Best prepaid SIM Cards for U.S. travelers and tourists 2024

Make sure your phone, and you, stay connected at all times.

At a glance

Best overall, best for short stays, best budget, best non-mvno, best prepaid data plan, best data-only plan, how to choose.

SIM cards

At a glance 1. Best overall 2. Best for short stays 3. Best budget 4. Best non-MVNO 5. Best prepaid data plan 6. Best data-only plan How to choose

Whether you're going on a quick vacation or moving for good, it's never a bad idea to get one of the best prepaid SIM cards so you can stay in touch with loved ones back home. Unfortunately, finding the right SIM card provider for all your needs can be a bit overwhelming. Fear not, good people: we've simplified the process by gathering all the best prepaid SIM cards for U.S. travelers and tourists into one simple guide. 

As long as your Android phone is unlocked for international usage and compatible with local networks such as T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, ordering a SIM card online or through a nearby retailer should be a fairly simple affair. 

Keep reading for all the best prepaid SIM cards for U.S. travelers and tourists alike. If you want to go even deeper, you can also check out our guide to the best MVNO carriers or save some cash with the best MVNO deals of the month.

Patrick is an experienced deal hunter with a particular interest in helping people save money on their phone bills. Whether you're switching to an affordable MVNO or upgrading to one of the Big Three, utilizing Patrick's years of experience in the eCommerce space can help you cut through the noise and find the carrier that works for you. 

mint mobile logo 400x500

From $15 at Mint Mobile

Now owned by T-Mobile, a Mint Mobile SIM is a perfect choice if you're staying in the U.S. for three months or longer, offering unlimited talk/text, a mobile hotspot, and more. 

Read more below.

ultra mobile logo 400x500

From $19 at Ultra Mobile

The Ultra Mobile 3GB plan gives you a month of unlimited talk and text to over 90 countries worldwide on T-Mobile, up to 3GB of 5G/4G LTE data, and even free Wi-Fi calling.

Read more below.  

lycamobile logo 400x500

From $15 at Lycamobile

If the ability to call abroad is your main focus, all of Lycamobile's plans come with unlimited talk and text to more than 100 countries and a wide variety of data options.

at&t logo 400x500

From $30 at AT&T

Best non-MVNO 

Choose AT&T Prepaid's 5GB plan for $30 per month and you'll get unlimited talk, text, and 5GB of data with 5G access and the ability to text more than 230 countries for free.

t-mobile logo 400x500

From $40 at T-Mobile

Although T-Mobile's prepaid plan is a little pricey, but you get 10GB of data, free mobile hotspot usage, and full access to the world's largest 5G network. 

cricket wireless logo 400x500

From $35 at Cricket Wireless

If you just need data for your travels, Cricket's data-only plan offers a minimum of 20GB of high-speed data, as well as usage in Mexico and Canada. 

Mint Mobile homepage on Google Pixel 6 screen

1. Mint Mobile

Our expert review:

Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid.

Mint Mobile is among the best MVNO carriers available today and uses T-Mobile's (its parent company) 4G LTE and 5G network infrastructure, and that makes it a solid prepaid SIM card to get if you plan on staying in the U.S. for at least three months. As we found in our Mint Mobile review , the carrier's 5G connectivity is strong, and its phone compatibility is one of the best in the country.

With Mint Mobile, you need to purchase at least three months of service in advance. After that, the best deals are available when you sign up for either six or 12 months. For three months on the unlimited plan as a new customer, you'll pay $90 and enjoy unlimited talk, text, and data, 10GB of mobile hotspot, and free calls to Mexico and Canada. Calling to other international locations is available at a per-minute rate but if you use an app (e.g., WhatsApp, Line) to call your friends, you'll only need data.

Joining Mint Mobile is easy, and you can even sign up for a trial online to get a free Mint Mobile SIM card . It's even simpler if your phone is compatible with an eSIM as you can then activate the eSIM straight from your phone, and then later continue the service if you like it. You can also get a Mint SIM card from Target, Best Buy, Walmart, or Amazon.

Ultra Mobile SIM card

2. Ultra Mobile 3GB

Ultra Mobile is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) using T-Mobile's network, meaning that you'll get great T-Mobile coverage at a lower price. Our Ultra Mobile review showed strong coverage and speeds. Although the carrier offers its own set of prepaid plans, the Ultra Mobile 3GB plan is a perfect fit for anyone visiting the U.S. for a month or less.

With this plan, you get a a more traditional SIM and after 30 days, the plan's validity will end, thus making it great for users who just want simple talk and text to a wide range of destinations and don't need a lot of data during their travels. For a monthly cost of $19 (before taxes and fees) with the SIM kit included, you'll get unlimited talk and text to more than 90 countries worldwide, plus free Wi-Fi calling and up to 4GB of 5G/4G LTE data, so you should have no issue staying connected with friends and family back home.

Lyca Mobile App On Zenfone

3. Lycamobile

Lycamobile is unique because it's a global MVNO, and in the U.S., it's an MVNO using T-Mobile's network. To check whether your phone is compatible, the easiest thing to do is type in your IMEI number on Lycamobile's website, but most GSM unlocked devices should work without any issues.

Lycamobile offers several plans to pick from and primarily caters to those who need unlimited nationwide talk and text and international calling and texting to more than 100 countries. Each plan includes these features at no additional charge, making this the perfect plan if you want to be able to call abroad whenever you want.

When it comes to data, you have multiple options starting at just 500MB and going up to 60GB. The cheapest 500MB plan costs $15 a month, while the most premium unlimited data plan costs $59 a month (It's currently available at a heavily discounted rate). Each plan includes slightly different bonus features, so you'll have to pick what makes the most sense for you.

Fortunately, Lycamobile SIM cards are pretty easy to get a hold of. They're sold online on Lycamobile's website and Amazon, but you can also find Lycamobile's SIM cards at several retailers like 7-Eleven, pharmacies, and local convenience stores. If you have any doubts, you can also use the online store locator to find the nearest retailer near you.

AT&T store sign

4. AT&T Prepaid

Known for its amazing coverage, AT&T is also an excellent carrier to consider getting a SIM card from when visiting the U.S. and as such, it offers one of the best prepaid phone plans . It tends to have better coverage in rural areas than other carriers, so it's also a great option if you plan to be on the road a lot. For $30 a month (taxes and fees extra), AT&T Prepaid will get you 5GB of high-speed data, which is then throttled to 128Kbps after you've utilized the data allotment. As always, you should check your device's compatibility with AT&T online before signing up for the plan.

On this plan, you're able to use your mobile hotspot, and you can text to more than 230 countries around the world. You can also talk, text, and use data in Mexico and Canada, although data speeds may be slow. And if you think you'll need more than 5GB of data, you can always upgrade to the 15GB prepaid plan for just $40 a month, which is a great deal and definitely worth considering.

5G connected on Zenfone 8 with Android 12

5. T-Mobile Prepaid

T-Mobile not only offers some of the best cell phone plans you could get today, but it also has an excellent prepaid service that will suit the needs of most travelers and tourists needs when visiting the U.S. As T-Mobile's network has improved vastly over the past few years and its 5G network offers some of the most expansive coverage and fastest speeds in the nation, you'll likely get excellent service with T-Mobile when traveling to major cities during your stay in the country.

There are four T-Mobile prepaid plans to pick from, but the most ideal plan for most visitors will be T-Mobile's 10GB prepaid plan that costs $40 per month, before taxes and fees. It includes unlimited domestic talk and text, up to 10GB of high-speed data, free mobile hotspot data, and a nifty 'Music Unlimited' feature which means that any music you stream won't eat up your data. If you want to add international calling, it can be done for an extra $15 per month, or if you're traveling to Mexico or Canada for a few days, you can add talk, text, and 5GB of data to use over there for an extra $5 per month.

Cricket Coverage Map S20+

6. Cricket Wireless

If you don't think you'll need minutes during your stay in the U.S. and really just want data, you could consider a data-only plan from Cricket Wireless , which is an MVNO AT&T's network (and also owned by AT&T). For $35, you'll get 20GB of data to use for a full month, while spending $55 will give you 100GB of data for a month.

Again, this plan doesn't come with any talk time minutes, so you'll have to make sure you're fine using apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Skype to connect with family or friends back home. It does come with text and picture messages across the U.S., as well as usage in Mexico and Canada if you plan on visiting those countries as well. It's the perfect plan for anyone who'll be spending a lot of time on the road and wants to be able to stream, download, and do some high-speed browsing.

You can get a Cricket Wireless SIM card by just walking into a Cricket Wireless retailer store, which you can locate with the carrier's online store locator tool. Other popular retailers such as Amazon, Target, Best Buy, and Walmart also sell Universal SIM card activation kits for Cricket Wireless. The good news is that if you do end up wanting minutes, you can always switch to another one of the carrier's plans with the same SIM card.

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Which prepaid SIM card is best for you?

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test .

You really can't go wrong with a prepaid SIM card using T-Mobile or AT&T's network when visiting the U.S., and the right fit for you will depend on the length of your stay and whether you need features like being able to call back home. If you're traveling for only three weeks or less, Ultra Mobile's 3GB plan is the best choice and offers just enough talk, text, and data to stay connected.

On the other hand, if you'll be in the U.S. for a few months, Mint Mobile will give you the best multiple-month value. And if you're somewhere in between, a prepaid plan from either T-Mobile or AT&T will be easy, reliable, and guaranteed to give you great coverage.

Should you use your current carrier's add-ons?

Many carriers have partnerships with international carriers to offer greater service to their own customers. Luckily, this often goes both ways, so there may be a plan add-on that can give you plenty of data without needing to set up and activate a new SIM. While these travel add-ons can be quite pricey, the simplicity of this option will make it worth it to many people. It also gives you the chance to have a connection if you're waiting for a connecting flight in another country.

What about eSIM apps?

Another emerging option is eSIM apps. These apps can use your phone's built-in eSIM slot to quickly activate and pay for a phone plan without needing to remove your old SIM or worry about shipping a physical SIM in the first place. Airalo , for example, allows customers to buy as little as 1GB for a week. If you just need enough data to get around in a new city, this is a good option. It works with Google Pay, credit card, PayPal, and even Alipay.

If you have an iPhone, there's even an official T-Mobile Prepaid eSIM app that accepts credit card payments from a number of countries. Regrettably, this app isn't available on Android though there are still other eSIM providers on the platform.

Just be sure to confirm compatibility before taking off. Still, there are other apps available on Android that offer solid deals on data without contacts or physical SIMs necessary.

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After almost a decade of working in the e-commerce space, Patrick Farmer (he/him) began his career at Android Central as a Deals and Commerce Writer before moving into a new role as AC's eCommerce Editor in 2023. When he's not hunting down the best deals and offering shopping advice for our readers, you'll often find him listening to music, camping out at a brewery, or treating his cat like a human child. 

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best traveller sim

Wild Travel Tales

Best Travel SIM Cards for International Mobile Data in 2024

Thinking about how to plan your tri p ? You need to think about more than what to pack for your travels . A seamless and safe journey relies on connectivity – this starts with your mobile data! Bid farewell to hefty roaming costs and embrace the convenience of international SIM cards. In this updated guide for 2024, we delve into the nuances of local prepaid SIM cards, global travel SIM cards , and the evolving realm of eSIM cards. Let’s explore the best travel SIM card options, pros and cons, and tips to keep you connected while saving on roaming costs.

This article contains affiliate links from the Amazon Associate and Travelpayouts programs. Wild Travel Tales will earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you .

Our Top 5 Recommendations

  • Airalo (#1 recommendation)

Local Prepaid SIM Cards vs. International Travel SIM Cards

Local prepaid SIM cards from destination stores are perfect for single-country travel, offering cost-effective solutions available on arrival, often bundled with generous data for tourists. However, for the avid explorer hopping across multiple countries, international SIM cards and e-SIM cards purchased online provide unmatched flexibility and continuous connectivity. This eliminates the hassle of needing to find a new SIM card every time you enter a new country.

Pros of Local Prepaid SIM Cards

  • Cost-effective for single-country use
  • Available for purchase on arrival
  • Often come with large data bundles for tourists

Pros of International Travel SIM Cards

  • Usable in multiple countries
  • Ensures continuous connectivity across borders
  • Ideal for frequent travellers exploring diverse destinations

best traveller sim

Understanding E-SIM Cards

eSIM cards, the future of mobile connectivity, eliminate the need for physical cards. While local prepaid SIM cards are readily available in stores, eSIM cards are primarily obtained online, offering ease of use and flexibility. This means you will be connected as soon as you arrive in the country, eliminating the hassle of needing to find a SIM care in a local store. If you want a seamless, convenient and safe trip, this is the best option for you.

Where to Buy an International SIM Card

Acquiring an international SIM card can only be done online. This is often facilitated through third-party platforms. This guide will direct you to the best websites to buy a global SIM card tailored for world travelers. Direct links to the operators’ websites will be provided, allowing you to explore further details if you find a particular option intriguing.

International SIM cards designed for global travel come in two formats: physical prepaid SIM cards and e-SIM cards. Physical prepaid SIM cards are dispatched to your home address, while e-SIM cards are transmitted to you as a QR code via email.

Where to Buy a Local SIM Card

If you’re in search of local prepaid SIM cards for tourists, they can only be obtained in-person, typically from stores or kiosks within the destination itself. Most countries have dedicated shops offering local prepaid SIM cards at international airports upon your arrival. 

It’s worth noting that purchasing a local prepaid SIM card at an international airport is often pricier. Optimal deals can be secured from official retail stores in city centers, shopping malls, or even random mobile phone shops.

In certain countries, convenience stores, gas stations, or supermarkets also offer local prepaid SIM cards. However, be aware that activating the SIM card from these establishments is typically a self-service process, requiring manual activation rather than a plug-and-play experience.

best traveller sim

5 Best Travel SIM Cards for International Mobile Connection

Airalo (recommended #1: best travel sim).

Key Features:

  • Data Options: Tailored plans from 1GB to 20GB.
  • Validity: Flexible plans ranging from 7 days to 180 days.
  • Coverage: Extensive network spanning 84 countries.
  • Ease of Use: User-friendly app for buying and activating eSIMs.
  • User Trust: Trusted by over 1 million users worldwide.

Best Suited for:

  • Frequent travelers exploring diverse regions.
  • Those seeking a seamless, app-driven experience.
  • Individuals desiring a variety of data options and flexible validity.

Why Airalo?

Airalo stands out as a top choice for global connectivity, offering a range of data options to suit different traveler needs. With a user-friendly app, seamless activation process, and coverage in 84 countries, Airalo ensures that staying connected internationally is convenient and reliable. Whether you’re on a short business trip or an extended backpacking adventure, Airalo provides the flexibility and trust you need for uninterrupted communication on the go. Click here to check out Airalo SIM cards best suited for you.

Types of SIM Cards

Airalo offers a range of SIM card options, with different coverage:

  • Local eSIMs: Choose an eSIM specifically suited for the country you are visiting. This is typically more affordable than multi-country options.
  • Regional eSIMs: Choose an eSIM which will keep you connected across entire continents (e.g., one eSIM for all of Europe). This is the best option if you will be travelling through multiple countries.
  • Global eSIMs – the “DISCOVER CARD”: One eSIM for global connection. This card will keep you online in every single country. This will be suitable for travellers hopping across the globe, through multiple countries and continents.

best traveller sim

  • Data Options: Tailored plans to suit various data needs.
  • Validity: Ensuring connectivity for the duration you need.
  • Coverage: Extensive network spanning global destinations.
  • No physical swapping: Fully virtual SIM cards eliminates the hassle of physical SIMs. You will not need to constantly swap or manage multiple cards.
  • 24/7 customer support: You will have assistance around the clock to ensure connectivity.

Why Drimsim?

Drimsim emerges as a go-to choice for global travellers seeking seamless connectivity. With customisable data plans, reliable coverage worldwide, and a commitment to providing connectivity for the duration you require, Drimsim ensures you stay connected effortlessly. You select the country you are visiting, then pay only for the data you use. Whether you’re a business traveler or an adventurer exploring diverse regions, Drimsim offers the flexibility and reliability needed for a smooth communication experience on the go. Click here to check out Drimsim SIM cards best suited for you.

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  • Virtual SIM Technology: HolaFly introduces virtual SIMs, eliminating the need for physical cards and simplifying the connectivity process.
  • Diverse Packages: Offering a range of packages, HolaFly ensures users can choose plans that align with their specific data and travel requirements.
  • Downloadable Convenience: With the ability to download the virtual SIM before departure, HolaFly streamlines the onboarding process, making it a convenient solution for modern travelers.
  • Global Compatibility: As e-SIM compatibility becomes more widespread, HolaFly positions itself as a leading provider with innovative and competitive packages for the future.
  • User-Friendly Experience: HolaFly prioritizes a user-friendly experience, making it easy for travelers to navigate and manage their virtual SIM connectivity.
  • Modern travelers with e-SIM compatible devices.
  • Those seeking a streamlined and convenient connectivity solution.
  • Individuals desiring diverse data packages for global travel.

