A Warning About Using Verizon’s TravelPass in Chile

I was in Chile over Labor Day Weekend visiting Santiago, a new city for me.

To stay connected, I use Verizon’s TravelPass. Basically, for $10 a day you use your normal plan like at home – talk, text and data – abroad. It’s incredibly easy to use. You just need to activate the service on Verizon’s website and it will only charge you for the days you use it – so when you arrive back home, it stops charging you $10/day. When you land aboard, just switch on your phone and it will connect to a local signal, with LTE service if available. While $10 a day may seem expensive to some, there’s an incredible convenience factor, so that’s who I choose to go with.

In any event, in the many times I’ve used it, it works just like my usual cell phone – making a call shows up as my cell number on the recipients end, and when dialing, the dialer just needs to call my regular cell number. Easy. Now, to be frank, I’ve only used the TravelPass in European counties and in Australia, since it’s only been around for just less than a year now.

This was my first South American country using the service in, and I encountered several issues:

  • When I called a number in the US, the number showing up was “blocked.” I had several people not pick up the phone not knowing who it was, until I emailed them letting them know it was me and they could answer.
  • I had to call American Airlines to rebook a flight and usually it recognizes my cell number and associates with my AAdvantage account. Not this time. It couldn’t recognize the number.
  • One particular caller in the US couldn’t even receive my calls because his phone was designed to not even accept blocked numbers calling.
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Uh oh. This was a major frustration for me. As simple as it sounds, having your phone number be recognizable to the people you’re calling comes in handy more than you think.

I reached out to Verizon and found out that depending on the cell network that your phone connects to, that service could “scramble” your number so it wouldn’t show up normally when dialing back to the US. Chile is apparently one of those countries. I have not had an issue in the UK, Ireland, France, Australia and several other countries, so didn’t even know this capability could exist, but it’s worth noting for if you use this service in Chile or a similar country and your phone isn’t working as you expected.

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