Staying Connected Overseas with Google Voice and Skype

On what devices can I use Google Voice outside US with CactusVPN?

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Android TV
  • LinuxUbuntu
  • AmazonFire TV
  • Fire TVStick
  • SamsungSmart TV
  • LG TV
  • Apple TV
  • Roku
  • PlayStation
  • XBOX

Can you Port any U.S. Phone Number to Google Voice?

Most phone numbers can be ported into a Google Voice number but not all of them. The phone number must be from one of the biggest mobile carriers (AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile or Verizon Wireless) or one of their subsidiary or re-seller brands.

You cannot port a VoIP number nor a land line number to Google Voice.

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Other Features of Google Voice

Along with making and receiving phone calls, Google Voice has several options that let you customize what happens when someone tries to reach you. You can set rules for both individual contacts and groups of them that will forward their calls to another number (for example, your home phone), send them directly to voicemail, or only put them through to specific devices. Other options let you screen calls and use customized greetings for specific people.

Requirement 2 Get the US Based Proxy Server

If you are from India, just try to open this in the link in your browser – Google Voice Account. I am sure when you open it, it will prompt you that  Google Voice is not available in your country.

To solve this issue, you need to use a U.S based proxy. You can either use a free VPN service that offers U.S based IP  or you can use proxy software like HotSpot hotshield and Ultrasurf.

You can download them using the below link. Don’t worry about the cost, they are FREE.

Hotshied: Download Hotshield

Ultrasurf: Download Ultra surf

How to use Google Voice Internationally?

You can use Google Voice both on your computer and/or on your phone.

Once you moved overseas, use the Google Voice app on your phone exclusively in data mode. This is super important or you might end-up using your local phone carrier and pay extra.

To use Google Voice internationally with data only, select Prefer wi-fi and mobile data in the Make and receive calls options in Google Voice settings. The Prefer wi-fi and mobile data option allows you to send texts and place phone calls without a phone carrier. Of course, it only works when you have access to an internet connection, whether it is public free wi-fi or an internet data plan.

Your phone device has now become two phones in one:

  • a local phone when you use your phone the regular way.
  • an American phone when you text or call through your Google Voice number.

How does Google Voice work?

Google Voice is surprisingly simple in how it works and how you can set it up.

The service works over a broadband connection, so as long as you’re connected to your home or office network, it’ll work just fine.

When you sign up for the first time, you have the option of using your own phone number that you can port to the service or getting your own. If you choose the latter, you’ll need to input your area code and pick the phone number of choice. If you care about the phone number’s digits (like if you’re a business and want to get a vanity number people can dial), you can input your desired digits and see if they’re available.

Once you have your phone number (it happens immediately), you can create your voicemail message. You can then start making calls from your phone or your computer. You can also use the service to send and receive text messages.

When you get a voicemail in Google Voice, you’ll be able to access it in the app and get a transcript (and recording) of it sent to your e-mail. 

When you receive a call, especially if you have your Google Voice forwarded to your cell phone, you’ll hear an alert that someone is calling the Google Voice number. You’ll then have the option of answering or not. And if you decide to call back, you can decide to have your Google Voice number show up on the person’s caller ID instead of your iPhone or Android device’s number.

And if you want to have your number ring to multiple devices, that’s perfectly fine. It’s especially handy in corporate settings, where multiple people may want to answer the company’s line.

More Budget Travel Tips

My name is Tony Florida, and I am passionate about traveling the world without spending a fortune. Since quitting my job in 2018, I made it my mission to see the world on the cheap.

This Google Voice blog post is just one of many budget travel blog posts that I’ve written in an attempt to help you see the world on a budget.

Let me know if you have any questions about using Google Voice abroad in the comments below.

mpdaugherty on Twitter

  • @garrytan I don’t think I’ve ever shipped a product so perfect that I can look at it and not cringe because I see all the imperfections. 14 hours ago
  • My neighbor just bought a Dairy Queen franchise and I’m wondering if this is a climate change hedge? 5 days ago
  • Last night my wife saw a drone hovering outside out window at 11pm while we were chatting with a friend. It flew of… 1 week ago

1. Turn off call forwarding for your old phone

My first step was to turn off SMS forwarding and enable ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode so that while I had no physical phone, my calls and text messages would not be forwarded to some stranger who ended up with my old number.

To do that, you need to do two things in Google Voice.  First, make sure your messages are sent to your email.  Go to Settings->Voicemail & SMS.  Within that tab, turn on Voicemail Notifications and SMS Forwarding.  Don’t forget to save your changes.

Forwarding Google Voice to Email

Forwarding Google Voice to Email

Next, turn on Do Not Disturb mode to prevent calls from being forwarded to your old phone number.  This is under Settings->Calls.

Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb

Now, you can send and receive text messages, and you can receive incoming calls.  All the calls go to voicemail, but at least you can get messages.

Free Calls with Google Voice

A much better and completely free option is to get a free Google Voice number which will allow you to call and text the US from abroad on WiFi for free.

With Google Voice, you get a free phone number for calls, text messages, and voicemail. When setting up your Google Voice account, you will link your new Google Voice number to your existing mobile or landline number.

Then when you are overseas, you can call back to the US on WiFi for free using your Google Voice number. Even more, you can receive calls from the US, and neither you nor the caller will be charged. Your Google Voice number will be a US phone number, so you can call any US number on WiFi for free from anywhere in the world.

You also have the option of buying a cheap local SIM card abroad. This will allow you to make calls off of WiFi as long as you have cell phone service with your SIM.

