Project Fi Phooey

After many hours of research, I thought I had landed upon the very best phone system to keep Elise safe during our travels – Google’s Project Fi, which provides unlimited talk in the US and unblocked texting in 135 countries with one world SIM card. It only works with Google phones, however, so I bought a Google Pixel for myself and a Pixel XL for Elise. Total investment: 1030€. I then signed up for Project Fi. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that Project Fi DOES NOT WORK with European model Google phones! This meant that our shiny new Google phones were no more useful than any old cell phone requiring new SIMs in every country we visited. This was a serious concern for me, because it is not always possible to immediately buy and install SIM cards when arriving in a new country. How would Elise reach me if we got separated? Google’s response: we’ll refund the $14 shipping for the Project Fi SIMs. Oh, and we will update our FAQs so others don’t encounter this situation. Needless to say, the discovery had caused a sickening feeling in my stomach.

But! Our German phone provider, 1&1, came up with a solution in the final hours before we were to depart on our world travels. The rep suggested using my German 1&1 SIM in my phone and converting our house phone to a cell phone SIM for Elise’s phone. That way, in case of an emergency, she could call me from anywhere in the world. Even if it cost 10€ per minute, it would be worth it! So I ran to storage and dug out both SIM cards and attempted to put them into our Google phones. But they did not fit! The same 1&1 rep directed me to a phone shop to have the SIM cards trimmed. I could have done without the stress before our Big Departure, but thanks to 1&1, we had a workable solution to keep Elise safe during our travels.