Travel Mode + eSim issues

I live in the UK and I went on a weekend getaway to Dieppe, in France. In preparation, I bought an eSIM from Airalo (specifically, from Bonbon Mobile, which covers France). When I arrived to France, I set up the Travel Mode to send postcards, but Postcrossing sadly did not enable the Travel Mode, alleging that my IP was from the United States and not from France. Since where I was I didn’t have access to wifi (at least one with French IP), I was limited to my mobile data. I could not enable Travel Mode, and risked sending postcards inside France :slight_smile:

I’m guessing that as eSIMs become more common, this issue might arise more frequently. It wasn’t a blocker for sending postcards, but still it was weird not to be able to send postcards “from France” on Postcrossing.



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That sounds weird!

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For what it’s worth I had a similar issue in France last year with a traditional SIM - it kept insisting I was in the UK still even though I was connected to a French network roaming on my UK SIM.

Our accommodation had wifi and it was only once I connected my phone to that and tried again that it would offer me French IDs in travel mode.

I have only ever been able to get travel mode to authenticate my location via WiFi and never just via cell service. Any hotel/restaurant/shop WiFi will do, but certainly there are locations in the world where free WiFi might not be readily available.


Yes, you have to go via Wifi, to get a local IP. For those places, where it’s not available, you can ask the postcrossing team for help. I did this for the Vatican, so I was able to sent card from there with vatican IDs :slight_smile:

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This issue is not specific to the use of an eSIM but also true for regular cellphone roaming when traveling abroad.

That is in fact what happens: you most likely were using a US IP address to reach the internet at that point. Granted, you connect to local operator cell tower, but that is routed all the way to your actual operator which is who provides you the connection to the internet.

Even if a person may be physically in country X and connecting through a local cellphone tower/operator, when using cellphone roaming, that often means that the data is routed via the home country to, e.g., account for volume of data used, apply firewall restrictions, etc. And in the case of eSIMs, that may be routed through a very different country, even in a different continent since technically the operator’s infrastructure may be somewhere distant where they account for the traffic being used.

The solution is the usual one for travel mode: connect, when that is possible, to a local connection: coffee places, public libraries, hotel lobbies, train/bus stations, etc – wherever one can find an actual local connection.

We can only offer the travel mode if we are able to do this basic IP address validation. Without that, the travel mode would be misused so we can’t remove this check. We are aware this not perfect and it’s known to not work in specific places like the Vatican (i.e. virtually impossible to get a local IP address there) or in Åland Islands (sometimes the connection is provided by a Finnish operator), among others: for such edges cases, we can help by contacting us in advance. But for the majority of the cases, the solution is to connect to a local connection.

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