4 Reasons the New Google Pixel 2 May Be the Best Phone for International Travel

google pixel 2
Written by Charlie

The new Google Pixel 2 looks like it could be a winner for anyone that travels internationally. Here are 4 reasons you may want to buy this new device.

‘Tis the season for high end phones! In the last month, we have had the announcement of the soon-to-be-released iPhone X (which will start at $999), the Samsung Note 8 now in stores ($929), and now Google’s very own Google Pixel 2 with the larger version starting at $849.

There are many reasons people will find for each phone but here are 4 reasons that the new Google Pixel 2 may just be the best phone for international travel.

4 Reasons the New Google Pixel 2 May Be the Best Phone for International Travel

Link: Google Pixel 2

I will start by saying this – I am (currently) an iPhone user so this is not coming from a current Google phone user. However, I would likely switch to the Note 8 or Pixel 2 tomorrow if it wasn’t for iMessage and Apple’s integration across devices -arrgghhh!

The Google Pixel 2 was just announced yesterday and it has already proved to be very popular across message boards and in the ordering process. While it does not have the beauty of the Samsung Note 8 or iPhone X (I know, people will disagree with both of those), it does have a lot going for it that should give international travelers pause as they go to select their next phone.


  • Google Pixel 2 starts at $649 with 64GB
  • Google Pixel 2 XL starts at $849 with 64GB

1 – Google Pixel 2 is Google Fi Ready

Link: Google Fi

Google Fi is one of my all-time favorite tools for international travel and communication. And, yes, I use it on my iPhone. But, it only has complete functionality for native calling and the hybrid switching technology for use in the US if you have it with a Fi-certified phone.

Not only is the Google Pixel 2 a Fi-certified phone, it is also the first phone to come with an eSIM for automatic setup without needing a SIM card. Not bad at all! I am sure I am not the only one to have misplaced a SIM card so this comes in handy!

Having a Fi-certified phone on your Google Fi account gives you the free messaging in the US and around the world and the free phone calls in the US (as well as the data usage at $10 per 1GB). I have an old Nexus 6 that sits in my drawer as the registered device for my Google Fi account. I never liked it for a number of reasons but the Pixel 2 is definitely a phone to like!

2 – Google Pixel 2 Has An Incredible Camera

The original Pixel was lauded for its camera abilities and the Google Pixel 2 takes that up a notch. According to many sources, including DxO Mark (people have varied opinions of their testing as well so take that for what its worth), the Pixel 2 has an incredible camera.

Yes, it is a single camera (the Note 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus and X have dual cameras) but Google is really putting their software and learning capabilities to work by creating their own portrait mode with software putting areas out of focus. It should learn more as the software improves to make even those photos better.

Google Pixel 2

The new camera of the Google Pixel 2 – From Google

But, numbers and software aside, for those of us that travel around the world, capturing those moments can be a really great thing. Like it is always said, the best camera is the one you have with you. Smartphone cameras have improved immensely and since a majority of people’s photos are shared on social media and viewed on small screens, smartphone cameras are certainly adequate.

3 – Google Pixel 2 Has Awesome Software Features

Back to the camera, the Google Pixel 2 has a cool feature called Google Lens. This allows you to point your camera at an object and it will give you the information about the specific thing whether it is a book, sign, landmark, etc. That can definitely help in those situations when you don’t know what you are looking at but it looks cool! 🙂

google pixel 2

The Google Lens | From Google

Another nice feature is Google’s integration of music identification so that it shows right on your lock screen what song is being played around where you are. If you have ever been in that situation of trying to remember the song or you enjoy a song and don’t know what it is, this can help. Just look at your phone for the answer.

One more thing in this category is that Google Pixel 2 owners will have unlimited Google Drive storage for all photos and videos. This is a great way to manage those great photos taken and never having to worry about running out of space. Apple does not give you anything more than 5GB free so unlimited is pretty cool.

4 – Language Translation

My favorite is this last one – language translation. This will require the new Pixel Buds (Google’s awesome answer to the Airpods) but it is definitely a really great add-on if you travel.

This feature allows you to start the Translation app on your phone and then speak in your language to have the translation done and output over the phone’s speakers. When the person you are talking to replies, it will be translated back into your language and you will hear it in the Pixel Buds.

google pixel 2

Use the new Google Pixel 2 and Pixel Buds for translation

This feature works for 40 languages now and it will only get better as Google’s system learns over time. This is definitely a huge help, even if just in cases of emergency in various countries where some people may now speak English. It is also a help if you want to learn some of a language as you go.


At the end of the day, people generally stick with a cell phone manufacturer they are used to. But if you travel internationally, I think the new Google Pixel 2 offers some very compelling reasons to switch. I am considering dumping my old Nexus 6 and using the new Pixel 2 for my main Fi account. If I do, I will have a review on how well it works for travel.

Are you a Google Pixel user? Will you be upgrading?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I used to use a 2-SIM phone for travel. Is the “soft SIM” switchable, making this a de-facto multi-SIM phone?

    • From what I have read so far, the eSIM is only for Google Fi at this time but it will be expanded with other carriers and services as their systems are updated. I would imagine it could be switchable, possibly like the iPad’s service.

  • I actually just signed up for Google Project FI yesterday and pre-ordered a Pixel 2. Right now I have an iPhone and use T-Mobile, largely because of the unlimited data you get outside the US. What precipitated my switch was that T-Mobile raised their prices after they forced everyone to get unlimited data plans ( I almost always have access to wifi and thus use very little data most months). That you can use Google FI data overseas as part of a cheaper plan was the clincher. My only real worry is that I use apple products almost exclusively, so there will doubtless be a transition period and a lot of awkward workarounds required to get all of my devices to work together properly. That said, having a Pixel + Google FI account sounds perfect for anyone who spends a lot of time traveling outside the US. The Google Lens feature sounds especially useful. Hopefully it works as well as the advertisements make it out to.

  • I have not had an android device since my last one could not be updated – Google would not update it, HTC would not update it, and it was up to the whim of ATT to update it. Is that still the case or can you freely update android devices now to the latest version without “rooting” or whatever hack you need to do to the device?

    • With devices directly from Google, they come with the pure, vanilla Android and receive updates first so no rooting necessary!

    • @P: Same with IOS, so don’t imagine this is anything to do with Android.

      In fact, you don’t want them to retard progress by slavishly maintaining compatibility with obsolete devices. Phones are so cheap, buy a new one.