If you have your own business and travel often, staying connected takes priority. You’ve got to stay available to clients at all times, and make sure it’s easy as possible for them to contact you. The last thing you need is to miss an important text message or voicemail while you’re abroad or in the middle of switching phone numbers.
Unfortunately, Google Voice currently only provides a free US number. Also, it is worth noting that calls or texts forwarded to a non-US number will be charged.
Nevertheless, I have found Google Voice to be invaluable during the last seven months between Thailand and Vietnam.
- I need to call the US when abroad (for business or keeping in touch). You can do this for free once you’ve secured a number in the region of your choice! As long as you have a data or wifi connection, you can contact your friends or family from anywhere worldwide, via Google Hangouts. And it’s no cost to them either since you will be calling them from a “local” number. Even multimedia messages are no problem with Google Hangouts.
- Skype or Facetime take too much data or run too slow. Unless video calls are necessary, Google Voice offers a lightweight, clearer alternative when the Internet connection is weak or minimal. I’ve experienced the clearest of international calls even over a 3G Mobifone connection in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
- I need a consistent phone number. Never mind about that! As long as you have Google Voice, you have a single number accessible worldwide—no matter where you end up moving or traveling. What’s more, Google Voice can forward calls to any or all of your phones. The best part? Since the number appears as “local”, No one will know you are abroad, unless you tell them.
- I can’t remember my number. My personal favorite part of setting up Google Voice is the option to select the number easiest for you to remember. (Thus, my seemingly redundant business number.) You can even select your area code, depending on availability of phone numbers. This will come in handy if your phone number has a different area code than most of your target clientele.
- I need to stay connected constantly. Thankfully, Google Hangouts is available as a device app or from your Internet browser. So you can even access your texts and calls from your desktop computer!
- My phone often dies. Mid-call? An important call? No worries! Just forward the call to your phone and wait for it to ring. Then pick up and carry on with your call as if nothing happened.
- I never check my voicemail. Well, the voicemail transcription makes this a whole lot less likely! The accuracy of the voicemail transcription feature allows you to give your message a quick glance—as easy as receiving a text message!
- I need specific features for my business calls. If we’re talking conference calls or recording features, those are included in Google Voice too.