When I started traveling the world, I got a little bit freaked out about my US-phone number. After all, at this point, it is almost as important to my identity as my social security number, so I knew I desperately needed to keep a hold of it. I ported it to an online program that mostly let me retain it for texting and I can’t even tell you how many times that has saved me.

Any time a website freaked out because my IP address was showing up in a foreign country despite being on the same device, it forced me to send a security code that I could just flick open on my app and authorize the transaction. Any time my bank noted a strange transaction, the fraud department would give me a ring and I’d figure out a way to call back their 800 number and release my credit card again! However, this also meant that I would get notifications of missed calls with no way of actually receiving them, nor had I bought the upgrade that would have let me get voicemails. So instead, I had to track down whether these unknown numbers were legitimate calls or simply robocalls from back home using a Absolute People Search. Occasionally, the app would glitch too and someone would call or text my local SIM and it would forward through the app instead of being delivered directly to me. It was a hot mess and I was getting confused and anxious, wondering if that number was from a backpacker I’d met at my last hostel or my uncle Vern checking in on me and wanting to swap stories about the days when he traveled around the world with a rucksack and a paper map.

It’s definitely a little different than my travels with apps and paywave, but he tends to call me from whichever living room he happens to be sitting in and it’s rarely ever his own! (Truly, he’s in his 80s and still a social butterfly, but all his friends have landlines, so he calls me to show off his cool nephew and brag). The long and short of it is that is is complicated! And the last thing that I need while wandering around in a foreign country getting texts in a language I don’t understand is even more complications. The US Embassy has my number – could it be them calling me because something tragic has happened? Is it the airport letting me know there’s a problem with my flight? Is it a hostel that is overbooked? I don’t think I could have survived my travels without the reverse phone lookup. Their extensive databases let me track down phone numbers and find out exactly who was calling me – and exactly which department of which business! I had emails, names, related numbers – anything I needed! With legitimate sources I knew I could trust, Absolute People Search saved me time and headaches that I couldn’t have afforded and made my life so much simpler!