Just book your dream vacation overseas? The next step is to avoid costly roaming fees by getting an affordable international sim card for traveling.
When traveling overseas, it’s critical to have a reliable cell phone plan and network in case of emergency and to navigate while abroad. That’s where an international SIM card prepaid SIM card comes in handy.
You can use an international SIM card for calls, data, or both. You can request these services from your current providers like T-Mobile or Boost Mobile, but they’ll likely cost you an arm, leg, and a toe too!
You’ll end up paying roaming charges for overseas data usage, texts, and calls. In this case, cheaper alternatives make it easier to travel and stay connected.
You can avoid exorbitant fees by getting a prepaid local SIM card, the cheapest option. DEPENDING ON YOUR TRAVEL SITUATION, local SIM cards may not be the best choice. If you travel frequently, this won’t do much good because you’ll have to purchase a new SIM card every time you land in a new country.
International SIM cards are the better option because you can use them anywhere, no matter where you travel. After a bit of research, we’ve rounded up the best international prepaid SIM cards for those that like to wander.
Best International SIM Card (Prepaid SIM Card)
After comparing features, benefits, and costs, we’ve concluded that these are the best international SIM cards to use when traveling the world. Each one is best in a particular area, and hopefully, you’ll find the one that suits your needs perfectly.
1. TravelSIM Review: Best Overall International Sim Card (Budget Friendly)
After countless overseas trips, testing, and researching sim cards, TravelSIM is our #1 pick.
TravelSIM is the best international SIM card for travel on a budget. It doesn’t have as many options or notoriety as OneSIM, but it’s a cheaper alternative that gets the job done. You get one choice for your plan, and it’s straightforward with no hidden fees.
You also receive free incoming calls and texts with the TravelSIM card, eligible in over 135 of the 170+ countries where they offer coverage. Outgoing calls are also relatively inexpensive
Using a setup that lets you pay-as-you-go, you can buy credit when you need it. With this setup, the rates are higher than if you purchase a prepaid regional bundle, but it’s still an option.
The zone bundle deals are what make TravelSIM stand out. Off-the-beat travel destinations (Zone B) offer cheaper rates than competitors. It may not seem like a lot, but it adds up if you travel enough. The coverage isn’t as comprehensive as other choices on the list, but you’ll reap the benefits if you like to explore places that do not receive an influx of visitors.
Regarding extra features, they have a cost-effective bundle for Vietnam, which is a bit odd because it’s just that country, but great if you intend to visit there!
- Your prepaid credit doesn’t expire for 1.5 years
- Save money on roaming charges (90 percent)
- Free incoming calls and texts in over 75 countries
- Get 1GB of free mobile data with 3GB purchase
- 4G Internet
If you are looking for an affordable yet reliable sim card, look no further than TravelSIM. Click here for the best available pricing we found online.
2. OneSimCard- Best Overall International SIM Card
OneSimCard is the best overall pick because it edges out the competition with reliability, pricing, and versatility. They offer different forms of SIM cards, both physical and electronic. OneSIM also has some of the best prepaid SIM card plans.
The OneSimCard e-SIM World covers 150 countries, and you get free incoming calls from European numbers.
One SIMCard e-SIM Asiana is for travelers in Oceania and Asia specifically, and data plans are available.
All OneSIM roaming SIM cards receive a $10 bonus credit, but you’ll be responsible for topping up after you’ve used all the credit. The rates for their cards depending on where you’re traveling and which card you choose.
Once you buy the OneSIMCard, you get two numbers. The first is a number from Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, or Australia. The other number is European, from Estonia. You get complimentary incoming text messages and incoming calls on the European number. The rates for the different numbers are a bit more expensive, but they come with better coverage.
The other number has carrier fees per minute or gigabyte. You have several options to bring down the costs, such as bundling your package. Extra features include a voice-over app that allows you to text and call using a WiFi network.
- Users receive two numbers.
- All prepaid plans have free incoming calls/ texts
- Reduced rates for outgoing phone calls
- Three different packages are available
- Excellent coverage
3. SIMOptions- Best for Europe
SIMOptions is the most popular prepaid international data SIM card marketplace. Travelers worldwide can benefit from extremely low rates when traveling abroad. The plans include calls, texts, and internet data on bundle deals or individually.
