#19 Google Voice, Hot Spot, and Crap About Us Since We Still Haven't Gotten Our Visas
Cue the 1st world problems bitching. Since you probably have not kept up with the dates, or are maybe reading this much later in the future as we are currently lying on the beaches of Spain, last we left off, we were hoping to hear if our Visa was approved on Monday, July 26th. We had resubmitted our Visa with corrections on the 22nd and were hoping to hear back to make our rescheduled flight for August 9th. Since the title of this is not Hell Yeah We Are in Spain, it must mean, you guessed it, still no word.
Due to traveling with dogs, if you don't have them, lucky you, we have to be super organized to make sure they get their pet certificate within 10 days before we travel. I would love to wait until the very last minute to reschedule our flights, but we already rescheduled our dogs' appointment from Monday, August 2nd to the following Monday. The hubby said it's probably good to reschedule for 2 more weeks out but uhhghg another reschedule? Oh, and this time it will cost $258 to change the dates. (if you want more pet info, check out the Pet Visa Saga Blog).
I may wait for a little into next week and see if we get lucky and if we do, try to find a vet to clear the dogs real quick and be on our way. I am trying to get all hippy with this and telling myself that this is happening for some really good reason and it will all make sense later. You live you learn right? In the meantime, I thought I would share some of the logistics we have been doing to get ready for our trip. We will start with Google Voice.
My Description of Google Voice May Confuse You More
If you find yourself wanting to keep your number but not pay for a US phone plan, you can use Google Voice. I will tell you how to do it and how I messed it up, so you don't too. I know some people use What's App, and as we speak, I am trying to figure it, so maybe by the end of this, I can add that. Crap, I swear I get distracted by shiny objects; focus, Tiffany!
Google Voice! Here is the link and the description that I could not understand, so I will explain them in Tiffany terms which may or may not help you, but here we go! https://support.google.com/voice/answer/1065667?hl=en
Option 1: Port your mobile number to a personal Google Voice account
Note: You can't port your mobile number to a Google Voice account managed by your work or school.
You'll be charged a $20 fee to port your mobile number to Google Voice from most mobile service providers, such as Verizon or AT&T. If you have a Google Fi number, read Transfer your Google Voice number to Google Fi.
Not all mobile numbers can be ported in to Google Voice. Check the Porting Status page to verify your number can be ported.
Don't cancel your phone plan until Google Voice notifies you the port is complete. To verify the port, we'll call your phone with a code. After the port is finished, your service provider will cancel your phone service. If you have multiple numbers on the account, check with the service provider to find out about their policies. If you want to keep the plan and get a new mobile number, confirm with the service provider.
Before you begin
Find your billing account information from your current service provider, such as your account number and PIN for number porting. You need this information to complete your port request.
Port your number
On your computer, open Google Voice.
If you haven't used Google Voice on your account before, set up Voice. You'll be prompted to pick a new number, but your ported number will soon replace it, so it won’t matter what that number is.
At the top left, click Menu Legacy Google Voice. Google Voice will look different, but you're in the right place.
At the top right, click Settings Settings.
Click the "Phones" tab.
Next to your current number, click Change / Port.
Select I want to use my mobile number. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your new number and pay.
To get calls, set up phones to receive calls.
Optional: Check the status of your number porting. Numbers take from 48 to 96 hours to port.
******Do not do this until right before you leave the country, and you must do it while in the US. The alternative would be to order an international Sim card and set it all up before arriving in Spain.
Google Voice Explained in Tiffany Speak
Here we go! This made no sense to me until some wonderful people in the ex-pat groups filled me in. What basically happens is this. If you currently have a mobile carrier in example T-mobile, this will replace it; however, texting, calls, etc., only work through Wi-Fi as this is not a phone carrier. If you have a phone plan with multiple people on it, the phone plan will not be turned off until you call T-mobile and terminate service. Here is why it is important to wait to switch it.
Me being the eager beaver that I am, I figured let's do this sooner than later. I called T-mobile to make sure this wouldn't affect the others on my account. They told me I would have to cancel the service through them and that it does not automatically cancel once you switch over as the above directions imply.
I start the steps of signing up. Google voice assigns you a temporary phone number that you will replace with your current number as you follow the sign-up directions. I did it and what I found was, oh crap, I can't make calls, texts, or receive anything, unless I am connected to wifi...not a great move when you are driving around the country. I ended up getting a temporary sim card with minutes to talk to people without wifi until we get over to Spain.
Once you are in Spain, you have a couple of options 1) get a Spanish carrier and a new number (which is preferable to avoid international roaming charges), and keep your current number on google voice for free. Or you can do this porting thing where you take your current number and have the new carrier use that number, but I haven't figuredthat part out yet.
Currently I have my phone number on google voice and a sim card to utilize without Wifi, and once we are in Spain, I will get a Spanish carrier and a new number, but I will have my old number available for free on google voice. This probably makes no sense cause I only make sense to myself sometimes, so please feel free to message me!
Here's is what you should do. 2 days before you leave for Spain to give you the 48-hour window, port your number over to google voice. It would be helpful to have an international sim card that you can put in your phone, instead of grabbing one at the airport when you land in Spain. From what I have been told though, if you want to get a SIM when you land they are easy to get at kiosks at the airport. Once you qualify for a Spanish phone carrier, obtain your new Spanish number and keep your google voice number for free, which you can check/use whenever you have wifi access.