Why HolaFly?

HolaFly stands at the forefront of global connectivity with its virtual SIM technology, diverse packages, and commitment to user-friendly experiences. Whether you’re a tech-savvy explorer or a business professional on the move, HolaFly provides the innovative and convenient connectivity solution needed for a seamless global travel experience. Click here to check out Holafly SIM cards best suited for you.

best traveller sim

  • Versatility: OneSimCard offers both e-SIM and traditional SIM options, providing users with flexibility in choosing their preferred connectivity method.
  • Wide and Reliable Coverage: Boasting extensive coverage in over 200 countries, OneSimCard ensures a reliable connection wherever your travels take you.
  • Low SIM-Purchasing Fees: With affordable SIM-purchasing fees, OneSimCard makes global connectivity accessible without breaking the bank.
  • Global Compatibility: Suited for both e-SIM and traditional SIM devices, OneSimCard caters to a broad range of users with varying device preferences.
  • Globetrotters seeking a universal SIM solution for diverse destinations.
  • Those desiring both e-SIM and traditional SIM options for device compatibility.
  • Travelers looking for cost-effective global connectivity.

Why OneSimCard?

OneSimCard serves as a universal passport to global connectivity, offering versatility, wide coverage, and affordability. Whether you’re exploring multiple countries or simply need a reliable solution for a specific region, OneSimCard provides the connectivity you need without the hassle of changing cards at every turn. Click here to check out OneSimCard options best suited for you.

best traveller sim

TravelSim Worldwide Card

  • Cost-Effective Solution: TravelSim provides a budget-friendly international SIM card, making it an economical choice for global travelers.
  • Straightforward Pricing Structure: With a transparent pricing structure, TravelSim eliminates surprises, ensuring users understand their costs upfront.
  • Broad Coverage: Usable in over 170 countries, TravelSim offers extensive coverage, making it a reliable choice for diverse travel itineraries.
  • In-Store Availability: Convenience is key, and TravelSim can be purchased not only online but also in physical stores, providing flexibility in procurement.
  • Cost-conscious travelers seeking an affordable international SIM card.
  • Individuals desiring transparent and straightforward pricing.
  • Those requiring broad coverage for travel across various countries.

Why TravelSim Worldwide Card?

TravelSim Worldwide Card stands out as a cost-effective and transparent solution for global communication. Whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler or someone looking for hassle-free connectivity across diverse destinations, TravelSim offers a reliable gateway to seamless global communication. Click here to check out TravelSim cards best suited for you.

best traveller sim

Navigating the vast landscape of international SIM cards is a crucial step in ensuring seamless connectivity during your global adventures. Whether you’re a solo backpacker, a digital nomad, or a casual traveler, choosing the right SIM card can make a significant difference in your journey. In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the merits of local prepaid SIM cards, the convenience of global travel SIM cards, and the promising future of e-SIM technology.

The best SIM for tourists depends on individual preferences and travel patterns. Options like Airalo, Drimsim, and OneSimCard offer global coverage, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness for different travel needs.

Travel SIMs are often worth it for frequent travellers or those exploring multiple countries. They provide cost-effective connectivity, eliminate high roaming costs, and offer tailored data options.

While no SIM card works in every country, options like OneSimCard and Drimsim offer broad international coverage, making them suitable for diverse travel itineraries.

Using a local prepaid SIM card in each country is often the cheapest way to use your phone overseas. Alternatively, global SIMs with competitive rates, like TravelSim, can also be cost-effective.

Yes, tourists can buy SIM cards in most countries. They are available at international airports, local stores, and convenience shops. Online options like Airalo and SimOptions also cater to tourists.

Both eSIM and physical SIM have their advantages. eSIMs offer flexibility and convenience, while physical SIMs may be preferred for users with older devices or those who prefer a tangible card.

Yes, eSIMs work on international roaming, offering the convenience of activating multiple profiles for different countries without the need for physical swapping.

eSIMs work by digitally storing SIM card information on a device. Users can download eSIM profiles, allowing them to switch between different mobile carriers without the need for a physical SIM card.

Taking out your home SIM card and using a local or international SIM can save on roaming costs. For those with dual SIM phones, keeping the home SIM for calls and using a travel SIM for data is a common approach.

Tourist SIMs are often designed for short-term use, offering specific benefits like large data allowances. Local SIMs may require more extensive documentation but may provide better long-term value with local rates.

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Freya is a travel writer from the UK. She loves discovering unique destinations, exploring old towns and hiking through beautiful natural landscapes.

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Home » Gear » Travel Sim's » How to Find the Best Sim For Travel in 2024

How to Find the Best Sim For Travel in 2024

The other day, I was at a semi-local music festival, and you couldn’t even buy a water bottle without downloading an app. Things are getting downright ridiculous, but until we can pull ourselves together and organize a good ole fashioned revolution, we’ll have to embrace this new truth: you can’t do shit without a cell phone.

Until relatively recently, it was a pretty sweet deal to head abroad and be hooked up to Wi-Fi only. Every time you left the hostel, it was just you and your downloaded maps exploring a new city without interruption. Nowadays, you’ll need to scan a QR code to see the menu, hop on local transport, or accept defeat and order a ride once you’ve gotten good and lost.

All that, plus the massive increase in freedom allowed by remote work, means a travel SIM card is starting to pop up on more and more packing lists. Being a digital nomad may mean stretching your trip a month or two, but it also requires high-speed internet at every stop. The good news is that international travelers have more options than ever.

We all don’t have to rely on Google voice, keep track of a few different SIM cards and pray that the next village will have a Recargas stand or face draconian data surcharges from our home cell phone provider anymore. An entire world of international SIM and e-SIM specialists will keep you connected through border crossings and around the globe.

You won’t find many international service providers with data plans as cheap as local options, nor will you come across affordable unlimited plans that you may have gotten used to at home. Still, every year the entry price for these products comes down a few dollars, and I’m officially paying attention.

The convenience of having a constant phone number is worth a few extra dollars, especially when your bank needs to send a confirmation code through text to a recognized number. So, to help you weigh the pros and cons of the best SIMs for travel vs any local provider, we’re going to break down the industry and see what kinds of coverage you can really count on.

best traveller sim

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you . Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more .

Quick Answers – These Are The Best SIMs For Travel

Best sim for backpackers –  onesim worldwide, best esim for travel –  gigsky, best sim for europe –  holafly europe, best sim for digital nomads –  onesim esim, best sim for southeast asia –  holafly, best sim for travel –  orange holiday pre-paid, choosing the right sim for travel, have you considered esim, these are the best sims for travel, final thoughts on choosing the best sim cards for travel.

onesim card for travellers

GigSky Global

  • Package Price > $15 – $90
  • Package Data > 500MB – 5 GB
  • Package Duration > 30 days
  • Allows Local Calls? > Yes

best traveller sim

  • Package Price > $69.99
  • Package Data > 5 GB
  • Package Duration > 30 Days
  • Allows Local Calls? > No

HolaFly

HolaFly Europe

  • Package Price > $99
  • Package Data > Unlimited
  • Package Duration > 90 days

OneSim eSim World

OneSim eSim

Orange Holiday Sim

Orange Holiday Pre-Paid

  • Package Price > $28-47
  • Package Data > 8-20 GB
  • Package Duration > 14
  • Allows Local Calls? > Yes (Within Europe)

It doesn’t matter which high-tech smartphone you’ve got your hands on, they won’t be much more than mp3 playing digital cameras without the correct microchip. Before we show you the candidates, let’s understand the ranking system.

Every international travel SIM we looked at would greatly benefit a different adventure. New options are popping up each year, and they all have to compete with local SIM cards from airports and corner stores. 

SIM cards may be small, but loads of thought have gone into the industry-leading options. Here are a few factors that will help build a road map to the correct SIM for your next mission. 

So, should you go for an eSim, an internationa l or local SIM ?

Price 

It all starts and ends here. Without a budget, it’s incredibly easy to find worldwide cell phone coverage. You just might end up paying $50 a gigabyte! Unfortunately, if you go with the wrong provider, you’ll get slapped with extreme roaming charges and can quickly rack up data bills bigger than most plane tickets. 

Most national providers take advantage of travellers by charging extreme rates for every MB of international data. The international SIMs on this list bring prices down a few notches, but there is still no such thing as a free lunch and no free cell phone coverage. 

At the low end, you’ll find pay-as-you-go plans that will charge you rates as low as 5 cents an MB plus a few dollars for the actual SIM card. This may seem like a no-brainer, but remember that 1 GB is 1000 MB, which means your plan is a whooping 50$ a gigabyte, which is more than even Google FI would dare charge you. 

On the other side are unlimited plans, which will run you back anywhere from $50 to $100. Anyone who expects to run through a few podcasts and make a few video calls on the road would be better off paying extra upfront to avoid surprises down the line. 

The best international SIMs for travel are getting cheaper each year, but they still have to drop by a few dollars before they can compete with local SIMs in many countries. If you plan to stick around in one country for more than a month or two, you should absolutely still look into what sorts of local SIMs are available. 

However, there is loads of fluctuation from country to country, even when the same provider covers them. There is a Claro Ecuador and a Claro Peru, but your current Claro chip will be useless as soon as you cross that imaginary line. 

So, depending on where you go, an international SIM could be an absolute waste of money, but it could also be the only way to stay connected. Plus, no matter where you go, it’s always nice to know before heading off that you’ll still have access to everything that requires a phone number, and that knowledge alone is definitely worth a few bucks. 

best traveller sim

It’s pretty straightforward. The more data you want, the more you’ll have to pay. High-speed data has become the only thing that matters in cell phone coverage and is the only thing that several international e-SIM providers offer. And nowadays, you can get loads of it, even in Israel !

Data may sound like something that only business-oriented travellers will need large swathes of, but remember that most modern text messaging is actually through Whatsapp, Facebook Messaging, Instagram, Signal, or some other sort of untraceable application, all of which isn’t included in any text messaging plan.

Leisure travellers on the road to get away from it all certainly won’t need the same mega-packages as someone relying on their data to build websites from the bus station. Still, it’s not a bad idea to have easy, affordable access to a few gigabytes at the ready. 

Data will come in handy for communicating with your Airbnb host, understanding the bus schedule, and lining up that next sweet volunteer gig. Everyone you meet on the road romanticises getting away from it all, but it’s damn handy to have the world at your fingertips when you’re trying to see it. 

Data also generally includes access to a mobile hotspot, which is a fucking beauty if you’re trying to get some work done when the power suddenly quits on you. It’s bound to happen if you travel long enough, and a data plan is your only backup. 

While it’s true that your SIM card search will start with price, the second thing you should confirm is your SIM’s coverage map. Each provider on our list offers a wide range of international coverage, so once you’ve narrowed down your trip and know (generally) where you plan on stopping, you can build your SIM search from there. 

It doesn’t matter how cheap your unlimited plan is if it doesn’t work in the country you’re heading towards. No cell phone company is pumping out a 5G connection to the deep desert, but it’s essential to know your chip will work wherever you are. 

best traveller sim

As you’ll see from our list, the more modern your SIM card is, the more trouble you may have nailing down local calling. Not long ago, calls were all your cell phone was good for, but nowadays, they are an afterthought on most contracts.

E-SIMs, in particular, are dreadful for local calling plans, as that physical splash of silicone is ultra important when operating dial-up. However, if you’re shopping specifically for an international SIM card solely for making calls, you’re liable to save some serious cash. 

You can find pay-as-you-go plans that won’t set you back more than a quarter a minute no matter where you are. Also, remember that there are a few ways to get around the relative lack of calling. Most local businesses will have WhatsApp or Facebook messaging accounts that let you call or text without buying any local minutes. 

Set a budget, nail down your country list, and shop for packages based on your trip’s itinerary. The travel SIMs we’ll explore today cover a wide range of timelines, with everything from 24 hours to 90 days of coverage in one purchase. 

Most of the SIM cards on our list specialise in short-term travel, which means around one month or less in one country. Several e-SIM providers have discounted packages up to the 90 days range, and they can all be infinitely re-upped, but the longer you stay in one place, the more they lose value. 

These SIMs are built around country hopping. They make tremendous sense for people planning on crossing borders every few weeks, but if you’re spending much more than a month or two in one country, you should look into your specific country’s local SIM plans.

So, as you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to the best travel eSIM for your trip.

Hailed by many as the  future of travel communications , our list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a few major Electronic SIM cards. E-SIMs are SIM cards without the physical plastic, presenting both a sustainable and super convenient way to get connected. 

Through a cell phone app, you can select your plan, download more minutes, and get your SIM ready to go before you even get to a new country. Most modern cell phones already have an embedded SIM card inside the hardware, and downloading an e-SIM can activate this SIM card without a trip to the shop. 

That means using your cell phone with multiple SIM cards, and keeping your usual SIM card on hand for emergency access to 2-factor authentication schemes, while avoiding your carrier’s exorbitant roaming charges. 

best traveller sim

It can sound a bit far-fetched at first. If a SIM card is already built-in, why do we use physical SIMs in the first place? While e-SIMs are incredibly convenient, the technology isn’t quite perfect yet. Most e-SIMs won’t offer local calling features and are generally a bit more expensive to get going than old-fashioned SIM cards. 

But the honest answer is that this technology is so new not all phones are e-SIM ready. Also, for no real reason other than blatant capitalism, many phones purchased under a contract from a particular network can be ‘locked’, which blocks your embedded SIM from communicating with any other service provider. 

So make sure you understand what your cell phone is capable of before you take the leap. If your phone is unlocked and meets all requirements, I highly recommend taking a serious look at e-SIM options, especially if your travel dates are coming up fast. The ability to activate, recharge, and monitor your cell phone data plans from anywhere is worth a few extra bucks. 

If your travel plans go anywhere like mine, by the time you’ve come around to figuring out your SIM card, you’re about halfway to the airport, so let’s look at the best SIMs for travel before it’s too late to take advantage of these lifesavers. 

Our SIM options range from old-fashioned SIM cards with physical recharge requirements to the latest and greatest in e-SIM technology that pumps out unlimited data anywhere. They all specialise in different regions and will better suit various adventures. 

While we went to great lengths to give our package snapshots full coverage, it’s important to remember that the specifics of your data package will vary wildly depending on your location. Whether you want a sim card for Japan or travelling around Europe for the summer, there will be some major differences.

These SIM cards are all international, but they still have to play by the rules. So don’t forget to check the data prices for every single country on your itinerary to prepare yourself for the bills to come. 

best traveller sim

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onesim card for travellers

  • Package Price: $15 – $90
  • Package Data: 500MB – 5 GB
  • Package Duration: 30 days
  • Allows Local Calls? Yes

We love this SIM card provider because of its flexibility. You can browse through all sorts of data bundles and plans that change depending on which country you’re heading towards next. OneSim grouped all their plans into different zones, so sort through the choices until you find a bundle that includes every stop on your next trip. 

The worldwide SIM costs $9.95 and comes with $10 of data credit. After that’s down the drain, you can take your pick of packages and get on your way. Every OneSim comes with two numbers, one from Estonia and one from your choice of the US, UK, Australia or Canada . Incoming calls on the European number are often free or as low as $.25 per minute. 

While the OneSim isn’t the cheapest SIM card on the market, the worldwide service is incredibly reliable, and the sheer number of different options guarantees you’ll find a tailor-made plan for your itinerary. 

Best eSim for Travel –  GigSky

Gigsky-branded

  • Package Price: $69.95
  • Package Data: 5 GB
  • Package Duration: 30 Days
  • Allows Local Calls? No

Thanks to services like GigSky , you can get your phone hooked up to the World Wide Web today; no address or plastic is necessary. Anyone rocking a modern smartphone has everything they need to get connected already. Simply download the GigSky app and cycle through packages to hook up data to your phone today. 

GigSky knows how convenient their international 4G SIM-free system is and has bumped up the rates compared to some plastic SIM providers. Sometimes though, being able to take care of the entire process from the couch is priceless. 

The price we listed is for their worldwide package, but they also offer country and region-specific plans that can save a few bucks. Besides the price, there’s one significant factor working against GigSky SIMs; These plans don’t come with a local cell phone number, so the service is solely digital. 

Don’t let that scare you off. There are plenty of ways to make international calls without a cell phone, and all your local delivery guys will use WhatsApp. 

