Are you planning a trip outside of the United States? Do you need to call a hotel, car rental company or tour company using an international number? Are you concerned about the expense of an international call or about the process of making a call outside of the U.S?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, Google Voice may be for you.
In the past month I’ve needed to call an international number twice.
- The first problem: I really didn’t know how to dial a number outside of the U.S.
- The second problem: Would the person who answered the phone be able to speak English?
- The third problem: How much would this call cost?
After playing on my phone trying to make a call to Iceland for about ten minutes, I realized I already had the perfect solution since I have a Google Voice number. Using Google Voice, I simply click the CALL button and a drop down menu appears so I can type the number, BUT by clicking on the FLAG icon, I can change the destination of my call from the U.S. to another country…no need to know what numbers to add for a successful call.
- Problem 1 solved: I successfully called Iceland to reserve a camper van for an upcoming trip.
- Problem 2 solved: Sigrun spoke perfect English so we had no difficulty communicating.
- Problem 3 solved: The five minute call cost less than $1.00 (15¢/minute)
I used Google Voice working as an online teacher since it made it possible for me to communicate with my students by phone without giving them my actual cell or home phone numbers. When you sign up for a Google Voice account, you choose a phone number which can be given to others and then the calls are forwarded and ring to any phone you desire…even multiple phones. It even accepts text messaging. Now that I’m no longer teaching, I still use this number for rewards cards or others that I’m not sure I really want to hear from and just use the call screening feature.
All calls to the U.S. or Canada are free using Google Voice and other international calls can be made for as little as 1¢/minute to Italy (a number my daughter called on Saturday). Most range from 3¢-15¢, and by adding a few dollars to your account with a credit card, you’re good to go.
If you aren’t interested in applying for a new phone number, Skype provides a similar plan, but their rates are 3-5 times higher than those on Google Voice. While that’s still a bargain, I don’t believe it’s as user friendly.
Google Voice takes care of two of my concerns about international calling…if only there was a way to guarantee the person on the other end of the line speaks English.