banks.

I did not realize how important it is to have a cell phone abroad that you can receive text messages from the US.

Also know what banks have recovery service to your email, not a text message. This also goes with having a VPN.

A VPN is a service that allows you to connect to your home country. It changes your IP address, so you can access certain things while abroad. For example, banks, hulu, netflix.

Sometimes you can not access your banks if you are in another country such as Goldman Sachs. You need a VPN to access this online.

Charles Schwab is my bank of choice, no texts, recovery with email, and accessible all over the world. And they refund all your transactions fees.

I have a few different bank accounts. For different reasons: high yield savings, retirement, investments, bitcoin, you get the drift. They are in different areas because of old jobs.

Should I put them all together, yes.

Sometimes you think you prepare and still fail.

Last year I dropped my phone, and it broke, yet it was still functional. I could receive texts. It had a cracked screen, no big deal.

I use Google-Fi and would receive a text from the US with no problem. They have a service where you can turn the service on and off when you need it. So it was perfect.

So when my banks will not let me in when I am abroad without receiving a text, even with a VPN. The bank thinks I am trying to break into the bank or something like that.

I turn on my service and receive the 4 digit code I need and it works.

Until a few months ago. My phone died. I had my phone on top of a box and forgot it was there. I lifted the box and boom, my phone fell face down on the pavement.

That was the 9th life. It stopped working completely.

Not only did my phone die, but I also lost all my apps and had to get a new number.

Does anyone know how frustrating that is?


Let me clarify, when I was in the US I contacted my cell phone provider, Google-Fi. I asked them if my phone dies, will I be able to still use the service overseas.

Will you be able to hook up my new phone to your service so I can receive text messages? They said yes, of course. This is no problem.

What I failed to ask, and they failed to mention, is that I had an E-SIM. I did not actually have an actual SIM card to reinsert into my other phone. I did not even think about it.

I do not know what I was thinking. I guess nothing. Guess what? I could have gotten a SIM card for free to take with me in case this happened. I did not.

So takeaways:

Have an extra SIM card (from your provider) in case you lose your phone, break your phone, or have your phone stolen (this has also happened to me).

I would also recommend on the banks send you a text message that you provide two recovery numbers. A number of someone you trust, who is willing to help you out in this situation.

Yes, I am currently locked out of 2 of my accounts for this reason. It is not a big deal since they are accounts I do not use. Yet if I needed to access them, I would have to either go home buy a new phone and send it to a sibling.

Both are expensive. I do not plan on visiting home until next August. The only other option is if I have a friend or family visit me, and have them bring me the SIM card.

So, for my fellow travelers, has this happened to anyone else? I know I am disorganized, but when it comes to communication and money, I try to get it in order.

A fail and a lesson learned.

I actually plan on becoming a citizen of another country. I am going to start looking for an overseas bank. This is going to be an adventure. But it might make my lifestyle abroad easier.

If anyone has any recommendations or suggestions, I appreciate them all.



travel advice

About the author

sara burdick

I quit the rat race after working as a nurse for 16 years. Obsessed with moving off-grid, sobriety, and self-improvement. I live in Colombia.

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