Most of the other SIM options on our list require a bit of foresight and waiting for a package. Whether you’ve just landed and your current provider has sent you a friendly text alerting you that you’ll be paying 10$ an MB, or you just can’t be bothered to find a thin pokey thingamajig, this potent package is the fastest way to get online. 

My favourite thing about Gigsky, they offer a cutting-edge ‘ Cellular at Sea ’ package which may just be the world’s first anywhere-at-sea eSIM . The package will work anywhere in the maritime world and pretty much anywhere on the ship too.

HolaFly

  • Package Price: $99
  • Package Data: Unlimited
  • Package Duration: 90 days

Born in Valencia, this SIM service is custom crafted to provide borderless connection within the European Economic Areas. HolaFly offers both traditional SIM cards and e-SIM services, so you can connect in whichever way works with your setup. 

No matter how you get online, you’ll be online in minutes with access to 24/7 customer service. These guys have long focused on providing full European coverage, but they have recently expanded to work worldwide.

The e-SIM version of HolaFly will not include voice calls, so travellers needing an old-fashioned phone number need to plan ahead. Once it’s all said and done, you’ll have unlimited data, which few companies are willing to offer. Another huge perk of HolaFly’s setup is its commitment to providing access to your usual WhatsApp account. It all adds up to the best European SIM card provider.

These guys are slowly spreading their wings worldwide, offering e-SIMs all over the place, including a sim option in China !  

best traveller sim

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OneSim eSim World

  • Package Duration:  30 days

We’ve already looked closely at OneSim’s physical SIM card package as our favourite SIM card for backpackers, but the company has also proven ready for the new era of work. This could be the One SIM to rule them all, although instead of binding us into a world of darkness, it is shining a big, fat green light towards our dreams of working from the beach. 

OneSim’s e-SIM is one of the market’s few electronic SIM cards that can still receive phone calls. The system provides an EU number that receives free incoming calls from over 120 countries (outgoing calls will set you back 25 cents a minute.)

Most of the plans available for their physical SIM service are also applicable on this e-SIM, so you can narrow down your zone, calculate your data needs, and find the perfect setup for your work. Plus, if you take a call or two from the boss weekly, you can write it all off as a business expense. 

Their system’s ability to sort between week and month-long packages or simply paying by the mill bite makes the company one of the best choices for those who want a pay-as-you-go SIM to take a few calls and check the email every now and then. You can find a package for as low as 5 cents an MB, all with free incoming calls. 

  • Package Price: $57

HolaFly now offers Asia-Pacific Packages for 9, 14, or 17 countries that will help you navigate the Asian and Oceania continents like the locals. Whether you need a sim for Tha i land , Vietnam or Taiwan, Holafly has you covered. This region features a few countries with many rules concerning the Digital Airspace and a relative lack of international cooperation, especially compared to the European Union. 

Luckily a few intrepid entrepreneurs figured out there is some really good money in making things easier to manage, and this prepaid beauty was born. Boasting truly unlimited 4G data at a cost not much higher than most plans at home, you can take one piece of the stress out of the occasion and slip in this SIM for unlimited connection from over 50 regions. 

The SIM card is Asia-Pacific focused but can also get you around several European countries and the United States . If you don’t need all that much data, HolaFly also offers pay-as-you-go plans to get you going with 200 MB of data for less than a dollar. 

Their top-up system will allow you to refill the coffers from anywhere with a network connection, and they provide data plans that match all sorts of price points. You can even purchase unlimited data for 24 hours for less than 5$ if you’re about to spend a day on the bus without much else going on. 

best traveller sim

Now, you  could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.

So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card!  REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉

Orange Holiday Sim

  • Package Price: $28-47
  • Package Data: 8-20 GB
  • Package Duration:  14
  • Allows Local Calls? Yes (Within Europe)

This short-trip specialist used to be one of the best deals in the business. New competition like HolaFly’s unlimited packages and OneSim’s e-SIM local calling features have knocked the Orange Holiday down a few pegs. However, they’re still one of the most reliable names in international SIM cards. 

Let’s get this out of the way early: Orange’s prepaid SIMs only cover European markets, so while it’s still an international SIM, it doesn’t come close to the coverage of some of our other options. 

The good news is, they’ve more than proven themselves on the continent. If you need a sim in France , the good news, they are the country’s largest mobile network provider in terms of subscriber base, so there is no safer bet in the business when travelling to the European continent.

All of Orange’s travel cards ship prepaid, meaning there is no dealing with apps, although they can be topped up online. You can choose the ‘Zen’ option with 8 GB of data, 30 minutes of worldwide calling, and 200 texts over two weeks. Data-heavy trips should opt for the ‘Europe’ model that provides 20 GB of data, 120 minutes, and 1000 texts for an extra 20 bucks. 

This SIM option simply doesn’t have the freedom or flexibility to truly compete with the other cards on our list. Still, anyone looking for a quick and easy option for a Eurotrip can order this SIM card online and receive international coverage in the mail without any further installations. 

Want more? We’ve also recently written this Jetpac eSim card review .

best traveller sim

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Our list comprises the best and cheapest ways to stay connected globally. Travelling is all about living in the moment and disconnecting from the stresses of day-to-day life, but the modern world is all but inaccessible offline. These SIM cards are here to help; you can always throw your phone on Airplane mode when it’s time to unplug. 

Between e-SIMs and physical cards with local calling capabilities, you’re bound to find a travel partner as tech-savvy as your personal needs. No SIM card dominates the global industry. Each choice on our list has serious pros and cons that mainly involve different price points, different coverage maps, and a lack of local calling. 

And finally, remember that none of these SIM cards will give your phone superpowers. No ordinary SIM card or cell phone combination will keep you connected if you’re heading off a few hundred kilometres from the nearest plug-in. Look into  Satellite phones  if you plan on travelling off the beaten path. 

Besides that, find the right SIM for your itinerary and get out there! Give us a shout in the comments below once you’ve gotten on the bus, so we know your SIM card is good to go. 

best traveller sim

Aiden Freeborn

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A Broken Backpack

Complete Guide: Best eSIM For International Travel

by Melissa Giroux | Last updated Apr 30, 2024 | SIM Cards , Travel Tips

eSIMs are becoming more and more popular as people become more and more mobile.

But with so many eSIM providers and apps to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is the best for your needs.

This comparison guide will help you find the best eSIM for international travel .

We’ll look at what to consider when choosing the best eSIM provider, and then we’ll recommend our top picks for international travel.

So, whether you’re looking for the best global eSIM for travel or need a basic plan, we have you covered.

We’ll also feature some of the best eSIM deals available right now with our exclusive promo codes.

Man installing an esim on his phone

Quick Overview Best Travel eSIMs

Looking for a quick answer? Here are the three top eSIM providers for international travel.

  • Airalo : Perfect for travelers looking for short-term and long-term options worldwide. (My pick)
  • Holafly : Great options with several unlimited plans.
  • Nomad : Offers a variety of country and global plans, as well as unlimited data plans in some destinations.

Before we dive deeper, if you’re new to eSIM, let’s see what an eSIM is.

❓ What Is An eSIM?

eSIM is a type of SIM card that is embedded in your device. You don’t need a physical SIM card, which makes it more convenient for people who travel frequently.

eSIMs are also becoming more common in smartphones, so if you’re looking to buy a new phone, eSIM might be an option for you.

There’s a catch! eSIMs are not yet universally supported. So before you switch to an eSIM, make sure your device is compatible.

Read our guide to learn the main differences between SIM cards and eSIM .

❓Which Devices Are Compatible With eSIM?

eSIM is currently supported on a few devices, including:

  • Apple iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, 11, 12, 13, 14, and newer models.
  • Google Pixel 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and newer models.
  • Samsung Galaxy S20, S21, S22, and newer models.
  • Huawei P40, and newer models.

If you’re considering upgrading your phone soon, read about the best eSIM phones .

To verify if your device is compatible with eSIM , go to Settings and locate your International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). This will tell you if your device supports eSIM.

Here’s how to do it add an eSIM on a Google Pixel device:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Go to Network and Internet
  • Click on Add more
  • Choose Download a SIM instead.
  • Click on next.
  • Scan the QR code.
  • Name the eSIM.
  • Pick the eSIM to provide data.
  • Make sure the roaming is on.

Woman installing an esim on her phone

🗒️ How To Choose The Best eSIM Provider For International Travel

Now that we know what an eSIM is, let’s look at how to choose the best travel eSIM provider for you.

There are a few factors to consider when choosing an eSIM provider, including:

  • Coverage: Make sure the eSIM provider has good coverage in the countries you travel to. Some eSIM apps have local, regional, and international plans.
  • Data: How much data do you need? You’ll need a plan with more data if you’re a heavy user.
  • Speed: Not all eSIM providers offer the same speeds. If you need fast speed, make sure to choose a provider that offers them.
  • Price: eSIM plans can vary in price, so consider your budget when choosing a provider. Some providers offer great eSIM deals too.

❓ Where To Buy An International eSIM?

International eSIMs for travel can be bought from a variety of places, including:

  • eSIM providers: Many eSIM providers sell eSIMs directly from their websites. This is the most convenient option, as you can activate your eSIM immediately. Some of these eSIM apps also allow you to purchase a plan without data or WiFi.
  • Carriers: If you’re already using a carrier, you may be able to buy an eSIM from them. It’s worth checking if your current carrier has its own eSIM plans.

So, how do you pick an eSIM provider?

Let us help! We’ll review the best eSIM for international travel below.

Airalo eSIM

Airalo is the most popular eSIM store and offers eSIMs in 200+ countries at affordable prices.

I’ve been using Airalo for a while now, and you can read our complete Airalo review to learn more about this eSIM provider.

Airalo esim provider

Here’s how Airalo works:

  • Create an account on Airalo .
  • Download the app or use the desktop version.
  • Choose your destination and preferred plan.
  • Install your eSIM.
  • Activate your eSIM.

Go to Airalo

Pros And Cons Of Using Airalo To Buy eSIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of Airalo.

  • Coverage in 200+ countries.
  • Short-term and long-term plans are available.
  • Affordable prices.
  • Offers local, regional, and global plans.
  • The customer support is great and fast.
  • No unlimited data plans available (a few exceptions)
  • I had a few issues in the past, but customer support always fixed the issues quickly.

Airalo Offer

Get 10% off on your first purchase on Airalo by using my referral code: ABB10.

Get A Discount Now

Holafly eSIM

Holafly is an eSIM provider with eSIM plans for more than 190 destinations.

I tried Holafly in the past, so you can read our complete Holafly review to learn more.

Holafly esim provider

Here’s how Holafly works:

  • Pick a plan.
  • You’ll receive an email with your eSIM.
  • Scan the QR code to activate your eSIM.

Go to Holafly

Pros And Cons Of Using Holafly To Buy eSIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of Holafly.

  • eSIMs are delivered via email immediately.
  • Plans available for more than 190 countries.
  • Supports both short-term and long-term plans.
  • Offers lots of options with unlimited data.
  • The customer support is fast (they answered me in 19 minutes).
  • You get unlimited data plans in several countries and regions, which is excellent if you are a heavy user. However, some users reported that the speed could vary. This could mean you’ll get high speed first, and eventually, you’ll get a slower speed if you use too much data.
  • You can’t always set up a hotspot with some plans, but some of them offer it. It’s worth checking out if you’re planning on using a hotspot.

Holafly Offer

Get 5% off your first purchase on Holafly with my referral code ABROKENBACKPACK.

Nomad offers data plans in 140+ countries. Their plans are in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

They also have regional plans (global, Nordic, APAC, SEA-Oceania, and Europe). Keep reading to learn more.

I’ve tried Nomad, and it worked well.

Although, it’s not my favorite because they only have short-term plans (up to 60 days, but mostly 30 days).

Nomad offers fixed data plans and unlimited data plans, giving you many options to pick from.

Nomad esim provider

Here’s how Nomad works:

  • Pick a data plan.
  • Install the eSIM by scanning the QR code.
  • Activate your plan.

Go to Nomad

Pros And Cons Of Using Nomad To Buy eSIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of Nomad.

  • Plans available in 100+ countries.
  • Regional and global plans available.
  • The website is very modern.
  • Unlimited data plans in some destinations.
  • All the reviews on the website are 5-star, which I find hard to believe. Nothing is perfect in this world.
  • Short-term plans only (up to 30 days).

Nomad Offer

Get $3 off on your first purchase on Nomad by using my referral code: MELI23HJ.

SimCorner eSIM

SimCorner offers data plans in 80+ countries. They offer both prepaid SIM cards and eSIM plans. You can pick between a local and a regional plan depending on your travel plans.

I’ve tried SimCorner, and it worked great.

However, I needed to wait a few hours to receive my eSIM. If you wish to purchase an eSIM plan on SimCorner, I recommend buying it a few days before your trip. This way, you’ll have it on time for your trip.

Learn more by reading our SimCorner review .

SimCorner store

Here’s how SimCorner works:

  • Pick a data plan that suits your needs.
  • Complete the purchase.
  • Install the eSIM by scanning the QR code once you receive the eSIM via email.

Go to SimCorner

Pros And Cons Of Using SimCorner To Buy eSIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of SimCorner.

  • SIM cards and eSIM plans available in 80+ countries.
  • Local and regional plans available.
  • High data limits for heavy users.
  • You may need to wait a few hours to receive your eSIM, so plan ahead of your trip.
  • The buying process requires more steps than most providers. Still, you’ll be able to make a purchase in just a few minutes.

SimCorner Offer

Get a 5% discount with our promo code: ABBPTravel.

Maya Mobile eSIM

Maya Mobile is an eSIM store offering plans in 194 countries. They offer a wide range of affordable plans in multiple destinations. Each plan is up to 30 days, but you can opt for an auto-renew if you wish.

Maya Mobile offers data plans and unlimited data plans in some destinations.

I’ve tried Maya Mobile, and it worked fine.

Learn more by reading our Maya Mobile review .

Maya mobile esim

Here’s how Maya Mobile works:

  • Select an auto top-up or monthly renewal option if you need.
  • Go to Data Plans or check your email to install the eSIM by scanning the QR code.
  • Enable roaming on your device.

Go to Maya Mobile

Pros And Cons Of Using Maya Mobile To Buy eSIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of Maya Mobile.

  • eSIM plans available in 194 countries.
  • Wide range of plans you can renew every month
  • Unlimited data plans in some destinations
  • There are no global plans for the time being.

Maya Mobile Offer

Maya Mobile offers our readers a 10% discount. You won’t need to manually insert a coupon code to redeem your discount. Simply use our links to activate your 10% off .

SimOptions eSIM

SimOptions offers prepaid traditional SIM cards, and eSIM plans. They have plans everywhere around the world, including regional plans.

Simsoptions esim provider

How SimOptions works:

  • Purchase a plan.
  • Scan the QR code to install your eSIM.

Go to SimsOptions

Pros And Cons Of Using SimOptions To Buy eSIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of SimOptions.

  • Prepaid traditional SIM cards and eSIM plans available.
  • Offers eSIM plans from different carriers, so you have more options to choose from.
  • The website is a bit more old-school but still very easy to use.

SimsOptions Offer

There are no offers at the moment.

BNESIM eSIM

BNESIM is an eSIM provider that was founded in 2017. They offer plans in 160+ countries. You’ll also find other options like international phone numbers, unlimited data packages, and monthly subscriptions.

To learn more, you can read our complete BNESIM review .

bnesim

Here’s how BNESIM works:

  • Pay for your plan by entering your credit card information and email.
  • Install your eSIM by scanning the QR code.
  • If you’re using an Android, you’ll need to set up the APN. You’ll get all the information to set it up under the QR code.

Go to BNESIM

Pros And Cons Of Using BNESIM To Buy ESIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of using BNESIM.

  • Plans without expirations are available.
  • Discounts on monthly data plans.
  • Offers local and regional plans.
  • The website is a bit simple, and not the most user-friendly one. For example, it can get overwhelming when looking at the options because of the way plans are presented. Update: they are working on a new version, so we’re looking forward to seeing it!

BNESIM Offer

Get a EUR 4 discount on your first purchase over EUR 10 with my BNESIM promo code: MELISSA4OFF.

Yoho Mobile eSIM

Yoho Mobile is an eSIM provider offering plans in 190+ regions and countries. You’ll also find plans in individual countries, and you’ll find regional plans for Europe and Asia.

To learn more, you can read our complete Yoho Mobile review .

yoho mobile esim

Here’s how Yoho Mobile works:

  • Pay for your plan by entering your credit card information, name, address, and email.
  • Make sure to enable roaming to access the Internet.

