Moving to Germany next year, how best to stay in touch with everyone back in the US?
So my employer has given me the opportunity to move to Frankfurt, Germany for two years; a move which, after some deliberation with friends and family, I have decided to accept. While the move isn't for several more months, I'm trying to get a jump on the details. As my girlfriend is probably staying behind in the States for work (at least for a while), one major concern is finding the best way to stay in touch with her - not to mention to keep up with the rest of my family.
Ideally, what I'd like is the ability to easily make calls/texts from Europe back to the States, (and vice-versa), just like I do now. I've used Skype in the past - it's great for PC-to-PC video communication and the "skype-out" feature is useful but there's no easy way to message people unless you're both logged in simultaneously.
I briefly looked into Viber
today and it's starting to sound like the best bet. However, I'm a bit new to all this and have a few questions:
1. If I get a German SIM for my phone, will I be able to use Viber in other EU countries? Am I good anywhere, so long as I have an Internet connection? My new position entails a lot of regional travel, so I'll be spending a good portion of my time in surrounding countries (France, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, etc).
2. For those who have used Viber, any issues? If it matters, I have an old Galaxy S (but I'm considering upgrading to a Galaxy Nexus); girlfriend has a brand-new Verizon iPhone 4S.
3. I really like my current US number and am thinking of porting it to another service - either a prepaid US sim (for trips back to the States) or to Google Voice
. Would Google Voice gain me anything used in conjunction with Viber? I'm not that familiar with GV but as I understand it can't be used overseas, nor can it (supposedly) forward to a non-US phone number.
4. Are there any better ways to do all this? Anything I'm forgetting?