How to Make Free Calls to the USA with Google Voice

Free calls to the USA are possible with Google Voice. That’s right—you can make FREE calls to the United States with your cell phone from abroad. No catches. No fees. This service is made possible by our very good friends at Google.

As a budget backpacker, I use Google Voice to stay in touch with family and friends at home in the US.  While Google Voice is only available to those with an existing US phone number, this blog post is focused on helping Americans phone home for free while traveling abroad.

Free calls to USA with Google Voice

How to Use Your Phone Internationally Without Charges

Unfortunately, the top 4 cell phone companies in the US—Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile—don’t allow you to call the USA from internationally without charges.

I do not recommend utilizing your US-based cell phone provider overseas. They will charge you an exorbitant amount for everything from calls, text messaging, and especially data.  The best rate of these companies is probably T-Mobile where you can call the US for as low as $0.20 per minute.

I should also point out that AT&T, for example, does offer international day plans for select countries starting at $10 per day. This will give you unlimited calls within the foreign country and back to the US and unlimited texts to the world. However, if you are traveling for an extended period of time, the cost of this plan will surely add up; and don’t forget, this is in addition to your normal monthly service charges.

Free Calls with Google Voice

A much better and completely free option is to get a free Google Voice number which will allow you to call and text the US from abroad on WiFi for free.

With Google Voice, you get a free phone number for calls, text messages, and voicemail. When setting up your Google Voice account, you will link your new Google Voice number to your existing mobile or landline number.

Then when you are overseas, you can call back to the US on WiFi for free using your Google Voice number. Even more, you can receive calls from the US, and neither you nor the caller will be charged.  Your Google Voice number will be a US phone number, so you can call any US number for free from anywhere in the world.

Getting Started with Google Voice

Before your trip overseas, there are a few things you’ll need:

  • An iPhone or Android smartphone
  • An active US phone number
  • A Google account

You can sign up at Google Voice online or through the Google Voice app on Android or iOS.  In either case, you’ll need to download the app. You’ll be using the Google Voice app on your phone to make calls.

After verifying your existing phone number, you can immediately start making and receiving calls with your new Google Voice number.

Google Voice Features

In addition to making free calls to USA, there are a ton of other Google Voice features.

  • Send text messages from your computer
  • Transcribed and searchable voicemails
  • Make international calls for cheap
  • Block unwanted callers and spam calls
  • Forward calls to other multiple numbers

My name is Tony Florida, and I am passionate about traveling the world without spending a fortune. This Google Voice blog post is just one of many travel blogs that I’ve written in an attempt to help you see the world on a budget.

Check out some of my other work, and if you like what you see, be sure to follow me on Facebook and YouTube for more!

About The Author

With a strong software engineering background, Tony is determined to leverage the internet to positively impact as many people as possible. Discover why Tony quit his dream job to pursue this mission. You can send Tony a message here.

Categories Travel

5 thoughts on “How to Make Free Calls to the USA with Google Voice”

  1. Hi Tony, thank you for this update! I have been searching all over the web to try to find an answer to this question:

    I have a google voice set up with my current carries (at&t)
    I will be in Europe for a few months, and was wondering will I be able to receive calls to my google voice number from US if I have wifi and the right settings on my google voice app?
    Also will I be able to make calls to US numbers from my google voice (less important)

    I know you wrote that I can, but reason I am asking is because I went to UK in August 2018 and I believe I tried doing both and it didn’t work. Only text messaging did.

    I appreciate your answer,
    Thank you

    • Hey there! Yes, as long as you are connected to WiFi you will be able to make and receive calls and texts through the Google Voice app. I use this all the time abroad. There’s actually a setting in the Google Voice app called “Make and receive calls” so just make sure you have “Prefer Wi-Fi and mobile data” selected and then you should be good to go.

      Perhaps you may want to test it out before traveling. From another phone, call your Google Voice number. Also, from the Google Voice app call another phone. If that works here, it will work abroad too.

      For what it’s worth, I also have AT&T, but every carrier will work the same.

      Happy travels!

  2. Thank you! yes I did test it out and it worked, but I thought that thats only because im using another US number to test with, but I guess it will be the same.


  3. I forgot to ask, will the calls work overseas with WiFi without linking google voice number to a US phone number? I removed my US phone number that my google voice was linked to (under incoming calls I chose iOS Device-this device) and I was able to receive and make calls here in US to another US number but not sure if this feature would work overseas. Reason I am asking is cause I will have WiFi in Europe but another non US sim card in my phone.

    Thank you,

    • Google Voice requires a US-based number, so I don’t think that setup will work for you abroad. In other words, you won’t be able to link a foreign phone number to Google Voice.

      I suggest that you keep your US phone number linked to Google Voice. When you are overseas, go ahead and swap out your US SIM card for the foreign SIM card. That way, you will still be able to use Google Voice to call back to the US for free on WiFi and also be able to use your foreign phone number.

Got questions? Leave a comment! Let’s chat.