Why go through all of this instead of just getting a new number? Not sure, really. Nostalgia? With What's App, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, etc., you probably won't need your old number to speak with your people in the states without roaming charges, but whatever, it's $20. There might be some other great reason to do it, so feel free to enlighten me!!
A Hot-Spot is Super Helpful if You Don't Lose It
I didn't realize how long this post is, so I am unsure if it's better to give you all the info in one super long post or break it up into a few posts. Johnny is currently getting a root canal before we go, because why not make this any more traumatic? He is my go-to for running things by a normal person who isn't an ADHD spaz, haha, so I will have to figure this out on my own!
When I can't decide what to do on my own, I go to my trusty friend google. This was not helpful at all as it said it depends on things like SEO, types of blog; by this point, I zoned out and figured it would be easier to ramble on here, so on to the next topic! Hot spots! I wanted to get a hotspot now due to doing video therapy and not always having great access to wifi in whatever place, car, etc. I am in. I also wanted to get a hotspot for use in the future, that could be used internationally for any poor wifi spots.
There are quite a few companies that sell hotspots, and I wanted to find one I could buy easily from the US. Again got feedback from my lovely Facebook people and was turned on to Travelwifi. I love them because they have plans for all over the world, stores in Spain, and vending machines. They also sell international sim cards for phones, which makes it a great one-stop-shop.
Travelwifi has three options when purchasing. You can either rent a portable hotspot for $6.95 a day, and they will send you a rental hotspot, or buy a portable hotspot with 2 options. If you decide to buy like I did, you can get either the Sapphire 2 for $149.00 SEE DETAILS or the Sapphire T2 for $199.00 SEE DETAILS. I got the T2 which offers a touch screen, google maps, and a few other things. If you buy a hotspot, they have various data plans that you can buy. The plans are based on location, amount of data, and number of days, with the longest being 30 days.
One important thing to consider is that the GBs don't roll over, so use it or lose it. I discovered this when I lost my wifi for about 3 weeks (I later found it in my medication bag that I literally go into every day....) Before I lost it, I had just bought 12GB, 30 days, US, for about $45. When I found it, although I had only used 1GB, the 30 days had expired, so crap the rest went buy buy.
Ohhhh Tangent Time
I have a bad habit of setting things down in places thinking I will totally remember it, and lo and behold....nope. Mix my already daydreaming mind, moving all of your stuff to 500 different places, and mimosas, you get a lot of frustration and me saying a million times, "I know I put it in a good spot; it has to be here somewhere." I thought I knew better. I mean, when I travel, I won't wear any jewelry that isn't going to stay attached as I know I will lose it if I take it off.
My absent mindedness inevitably annoys the crap out of Johnny, which I do not blame him for because it annoys me too. He is normally good about only giving me a little crap, that is until the day of retribution, where he will never be able to say anything again! While in Vegas, he would throw $20 into a roulette slot machine when he went to get food, and every time would come back with at least tripple what he put in. At the end of 4 days, he had won about $1000, putting in only about $80. How does this apply to retribution day? When we checked out, guess who couldn't find his tickets and lost around $600. NOT ME!!! I tried not to give him too much crap because this is my move, but for life, I have a get out of jail-free card when it comes to losing things!!! Love, you did tell me to add more personal stories, so that one was just for you!
Sorry I was distracted again, back to the hotspot! So far, it has been super helpful for making notes/writing on the go or video work while in hotels with terrible wifi. My computer couldn't figure out which wifi to use at my hotel in Vegas, and the only way to fix it would have been to switch rooms. After our millionth hotel and unloading dogs, kid, and everything we own, I decided it would be easier to just buy more data and use my hotspot. The only issue is that a 1-hour tele-session, used about 1 GB, so you don't necessarily want this to be your only form of the internet if you spend a lot of time online, etc.
Once I am in Spain, I will buy one of their European plans, to use when we are editing the super cool videos we will make on the go, and buy additional internet at whichever place we call home. Having the hotspot, ended up being really helpful since I messed up and switched to google voice too early and could only use wifi until I got a temporary sim card.
There's a New Sheriff in Town
Ok, since I went on a few tangents (who me?). I decided to end it here and make another post that goes over the ridiculousness of Air BnB and changing flights and other fun logistical items. We will likely reschedule our flight for August 23rd, but I will let you know if the Visas get approved sooner. I am trying to look at the bright side of it being easier to find lodging, instead of in the busy time of August, but I am white-knuckling that right now. We planned to use the last 2 weeks to get healthy, and I made it a whole 5 days without drinking. That is until I learned we weren't making the deadline and had my "if I don't have a mimosa, I will strangle someone" mimosas. But back to coping in healthy ways and crossing fingers that we get to Spain before I totally lose it!
Oh and guess what everyone?! I officially have trolls so that must mean I am moving up in the world!!! As every rapper anywhere says, "If you don't have haters your not doing something right!" What can I say? I didn't choose the thug life, the thug life chose me. Shout out to my girl Taylor Swift who has given me many quotes to use as responses, because you know she gets it! To the rest of you awesome people, thank you so much for hanging in with me on this crazy journey and all the encouraging words, it helps more than you know! Per the usual plug, please subscribe and share. If we ever get to Spain, I plan to do some cool members' things, videos, etc., so hang in there!
For you listening pleasure I am going to just leave this right here....mic drop