Go to Yoho Mobile

Pros And Cons Of Using Yoho Mobile To Buy ESIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of using Yoho Mobile to purchase an eSIM.

  • Coverage in 190+ countries.
  • Many countries and regional plans offer multiple networks, which means you’ll get access to better Internet during your travels.
  • The website is relatively new, so we are excited to see how this eSIM provider will evolve in time.

Yoho Mobile Offer

Get a 5% discount on your first purchase with my Yoho Mobile promo code: abrokenbackpack5. To add a coupon code, click on View Cart and paste the coupon code there.

Manet Travel eSIM

Manet Travel is a new eSIM provider offering various local, regional, and global plans in over 200 destinations. It’s a great eSIM provider, especially if you plan to travel to multiple destinations.

Read our Manet Travel eSIM review to learn more about this store.

Manet travel esim website

  • Pick a plan and click on the Activate button.
  • Go to your emails and scan the QR code to install your eSIM.
  • Enable roaming to access the Internet.

Go to Manet Travel

Pros And Cons Of Using Manet Travel To Buy eSIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of Manet Travel.

  • Plans available for more than 140 countries.
  • The customer support is extremely fast (they answered me in 5 minutes).
  • You can’t top up your plans for the time being, but their team said they are working on offering this feature in the future.

Manet Travel Offer

There are currently no offers available. You’ll have to choose between a credit card or a coupon code/voucher at the moment of the purchase.

AloSIM eSIM

aloSIM is a new eSIM provider offering plans in 130+ regions and countries. You’ll find many affordable local and regional eSIM plans.

To learn more, you can read our complete aloSIM review .

alosim website

Here’s how aloSIM works:

  • Pick a plan on aloSIM.
  • Click on the buy button.
  • Log in or create an account.
  • Choose a payment method. They accept credit cards as well as vouchers.
  • Click on eSIM plan.
  • Click on the button to install the eSIM.
  • Scan the QR code. You’ll also get information below the QR code if you need help.
  • Set up an APN as mentioned in the installation guidelines.

Go to aloSIM

Pros And Cons Of Using aloSIM To Buy ESIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of using aloSIM to purchase an eSIM.

  • Coverage in 130+ countries.
  • The website is easy to use.
  • The support team is extremely fast.
  • Offers affordable local and regional plans.
  • Some regional plans don’t offer coverage in as many countries as other eSIM providers.

AloSIM Offer

Get a 5% discount on your first purchase with my AloSIM promo code: ABB5. To add a coupon code, you’ll need to enter it as a voucher when choosing a payment method.

GigSky eSIM

GigSky is an eSIM provider offering data plans in over 200 countries around the world. To buy an eSIM, you’ll need to download the app. Then, the app makes the whole process of buying an eSIM easier.

If you wish to learn more, read our complete GigSky review .

gigsky esim review

Here’s how GigSky works:

  • Select your destination and preferred plan on the app. You can swipe to see local, regional, or global plans available in this country.
  • Confirm that your device is unlocked and supports eSIM technology. Then, click on the button Buy Plan.
  • Finalize your purchase and activate your eSIM. The app does the whole thing for you, which is great if you’re unfamiliar with eSIMs.
  • Enable roaming.
  • Note that you may need to manually select the network if your Internet doesn’t work. I had to do this to connect to the Internet.

Go to GigSky

Pros And Cons Of Using GigSky To Buy ESIM

Let’s examine the main pros and cons of using GigSky to purchase an eSIM.

  • The app helps you install the eSIM, which means buying an eSIM is easier and faster.
  • If you prefer to make a purchase on a desktop instead of on your mobile, it won’t be possible for the time being.

GigSky eSIM Offer

There are no offers at the moment. If this changes in the future, we’ll let you know!

Instabridge eSIM

Instabridge is an eSIM store offering plans in over 190 countries. They offer a wide range of affordable plans in multiple destinations. You can opt for a one-off plan or a yearly subscription.

The best thing about Instabridge is its global eSIM plan that works in 112 countries.

I’ve tried Instabridge, and it worked fine. Their app is beautifully designed, and you’ll be able to find more options on there (compared to the desktop version).

Learn more by reading our Instabridge review .

Instabridge esim store

Here’s how Instabridge works:

  • Add promotion code ABB10 to get 10% discount on Global packages (it works on 1, 3, and 10 GB).
  • Go to your emails to download the app and activate the plan.
  • Let the app install and activate the eSIM for you.

Go to Instabridge

Pros And Cons Of Using Instabridge To Buy eSIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of using Instabridge.

  • eSIM plans available in over 190 countries
  • Local and global plans available
  • Wide range of plans (one-off and yearly subscriptions)
  • Global eSIM works in 112 countries
  • You need to use the app in order to find all the country plans available

Instabridge Offer

Instabridge offers our readers a 10% discount on global plans (1 GB, 3 GB, and 10 GB). Simply use our coupon code ABB10 to enjoy 10% off.

  • Holiday eSIM

Holiday eSIM is an eSIM store offering plans in 200 countries. Holiday eSIM offers flexible prepaid plans, including international data, voice, and minutes, all backed by major mobile networks worldwide.

Holiday eSIM ensures customers receive reliable high-speed Internet with plans that are easy to activate.

holiday esim provider

Here’s how Holiday eSIM works:

  • Pick a plan on Holiday eSIM .
  • Click on the Add to Cart button.
  • View cart. Add your coupon code if you have one.
  • Proceed to checkout
  • Log in, create an account, or buy as a guest.

Go to Holiday eSIM

Pros And Cons Of Using Holiday eSIM To Buy ESIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of using Holiday eSIM to purchase an eSIM.

  • Coverage in 200 countries.
  • Depending on the destination, prepaid plans can include international data, voice, and SMS.
  • Offers plans backed by the best mobile networks.
  • The website could be improved to simplify the experience.

Holiday eSIM Offer

There are no offers at the moment. To add a coupon code, you’ll need to click on View Cart. Once the coupon code is added, you can proceed to checkout.

Onesim eSIM

Onesim is a new eSIM provider offering plans in 125+ regions and countries. All their eSIM plans are basically regional or global, which means you’ll get coverage in multiple countries.

To learn more, you can read our complete Onesim review .

onesim website

Here’s how Onesim works:

  • Pay for your plan with a credit card and enter your name, country, phone type, and email address.

Go to Onesim

Pros And Cons Of Using Onesim To Buy ESIM

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of using Onesim to purchase an eSIM.

  • Coverage in 125+ countries.
  • The APN is automatically added to the eSIM, which means it’s easier to install.
  • The website is relatively new, so we are looking forward to see how it evolves in the future.

Onesim Offer

Get a 10% discount on your first purchase with my Onesim coupon code: BACKPACK10. To add a coupon code, you’ll see an option that says, “Have a coupon? Click here to enter your code”.

Best Global eSIM Providers

Now that you know some eSIM providers, let’s talk about the best international eSIM plans available.

Having an international eSIM is excellent when you travel a lot!

In my opinion, Airalo is the best travel eSIM for international trips because they offer more plans, but Nomad does provide coverage in more countries.

Let’s take a look at the best eSIM plans for international travel.

Airalo Discover Global eSIM

I love Airalo Discover Global because it covers 130 countries, making my life easier.

Here’s an overview of the plans available:

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $9
  • 2 GB, valid for 15 days for $17
  • 3 GB, valid for 15 days for $24
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $35
  • 10 GB, valid for 180 days for $59
  • 20 GB, valid for 365 days for $69

You’ll also find options with calls and SMS.

airalo discover global esim

Nomad Global eSIM

Nomad also offers a global plan that works in 112 countries.

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $20
  • 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $48
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $54

As you can see, Airalo provides better options if you want a global plan, but Nomad offers coverage in more countries.

nomad global esim

Instabridge Global eSIM

Instabridge offers a global plan that works in 112 countries.

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $8
  • 3 GB, valid for 15 days for $20
  • 10 GB, valid for 30 days for $50

instabridge global esim

Holiday eSIM World

Holiday eSIM offers Orange Holiday World , an eSIM (or SIM) that works in multiple countries around the world.

Here’s an overview of the plan available:

  • 10 GB, valid for 14 days for $44.10

Manet Travel Global eSIMs

Manet Travel offers various global eSIMs.

  • Global plan valid in 84 countries – from EUR 10
  • Global plan valid in 137 countries – from EUR 10
  • Global plan valid in 140 countries – from EUR 16.60

Best eSIM Providers For Europe

If you’re traveling to Europe, here are the best eSIMs for Europe .

Note that it might already be included if you choose a global eSIM plan instead.

Airalo Eurolink eSIM

Eurolink offers coverage in 39 countries. I used it this year during my travels in Europe.

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for 5$
  • 3 GB, valid for 30 days for 13$
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for 20$
  • 10 GB, valid for 30 days for 37$
  • 50 GB, valid for 90 days for 100$
  • 100 GB, valid for 180 days for $185

eurolink esim airalo

Holafly Europe eSIM

Holafly has great European plans that work in over 30 countries. It’s interesting because they come with unlimited data.

  • Unlimited data, valid for 5 days for $21
  • Unlimited data, valid for 7 days for $29
  • Unlimited data, valid for 10 days for $37
  • Unlimited data, valid for 15 days for $51
  • Unlimited data, valid for 20 days for $62
  • Unlimited data, valid for 30 days for $75
  • Unlimited data, valid for 60 days for $107
  • Unlimited data, valid for 90 days for $139

holafly europe esim

Nomad Europe eSIM

Nomad also offers plans in Europe .

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for 9$
  • 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $17
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $18
  • 10 GB, valid for 30 days for $26

SimCorner Europe eSIM

SimCorner offers both prepaid SIM cards and eSIM plans in Europe.

Here’s an overview of the eSIM plan available :

  • 30 GB, valid for 30 days for $49 (including calls and SMS)

Maya Mobile Europe eSIM

Maya Mobile offers an eSIM plan for Europe that works in 40 countries.

Here’s an overview of the plans available :

  • 3GB, valid for 30 days for $9
  • 5GB, valid for 30 days for $14
  • 10GB, valid for 30 days for $23
  • 20GB, valid for 30 days for $34
  • Unlimited data, valid for 30 days for $59

BNESIM Europe eSIM

BNESIM offers a European plan that includes coverage in 30 European countries.

Here’s an overview of the options available in Europe :

  • 1 GB, no expiration for $3.77
  • 3 GB, no expiration for $10.98
  • 5 GB, no expiration for $17.73
  • 10 GB, no expiration for $33.95

Yoho Mobile Europe eSIM

Yoho Mobile offers a European plan that includes coverage in 29 countries.

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $4.50
  • 3 GB, valid for 10 days for $10.99
  • 5 GB, valid for 15 days for $17.50
  • 10 GB, valid for 30 days for $33

Manet Travel Europe eSIM

Manet Travel offers various European plans.

Here’s an overview of the options available in Europe:

  • European plan valid in 35 countries – from EUR 3.10
  • European plan valid in 39 countries – from EUR 5.60

Onesim Europe eSIM

Onesim offers a European plan that includes coverage in 38 countries.

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $4.90
  • 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $9.90
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $15.90
  • 10 GB, valid for 30 days for $29.90
  • 20 GB, valid for 30 days for $49.90

There’s currently an offer on the European plan.

SimOptions Europe eSIM

SimOptions offers plans from different carriers, including O2 and Orange.

  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $17.90
  • 10 GB, valid for 30 days for $24.90
  • 15 GB, valid for 14 days for $29.90
  • 30 GB, valid for 14 days for $49.90

AloSIM Europe eSIM

aloSIM offers a few different European plans, which is ideal if you travel in specific areas. Alternatively, they also have a plan that works in 32 countries.

  • Eastern Europe
  • Western Europe
  • Mediterranean
  • Scandinavia
  • UK and Ireland

Holiday eSIM Europe

Holiday eSIM offers a few plans in Europe, including the Orange Holiday Zen , an eSIM that works in multiple European countries.

  • 8 GB, valid for 30 days for $21.25 (including unlimited calls and SMS in Europe)

Best eSIM Providers For North America

If you’re traveling to North America, here are the top options available.

Note that it might already be included if you decide to go for a global plan instead.

That said, if you travel only to one country in North America, you might want to consider a local plan instead.

You’ll find lots of suitable options on Airalo and Holafly.

Holafly North America eSIM

Holafly offers plans that cover the United States, Canada, and Mexico :

  • Unlimited data, valid for 5 days for $27
  • Unlimited data, valid for 7 days for $34
  • Unlimited data, valid for 10 days for $44
  • Unlimited data, valid for 15 days for $54
  • Unlimited data, valid for 20 days for $64
  • Unlimited data, valid for 30 days for $87
  • Unlimited data, valid for 60 days for $144
  • Unlimited data, valid for 90 days for $214

holafly north america

SimCorner USA, Canada, And Mexico

SimCorner offers 2 different plans for the United States, Canada and Mexico:

  • 15 GB, valid for 30 days for $47 (including calls and SMS)
  • Unlimited data, valid for 30 days for $62 (including calls and SMS)

Manet Travel North America

Manet Travel has a North American plan that works in the US, Canada, and Mexico:

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for EUR 4.80
  • 3 GB, valid for 30 days for EUR 11.40
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for EUR 18
  • 10 GB, valid for 30 days for EUR 31.80
  • 20 GB, valid for 30 days for EUR 55.20

Onesim USA And Mexico

Onesim offers plans to facilitate your travels in North America, but only includes the United States and Mexico.

You’ll also get coverage in 46 countries (mainly Europe and Asia). 

  • 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $11.90
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $18.90
  • 10 GB, valid for 30 days for $34.90
  • 20 GB, valid for 30 days for $59.90

SimOptions North America eSIM

SimOptions offers two plans to facilitate your travels in North America:

  • 6 GB, valid for 10 days for $17.90
  • 20 GB, valid for 30 days for $34.90

AloSIM North America eSIM

AloSIM offers 4 different plans in North America:

  • 3 GB, valid for 7 days for $21
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $32.50

Best eSIM Plans Available In Asia

If you’re traveling to Asia, here are the top options for regional eSIM plans in Asia .

Note that some countries might already be included if you decide to go for a global plan instead.

Airalo Asialink eSIM

Asialink offers coverage in 13 countries. I used it this year during my travels in Asia, and it works fine.

asialink esim airalo

Holafly Asia eSIM

Holafly has great Asia plans that work in 11 countries:

  • Unlimited data, valid for 15 days for $47
  • Unlimited data, valid for 20 days for $54
  • Unlimited data, valid for 30 days for $79

holafly asia esim

Nomad Asia eSIM

Nomad also offers plans in Asia .

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for 6$
  • 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $15
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $17

SimCorner Asia eSIM

SimCorner offers one eSIM plan in Asia :

  • 6 GB, valid for 15 days for $36

Maya Mobile Asia eSIM

Maya Mobile offers an eSIM plan for Asia and the Pacific region that works in 12 countries.

  • 3GB, valid for 30 days for $10
  • 10GB, valid for 30 days for $21
  • 20GB, valid for 30 days for $38

BNESIM Asia eSIM

BNESIM offers an Asia plan that includes coverage in 28 countries.

Here’s an overview of the options available in Asia :

  • 1 GB, valid for 30 days, for $8.22
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $38.62
  • 10 GB, valid for 30 days for $73.96

Note that BNESIM has a wide range of plans, so you might want to take a look at their website to compare the options available.

Yoho Mobile Asia eSIM

Yoho Mobile offers an Asia plan that includes coverage in 19 countries.

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $7.99
  • 3 GB, valid for 10 days for $20.50
  • 5 GB, valid for 15 days for $32.99
  • 10 GB, valid for 30 days for $63.50

Manet Travel offers eSIMs for Asia.

  • Asia plan valid in 14 countries – from EUR 5.60
  • Asia plan valid in 15 countries – from EUR 3.80

Onesim Asia eSIM

Onesim offers an Asia plan that includes coverage in 32 countries.

At the moment, there’s only one option available in Asia :

  • 6 GB, valid for 8 days for $16.90

SimOptions Asia eSIM

SimOptions offers plans from different carriers.

  • 6 GB, valid for 12 days for $19.90

AloSIM Asia eSIM

AloSIM offers Asia Five Pack , an eSIM that works in 5 Asian countries.

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $5
  • 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $10
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $15
  • 10 GB, valid for 30 days for $27

Benefits Of Using An eSIM For International Travel

eSIMs offer many benefits, which is excellent news if you’re a frequent traveler.

Here are the main reasons why I love using eSIM:

  • You get data as soon as you arrive.
  • You can activate your eSIM immediately.
  • You can keep your usual phone number and use eSIM to get data.
  • You don’t need to remove your SIM card or find a store to purchase one during your travels.
  • You can top up quickly.

woman using data abroad with her esim card

Final Thoughts On The Best eSIM Providers For International Travel

There are many eSIM providers out there, but not all of them offer the same coverage.

