You think the internet connects the world until you get hit with geographical restrictions.
One of the biggest culture shocks people experience when going abroad is that the Netflix content changes. If you’ve watched Friends or The Office in the United States, you won’t be able to continue watching, nor find the show in a place like Germany.
You may get furious when you experience geo-restricted content for the first time. You’ve already paid for the service and should get the same content.
It doesn’t matter if you travel for a week or plan to move abroad. Here’s how to continue watching your favorite shows even if they are geo-restricted.
Change your IP address
You must pass through a border or jump on a plane when you go to another country. Either way, you give your passport, get a stamp, and officially leave the country. You can’t pretend you’re somewhere else.
That rule doesn’t apply to devices that connect to the internet.
Your laptop has a digital address assigned by your internet service provider and local router. It’s called an IP address. That’s how websites know where you are and show ads based on location.
Here’s a remarkable fact about your IP address: you can change it using a VPN. A virtual private network works as an IP address changer, allowing you to change your IP address to any country worldwide. Of course, as long as the VPN service has servers there.
That means you can pretend to be back in your home country and keep watching your favorite show. All you need to do is pick a server in your desired country, and voila. You can keep watching The Office or Friends on Netflix even though it’s not in the repertoire of the country you’re visiting. Some streaming services block popular VPN connections, but multiple ways exist to bypass this restriction.
And that’s not all VPNs can do. They encrypt your connection to block internet service providers, governments, and other third parties from seeing what you do online. They can see that you use a VPN but not what you do with it.
The easiest way to enjoy your favorite shows abroad is to download them beforehand. Many streaming services offer digital catalogs with shows available for download. You can download them at home and then watch them offline at your disposal.
However, there is a drawback. Depending on your chosen resolution, this option can take up a lot of memory. If you want the highest resolution, your phone or laptop can fill up quickly, and you won’t have enough room to take pictures or record videos. You can want an external hard drive or insert a microSD in your phone to make more room for the shows.
Subscribe to a streaming service
Netflix alternatives like Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, HBO, Hulu, Disney, and Peacock have incredible selections of shows. Before going abroad, check which one of them is available in the country you plan to visit. You can even get a free trial if it’s your first time subscribing.
Most of these services have original series, so you may discover your next favorite show. Online streaming is easy, so many people turn to it as the perfect travel companion.
Don’t break copyright laws
Treading the waters of online streaming comes close to copyright laws. Every media type, from literature and film to music, is under strict copyright laws preventing unauthorized use and monetization.
Many people turn to visiting free streaming services when they’re abroad. It’s easy – results to free websites can pop up on the first page of Google or DuckDuckGo. However, free streaming sites often broadcast pirated content.
That’s different from local or global television channels that buy the rights for the content and then broadcast it. You need to make the distinction between watching free content from a TV service abroad and a pirated stream. Do a quick search on whether the service is legitimate or not.
Make sure you respect intellectual property rights and comply with the necessary regulations. That way, you will be on the safe side.