ET Phone Home?

One of the things we were worried about when we were planning the trip was what we were going to do about our cell phones and being able to afford keeping in touch with people at home. At first we were doing a bunch of research and thought we were going to transfer one of our numbers to T-Mobile and cancel the other, which would’ve been tough for us because we have both had the same numbers since high school/college. We knew we wouldn’t have been able to stay with Verizon internationally, and T-Mobile seemed like the best deal.

Somehow I stumbled upon the Google phone plan (Google Fi) and it seemed too good to be true. The plan breaks down like this: $20 a month for unlimited text and talk in the US, and unlimited texting around the world in the 100+ countries they cover. If you call using the local network outside the US, it’s $0.20 a minute, which isn’t too bad. Data is $10 a gig anywhere they have coverage, so as long as you don’t use a ton of data (we try to use Wifi as much as possible), its really cheap. While we were in the US, our bill was usually about $35 a month, each. This makes the total just over half what we were paying Verizon each month for our shared plan. The coverage wasn’t quite as good, but for the money we weren’t complaining. The coverage in the US was provided by T-Mobile and Sprint, whoever had the better signal in your location. They have since added US Cellular and Three (international coverage throughout Europe), so it’s getting better and better.

The real bonus comes in that they facilitate calling over Wifi, and that calls over Wifi from anywhere in the world (well in their 100+ countries) to the US are free, so we can call home and it doesn’t cost us anymore than the $20 a month of our base price. The cost of calls over Wifi varies within different countries, but overall you can call local numbers for a few cents a minute most places, so calling a hotel our checking the hours of somewhere we want to visit is no big deal.

Focusing on using Wifi as much as possible, and doing things like downloading offline Google Maps before going to new areas has made it so we use very little data each month. Our July bills were each under $30, and we haven’t had any complaints about being able to get on the network when we need it. Hopefully the coverage continues throughout our travels through less developed countries, but so far we are really happy with our choice to swap to Google Fi.

Cara's note: Google Fi in no way compensated us for this review. These are our unsolicited opinions. We fully recommend service with Google Fi at home or abroad. HOWEVER, if Google Fi saw fit to lower our already cheap phone bill we would not complain- get a hold of us!