Some great questions from a friend of mine striking off internationally / mobile.
Also, you had some tips for this lifestyle. What are they? My
biggest questions are:
1) Receiving phone calls. I imagine there are good (even free) Voice Over IP services that will allow me to
Take my old local calls and transfer them to the Internet;
Forward the calls to whatever local number I'm using in whatever country I happen to be;
Transfer voice mail and SMS messages to e-mail.
1. Google Voice is good for getting a USA number ported. I don't know about Europe... maybe you can port it to SkypeIn (a nice product), or maybe to Grasshopper if they're working in Europe. Get Google Voice though definitely, it's free and good and does what you want.
2) I assume you use Skype to make most international calls, but what about receiving mobile calls in whatever local country you happen to be? Do you just get a temporary sim card in the local country?
2. Yeah, temporary SIM card. If people know you're in and out of a region, they just regularly update your number. People just start using email more when you're in and out anyways. I prefer to not use a phone anyways when I can avoid it.
3) I imagine the ideal service would just blindly open my sensitive paper mail, scan it and put it into my Dropbox folder. What do you do?
3. Earth Class Mail is what you're looking for, and I had it for a while. Now I just don't do paper mail. I'm basically paperless, and maybe I miss a document or two per year, but who cares? You can always have really important stuff sent to a friend or family member, or the apartment or hotel you're at when traveling. Hotels will take mail for you even if you're not there, as long as you stayed for a while and treated people well.
4) Any experience with opening international bank accounts? Based on my experiences until now I imagine it's an incredible hassle to open up a bank account as a tourist with a temporary Visa. Any tips? What do you do?
4. Depends on the country. Some places are very liberal about letting anyone open bank accounts, some tightly control it. But I just use the American Schwab Investor Checking (excellent product) which has free rebates on ATM fees and no currency conversion costs, and then I use my Schwab card at the ATM and get local cash out. It works surprisingly easily and well, I don't have any non-American bank accounts.
If you have interesting suggestions, your answers might be interesting to your online audience too.
5. Good idea.
Your questions in the comments?