International Telephone Forwarding for Google Voice and Skype
Anyone who has ever traveled abroad for business or leisure knows the anxiety that comes with attempting to understand your mobile provider’s international roaming and data charges. That anxiety is typically doubled when the bill arrives, forcing you or your company to shell out hundreds of dollars.
There was a time when travelers could simply turn off mobile devices while abroad. But today, when traveling for business, going off the grid is simply not possible. Disconnecting might be possible for vacation travel, but most people don’t like to be cut off from family, friends, or work for an extended period of time. Some carriers have attempted to simplify the roaming process by allowing users to upgrade to an “international plan,” often to the tune of two to three times their usual monthly rate. They know that businesspeople must stay connected and vacationers want to stay connected, so they increase the rates accordingly.
Mobile customers may think they have little choice in the matter, so they simply take the hit. But thanks to the magic of the internet, travelers don’t have to sacrifice their savings or their paycheck for connectivity. With a little bit of planning, some useful online voice over IP (VoIP) calling apps, and the help of international telephone forwarding, it is possible to stay connected without breaking the bank.
Why Google Voice and Skype?
Google Voice and Skype are VoIP phone services that send and receive calls over the internet on either a peer-to-peer basis where users are on the same platform, or between the platform and standard land or mobile phone lines.
Skype is one of the most popular VoIP applications in the world, and can often be the easiest way to stay connected to home and work while traveling abroad. It works on PCs, Macs, iPhones, and Android devices. When connecting directly with other Skype users over the internet, the call is completely free. There are variable (yet affordable) fees for calling a landline or a non-Skype mobile number, depending upon where you are in the world, and where the other party is located. Their video conferencing options can keep you connected on a face-to-face basis with employees, team members, or even you grandmother.
With a Google Voice number, users can place and receive calls inside Gmail, and the service is integrated with Google Hangouts for even greater convenience. An added feature with Google Voice is the ability to send text messages directly from Gmail. If you want to send your husband a text goodnight, it won’t cost you anything. Just be sure that whoever you are texting knows your Google Voice number to avoid confusion.
How to Stay Connected With International Telephone Forwarding
These apps make global connectivity simple, but not necessarily convenient. It’s not always possible to connect Skype-to-Skype. Clients and partners may not wish to call via the app in order to reach you. And you don’t necessarily want to stay tied to your laptop in order to place or receive calls online through Google Voice. In order to stay connected while roaming internationally, mobile phone users have even more options. Here’s how to do it:
- Secure a US-based voice over IP (VoIP) telephone number through Google Voice or Skype.
- Download the corresponding apps to your smartphone and your laptop.
- From your home network, forward your regular mobile number to your new Google Voice or Skype number.
- Do some advanced research on Wi-Fi options at your destination. Be sure your hotel offers Wi-Fi, and that you will have access to internet cafes or other public hotspots. jWire.com can help you locate Wi-Fi services by destination.
- Before your flight takes off, disable cellular data, 4G, and roaming functions. Some users prefer to put the phone on airplane mode and leave it here to ensure they don’t forget anything. This prevents your phone from searching for cell networks while you travel.
- Be sure that you are doing all of your calling either from your computer or through the actual VoIP app on your phone, when connected to Wi-Fi. This will ensure that you’re bypassing your cellular plan and making online calls instead.
Taking these steps makes it possible for colleagues, friends, and family back home to dial your regular mobile number and reach you abroad without roaming fees. Never forget to forward your number to your Google Voice or Skype number, or this method will not work.
For international telephone forwarding to bypass cellular connections, your phone must be able to connect to international Wi-Fi. If your phone does not have this capability, you can still use the computer-based app as a telephone to check in with the office or your family. It is also important to note that this method is for telephone calls only. You may wish to turn off your text messaging functions in order to avoid getting smacked with international data charges.
Traveling abroad doesn’t have to mean choosing between phone bill shock or going off the grid. It is possible to stay connected to work and loved ones through the use of Google Voice or Skype, and international telephone forwarding.