Easy Ways to Catch Up on Your Favorite Shows Away from Home

Be it for work or a vacation, when you are traveling internationally, you may find it quite difficult to get a hold of your favorite shows. If you’re hoping to catch a live sports event or the news, you may not know how to go about it. Besides, known TV channels are going to broadcast different programs according to the local schedules, and even if you are lucky enough to find your favorite show being broadcast, the time difference might make it quite difficult to follow. This is of course the best-case scenario and may only happen when you are traveling nearby.

Streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu hold all our favorite shows now, and technically, as long as we have a decent enough internet connection, we should be able to stream content from anywhere in the world with our paid subscriptions. Unfortunately, things do not work that way anymore.

The Problem: Geo-blocking and Local Censorships

If you try to access your favorite shows from a streaming service outside the US, you may face any one or several of the following issues:

  • You may not be allowed to sign in if the video service of choice is not officially available in the region you are in
  • Even when a service is available, the system might mistake your attempt to sign in from another nation as fraudulent
  • If you are able to sign in somehow, geo-blocking will ensure that most available shows on the local schedule are not what you are looking for
  • Your favorite show is unlikely to be on the local streaming catalog and even if it is, censorship regulations may cut out several portions not deemed appropriate

Now that we know what the problem is with watching quality shows while traveling abroad, it is time to look at possible solutions until you get back home.

Solution 1: Use a VPN

In a time when the internet is losing all its privacy, secrecy and security, virtual private networks (VPN) act as shields of anonymity, keeping the user’s IP, identity, activity, location, browsing data and all other personal information secure and away from the prying eyes of the government, marketers, companies, social media channels, search engines, hackers, and the internet service providers (ISP) themselves.

A VPN service will reroute the user’s connection through one of their own private servers, where the connection is first encrypted and only then allowed to access the world wide web. Consequently, every prying entity looking to find out more about the user will be probing into a virtual IP and identity which has nothing to do with the real user. Hackers might still be able to intercept data packets before they can reach their destination (password/account hacks), but that will not work either, since that data has already been encrypted.

Similarly, when you use a VPN service to set your virtual location to US or wherever else your favorite content is accessible, the streaming services will not detect it as an attempted access from outside the user’s registered nation. This eliminates any chances of facing the issues discussed earlier.

Sadly, major streaming service providers have recently started to identify and block VPN users. The VPN will still be able to protect your privacy and online security, but when marked as a duplicate IP address, your scopes of accessing geo-restricted content are not good. There are exceptions, of course, since the best premium VPNs, as listed in this top 10 VPN reviews, will still let you get around the internet to access streaming apps and websites from any virtual location that you wish to. Just be sure to check a few reviews about the VPN’s compatibility with your preferred streaming app/site before committing.

Solution 2: Download the Content in Advance

Most streaming services now allow the downloading of content onto registered laptops, tablets and smartphones for offline watching. You will only be able to access downloaded content from their respective official apps, and they will need a live net connection for verification purposes every few days. Nevertheless, it is a legal and easy solution to binge watch the best episodes from your favorite series.

Solution 3: Choose Your Location Carefully

There are many nations such as North Korea, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and China where strict censorships against internet access are implemented by law. Some of them have even made it illegal for foreigners to access banned or restricted content while in their country. If the choice is one of vacation and streaming is important, read a bit about your destination first before selecting one.

Short of resorting to illegal torrents, these are the only ways to access everything you wish to watch, even when traveling abroad. You need to have it all loaded onto local storage, choose a liberal nation, or avoid geo-blocking altogether with a VPN.

Image Credit: Caspar Camille Rubin on Unsplash

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