The Ultimate Guide to Staying Connected on Vacation Abroad

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Sign Up for Google Voice

To not use Google Voice while you’re abroad is to not understand the full capabilities of Google Voice. The service, which unifies all your phone numbers into one, can notify you of missed calls, text messages and voicemails by e-mail.

We won’t go into a step-by-step on how to set Google Voice here, but yes, the service allows missed calls to be sent straight into your email inbox. Now you’ll know who called you – even when you’re away from your phone – and return missed calls at your convenience.

(MORE: Short History of Google Voice)

If you’ve also set up text message alerts, you can respond to a text message forwarded via a Google Voice text notification by just hitting “Reply” to the email. The recipient will receive your e-mail as a text message.

Similarly, you can send a text message to anyone in the U.S. by sending a short email to Google’s predefined email address for that number (it’s the same “email” Google Voice uses to alert you of a new text message). Best part about “text messaging” using this method? It doesn’t cost you anything.

Same thing goes for voicemails. Not only can you set up Google Voice to be your default voicemail inbox, but if you want to, you can choose to have Google Voice transcribe voicemail messages left for you and have them delivered to you via email.

Whether messages transcribe accurately is another matter, but it’s usually good enough to get the gist of what’s being said. And you can use Google Voice’s web interface to listen to your voicemails as audio files, too, without having to “call in” to get your messages.

All of that information is easily accessible by Google Voice’s web and mobile interface, as long as you have a Wi-Fi signal.

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