They also have a variety of formats from nano, micro, and normal-sized SIM cards. SIMOptions also provides travel accessories such as headphones, or a mobile phone, making it a one-stop-shop for everything you need. You can rest assured that you have a compatible phone with all SIM cards and accessories because they’d come from the same site.
SIMOptions has three offices in Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Paris. There are no roaming charges or hidden fees, and you get semi-reliable service wherever you are.
The rates are average in comparison to the other international SIMs available. Still, this one is on the list because you can get everything you need in one place, the prices are comparable, and it’s a solid yet essential choice.
- They offer local and international data SIM cards
- e-SIM cards available
- Decent coverage
- Travel accessories, including mobile phones available
- Plans include calls, texts, and data packages.
4. Keepgo- Best Data Reliability
Keepgo is a top selection because they have officially partnered with Vodafone, AT&T, and Telefonica. They have offices in the Netherlands, the United States, and Israel, operating on 500 networks connected to more than 110 countries.
Keepgo offers a Lifetime World SIM plan that covers more than 100 countries. This is a great option if you’re like many people who stay connected through social media and other online platforms. Data packages last for one year before expiration. If you recharge your SIM card once a year, the data is valid forever.
These packages are a little costlier than some other choices, but they have features that balance out the price and place it among users’ best-prepaid data SIM cards. As far as coverage, Keepgo offers distinct advantages.
This card functions optimally in the Caribbean, covering nearly every territory, island, and country. They also offer free shipping anywhere in the world. The coverage and 4G speed internet are also highly reliable since they partner with reputable phone companies, making customer support easier to access.
- Free shipping anywhere in the world
- Free 1GB
- Receive lifetime data of refilled once per year
- Coverage in over 100 countries
- Highly reliable connection
5. GigSky- Best Data SIM Plan
GigSky offers an international data-only plan in more than 120 countries globally. You can purchase the international SIM card online and then download the app to your smartphone to configure it and activate your SIM.
GigSky offers two data plans; one plan is non-regional, specific to the individual country, and the other is regional, for North America, Europe, Asia, and so on.
Your plan can last anywhere from one day to thirty days, with days starting at 300 MB to 5 GB. Keep in mind that some countries only allow for data up to 1 GB. Check the latest rates directly on their website.
GigSky also offers eSIM cards, but only specific users can access this type of SIM if they have the right phone model. Only the latest Samsung Android devices, iPads with LTE support, iPhone XR or XS (or newer), or a Google Pixel 3 or newer can purchase the GigSky eSIM.
If you’re eligible, the pricing makes it an attractive option. It also offers better coverage compared to the physical SIM card. The eSIM service functions in 113 countries worldwide.
- The eSIM feature is easy to activate
- Two data packages are available
- Coverage in over 110 countries
- An excellent option for those on a budget
6. KnowRoaming- Best for Unlimited Data
KnowRoaming offers international SIM cards with all the works. Based in Canada, KnowRoaming provides versatile plans to make calls, send texts, and use data. They also offer physical and electronic SIM cards. Additionally, you can purchase a sticker that goes on top of your current SIM card that you already have.
You’ll purchase the SIM card with a minimum amount of credit, and you have the power to add more money to your card through the app or website. You also get a phone number (United States-based), and you can purchase numbers from other countries if necessary.
If you select the sticker option, you don’t have to peel it off when you get home. It’ll stay inactive until you travel to a different country. Fantastic features for this SIM card company include free WhatsApp use for 30 days every time you use the top-up service.
You may also purchase a call forwarding service and mobile hotspots. KnowRoaming offers unlimited data in over 125 countries, or you can pay as you go. However, be careful as you only truly get up to 250 MB per day before they can reduce your internet speed. Your credit expires after nine months of being inactive.
Remember that the sticker option isn’t as reliable as a physical SIM card, but it works well enough. Also, you don’t have the opportunity to bundle any of your services. KnowRoaming is one of the best international cards for Asia.