I’ve tried the following eSIM companies/eSIM apps:

  • Yoho Mobile
  • Manet Travel

I can say that they’re all excellent eSIM providers with great eSIM plans.

If you’re looking for the best eSIM provider for international travel, I highly recommend Airalo .

Airalo App offers great regional and global plans at reasonable prices, and their coverage is excellent. In my opinion, they offer the best eSIM data plans overall.

If you’re looking for an eSIM provider with unlimited data, Holafly is a great option (but it depends on the destination).

Want more travel tips? Read one of the following guides:

  • Holafly vs Airalo
  • Wise vs Revolut
  • Revolut travel card
  • Safetywing review

best traveller sim

MY TOP RECOMMENDATIONS

BOOK HOTEL ON BOOKING.COM

BOOK HOSTEL ON HOSTELWORLD

GET YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE

LEARN HOW TO START A TRAVEL BLOG

LEARN HOW TO VOLUNTEER ABROAD

best traveller sim

Traveltomtom<span>.</span>

12 Best Sim Cards for Europe in 2024

best traveller sim

Planning your trip to Europe and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? Don't get stuck with high roaming costs or slow overseas data roaming packages! Get yourself a sim card for traveling in Europe. This is a guide for finding the best European sim card for your trip.

Whether you need a physical prepaid sim card or an e-sim cards for Europe in this guide you will find them both. Find out where to order one, up to date prices as per June 2024 and everything else you need to know before ordering a sim card for traveling to Europe in 2024

Buying a sim card on the internet is easy and convenient, but you can also buy a prepaid sim card for tourists on arrival. On Traveltomtom you can find specific guides for buying a local prepaid sim cards in  Spain ,  Italy , Switzerland , Greece ,  Ireland , Portugal , Germany ,  Poland , France ,  Sweden , UK , Hungary , Croatia , Austria , Finland , Norway , Netherlands , Belgium , Bulgaria  and every other European country.

Traveltomtom's favorite sim card providers are Airalo and SimOptions. Why? Traveltomtom has personally used Airalo and SimOptions sim cards for more than 5 years and never faced an issue. But are they still the best and cheapest? There is also Nomad, Holafly, Jetpac, Amazon and many other websites that sell sim cards for Europe. Therefore I compared the best Europe sim cards below.

All the sim cards listed in this article are European sim cards with data that you can order online before your trip. The international physical prepaid sim cards will be delivered to your home address before your trip and are activated automatically from its first use. E-sim cards for Europe obviously are delivered via email.

Some links in this article about the best travel sim cards for Europe are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate links I earn a small commission. Don't worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you!

My recommendation

Buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival is in general the cheapest way to stay connected when traveling to Europe in 2024. In the links above you will find specific guides for buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival in Europe.

But wouldn't it be easy to be online and have data on your phone as soon as the plane lands?

Don't waste your precious holiday time on arrival in Europe standing in line at a sim card shop on the airport or in a local phone store. No more language barriers. Order a sim card for Europe online before your trip! How?

This is your ultimate guide, read everything you need to know below and get connected instantly. Getting your Europe sim card on the internet is super easy and there are amazing tourist sim card deals available.

Here are Traveltomtom's top picks for 2024.

1. Holiday Europe eSIM with 100 GB data - $59.90 USD

  • 100 GB data
  • unlimited calling & texting
  • valid for 28 days
  • valid in every country in Europe
  • only $0.6 USD per Gigabyte
  • 120 minutes to any number in the world
  • 1,000 sms to any number in the world

You can order this Orange e-sim card for traveling to Europe via SimOptions in the link above.

Traveltomtom rates the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM as the best Europe sim card in 2024. For $59.90 USD you get 100 GB data which is just $0.6 USD per Gigabyte. This is basically an e-sim with unlimited data and best thing is that this e-sim card is 5G ready, where most of the physical prepaid and e-sim cards for Europe only support 4G/LTE.

On top of that you get unlimited calls and text within Europe and 120 international minutes to any phone number in the world. It leaves no doubt why the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM is ranked as the best e-sim for traveling to Europe in 2024.

2. Bouygues Telecom Travel Basic+ with 20 GB data - $23.90 USD

  • unlimited calling
  • valid for 15 days
  • only $1.2 USD per Gigabyte

This Bouygues Telecom e-sim card for Europe is perfect for those travelers that don't need so much data. It is much cheaper than the Orange e-sim above, but you also get much less. However, with a rate of $1.2 USD per Gigabyte you still get a very good rate.

The Bouygues Telecom e-sim is also available via SimOptions.

In my comparison below you will find sim cards from Jetpac, Holafly, Airalo, Nomad, etc. I compared all of them and seriously the best 2 e-sims are from SimOptions. This is simply your best bid to order an e-sim from SimOptions if you travel to Europe.

Physical prepaid sim card

If your phone is not e-sim compatible then Traveltomtom recommends a Bouygues Telecom physical prepaid sim card. This is the best physical prepaid sim card for visiting Europe in 2024, also available via SimOptions. In fact SimOptions is the only website that sells physical prepaid sim cards. Airalo, Jetpac, Holafly as well as Nomad only offer e-sim cards. 

With this Bouygues Telecom sim card you get 30 GB data for 30 days including unlimited calls valid in all of Europe for $44.90 USD. That is $1.5 USD per Gigabyte.

Traveltomtom also recommends world sim cards with global coverage. Check out my article with a comparison of the  best international sim cards for travelling in 2024  if you for example continue your trip to Europe to Turkey, Asia or the Middle East.

Comparison of the best Europe sim cards

Here are the 12 best European prepaid sim cards and e-sim cards for Europe. The best ones are ranked first...

1. Orange Holiday Europe eSIM with 100 GB

UPDATED for Summer 2024. The Orange Holiday Europe eSIM now give you DOUBLE DATA. So not 50 GB but a whooping 100 GB!

best traveller sim

This is the latest addition to the family of the Orange sim cards for traveling in Europe. It is the bigger brother of the Orange Holiday Europe sim card. At the moment this sim card is only available as an e-sim card and not as physical prepaid sim card.

This Orange Holiday Europe 100 GB eSIM is the only proper 5G ready sim card for Europe. The rate of only $0.6 USD per Gigabyte makes this the best-buy e-sim card for Europe in 2024.

Price: $59.90 USD

  • 100 GB data in all of the EU including Switzerland, UK, Iceland and Norway
  • Unlimited calling & texting in Europe
  • 120 minutes to anywhere in the world
  • 1000 sms to anywhere in the world
  • Valid 28 days
  • Automatically activated from the first time it connects to a supported network in Europe
  • Top up available
  • ID verification/registration is NOT required
  • Sim card comes with a phone number from France starting with +33

Click here to order the Orange Holiday Europe e-sim card via SimOptions .

2. Bouygues Telecom Travel Basic+ with 20 GB  (e-sim)

best traveller sim

Bouygues Telecom has several e-sim card plans for Europe travel. This European sim card is for those travelers who don't need so much data and stay for 2 weeks, because this e-sim is only valid for 15 days.

Price: $23.90 USD

  • 20 GB data in all of the EU countries including UK, Norway, Iceland
  • Switzerland is NOT included
  • Valid for 15 days
  • Top up is possible
  • E-sim card comes with a phone number from France starting with +33
  • Can receive sms and calls
  • You have to activate the e-sim card within 1 year after purchase
  • Automatically activates from the first time it connects to a supported network in Europe

Click here for more info or to  order this Bouygues Telecom e-sim card for Europe via SimOptions .

This Bouygues Telecom sim card is not available as a physical prepaid sim card, only as an e-sim card.

3.  Orange Holiday Europe with 30 GB  (physical and e-sim)

best traveller sim

The best physical prepaid sim cards for traveling in Europe is the Orange Holiday Europe sim card for tourists, especially if you are looking for a Europe sim card including international minutes. It is available as physical prepaid sim card as well as e-sim card and you can order it directly online.

Price: $49.90 USD

  • 30 GB data in all of the EU including Switzerland, UK, Iceland and Norway
  • 120 minutes to any country in the world
  • 1000 sms to any country in the world
  • Valid 14 days
  • $1.67 USD per Gigabyte

Click here for more info or to order the  Orange Holiday Europe sim card for Europe as a physical prepaid sim card

You can also order this sim for Europe as an e-sim via SimOptions for the same price.

Great advantage of this Orange tourist sim card for Europe is that it has international calling minutes included. The downside about the Orange Holiday Europe prepaid sim card is that it is valid for only 14 days.

If your trip to Europe is longer than 14 days I recommend you getting a different prepaid or e-sim card for Europe so you don't have to worry about topping up during your holiday.

4. Jetpac (e-sim)

best traveller sim

Jetpac is a fairly new e-sim provider and is trying to conquer the market with some incredible e-sim card plans for traveling to Europe. 

The Jetpac e-sims work in 28 countries in Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vatican City.

Pretty much in all popular tourist destinations in Europe, however not in: Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, Romania, Albania, Cyprus, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

If you are visiting the Balkan on your trip to Europe then Jetpac is not the perfect e-sim for your trip.

Prices and rates Jetpac Europe

Jetpac Global is at the moment the cheapest e-sim card for Europe as they have an offer for just $1 USD. Here are all the e-sim card plans from Jetpac for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 30 days = $1 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $8.5 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $14 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $18 USD
  • 15 GB data for 30 days = $28 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $34 USD
  • 25 GB data for 30 days = $38 USD
  • 30 GB data for 30 days = $40 USD
  • 40 GB data for 30 days = $60 USD

Click here to  order a Jetpac e-sim card for Europe .

The rate of the best Jetpac e-sim is 40 GB data for $60 USD which comes down to $1.25 USD per Gigabyte. That makes the Jetpac Europe e-sim cards more expensive than the SimOptions e-sims above.

The Jetpac Global e-sim card plans are valid for 30 days and the validity starts automatically when it connects for the first time to a network in a country where you can use Jetpac and the data pack is valid 1 year from date of purchase.

Jetpac Global is only available as an e-sim card and not as a physical prepaid sim card. The Jetpac Global e-sim cards are data-only and incoming and outgoing calls are not supported.

The reason Jetpac is ranked as one of the best e-sims for Europe is that it comes with a couple extra advantages. Jetpac Europe e-sims provide free lounge access if your flight is delayed. However, you will have to register your flight before you travel and in case of a delayed or canceled flight a LoungeKey voucher will automatically be provided. This is a complimentary service that no other e-sim cards offer. Also they now offer a free VPN service included with their sim card.

For more info check out the Jetpack website .

5. Eurolink eSIM from Airalo

best traveller sim

Airalo is a trusted e-sim card provider that offers e-sim cards for pretty much every country in the world. Airalo is definitely a favorite of Traveltomtom however, their Europe e-sim card plans are much more expensive than other e-sim cards for Europe.

But Airalo has a solution for slow travelers to Europe as they offer e-sims for 90 days as well as e-sims for 180 days.

Big advantage is that the Airalo e-sim cards for Europe are partially 5G ready, meaning in most countries you are able to use 5G and in some countries you will have to it with 4G/LTE. It is a 70/30 I would say.

5G is available in: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK. All other countries there is only 4G/LTE network available.

Eurolink e-sim cards also have plans for 3 months and even for 6 months, which could be a very interesting e-sim for travelers visiting Europe for more than 1 month.

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $13 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $20 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $37 USD
  • 50 GB data for 90 days = $100 USD
  • 100 GB data for 180 days = $185 USD

Click here for more info or to order a Eurolink e-sim card for Europe via Airalo .

Eurolink e-sim cards are valid in all of Europe including Iceland, Norway, UK, Switzerland, Ukraine and even in Turkey !

Traveltomtom uses Airalo e-sim cards a lot, but their rates per Gigabyte for Europe are more expensive than the other sim cards mentioned above.

Traveltomtom sometimes uses an Airalo e-sim card for Europe when I continue my Europe trip to Istanbul. Airalo is the best e-sim card for traveling to Europe and Turkey on one trip.

Especially for people looking for e-sim cards for Europe that are valid for 3 or 6 months Airalo is one of the best e-sim cards for Europe.

6. Bouygues Telecom My Europe eSIM with 30 GB data  (physical and e-sim)

bouygues telecom esim card for europe 2024

The Bouygues Telecom prepaid sim card for tourists was always rated as one the best sim card for traveling to Europe in 2024 but since Orange came with this crazy offer of 100 GB data the Bouygues Telecom tourist sim card went down in ranking.

Price: $44.90 USD

  • 30 GB data in all of the EU countries including UK, Norway, Iceland
  • Valid for 30 days

Click here to  directly order a Bouygues Telecom e-sim card for Europe via SimOptions .

This Bouygues Telecom e-sim card package is called My European eSIM and with $1.5 USD per Gigabyte it is still among the best value sim cards for Europe. On top of that this e-sim card is valid for 30 days but unfortunately not 5G ready.

7.  Three (3) Data Pack with 10 GB  (physical sim)

best traveller sim

This Three UK sim card is only available as a physical prepaid sim card and NOT as an e-sim. It will be delivered to your home address and it is plug and play on arrival in Europe.

Price: $24.90 USD

  • 10 GB data in all of Europe including Switzerland, UK, Norway, Iceland and up to 30 countries outside of Europe
  • Unlimited calls/sms in all of Europe
  • Valid 30 days from inserting in phone
  • No top up possible
  • Sim card comes with a phone number from UK starting with +44

Click here to directly order a Three Data Pack physical sim card for traveling to Europe .

Big plus is that this Europe sim card is 5G ready and includes unlimited calls/sms in Europe and up to 30 other countries around the world like USA, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia, Israel, Singapore, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Colombia and many more.

8. Nomad eSIM for Europe

best traveller sim

Nomad has some of the cheapest e-sim cards for traveling in Europe with some amazing value plans. They go as low as $1.3 USD per GB data. The Nomad e-sim cards are from eSIM Go and they support 5G in some countries, not yet everywhere.

  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $15 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $22 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $45 USD

Click here to order a Nomad e-sim card for traveling in Europe .

The Nomad e-sim cards are data-only and do not come with a phone number. Incoming and outgoing calls are not supported. The Nomad e-sims are 5G ready for Europe. But compared to other e-sim providers Nomad Europe e-sims are more expensive and therefore not rated high in this list of the best e-sims for Europe.

9.  O2 Go Card Prepaid sim card with 10 GB  (physical and e-sim)

o2 go card prepaid sim card for europe 2024

This O2 sim card plan from Czech Republic is available as a physical prepaid sim card as well as an e-sim card. When you order this physical sim card it will be delivered to your home address before your trip to Europe.

  • 10 GB data in all of Europe (Switzerland NOT included)
  • $2 credit for calls in Europe (top up online available only for EU citizens. For non-EU citizens only within Czech Republic)
  • $2 credit for sms in Europe
  • Receiving unlimited calls in all of the covered countries in Europe
  • Valid for 30 days from its installation, even if not in Europe yet
  • It comes with a Czech number starting with +420

Click here to order an O2 Go Card as a physical prepaid sim card and here as an e-sim card .

10. Orange Holiday Zen sim card for Europe - 12 GB

orange holiday zen esim card for europe 2024

Price: $29.90 USD

  • 12 GB data in all of Europe including Switzerland, UK, Iceland and Norway
  • Valid for 14 days from the first time it connects to a supported network in Europe

The smaller brother of the Orange Holiday Europe sim card is called the Orange Holiday Zen. Unlimited calls/texting in Europe and 12 GB, so much smaller data plan, but also cheaper.

Click here to order this Orange Holiday Zen sim card for Europe as a physical prepaid sim card and click here to order the Orange Holiday Zen as an e-sim card .

11. Holafly

Holafly sells e-sim cards for Europe with unlimited data. Traveltomtom is not a fan of e-sim cards with 'unlimited' data and I explain you below why.

However, if you want a sim card for Europe with unlimited data then Holafly is your best bid. It is pretty expensive and I recommend you to read the fine print and read about how unlimited your e-sim with unlimited data actually is.