How to Use Google Voice While Traveling

So those features all sound great, but it’s how th

So those features all sound great, but it’s how they function in the real world that matters. Fortunately, for the most part, they work pretty well.

Because Google Voice works internationally just like it does in the US, having a number that’s available across devices anywhere in the world comes in very handy. It works on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, using any Wi-Fi network or cellular data you have access to.

Here are several examples of how Google Voice has been particularly useful to me on the road.

Using Services like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb

No matter where I am in the world, as soon as I get a data connection, I’m contactable by drivers and hosts.

Sure, in some cases they could get in touch with me via the app, but Uber/Lyft drivers in particular much prefer to call you to confirm details. I’ve answered dozens of calls and texts asking about my exact location, or when I’ll arrive at my accommodation.

Also, since Lyft is only available in the US, it wants you to have a US phone number when creating your account. The first time I tried to do so with a Google Voice number, it refused to accept it, but when I returned to the US a couple of years later, the same number worked just fine. What changed? I’ve no idea.

Getting Security Verification Texts and Calls

Probably the best aspect for me is the ability to receive verification texts and calls from any company that wants to send them. I get authentication texts or phone calls from my bank, several apps, and Google itself, all on my phone or in my browser, any time, anywhere.

Whether I’m sending money to someone, resetting my password, or just logging in from a different location, verification is quick and easy.

That said, some banks and apps have started detecting virtual numbers in recent years, and either refusing to let you use them or silently not sending the text. It’s frustrating, but if it’s prevented by the company, there’s little you can do about it other than use a normal carrier number instead.

You may be able to request a verification phone call instead (it’s worked for me on occasion when the text failed,) but not all services provide this option. Such calls could also have the same issue if the company decides to block virtual numbers with those as well, so it’s not a guaranteed workaround.

Getting Updates from Airlines

I always enter my Google Voice number when booking plane tickets, since many carriers will text updates on flight delays or cancelations. As long as I’ve got Wi-Fi or cell data, they’ll pop up as if they’re a standard SMS, and I’ll know what’s happening immediately.

Free Phone Calls to North America

I don’t need to call US or Canadian numbers particularly often, but it does happen a few times a year. When it does, not having to pay a cent for it is rather nice, especially if it’s a company where I’ll sit on hold for 20 minutes before talking to someone. If I had family in North America, I’d use this service all the time.

Cheap Calls to Everywhere Else

While traveling life would be a lot easier if you could do everything online, sometimes you just have to pick up the phone. With the exception of a few obscure destinations, calls to most places with Google Voice are pretty cheap per minute, and call quality is good as long as you’ve got a half-decent internet connection.

Being Contactable by Old-School Companies

While most companies will happily contact you by email or through their app, there are a few old-school ones that won’t. Hello banks, I’m looking at you.

One of my banks absolutely loves to block my debit card, and then call to tell me about it. Without Google Voice, I wouldn’t have a working phone number on record, and the process would be even more annoying than it already is.

Not Being Dependent on One Device

Phones break or get lost all the time, especially while traveling. It happened to me in Thailand just a couple of months ago, but because Google Voice works in a browser as well, my texts and calls kept arriving just fine.

It sounds wonderful and in some ways it is, but Google Voice isn’t perfect. Not every text message arrives, even after repeated tries. Sometimes a call won’t ring on my phone or in the browser, and goes straight to voicemail even if I’m sitting in front of my phone or laptop at the time.

That’s a frustration, but one I accept given (a) I’m not paying for that part of the service, and (b) there are no alternatives that offer as many features, paid or otherwise.

Another minor issue is that transcription of voicemails is obviously automated, and varies between pretty accurate and almost incomprehensible. I find myself needing to download and listen to the actual voicemail over half the time.

How to Get Google Voice

Google Voice apps are available for download for the major mobile platforms.

Download For:

iOS Android
  1. Open the Google Voice website and click Get Google Voice. Sign in to your Google account if asked.

    Choose iOS, Android, or Web.

    You might also see a Terms of Service and Privacy Policy screen. Accept them with the Continue button.

  2. On the page that asks about choosing a Google Voice number, enter a city or area code to get a phone number from that region.

  3. Review the numbers presented and then choose one to use as your Google Voice number by clicking or tapping Select.

    If you want to see more than the few that are shown by default, choose the Load More button under the numbers.

  4. Verify your existing phone number with the Verify button on the following page.

  5. Enter the phone number that Google Voice should forward incoming calls to then select Send Code.

  6. Check your phone for the text message from Google, and then enter that code on the Google Voice website in the text box that reads G –. So, it’ll look something like G-9820.

  7. Select Verify to confirm that the code has been entered correctly.

  8. Choose Claim to confirm you want to forward Google Voice calls to that phone number.

    If Google Voice is already forwarding calls to that phone, setting up a new Google Voice number with that phone removes it from being used with the previous Google Voice number (i.e. calls that used to be forwarded to your phone from another Google Voice account stop ringing that phone). This glitch only happens if you’ve used the same phone with another Google Voice number from a different Google account.

  9. Use the Finish button to finish setting up Google Voice then click Finish again on the final screen to open your Google Voice account.

Learn more about how to get your own Google phone number

Congratulations  !!

Once you select the number, the next screen you will see is

That’s it. Once you have Google Voice number

That’s it. Once you have Google Voice number you can make the FREE call to the US to Canada. You can set up your voicemail greeting, forwarding numbers, etc from the setting.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section and if you like this post don’t forget to share it on Facebook & Twitter with your friends and family.

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