- Unlimited global data plans are available
- Free 30 days of WhatsApp with each top-up
- You get one free U.S. number
- Unused data credit expires after nine months
- Unique sticker option that functions as some card
7. Orange Holiday Europe- Best Short-term SIM Card
The Orange Holiday Europe SIM card is an international SIM card with data that reach every country on earth. Moreover, this prepaid SIM card with international roaming in 197 countries.
Not to mention that it’s affordable and worthy of being one of the best international data SIM cards on the planet.
Unfortunately, the only catch is that you cannot receive or make calls. This SIM card is purely for data. When you purchase the Orange Holiday World SIM card, it comes with credit that’ll be valid for up to 14 days. When the 14 days elapse, you can go online and top up seamlessly.
The SIM card does not need to be activated because it automatically activates when you insert it into your phone, WiFi device, or tablet.
Many tourists worldwide choose the Orange Holiday World because of the massive amount of data they provide, and their prices are very competitive to boot. Lastly, if you run out of data texts or calls, just top up your card online using the Orange website.
- Coverage in 300 European countries and 48 destinations
- Unlimited calls or SMS and all-inclusive plans with up to 20GB
- All-inclusive plans with up to 20GB and
- Europe’s best 4G network
8. Three Mobile-Best Basic SIM Card
Three Mobile is a relatively new company on the market for international SIM cards. They also offer unlimited data plans in more than 71 countries, including most European nations, the United States, and popular Asian countries.
Additionally, customers get unlimited texts and calls to numbers from the United Kingdom. It’s easy to activate your SIM card with Three Mobile, and you don’t have to put any of your personal information into their database to register.
As time goes on, the company will likely expand to include more services, but you can’t do any video streaming or tethering at the moment. You also can’t use the phone as a personal hotspot.
If all you’re searching for is the ability to use the internet at will and call home when need is, Three Mobile is a suitable contender.
- Easy activation
- Unlimited data plans
- You can’t stream videos
9. Surfroam- Best Pay As You Go SIM Card
Surfroam is simple to use, and it uses a SIMple pay-as-you-go option instead of contracts or monthly payments. You pay for the service per megabyte, with each megabyte costing little to nothing. This is an inexpensive option for those who don’t like to be bound to a particular plan, who prefer to pay only when they need to use the phone.
You must be mindful because the rates can change drastically from country to country. So, while this may be the cheapest pay-as-you-go in Europe, it might be more pricey in Asia, for example.
Most people feel they pay a little more with this type of service because they might use a lot of data in one period compared to others. Whereas, if you get a data plan that allows unlimited data, you can use it as much as you want for as long as you please. This comes down to personal preference.
Also, this SIM offers pretty good coverage, but to get the best coverage, speed, and stability, you’d need a PRO account with Surfroam. It’s pricey, but they also give you the amount you pay for it as a credit.
Lastly, you can purchase a physical or electronic SIM card with the same rates for data.
- PRO account necessary for the best coverage
- Pay-as-you-go, no bundles available
- Free e-SIM and SIM card
- Operates in nearly 200 countries
Buying Guide for International SIM Card, Prepaid SIM Card
Local or international SIM cards are the most efficient, convenient, and cost-effective way to use your phone during your travels. Below we’ll address some fundamental concerns and pertinent information about international SIM cards and how to select the best one for you.
Local SIM Cards vs. International SIM Card
If you happen to be someone who travels to different countries and stays in one location for months at a time, you’d probably choose the local SIM card purely because of the price. There is no need to pay extra for international coverage if you won’t be traveling internationally any time soon. A local SIM card is the most convenient and cheapest solution. However, there are situations where you would prefer an international SIM.
For example, if you frequently travel from one country to the next, buying a local SIM card for every destination is time-consuming, frustrating, inefficient, and costly over time. Moreover, if the destination is obscure, you might have difficulty navigating and understanding where to go to get the local SIM. These factors increase your chances of being the victim of a scam.
In this case, purchasing an international travel SIM card would be much better than a frequent traveler. Whether you are someone who travels the world or a business person, a global travel SIM card is the best choice for you.
What are the Benefits of International SIM Cards?
There are several benefits to purchasing an International SIM card; however, its cost-effectiveness is the best reason to do so. You have the freedom to travel and talk to family and friends without the hassle of excessive costs of texting, calling, and using global data plans like the ones with conventional roaming services.