  • 1 day 'unlimited' data = $6 USD
  • 2 days 'unlimited' data = $10 USD
  • 3 days 'unlimited' data = $13 USD
  • 4 days 'unlimited' data = $16 USD
  • 5 days 'unlimited' data = $21 USD
  • 6 days 'unlimited' data = $25 USD
  • 7 days 'unlimited' data = $29 USD
  • 8 days 'unlimited' data = $31 USD
  • 9 days 'unlimited' data = $35 USD
  • 10 days 'unlimited' data = $37 USD
  • 11 days 'unlimited' data = $40 USD
  • 14 days 'unlimited' data = $48 USD
  • 20 days 'unlimited' data = $64 USD
  • 30 days 'unlimited' data = $75 USD

The Holafly e-sim cards for Europe are data-only and incoming and outgoing calls/sms are NOT supported. These e-sims do also not come with a phone number. The Holafly e-sims are 5G ready, but not in every country in Europe. The Holafly Europe e-sim has been tested by the Traveltomtom Team with mixed results. Some good, some average reviews.

You can use a hotspot on Holafly Europe e-sim cards of up to 500 MB per day.

The Holafly Europe e-sims are valid in the following 32 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine.

Why does Traveltomtom not recommend e-sims with unlimited data? Because unlimited is only truly unlimited is there is no FUP per day. An FUP means a Fair Use Policy and that means after you used an X amount of data on 1 day they will slow down your data speed. Your e-sim becomes basically useless, only WhatsApp will work until the data speed is restored.

Traveltomtom has had bad experiences with this in the past. Imagine being on a 10 hour bus or train ride and using a lot of data. Then suddenly your data speed is reduced because you used too much data. This can be extremely frustrating on days you need a lot of data, like travel days.

Also the connection and the network strength on Holafly e-sim cards has been pretty disappointing. Inside buildings the Traveltomtom Team has reported that there was often with just 1 bar phone signal as well as slow data speed on peak hours.

If I hate something then it is slow data speed. Therefore Traveltomtom's is not a fan of e-sim cards with 'unlimited' data. Holafly does NOT specify what is the exact data speed, but the Traveltomtom Team found out that this is sometimes at 2 GB data per day and in some countries 3 GB data per day.

For this reason Holafly e-sim cards are not ranked high in this list of the best sim cards for traveling to Europe in 2024. After you reach the FUP per day you will have to deal with data speed as fast as an E signal. Trust me, not fun and therefore not recommended.

Of course you can also order sim cards for traveling to Europe on Amazon. When searching for 'Sim Card for Europe' on Amazon you will get a long list of available physical prepaid sim cards. Good list finding one that will suit your trip to Europe, it is a jungle and presonally I would not recommend it.

There are no e-sim cards available on Amazon. But when looking for a physical prepaid sim cards and you didn't find a good one on SimOptions, you can try Amazon.

Here are some examples:

  • Orange: 16 GB data (not in UK, Switzerland) + 800 minutes for 28 day = $28 USD + tax
  • Three: 10 GB data + unlimited calls/sms for 30 days = $19 USD + tax
  • Sim2Roam: 3 GB data for 30 days = $16 USD + tax
  • Vodafone: 12 GB data for 14 days = $17 USD + tax

I listed Amazon as a last option because Traveltomtom does not directly recommend it. The offers vary, the availability is not guaranteed and you will have to activate the sim card yourself with a proper guideline once the sim card will be delivered to your home address

On top of that Amazon has delivery fees and taxes which makes buying a sim card from Amazon sometimes really expensive.

Free EU data roaming on European sim cards

The European Union came in 2017 finally with the genius idea to let go of roaming charges within the EU countries. Therefore in 2017 people can use their sim card from Spain in Italy and their Germany sim card in Sweden without any extra charges. For people looking for a sim card for Europe travel this was the best news ever of course.

Therefore upon arrival in Europe you can potentially buy a local prepaid sim card for tourists and be connected to the internet in all other countries you visit in Europe. However, there are a lot of exceptions, so keep reading…

The biggest exceptions are: UK, Switzerland and Norway. As you might know these are countries in Europe, but they are NOT part of the European Union, which means roaming costs can apply for these countries.

Brexit threw the UK out of the European Union and one of the major problems is the free EU roaming on UK prepaid sim cards. Most of the prepaid and e-sim cards you buy in the UK do not include free EU roaming anymore. For more info see my guide for buying a sim card in the UK in 2024 .

Why buying a sim card for Europe

A very simple question... Do you need one? Well, do you want to rely on others when traveling to Europe? Yes, your hotel, bar, restaurant, train and even parkings have free public WiFi these days. So getting WiFi when traveling is fairly easy. Yet, Traveltomtom still recommend you getting a sim card for Europe.

you may also like...

Buying a Prepaid Sim Card for Czech Republic in 2024

First of all public WiFi can not be trusted in speed, signal and security. What if the signal in your hotel room is weak and you can't change rooms? Or it is too slow to even upload an Instagram story. Getting connected with your phone makes traveling so much easier, just like real life!

Also another reminder that surfing the internet on public WiFi is through an UNSECURED network. The use of a VPN is recommended in these cases to protect your privacy.

Think about ordering a cab on the streets through a taxi app, or getting directions from Google Maps and finding a nearby restaurants with good reviews or finding out the train schedule to get back to your hotel. So many reasons Traveltomtom recommends getting a sim card for your trip to Europe.

Sim cards for Europe with unlimited data

Traveltomtom does not recommend sim cards for Europe with unlimited data. With most of these sim cards you will end up frustrated! Always double check at what speed you get unlimited data, because in reality 'unlimited' is mostly not really unlimited.

There is pretty much always a FUP (Fair Use Policy) on these Europe sim cards with unlimited data.

For example Holafly sells e-sim cards with unlimited data for Europe, but in the small letters you will find this:  the eSIM includes unlimited data for the contracted time. However, please note that the carrier may reserve the right to apply a Fair Usage Policy.

This literally means that if the operator thinks you are using too much data on a day, they reduce your data speed. Holafly does not specify what the FUP is. From my own experience I can tell you that this already applies sometimes after using 2 GB data per day.

When this happens your data speed is reduced to something like 512 Kbps which means you can barely send a photo through WhatsApp and your social media apps won't work for a full 24 hours.

To avoid all this hassle, Traveltomtom does not recommend sim cards for Europe with unlimited data, unless the Fair Use Policy is clearly mentioned and it is per month rather than per day. An FUP per day can be really frustrating!

Local prepaid sim cards vs. European sim cards

All sim cards mentioned in this article are sim cards with FREE EU roaming intended for those that visit a couple countries on a short trip. However, if you only travel to 1 or 2 countries in Europe you might be better off buying a local sim card on arrival. Local sim cards are mostly valid in 1 country only. Especially for a trip to Eastern Europe I would recommend buying a local sim card, rather than a European sim card.

For a complete overview of all sim card prices per country have a look at my guide for how to buy a local sim card in Europe in 2024 .

I love traveling in Europe off the beaten path , have a look at my 12 secret places to visit. I bet some of them you have never even heard of.

Getting connected is the first thing I do when I get to a new country. Depending on the length of my trip that means either buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival or ordering an e-sim card online. Must say that the last years on all my trips to Europe I bought an e-sim card since it is just much easier and less hassle.

Buying a local sim card on arrival in Europe

Sometimes the best European sim card deals you get on arrival in Europe. In France for example you get 150 GB data for €20 EUR ($22 USD) and data bundles in Italy are also very affordable. Most countries in Eastern Europe offer amazing local prepaid sim card deals with up to 75 GB data for just $6 USD but these local prepaid sim cards often do NOT offer free EU data roaming.

Therefore I recommend you to check my complete guide for buying a local sim card in Europe in 2024 , with a specific list of every country in Europe and what prices to expect on arrival before buying a sim card for Europe.

Traveltomtom also wrote sim card guides for all major airports in Europe: Zurich ,  London Heathrow , London Gatwick , Copenhagen , Amsterdam , Paris , Frankfurt , Dublin , Madrid , Manchester , Lisbon , Rome , Milan , Venice , Vienna , Oslo , Athens , Barcelona ,  Berlin , Budapest , Geneva , Bucharest , Tirana , Budapest , Prague , Brussels  and many more.

I hope all the above tips for finding the best sim card for your trip to Europe in 2024 were helpful. If you still have questions please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.

Looking for off the beaten path destinations in Europe then click on the link and I bet most of those places you have never even heard of. Let me fuel you with some more wanderlust.

Because Traveltomtom would also like to visit every country in the world  you can already find more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all around the world: USA , Canada , Mexico , Colombia , South Africa , Asia , Turkey ,  Saudi Arabia ,  Hong Kong , Thailand , Singapore , Brazil , Philippines , Egypt , China , Australia , New Zealand  and many more!

So next time you plan your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your next holiday destination. Bookmark me!

If interested check out my Instagram profile @traveltomtom to see more of my journey to visit every country in the world . As of June 2024 I have traveled to more than 155 countries, but no rush to reach 197.

      View this post on Instagram       A post shared by Adventure Travel & Blogger (@traveltomtom)

Enjoy your trip to Europe!

  • roadtrip europe
  • eastern europe
  • europe sim card

Best eSIM for international travel

For international travel, eSIMS are a great way to get data because they’re easy, fast, and affordable!

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.

Updated: May 8, 2024

The best eSIM for international travel

I think eSIMs are one of the best ways to get phone data while you're travelling and take the stress out of arranging a plan with a local telco.

But the best eSIM providers for travel offer different plans, and it's worth doing the research the find which one is best for you.

That's why I've put together this comprehensive guide to the best eSIMs for travellers.

What is an eSIM?

Is an esim the best option for you, a local telco.

Believe it or not, when I first started travelling full-time more than a decade ago, I didn’t even have a phone with me.

After feeling like I had been a slave to my BlackBerry (yes, I’m that old!) in my previous job, I wanted to roam the world without a constant digital distraction. I thought being disconnected from technology during the day would mean a better connection with the people and places I was exploring.

I managed to get away with that for about a year before I finally bought an iPhone. Now, looking back on it, I don’t know how I survived.

While I still love the idea of distraction-free travel, having access to the internet on my phone has become such an important part of how I discover new destinations. Being able to find a bus timetable, get a restaurant recommendation, research a landmark I’m visiting – all of it enriches my days, keeps me safe, and introduces me to things I might otherwise have missed.

So, what’s the best way to get data on your phone when you travel?

Well, I used to buy local SIM cards when I arrived in a new destination, and that’s still a decent option (which I’ll discuss shortly). But these days, most of the time, I now use an eSIM for international travel.

An eSIM is a connection to a phone provider that uses a chip built in to your phone, rather than a physical SIM that you need to insert. When you buy an eSIM, what you’re actually buying is a short contract with a telco that will use this permanent chip within your phone to connect you.

Should I get an eSIM?

There are advantages and disadvantages to eSIMs for travellers, and whether you should get one depends on your circumstances. The benefits of an eSIM include: you don’t need to visit a store, there’s a large range of plans, it works alongside your usual SIM card, and it can cover multiple countries.

Can you use an eSIM internationally?

While you can get an eSIM for your home country, the biggest benefits of an eSIM are for travellers. You can buy an eSIM for just one country, or you can get international ones that cover all the countries in a region – or even a global one for the whole world!

Can any phone use an eSIM?

Not every phone has the technology to use an eSIM, although most released in the past few years are compatible. Make sure you check your model first. Also, if your phone is locked to a single provider, then an eSIM probably won’t work (just as inserting a different physical SIM won’t work).

I feel like a lot of travellers still don’t know much about eSIMS because, even though the technology has been around for a few years, there’s been a slow uptake. But it’s now got to a point where the best eSIM plans offer genuinely good benefits for travellers and the upsides are starting to outweigh the downsides these days.

In this article, I’m going to first run you through some of the basics of eSIMs, in case you haven’t come across the concept before.

If you do know a bit about the technology, you can jump straight down to my section about the best eSIM for international travel .

If you just want the short answer, I think Airalo offers the best eSIM for international travel . You can see its range of plans here .

For most travellers, there are definitely going to be some advantages to getting an eSIM, and I would recommend giving it a try if you haven’t used one before.

That’s what I did – and I haven’t looked back. But I have tried a few different providers, to get a sense of what is the best eSIM for international travel.

It’s this experience – plus lots of research into the latest eSIM plans – that I’m going to share, to help you arrange your phone date for your trip.

Although you may think the ‘e’ stands for ‘electronic’, eSIM is actually short for ’embedded SIM’ because that’s exactly what it is – a chip that is embedded into your phone.

Unlike physical SIMs, which have certain information hard-coded into them, an eSIM can be reprogrammed with different information. That’s why you are able to use it to connect to different phone plans around the world without putting anything physical into your phone.

So, what you’re doing when you ‘buy an eSIM’ is not actually buying any kind of card. What you’re doing is buying a temporary contract with a service provider, and then quickly reprogramming this chip in your phone to connect to it, as if it was a physical SIM.

If the idea of ‘reprogramming’ sounds complicated, don’t worry, it’s easy. Normally you’ll get a QR code or some kind of other link that lets you do it all automatically in just a few seconds.

All you have to do is go to an online retailer, choose the best eSIM plan for your circumstances (and buy it), then click the link or scan the QR code that you’ll be sent with the receipt – and, bam, it’s all done and you should be connected!

The first phones to use eSIMs were released in 2018 and they have slowly grown in popularity since then. Most modern phones now support eSIMs – and, in fact, there are iPhone models that are eSIM-only!

But it’s still worth checking if your device supports eSIMs and you can do that on this list of supported devices .

You can get eSIMS that include phone calls and text, completely replacing the need for any kind of physical SIM. But most of them just offer data at the moment, and they’re the ones I’m going to concentrate on in this article about the best eSIMs for international travel.

The invention of the eSIM – up there with the inventions of the wheel and fire, in the eyes of this regular traveller – has made my time overseas so incredibly simple.

There are definitely many advantages to using an eSIM, which is why I do it most of the time now.

But there are also some disadvantages that you need to consider, because the best eSIM for international travel for one person might not be the best for you. It depends on each scenario.

The first advantage of an eSIM is the convenience . With a physical SIM, you need to actually go into a store when you arrive in a destination to buy it, which can be a hassle and takes away precious time from your trip.

With an eSIM, everything is done online and you can get connected instantly wherever you are.

The second advantage is that you’ll be immediately connected . If you’ve arranged your eSIM in advance, as soon as you land in a new country and turn your phone on, you’ll be able to use the data.

I find this a really useful feature when I need to get in touch with someone waiting for me at the airport, or when I want to see when the next train to the city is, for example. (And to check my email for anything urgent after a 15-hour flight!)

Another advantage is that you can get eSIMs with regional plans or even global plans . It means that, if you’re visiting multiple countries on your trip, you don’t need to arrange a new SIM card each time you cross the border.

This isn’t such an issue in Europe, where most local SIMs have some level of sharing with other EU countries. But it’s particularly useful for regions like Southeast Asia where travellers often do go between countries, or for cruises.

On that note, I also like the advantage that there is a much wider range of data plans to choose from than traditional SIM cards. You can often choose different durations and different gigabyte limits (or unlimited), all offered at different price points.

This is great because it means you don’t need to pay more for extra time or data that you’ll never use if you’re on a short trip or only using your phone occasionally.

And the final (and huge) advantage that I love is that the eSIM works alongside a physical SIM , meaning your usual SIM card from home will also be active at the same time.

You can use your foreign eSIM to access mobile data affordably, while also using your physical SIM card to receive phone calls and SMS messages to your usual number (which is very handy for those login verification codes that so many organisations still insist on sending).

Disadvantages

Now, there are some downsides, and I’m not going to pretend they’ll be insignificant for some travellers.

The first disadvantage is that most eSIMs only offer data , not calls and text, which may not be convenient. Personally, I rarely make phone calls when I’m overseas and, if I do, I just use Skype or WhatsApp over data.

But if local calls are something you need, you may have to look harder to find an eSIM that offers that ( Simify has some good ones, for instance), or just stick with a physical SIM.

Another small disadvantage is that I find my phone battery goes down faster than usual because it’s connecting to two networks at once. This can be mitigated by turning one (or both) of the networks off in the settings, and I do quite often turn off my physical SIM unless I’m expecting a message or a call.

But the biggest disadvantage is the price. In most cases, an eSIM is more expensive than a local physical SIM. Or, at least, you get a lot less data for the same cost.

For example, an eSIM for Italy with 5 gigabytes over 30 days costs about US$13, while for the same price, you can get a physical SIM with more than 50 gigabytes over the same period (plus calls).

An eSIM for Thailand gets you unlimited data over 15 days for US$20, while a local SIM can get you 5 gigabytes over 30 days for around US$6 (if you can work out how to buy it at the convenience store).

The difference in value does change quite markedly for each country, so this could be less of an issue for some trips. And I think that Nomad tends to have some cheaper options, which can help.

But it’s definitely something to consider and becomes more of a problem if you’re planning to use a lot of data and need a bigger plan.

The best eSIM providers for travel

Now, let’s have a look at the top eSIM providers because they each offer slightly different types of products.

