Google Fi is just about everywhere you want to go, and it’s cheap too…
Google Fi is the phone service you may have heard of, but likely have questions about. To me, It’s the service that makes you feel like James Bond when you land in over 200 countries and counting, and your phone immediately works, without the stress of insane data charges abroad.
Unlike most plans, it’s not widely marketed, and you probably haven’t seen it on any television commercials either, but after two years paying and using the service, it’s the not-so-secret phone plan we just can’t live without, especially when we travel. And no, sadly we don’t get it for free. Here’s everything you need to know, before you consider taking the plunge and switching over to Project Fi.
Google Fi is shockingly reasonable. The plan costs $20 a month for unlimited call and texts, and $15 for each additional user and is limited to travelers with U.S. residency, but the service works seamlessly in over 200 destinations.
Data costs $10 per gigabyte, but you’ll never pay for more than 6 gigabytes. If you go over, Google gives you up to 15 more, for no additional charge. Now what’s cool and innovative about your data usage, is that each month you only pay for what you use.
If you use .9 gigabytes, you’ll pay $9, instead of $10. If you use 1.5 gigs, you’ll pay $15, rather than 20. It’s calculated down to the last .1, which can save lots of money versus other plans. The kicker here? Wherever you travel, nothing changes with your data charges.
I love landing in Doha, Singapore or Mexico City and knowing i’ll pay for data just the same as if I was at home.
There’s no long term contract behind Google Fi, which makes it very attractive for people who are prone to indecision! No judgement here! But the real talking point of this service is how useful it is for traveler, which is why we got it. Google Project Fi allows unlimited text and $10 per gig data in over 200 countries.
There are no daily fees while you’re abroad, so other than phone calls, you just use your phone as if you’re at home, since it costs exactly the same. You’ll get a message each time you land, saying “you’re covered here”. In addition to your phone, you can grab a SIM card for your tablet or other devices, which allows you to use data at the same rate of $10 per gig on other devices.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of Google Fi, is that it seamlessly switches between partner networks, depending on whichever has the strongest signal. This is a unique differentiator to competitors which only utilize their own towers and won’t put you onto a better network. We’ve had numerous times where others did not have coverage, yet our phones did.
Of course, it can go the other way too. Here’s the map to check your coverage.
In *theory*, the Google Fi service should only work on approved Android devices. But like many things in the world, there’s usually a way around that.
With that said, there are many data points that it can work with other phones. Many of the best phone cameras in the world work on the Google Fi service, so it’s an excellent choice for anyone keen to ditch the “big camera” and go mobile only for their travel snaps.
I believe the only downside to using a non approved Google Fi phone is that many phones don’t have the automatic network switching, which makes the service so effective.
Google offers truly unlimited cloud photo storage for free, which is an additional money saver, considering Apple charges a small fortune for the privilege of saving photos on the web. We’ve used the Google Pixel and find it to be highly reliable, though many people are partial to Samsung Galaxy and Huawei P20. It’d be great to see Google Fi officially include both Galaxy and Huawei phones, even if they technically work anyway.
One fun aspect of Google Fi is that rather than spend money on marketing, the service allows users to save money on their bills by doing the marketing for them.
If you refer a friend to Project Fi, they receive $20 off their service, and you do too. You can receive an unlimited amount of referrals, which can make an already fantastic service price even better. If you’d like to use our code, 4AY5E8 will take $20 off your bill, and we’ll of course enjoy our savings too. Thanks : ) This is a great way to bring fellow travel friends along for the ride.
The most popular question: can I bring my number? Yes. You can easily transfer your mobile number from virtually any phone service over to Google Fi, and if you cancel, you can bring it back with you to another company, or the same one you just left!
The next most popular Google Fi question: do they have family plans? Yes, you can create Group Plans. The first person is charged $20, and every other person in the group is $15. Everyone uses the same $10 per gig data, and for a group of two, you’re never charged for more than $100 for data (10 gigs), even if you use more.
All photos taken using Google Pixel phone.