There are different prices and packages for international SIM cards; this is all contingent on what you need as far as your data usage, text, and talking patterns.
Staying Overseas for Extended Periods
As mentioned previously, the traveler who likes to stay awhile won’t receive much benefit from an international SIM card; a local SIM is more practical and cheaper to have in this situation. Moreover, international SIM cards can be expensive, so getting one for no reason would be a waste of money.
However, if you are a person who hops from country to country, then a prepaid international SIM card may better serve you. Buying a local SIM card for only a week or two worth of use is wasteful and impractical.
Business travelers or those that take frequent trips abroad will appreciate a travel SIM with a prepaid plan because it will undoubtedly help them stay connected to friends and family.
An added advantage to having an international SIM is that they usually have at least a one-year validity for purchased credit which means you can take it out for those times that you’re not traveling and pop it back in once the traveling begins without missing a beat.
Choosing an International Prepaid SIM Card
For starters, ensure your phone functions correctly with an international SIM card.
To operate on global networks, your phone needs to be GSM-compatible.
Next, be sure that your phone is unlocked. An unlocked phone is a phone that is not bound to a specific carrier or service provider.
After you’ve completely checked and prepared, consider options that best suit your needs.
For instance, if you are taking many short trips over a long period. Then it would behoove you to choose an international card that will allow you to save your unused credit for your next trip.
Next, you’ll want to review your itinerary.
Some international SIM cards are legitimately global, with coverage in almost 200 countries. Other SIM cards are used in regions such as Europe, South America, Asia, etc.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, consider the prices of SIM cards that you’ll potentially choose.
For example, will you only be using data, or will you need to be capable of texting and calling? Furthermore, are you only concerned with fast data connections in major cities, or are you concerned with having coverage in remote areas?
Consider factors such as whether or not you only need enough data to check your email occasionally versus needing to have the capabilities to stream large amounts of information on a daily basis. Allow needs such as these to lead you to your ultimate decision.
If you are ready to purchase your sim card, we highly recommend checking out our top find, TravelSim: Check out the latest pricing!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the responses to a few common questions that people have about purchasing international prepaid service SIM cards:
Where to Buy Prepaid SIM Card?
You can only purchase an international SIM card online. However, there is a method to choose the global SIM card that’s just right for you.
Can You Recharge International SIM Cards?
Yes, you can recharge all quality international SIM cards. Furthermore, these cards can be conveniently topped up online with your provider, with vouchers, or via an app. As you can imagine, these options are convenient for vacationers and business people alike.
Does My Phone Have to Be Unlocked?
To use an international SIM card, your phone has to be unlocked. Therefore, if your phone is currently locked, see that you call your local service provider and have them open it; be sure to do this before traveling abroad, or it could become more challenging.
Are International SIM Cards Secure?
International SIM cards are very much like local SIM cards insofar as they are incredibly secure. International SIM cards have the necessary security features such as location area identity, security PIN, contacts, text messages, and mobile plans.
Tips for Using Your Phone Abroad
The following tips will help to ensure that you are connected with your international SIM card without problem:
- Write down or remember the number to your global or local SIM for future reference.
- Be sure to change the language. Change your phone settings to English. After swapping to the other SIM, ensure it remains in English.
- Do not lose your original SIM card. Store it somewhere safe or in a secure compartment within your wallet to have it on hand.
- Add all helpful phone numbers to your contacts. Add local emergency contacts and services numbers because they’ll be different numbers from your country’s emergency contacts and services.
- Make sure that you download Whatsapp onto your phone. It’s more reliable to contact numbers from foreign governments using WhatsApp rather than stand SMS.
Final Thoughts, the Best International SIM Card, Prepaid SIM Card
OneSIM is the perfect international SIM card for anyone who needs the entire gamut such as data, calls, and text; they are a reputable and reliable provider.
However, if you want to go with the latest special offer from TravelSIM you can take advantage here: Learn More
Ultimately, it’s best to determine your data, calling, and text needs before making a purchase. Afterward, compare the rates for having the service in the countries you’ll be visiting using the companies we’ve provided you.