It’s not just about what they promise, but how much it costs – and also how reliable it is.

The short version of my findings is as follows.

  • Best for general use: Airalo
  • Best for unlimited data: Holafly
  • Best prices: Nomad
  • Best for phone calls: Simify
  • Best for occasional use: Drimsim
  • Best for long term: A local telco

The following recommendations are ranked in order, starting with the best – but I would also suggest you have a think about what type of eSim you want because they should be a factor in your choice.

One of the most popular eSIM providers for travellers is Airalo and, I can tell you, it’s the one that I use most of the time.

It’s got great coverage across the world and uses major telcos for its connections in almost all cases (for example: Optus in Australia, O2 in the UK, and T-Mobile in the US).

Airalo has a lot of flexibility in the geography of what it covers. You can choose eSIMs by country; or it has regional plans that cover areas like 39 European countries, 13 Asian countries, and 19 South American countries; and it has global plans as well.

The price of the eSIMs is about average, and you can definitely get a good price for quite a few key countries like Japan, Italy, and the UK. (The rate isn’t quite as good for countries like Mexico, India, and China, though.)

Almost all the eSIMs are based on a fixed data limit, such as 1 gigabyte, or 10 gigabytes – which should be fine for most people but may be an issue if you’re planning to use a lot of phone data.

Buying an eSIM from Airalo is very easy and the instructions for setting it up are simple. I did, however, get a very slow response when I needed support with a problem when I was travelling on the Greek islands , which is the main concern I have.

Still, for most travellers, I think this is the easiest and most reliable eSIM option, and it shouldn’t be too expensive for most countries you want to visit.

The next best eSIM provider, in my opinion, is Holafly. And it has quite a significantly different offering from Airalo.

Holafly is also a large international retailer that uses the major telcos around the world. It’s also easy to use and the setup is really simple. And it’s got a wide coverage of countries and you should be able to find an eSIM for almost anywhere you want to go.

The main selling point of Holafly is that most of the eSIM plans it offers are for unlimited data. Rather than having to guess how much you think you’ll use, you can just buy an eSIM for a duration and use it to your heart’s content!

The downside to this approach, though, is that the plans tend to be noticeably more expensive than the plans with a set amount of data. Using France as an example, Airalo offers a 30-day plan with 10GB for US$23. In contrast, the 30-day plan with Holafly costs US$64.

It’s a huge difference, and if you’re not going to use much data, it’s not worth paying for it. But if you’re a big user and you know you’re going to need a lot of data over a month, it’s probably cheaper to use a Holafly unlimited plan than buy multiple eSIMs over the month.

One thing to add, though. I think Holafly’s customer service is up there as the best, so for some people it may also be worth the extra cost to have that comfort.

Another good eSIM provider, which is similar to both Airalo and Holafly, is Nomad. Like the others I’ve already recommended, it offers plans in most countries and has good coverage in almost of all them.

To be honest, there is no particular reason why it’s better than the other two. But, having said that, I haven’t had any experiences that would make me say it’s worse than the others.

Quite a lot of the eSIMS that Nomad is selling are with the same telcos as the others and are just as easy to set up. One point of difference is that it has both data-limited and unlimited plans for some countries, so you can compare your options.

In some cases, Nomad is a bit cheaper than the larger stores, which is probably the main good reason to use it instead.

Looking at Greece as an example, if you want 10 gigabytes over 30 days, Airalo costs US$25 while Nomad costs US$19.

And in Thailand, for example, 10 days of unlimited data with Holafly costs US$34 while it’s US$30 with Nomad. (Although, in this case, you can get a deal of 15 days unlimited with Airalo for US$20.)

The point is, that these top eSIM providers will have slightly different prices for each country depending on exactly what deal they’ve made with local operators. So it’s worth checking each of them if you want to find the cheapest and save a few dollars.

Now to Simify, which isn’t quite in the same league as the ones I’ve already mentioned. That’s because Simify is best known for physical SIM cards for travellers, and is actually a leader in that area.

(If you would still prefer to use a physical SIM, or want to compare the plans with an eSIM, I would recommend having a look at what Simify has to offer.)

The company has now branched out to eSIMs but doesn’t have quite the range of plans as the shops that do that exclusively.

But what Simify does offer is eSIMs that also include phone call and text, which may be a big deal for you!!

For example, it has this Europe & UK eSIM with 15 gigabytes for 30 days that also includes unlimited local calls , for just US$40. Compare that to Airalo, which gives you 10 gigabytes for 30 days (and no calls) for US$37, and you’ll see it’s a fantastic price!

Another great eSIM plan it offers is 30 days of unlimited data and local calls in the USA for just US$50 , which I think is one of the best eSIM plans you can get. (For that price with Nomad, you get 30 gigabytes and no calls.)

The reason I haven’t ranked Simify higher in this list is purely because it doesn’t cover nearly as many countries. But it’s one of the best options for the US, Europe, Japan, and parts of SE Asia.

I’ll be honest – Drimsim is not one of my favourite eSIM providers. So, why am I suggesting it here? Well, because it offers something different to all the others and there is one scenario where it might be a better choice for you.

The concept behind Drimsim is that you don’t buy an eSIM for a particular country, for a set amount of time, or even a set amount of data.

Instead, you pay a €10/month fee to have an eSIM which will connect from any country in the world! You then pay just for the data you use, which for most countries is €0.01 per megabyte or €10 per gigabyte.

That means if you only use 1 gigabyte of data in a month, you’ll pay €20 – which is more expensive than many SIMs for the data, but cheaper than many for the duration.

I think the main scenario where Drimsim is the best eSIM is when you’re doing long-term travel through multiple countries and you’re not planning to use much phone data – perhaps you just want to be able to check a map or look up a train timetable occasionally.

It may also be useful if you’re on a cruise when you visit lots of countries but for short periods, for instance. Or if you’ll have wifi most of the time and just want phone data as a backup.

In those cases, Drimsim may end up cheaper and you’ll have the convenience of connecting to networks everywhere in the world.

All of the best eSIM providers I have mentioned above are global stores that are offering deals from a range of international providers. I generally like to use one of these global stores because they are much easier (they’re in English, for starters!)

But in many countries, you’ll also find the usual domestic telcos are now also offering their own eSIMs – sometimes aimed at locals, and also sometimes at travellers.

A lot of the time, the packages they’re selling are just the same as the ones you’ll find on Airalo. But sometimes they do have better deals that’ll get you more data or a cheaper rate.

The plans can be confusing, especially if the provider’s website isn’t primarily in English, but it may be worth having a look to see what you can find – especially if you’re planning to stay in a single country for a long time and/or want to use a lot of data.

In the end, any of these eSIM providers I’ve recommended should give you a reliable connection for your trip. Which one is best for you will depend on the specific circumstances of your trip.

In most cases, especially for average holidays, you’ll find an eSIM is much easier than a physical SIM card and won’t cost much more unless you’re planning to use a lot of data.

Setting it up is easy and the best eSIM providers all have detailed instructions.

Remember: Not every device supports eSIMs, and you probably won’t be able to use one if your phone is locked to your home provider. Check this list of eSIM-compatible phones .

If you have any experiences (good or bad) with one of these providers, or you’ve got another one you would like to recommend, just let me know in the comments below.

14 thoughts on “Best eSIM for international travel”

The info was really helpful. I’m going to the Shetland island a month and since Brexit it is more expensive to use data on the phone compared with the rest of Europe.

Kind regards Ulla Pietarinen Sweden

Don’t know if I will find my way here again but I have this problem and you can inbox me at [email protected] . I just bought an esim capable phone to get started on this feature. while there are so many out there my problem is this: Finding a plan that covers these 3 things: (1) USA and the Caribbean (2) Besides GoogleFi who else has a Phone number in theirs ? (3) Who has a full 360/5 day plan. ? Most people brag on Airalo but they only have 180 days Is Keepgo legit ? So my thing is year round Data and be able to gain a non expiring phone number. Do you have a recommendation I can use.

The JULY15 code for Airalo is not accepted by Airalo

The Drimsim SIM or eSIM is a ** one-time ** 10 euro cost. Not monthly. As such, it looks like a good thing to have in my cell phone, ready to turn on if needed. Data is available in over 200 countries. And you can track costs from their App. You only pay for the data you use (fine grained, measured in KB) and the cost isn’t all that bad, typically $10-$25 per GB. But that means you can still do a lot of E-mailing for $1.

I think of the cost as just insurance, in case whatever other plan I use doesn’t work well in a particular country. It gives me another option.

No comparison on the throughput put you get with each one. Tried Airalo before and with roaming, speed throughput was abysmal… less than 1-2Mbps even on 4G!!!!

Thanks Michael for this information. We are just about to head off to Thailand and Egypt for 5 weeks and we were trying to choose between Airalo and Holafly. I think in this instance we may do Holafly as you know we will be using a lot of data. Cheers Jane

Amazing and helpful post! Thank you!

Simify no longer offers eSims for the US that cover both calls and data

This is an extremely well researched and well written article. Good job! Wish there were more like it.

Drimsin sounds much better in your description, as it actually is. I saw the part with a cruise, which actually does not work. I plan a cruise from Australia to Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tahiti. Half of the countries do not work!

Awesome information, thank you for writing this! It helps me so much to know first of all that my phone is not compatible w/ esim so i know to get a new phone before my upcoming journey! Also how these contraptions really work is great for newbie like myself. I don’t like to use alot of phone apps and stuff but think i will need it when in Istanbul, Greece & italy on my trip, just to find my way around etc.

I was just planning a trip abroad to Japan and was searching for reliable esim options. Your post helped me a lot in making an informed decision. I think the GlocalMe Uno is a great choice for individuals like me who are new to esims. Thanks for sharing!

I tried Airalo and I would NOT say it’s easy to install. There were like 30 steps. And I must be dumb because I didn’t do it right and ended up stranded in the DR with no working phone. 🙁 I’m looking for something that “just works.”

Awesome information, thank you for writing this! It has helped me a great deal to know first of all that my phone is not compatible with an eSIM so I now know to purchase a new phone before my upcoming travels! Also how these contraptions really work is great for newbie like myself. I don’t like to use a lot of applications but I feel will need it when in Istanbul, Greece & Italy on my trips. Additionally, do consider Zetexa eSIM as they are the most efficient so far. https://www.zetexa.com/

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The Best eSIMs for International Travel

Last year, my friends came to visit us to the Canary Islands, while we were nomading in these beautiful European arcipelago. Fresh off the plane in Tenerife, my friend Marta was all set to hunt down a local SIM card. The thought alone of queuing up for a piece of plastic made me cringe. She had no idea that the rest of us were already connected, thanks to eSIMs .

Between my friends and I, we had picked two different eSIM providers to suit our unique travel needs, leaving our friend Marta more confused than ever on which one to purchase. So today, just as we did with Marta, we're going to lay out the most reliable and cost-effective eSIM options to keep you connected.

We'll go over the top 8 international eSim providers, giving you the right criteria on how to choose the best one for your international travel needs. If seamless connectivity sounds like your cup of tea, stick with us.

What is an eSIM?

Unlike traditional SIM cards, an eSIM is a handy digital SIM card built right into your smartphone, tablet , or smartwatch , just waiting to be activated. It performs all the functions of a traditional SIM card, but without the physical inconveniences.

Activating an eSIM is generally easy (but you'll need a good connection). Your device contains a special chip where a carrier's information can be downloaded directly. This means you can select an eSIM plan online or through an app, activate it, and be connected in no time.

The magic is in the fact that you can easily switch between carriers or data plans without needing a new physical SIM card .

As international travelers ourselves, we think the flexibility and convenience this brings goes beyond. And newer phones can juggle an eSIM and a physical SIM, letting you keep a home number active while exploring the world.

Physical SIMs vs eSIMs: infographic that shows how an eSIM work

Are eSIMs Worth It for International Travel?

International travel brings its set of challenges, and staying connected is a major one of them. The question everyone keeps asking us is whether switching to an eSIM is a better choice than sticking with the traditional physical SIM card. Here’s a closer look at what makes eSIMs a smart option for travelers:

  • Ease of Use: The days of juggling tiny SIM cards and scouring for a paperclip or earrings to open your SIM tray are over. eSIMs allow you to change your carrier or plan directly on your device, simplifying how you stay connected.
  • Stay Flexible on the Go: Imagine landing in a new country and instantly subscribing to a local data plan, all while keeping your home SIM active for calls and texts. eSIMs make this seamless, effectively putting an end to costly roaming charges.
  • Dual SIM Capability: The latest smartphones have embraced the dual SIM technology, incorporating both an eSIM and a physical SIM slot. This dual capacity means you can manage two numbers or data plans simultaneously, which, if you ask us, is great for separating work and personal use.

Disadvantages

  • Limited Carrier Compatibility: The catch with eSIMs is that not every network provider has jumped on this technology yet. Depending on your destination, you might find the eSIM options somewhat limited.
  • Device Compatibility: Not all smartphones are eSIM-ready. Before you set your heart on making the switch, make sure to check if your device is eSIM-compatible .

What Are The Best eSIM for International Travel?

  • Image: /content/images/2023/07/airalo-logo.webp
  • Title: Airalo
  • Description: Best for Truly Global Coverage
  • Target: 1-airalo
  • Price: 4.50-100+
  • Link: https://airalo.pxf.io/PyjQ1z
  • Image: /content/images/2023/07/holafly-logo.png
  • Title: Holafly
  • Description: Best for Heavy-Data Users
  • Target: 2-holafly
  • Price: 6-99+
  • Link: https://esim.holafly.com/?ref=2yountk&discount=FREAKINGNOMADS&utm_source=freakingnomads&utm_medium=affiliation
  • Image: /content/images/2023/07/nomad-logo-black.webp
  • Title: Nomad
  • Description: Best for Wide Variety of Plans
  • Target: 3-nomad
  • Price: 4-99+
  • Link: https://www.getnomad.app/?rfsn=7460813.661b80&ref=freakingnomads.com
  • Image: /content/images/2024/04/alosim-logo.webp
  • Title: aloSIM
  • Description: Best for Budget-Conscious Travelers
  • Target: 4-alosim
  • Price: 4.5-50+
  • Link: https://alosim.com/?_ef_transaction_id=&oid=3&affid=70&ref=freakingnomads.com
  • Image: /content/images/2024/05/jetpac-logo.png
  • Title: Jetpac
  • Description: Best for the Well-Connected Traveler
  • Target: 5-jetpac
  • Price: 1-60
  • Link: https://circleslife.pxf.io/DKmX0o
  • Image: /content/images/2023/07/bne-logo.png
  • Title: BNESIM
  • Description: Best for International Numbers
  • Target: 6-bnesim
  • Price: 0.98-99+
  • Link: https://bnes.im/8JBE
  • Image: /content/images/2023/07/sim-options-logo.png
  • Title: SimOptions
  • Description: Most Comprehensive Choice
  • Target: 7-simoptions
  • Price: 4.5-99+
  • Link: https://www.simoptions.com/?utm_medium=wpam_id_526
  • Image: /content/images/2024/03/yesim-esim-logo.png
  • Title: Yesim
  • Description: Best Pay-As-You-Go Global Plans
  • Target: 8-yesim
  • Price: 9.90-90+
  • Link: https://yesim.onelink.me/W9Wz/100553
  • Image: /content/images/2023/12/gigsky-esim--3--1.webp
  • Title: Gigsky
  • Description: Best for Flexibility
  • Target: 9-gigsky
  • Price: 5.99-175+
  • Link: https://gigsky.px.io/q4LozN

Best for Truly Global Coverage

Airalo eSIM app on an iPhone held by a human hand

Airalo steps up as one of our go-tos for international travel, offering a range of plans that cater to short trips and extended stays too , with flexible and affordable plans. Its coverage spans over 200 countries , making it a versatile choice for nearly any destination.

We recently gave Airalo a spin on our travels to Thailand, Portugal, the Canary Islands, Georgia, and even Morocco. Honestly, Georgia threw us for a loop—in a good way. It didn't matter whether we were exploring Tbilisi or hiking in the Caucasus Mountains, the signal strength was solid. And no, having reliable internet in those mountain regions is not something to take for granted.

Not to mention, they know how to keep you glued to their service: every time you purchase an eSIM from them, you get Airmoney , which you can then use to purchase future plans. Trust us, those loyalty points quickly add up ! In general, the whole experience is super user-friendly and their app makes purchasing, monitoring and topping up your eSIM a piece of cake.

Specifications

  • Coverage: 200+ countries, 7 regions, 1 global plan
  • Price: Starting from $4.50
  • Devices supported : iOS, Android
  • Allows hotspotting and tethering: Yes, but you may need to set up the APN settings for your eSIM to enable this feature.

