As nice as it is in Spain, sometimes you just want to call home and have a chat with friends or family. This post will cover calling the USA from Spain. It’s surprising how many options there are, so let’s dig in.
Is calling the US from Spain expensive?
While it’s OK to jump on your mobile phone and make a call to the US, there can be a bit of a jolt when you start by dialing “+1…”. Then it dawns on you, “Uh…calling the US from Spain this way will probably be expensive.” Besides the expense, does your mobile plan even allow for international calls?
Let me cover some options that are free, and some that are very close to free.
While using Skype to call a US phone number is not free, it’s extremely cheap to make calls from Spain to the US. Like two-ish cents per minute or there are also annual plans for unlimited calls. It’s a service that requires an account and a credit card for adding to your account or “topping-up”. Skype has apps for Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, and even Linux, so they have you covered. I do want to point out that Skype is owned by Microsoft. That can bug some people, but I thought I would point it out.
Calls with Skype are handled over the internet, so if you have a dodgy internet connection, you’ll likely experience quality issues with your call. If the person your calling has a Skype account, then they’ll know who is calling and Skype to Skype is free.
The biggest downside to this service is that if the person your calling does not use Skype, they will not see your name or a recognizable number, they won’t answer the call. Especially in the U.S. at this time, people are sick of robocalls, so they won’t pick up your call.
This is another “call over the internet” type of service provided by Google. You can top it up as with Skype, and the cost of a call can be even cheaper. The same warning with internet quality applies.
If you’re embedded in the Google ecosystem, then Hangouts is an easy choice as it’s right there in your Gmail interface (bottom-left). I also want to point out that while Google has pronounced that it will be discontinuing the Hangouts service, and changing the branding/name to Google Chat.
What with the current global crisis that is COVID-19, everyone knows about Zoom. This provides a great way to have a video chat with anyone who has an internet connection. Call/video setup is not as quick/easy as other options on this list, but if you have a speedy internet connection, having a Zoom call can be very rewarding.
I would use this option if I wanted to speak with more than 1 other person. My understanding is that this is currently a free option. If you have more than 3 people on a given call, it is free for 40 minutes. If you’re worried about privacy, I would double-check Zoom’s website to make sure that call snooping is not possible. If you’re a business looking to negotiate a leveraged buyout of a multi-million dollar company, that can be important. If you’re just discussing Grandma’s Chicken Soup recipe, maybe you’re not so concerned about it.
If you’re an Apple person (think Mac, iPhone, or iPad), then you’re probably well aware of Facetime. This is a free service to those that are a member of the Apple ecosystem. There’s no Facetime for Android or Windows, so if that’s what you run, then you’re outta luck.
The video/audio calls are generally decent quality, and of course, it depends on your internet connection, but it’s very simple to make and receive calls. This can be great for non-technical users in your household, and it’s free!
That covers the most common ways of connecting with loved ones. But I have another option if you’re in Spain.
If you have a good data plan or are frequently connected to a solid WiFi network then WhatsApp is a good choice. It’s free and very easy to use, and it also includes a video option. Some might have an aversion to using it since it’s owned by Facebook, but I’ll let you decide. This is very popular in Spain, so it’s time to start getting used to using it.
U.S. Phone Carrier – International Plan
Another option is using an “international plan” with your US carrier, if you’re visiting for a few weeks. If you’re going to be in Spain for more than a month, this option can get expensive. One thing to be aware of if you’re bringing over a phone from the U.S. is that the phone needs to be unlocked to work.
A Quick Tech Tip
Before I talk about the last option, I wanted to point out something that you may not know. When dialing internationally, calling codes can be a bit tricky. Do you dial a “0” or a “011” before the country code? To simplify your dialing, all you need to do is make sure the person/contact your dialing has the phone number in the following format:
+ <Country Code> <Phone Number>
But you may be asking, “How do I enter that + sign when I’m on my mobile phone?” It’s super easy. Just long-press the zero button and it should appear. Add the country code and number, save the contact, and from then on dialing them is easy.
My Last Option – Lobster Mobile Service
We recently ran across a Lobster mobile service in Spain. It’s billed as “the first All-English mobile provider in Spain”.
Need assistance setting up a new account, the person you speak to will speak English. Do you have a technical question and need assistance, then you’ll be chatting to your helper in English. If you are setting up your voicemail or the voice prompts, they are in English. As someone who has abysmal “Phone Spanish”, I really like this. If you’re not comfortable speaking Spanish on the phone, then this is a great feature.
Lobster Mobile call plans
As you can see, Lobster has 3 simple plans, and simplicity is the name of the game. They are very affordable, you can “park” your number and start/stop service too. So even if you come for a couple of months, this is a great option. No contracts and you can go month to month or auto-renew. I tried out the service just to make sure it worked as advertised, and was not disappointed. I was so happy with the service that I ported all three of our numbers to the Lobster Mobile service.
I can call anyone in Spain, and I don’t have to worry about the mobile provider they use. I get three times the amount of data to play with as well. And not only can I call Spain, calls to any of the countries listed below are included.
calls from Spain to USA
And that includes the USA! So, that means your calls from Spain to the USA just got a whole lot cheaper. Plus, when we call friends/family in the U.S., they see our Spanish number and know it’s not a robocall.
If you are about to move to Spain, or you already live in Spain and are tired of expensive mobile service, contact us for a Lobster Mobile for a SIM. Setup is quick and easy! We are a point of sale for the Lobster Mobile SIM cards and can work with you to set up your service.
How can Wagoners Abroad help me?
- We are a point of sale for the Lobster Mobile to get you a Spanish SIM and phone number.
- We can help by covering the entire Spain non lucrative visa application process for you. We have the Live In Spain ebook which details all aspects of obtaining either the Non-Lucrative or Retirement Visa.
- The Getting Settled In Spain ebook covers aspects before and after you obtain your long-term visa. It’s a real money-saver!
- If you’re interested in a higher level of service, we provide many types of Relocation Packages. If you are interested in something custom, just contact us and we can schedule a conference call.
Okay, that should do the trick. I hope this has been helpful and let us know what you need.