I am heading to Netherlands and UK in June and plan to activate a Google Fi account before I leave to add an e-SIM to my Pixel 6 phone (unlocked, AT&T is my stateside carrier). I'd also like to add my travel companion to my account, but he has an iPhone 11 which if I understand correctly is considered "beta" for using Google Fi. Anyone with recent experience using Fi/iPhone combination while in Europe? Any other tips and tricks when using Google Fi generally? Many thanks in advance.
While I don't have any experience with Fi/iPhones, I do have experience in various countries in Europe with Fi. Short answer - it just works automagically. We've been through Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and Sweden with good coverage. I can't imagine it is different in the Netherlands.
My husband and both use F1 in our iPads, but not in our phones. It has worked well in Europe (Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Italy, and the UK so far. But I don’t know of any tips or tricks to pass along; we just use it as we would at home.
Fi is great. The plane lands and you turn your phone back on. That's it. Have fun on your trip!
I have only had Google Fi on phones purchased through Fi, but have made at least 4 trips to Europe since.
As others have said, it is wonderful to land, turn on your phone and you have cell service and data immediately, just like home.
Overall, service has been good, I have found some dead spots in the middle of nowhere and slow data, like most carriers. I did have some problems in Portugal, at the time, I do not think Google Fi had an agreement with a major carrier there, so in Lisbon I had problems where I had to go in and select a carrier signal, rather that letting it default to pick up the strongest one. But after a few days, I had no more issues.
Our regular bill is around $70/Month (edited to $70) for two phones and some data. when we travel, it can run to $100 when we travel due to heavier data use and some calls, probably can trim that by more aggressive Wi-Fi use for both.
I'm now using Fi, but that's a switch since my last trip to Europe. However, I monitored my data usage on my last trip, and I never hit even 1 GB of data over a 30-day period. I assume that's because I did a lot on hotel Wi-Fi in the evening and early morning, didn't ever stream videos and didn't use my phone for turn-by-turn directions (as a car traveler might). So my data cost, had I been on Fi, would have been under $10/month. I don't feel as if I'm a particularly light user of data during the day, because I'm on the 'net a lot (often on this forum!) when I'm sitting on a bus or train (when Wi-Fi isn't reliable, which is pretty often the case) or waiting for food in a restaurant. When I'm walking around, I just use the phone to follow the "You Are Here" dot when I need help navigating beyond what a paper map provides.
Thanks all for your insights. I'm hoping to work out the kinks at home before I go especially on the iPhone - even if we did a lot of non-wifi data it still appears to pencil out much cheaper than either of our home cell service international plans.
If you can't get Google Fi to work out, you can always buy a Dutch Vodafone SIM once you get to the Netherlands. I still use mine from 2017 whenever I go back to Europe.
Not to hijack the thread, but for those that might roll their eyes at being "connected" while on vacation, I have to mention that after traveling several times with covid restrictions, I find a phone with data service is almost vital to travel. Between covid apps, QR codes, Non-contact payment (Google/Apple Pay), maps, navigation, Train apps, etc. I really would have suffered not having a phone on those trips.
There is so much stuff that I used to haul with me, That now is in the palm of my hand. (Didn't even mention camera, scanning documents, e-mail...and on and on..) that it has really changed my travel experience.
I love Google Fi. Now I can't travel without it. It's so easy and works seamlessly. Also, you pay for usage, not some pre-determined data blocks.
It's so nice to use Google Maps all the time for traffic, directions, and even restaurant recommendations.
The only caveat is that you must activate it before you depart from the USA.