I am traveling from the US to Europe. I will be staying in a variety of private vacation rentals (e.g. airbnb) and want to be able to text my hosts when I arrive in the city. I will not have regular cell service but will be able to access wifi. What I am looking for is an android app that will allow me to text from my US number to a European number over wifi without requiring the other person to have the same app. Any suggestions (and does such a thing exist)? Thanks.
You can use Skype to call your hosts or text them. http://www.skype.com/en/features/sms/
last year when in Europe, Viber worked well for us, but this year Skype seemed to work better. if that is any help.
But can you skype or viber the other party's phone which does not have skype or viber set up on it?
Depending on your carrier you could probably add a limited # of texts to your plan for not very much... might be worth checking in to.
I'd also suggest using Viber as they work on Android, iOS and a number of other platforms. You'll have to confirm with them on whether the receiving party will also need to have that. I've used it for awhile, and it seems to work fine when texting people that don't have the app. If you have Wi-Fi available, it should work fine.
I have never initiated a call through Skype, but I've received many. The first link provided above shows calling charges (cheap instead of free) to mobile and land line telephones.
I skype to landlines regularly - very cheap and easy, but not free.
I once had to call my regular hotel near Trier from the waiting room at Eurotunnel after all the trains had been held up by a problem on a Eurostar train and tell him that I was going to be 7 hours late or so and hoped he didn't mind staying up (I was supposed to arrive mid afternoon and he is not a young man).
Because the wifi kept dropping out I had to make 4 partial calls to get the message through - but we communicated and the total cost for the England to Germany skypes was about 17 British pence.
You might try the app, Text now. I use it when I travel. I use it with wifi connection. It does not use your cell number. When you register, you will get a US number to use.
This is part of the description: "FREE SMS TEXTING, PICTURE MESSAGING, CALLING, AND VOICEMAIL
Unlimited SMS messaging, and calling.
TextNow gives you your very own dedicated phone number with which you can text and call your friends, family, significant others, neighbors, or anyone else you would like!"