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All People > vaboywnder > Scott's Blog > 2015 > July
2015

***Update 4/3/16 ****

As planned we purchased international sim cards for our phone after clearing customs at the Sydney Airport.  There is both an Optus & Vodaphone counter near the baggage claim area of the international terminal.  We went with Optus and the sales clerk was great in helping us get set up with the new sim cards.  We didn't want to have to worry about keeping up with data usage so we opted for a Sim Card that gave us up to 1GB of data a day at a cost of $30 each sim.

 

Before leaving California we forwarded our regular cell phone numbers to Google Voice and  to our surprise we were able to make and receive calls to/from the US at no charge.  I had thought since we were in Australia there would be a charge to call the US on Google Voice but the calls were free. We did however had to add the "0011+1" prefix to all calls we made to US from Australia.  I was glad that I had forwarded my US phone number to Google Voice as a couple of Uber Drivers in Australia called me and were able to reach me through my Google Voice number.  I wouldn't have thought of changing my phone number in my Uber profile otherwise.

 

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**Original Posting**

 

In preparation for our future trip to Australia I’ve been doing some research on the best options for cell phone use overseas.  Both eclektech and I want to be able to use our own personal phones while away without racking up a huge bill.   Several people have recommended to us about getting a sim card once we arrive in Australia. After doing some research this seems like the best option for us to use our phones economically while there as we like being able to have data access and full functionality of our phones.

 

Using an Australian sim card while away means that we will then have an Australian phone number, which is ok but then all calls to and from home (USA) could be expensive.   So I did a little more research and found the answer…Google Voice.

 

Most people use Google Voice as a forwarding service.  They give out their Google Voice number to everyone and then they can choose to have their home, work, or cell number to take the call.  Google allows users to configure when and where calls can be forwarded to within their home country.  Many users overlook that Google Voice also has VOIP phone features in addition to voicemail.

 

To use the VOIP features of Google Voice on your smart phone you need to have the Google Hangouts application installed.  If you have an android phone you will want to install “Hangouts Dialer”.  Once installed you can configure the application to make or receive calls when you are connected to Wi-Fi and/or have a data connection.  All calls within the US & Canada to other numbers within US & Canada are free. All calls outside the US & Canada to numbers inside US & Canada costs 1 cent per minute which is very reasonable for international calling.

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Prior to my trip I will give my family members my Google Voice number.  This way they can reach me both via text and phone at no cost to them.  Prior to leaving the country I will forward my cellphone number to my Google Voice number. This will allow me to still receive calls from my US cell phone number while away.  Then once we arrive in Australia we will immediately purchase a sim card for our phones to use.  Our out of pocket expense for phone service while away should be around $40.