How To Install Airalo eSim

Airalo installation instructions: 1. Download the app, 2. Choose your destination and package, 3. Install your eSIM, 4. Activate your eSIM

To learn more about Airalo, read our full Airalo review below:

best traveller sim

Best for Heavy-Data Users

Holafly eSIM app on an iPhone held by a human hand

Then there's Holafly , making a strong case for international travelers venturing into the US (or beyond), offering not just connectivity but the freedom of unlimited data . Don't you worry, though, they also have plans for Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania .

We'd say Holafly really stands out for those of us who can’t get enough of streaming, sharing, and endlessly browsing without worrying about hitting a dreaded data limit. That was us, traveling through Malaysia, Turkey, and Spain, with Holafly as our digital lifeline.

In Malaysia, the connection was so smooth, we binged the final episodes of Inventing Anna during a long bus ride from Kuala Lumpur to Georgetown. Then in Turkey, we were those tourists—you know, video calling friends and family from every nice spot we found. Though we did hit a snag there, streaming videos wasn't as seamless, with a bit of lag that tested our patience.

With plans covering various regions, competitive pricing, and quick 24/7 customer service, Holafly is definitely a reliable choice for international travelers and digital nomads alike.

  • Coverage: 177+ countries, 6 regions, including unlimited data plans in some countries, and 1 global plan
  • Price: Starting from $6
  • Allows hotspotting and tethering: Some of their eSIM plans (e.g. Europea plans), but not all of them.

How to Install Holafly eSIM

Holafly installation instructions: 1. Check uour phone is compatible with eSIM, 2. Buy your eSIM, 3. Scan the QR code

To install Holafly eSIM, check out our easy and detailed eSIM instructions for Android and iPhone .

To learn more about Holafly, read our full Holafly review below:

best traveller sim

Best for Wide Variety of Plans

Nomad eSIM app on an iPhone held by a human hand

Nomad  shines for those of us who crave the freedom to choose exactly what we need, when we need it. They've got a menu that's hard to beat: more than 170 country-specific plans for those deep dives into one place, global packages for the border-crossers among us, and even unlimited data options for the truly insatiable data guzzlers.

We took Nomad through the eclectic streets of Bangkok, and the markets of Tel Aviv, finding that it kept us seamlessly connected in each unique setting.

They might not blanket as many countries as Airalo, but Nomad brings its own charm to the table with the option for SMS-only plans —a lifesaver for sending quick updates when data or WiFi is overkill.

Their adaptability really sweetens the deal: we've paused our plan when we're back home dreaming up the next escape and then reactivated it the moment our feet hit new ground . Plus, their app and website make the whole process—from activation to daily management—a walk in the park.

  • Coverage: 170+ countries, 12 regions
  • Price: Starting from $4
  • Allows hotspotting and tethering: Some of their eSIM plans, but not all of them.

How To Install Nomad eSIM

Nomad installation instructions: 1. Bui a data plan, 2. Installa the eSIM, 3. Activate your plan

To learn more about Nomad, read our full Nomad review below:

best traveller sim

Best for Budget-Conscious Travelers

AloSIM eSIM app on an iPhone held by a human hand

aloSIM steps into the ring as the go-to for budget-savvy travelers who don’t want to compromise on staying connected, no matter where they are in the world. With a footprint in over 170 countries , aloSIM makes sure you are just a tap away from the internet. It was a trusted companion when we tested it, soaking in the sun on a remote beach in Mexico.

Special shout-out to how user-friendly their app is. Buying plans, checking data usage, or topping up are tasks you can do half-asleep or on a bumpy bus ride without a second thought. Then there’s also the fact that most aloSIM packages now come with a  free international HUSHED phone number . You'll be able to pick a phone number with a Canadian or American area code , and it will work for calls and texts anywhere on the globe (the first 30 calling minutes or 50 texts are free ). The phone number also lasts as long as you have data service. Pretty cool, huh?

  • Coverage: 170 countries, 11 regions
  • Allows hotspotting and tethering: Yes
  • Calls and texts : Yes, thanks to the addition of a HUSHED phone number

How to Install aloSIM eSIM

Best for the Well-Connected Traveler

Jetpac eSIM app on an iPhone held by a human hand

The next one on our list isn't your average eSIM. Jetpac is an all-in-one upgrade for international travelers. Backed by the telecom powerhouse Circles.Life , they've teamed up with top-notch carriers around the globe (think KDDI, Vodafone , Claro, AT&T and Verizon ), scoring you some of the best bang-for-your-buck rates in areas like the US, EU, and Japan, where you'll be able to count on lightning-fast speeds.

But hold onto your boarding pass because Jetpac takes it up a notch with some seriously sweet perks . Delayed flight? No sweat–if your flight is delayed to more than 2 hours , you'll be able to relax with free lounge access . Lost in translation? They've got emergency hotlines to save the day. And forget constantly swapping eSIMs, as Jetpac is reusable , which means that with one download, you'll be able to have endless top-ups. Only downside? They are only available in 100+ countries , but they are a young company, so we wouldn't be surprised to see many countries added to their list soon.

  • Coverage: 50+ countries
  • Price: Starting from $1
  • Other Perks: Free lounge access (when your flight is delayed 2+ hours), emergency hotlines

How to Install Jetpac eSIM

best traveller sim

To learn more about Jetpac, read our full Jetpac review below:

best traveller sim

Best for International Numbers

BNESIM eSIM app on an iPhone held by a human hand

BNESIM hits the mark perfectly for those of us who need to stay connected in over 200 countries the globe. During our tests in Marrakech and New Zealand, BNESIM kept us in the loop without a hitch.

But here’s where BNESIM really stands out: aside from just data, they offer the chance to get local numbers in the places you visit. It’s really something, letting you sidestep those hefty roaming charges while making it easy peasy to book local experiences without juggling multiple SIM cards. Using their app is as straightforward as it gets, streamlining everything from purchasing to managing your plans.

For us, hopping from one country to the next without worrying about connectivity issues or outrageous fees has been liberating. The app's easy to use, making the management of eSIM plans hassle-free.

  • Coverage: 200 countries, 9 regions, 1 global plan
  • Price: Starting from $0.98
  • Allows hotspotting and tethering: No

How to Install BNESIM eSIM on Android

How to Install BNESIM eSIM on iPhone

7. SimOptions

Best esim marketplace.

SimOptions eSIM app on an iPhone held by a human hand

Yes, the name gives it away— SimOptions . This isn't really a provider per se, so think of them as your go-to buffet for eSIMs, where you can eyeball high-quality and affordable eSIM options without committing off the bat. It earned its spot on our list because of its marketplace, offering a broad selection of local and regional eSIM options across over 200 destinations , making the process easy for any traveler.

We tested SimOptions in both the US and Hungary and we've got nothing to say. What makes them a standout is their knack for partnering with some of the most reliable networks out there. This collaboration means they're able to dish out some seriously competitive plans and prices that are hard to beat. No marketing gimmicks or convoluted plans, just clear, concise options that let you pinpoint exactly what you need for your journey.

  • Coverage: 200+ countries, 9 regions

How to Install SimOptions eSIM

SimOptions eSIM installation instructions: Install your eSIM manually or with QR Code or Install eSIM without QR Code on Android and iOS

To learn more about SimOptions, read our full SimOptions review below:

best traveller sim

Best Pay-As-You-Go Global Plans

Yesim eSIM app on an iPhone held by a human hand

Yesim 's got your back if you're the kind of international traveler who doesn't like to plan every step (kind of like Marta). Covering over 120 countries , their plans are versatile and they even give you the option of purchasing virtual phone numbers (handy for when you need to make those restaurant reservations). Their app makes buying, activating and managing your data dead simple.

And if you're the kind of person who usually spreads the word about cool services, they have a referral program , rewarding you with "Ycoins" , which you can stash away for future data needs.

Their pay-as-you-go approach is gold for those "let's see where we end up" days, removing the pressure of guessing how much data you'll really use. We used their eSIM in London and it worked perfectly. Solid choice for us if you are going in major travel destinations.

  • Coverage: 120+ countries, 10 regions, 1 global plan
  • Price: Starting from $9.90

How to Install Yesim eSIM

To learn more about Yesim, read our full Yesim review below:

best traveller sim

Best for Flexibility

GigSky eSIM app on an iPhone held by a human hand

GigSky ’s your go-to for straightforward, reliable data coverage, pretty much anywhere you land. They've made a name for themselves for being the first Apple eSIM partner (that's got to count for something) by offering simple, effective coverage in over 190 countries . Their plans are flexible, covering anything from a quick escape to a longer trek.

What makes them stand out is they keep you connected not just on land but also when you're flying or sailing . We actually got their eSIM during our time hopping in different Caribbean islands and their connectivity in that area of the globe was just impeccable. We thought that in places like the Dominican Republic where power cuts are not that rare, any eSIM would have struggled with the signal. But we were clearly wrong!

Plus, they are a full-on MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) which means they’ve got a bit more control over others to keep your connection smooth, rerouting as needed—a nice backup to have.

  • Coverage: 190+ countries, 7 regions, 1 offshore, and 1 inflight
  • Price: Starting from $5.99

How to Install GigSky eSIM

GigSky eSIM installation and activation

To learn more about GigSky, read our full GigSky review below:

best traveller sim

Best eSIMs for Travel: Our Buying Guide

To put this into perspective, diving into the world of eSIMs feels a lot like trying to choose the right travel buddy: it's crucial, a bit daunting, but definitely exciting. After hopping from one country to another, we've gathered some real-talk advice to help you navigate this choice without the fluff.

How Should I Choose the Best eSIM for My Travels?

So, you’ve seen the lineup of eSIM providers, and it's quite the buffet, right? Picking one doesn't have to be a puzzle, though, and it's actually easier than you think. Here’s how to keep it straightforward, and the top things to keep in mind:

Where am I headed?

This one's key. Not every eSIM provider has got the globe fully covered. Some are great in certain regions, others have their networks sprawled out wider. Before anything else, make sure the eSIM you're eyeing matches your travel itinerary. Trust us, realizing your eSIM has no signal where you're at is not the surprise you want.

How long is my trip going to be?

How long you'll be away matters. Are you heading out for a quick weekend or a month-long escapade? eSIM plans are as varied as your destinations: short stays usually need less data , while longer journeys might have you leaning towards those heftier data packages. It’s all about matching the plan to your adventure's pace.

How much data will I need?

Be real about how much data you’ll munch through. If you just need to keep Google Maps and your inbox in check, a lighter plan ’s probably enough. But if you're planning to stream, share, and work on the go , you'll want to aim higher on data limits to dodge those extra charges.

Are All Devices Compatible With eSIMs?

Here's the kicker— not all devices are in the eSIM club yet . It’s a bummer, but checking your phone's compatibility before you purchase your eSIM is a must. But don't take our word for it, just peek under your device’s settings , if you spot anything about adding a cellular plan or an eSIM, you’re set.

Here's an overview of the most common brands that support eSIMs and a checklist on how to check if your device is eSIM ready:

eSIM Compatible iOS Devices

For the Apple crowd, if you’ve got anything iPhone XS and up or the latest iPads, you’re likely good to go.

Below are the latest Apple models that support eSIM:

  • iPhone:  Most models from iPhone XS and newer (iPhone 11 and onwards have expanded compatibility), including the iPhone 15 Series (15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, 15 Pro Max), the iPhone 14 Series (14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro, 14 Pro Max) and the iPhone 13 Series: (13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max)
  • iPad:  iPad Pro, iPad Air, and newer iPad models with Wi-Fi + Cellular features support eSIMs.

eSIM Compatible Android Devices

For the Android crew, here are the latest Android models that support eSIMs: 

  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Series: Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+, S23 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Series:  Samsung GalaxyS22, S22+, S22 Ultra
  • Google Pixel 7 Series: Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro
  • Google Pixel 6 Series: Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro
  • Motorola models: Razr 2022, Razr 2019 and Razr 5G.
  • Huawei models: P50 Series, P40, P40 Pro, Mate 40, and 50 Series.
  • OPPO models: Find X3 Pro, Find X5, Find X5 Pro, and Reno A.
  • SONY models: Xperia 5 V (and beyond), Xperia 1 V (and beyond), Xperia 10 III Lite, Xperia 10 IV, and Xperia 1 IV.

If your phone is not on the list or you want to be triple sure, just check with your manufacturer or follow the steps below :

How to Check if My iOS Device Supports eSIMs

  • Go to your "Settings" app.
  • Tap on "Cellular" or "Mobile Data".
  • If you see an option like "Add Cellular Plan" or "Add eSIM", your device is compatible.

How to Check if My Android Device Supports eSIMs

  • Open your "Settings" app.
  • Look for "Connections" or "Network & Internet".
  • Find "SIM Card Manager" or "SIMs".
  • If "Add eSIM" shows up, your device is good to go!

Alternative ways to stay connected you may also be interested in:

best traveller sim

Are eSIMs better than physical SIMs?

We definitely think so. Actually, we're big fans of eSIMs . We love being on the move, but the joy of travel often comes with the less joyful task of fiddling with SIM cards—always poking around with a paperclip to swap them out. eSIMs feel like opening gifts on Christmas morning. No more tiny SIM cards to lose or swap. You just pick a plan, tap a few times on your phone, and you’re set to roam the streets of LA or trek through the Grand Canyon with your phone number from back home still active for those "wish you were here" calls. It's priceless.

But, to offer a clear comparison of eSIMs and physical SIMs, we've put together the table below:

Ready to Keep Your Connection Going Wherever You Are?

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Heymondo Review: Is It a Good Travel Insurance?

Wise travel debit card review: fees, exchange rates, limits and how to use it, how to set up and manage an esim on iphone.

USA SIM cards for travelers

6 Best SIM Cards for USA Travel in 2024

Home | Travel | 6 Best SIM Cards for USA Travel in 2024

When traveling abroad, get a policy from one of the  best travel insurance companies . You can get a  5% discount   on Heymondo , the only insurance that pays medical bills upfront for you, HERE!

If you want to have data during your trip to the United States, I recommend getting an American SIM card . This way, you can keep in touch with loved ones, check email, and access convenient apps without paying hefty roaming fees.

Of course, there are several options available, from traditional SIM cards to USA eSIMs for tourists, and they’re all better than shelling out tons of money for international roaming. I’ll break down the advantages and disadvantages of each option, so you can find the one that best suits your needs.

Before we jump in, I’ll tell you upfront that we use the eSIM cards from Holafly . These international SIM cards have unlimited data and are completely digital, so we can quickly and easily activate them before or during our trips. I’ll share more about this company below, but you can get a full rundown in our complete Holafly review .

Holafly logo

5% OFF your international eSIM card

I also want to take a moment to remind you that getting travel insurance for the USA is a smart move, as healthcare in this country is outrageously expensive. We’ve been using Heymondo insurance for several years now, and they’ve always taken great care of us, even paying our medical expenses upfront. If you haven’t gotten insurance yet and this company sounds good to you, use our Heymondo discount code to save on your policy.

Holafly logo

5% OFF your travel insurance

Now, let’s dive into the best prepaid SIM cards for the U.S.

Do you need a SIM card for traveling to the USA?

You want reliable coverage in a large country like the United States, so getting an American SIM card is a good idea. This way, you can use Google Maps, make hotel reservations, book tours, and stay in touch with friends and family back home.

Of course, the main reason I recommend getting a SIM card for the USA is that it’ll save you lots of money on international roaming charges.

USA SIM card vs roaming in the USA

Roaming charges can add up, even after just a few minutes. Buying a SIM card for the USA is much cheaper than paying for roaming, so I highly recommend it.

That said, you must pay attention to the card you get since some include calls and SMS, while others are data-only. If you plan to message or video-call friends via apps like WhatsApp, consider getting a prepaid USA SIM with unlimited data , like the one from Holafly . This way, you can make as many video calls as you want without racking up roaming fees.

Person with cell phone, best america sim cards

Even if you plan to use your phone sparingly, it’s easy to use up data, especially since some applications consume data in the background. You can avoid this by keeping your device turned off or switching to airplane mode.

At the end of the day, the easiest way to get data in the States and avoid exorbitant prices is by getting an Internet SIM card for the USA . It’ll end up saving you money and headaches in the long run.

How do USA SIM cards for tourists work?

While there are different American SIM cards on the market, they all work very similarly. Both the physical and digital cards allow you to use the Internet without racking up additional costs . This is all thanks to an agreement between U.S. telecommunications providers and international phone companies.

Be aware that some SIM cards for USA visitors don’t include calls or texts . However, you can get around this problem by using apps like Skype and WhatsApp to call your friends and family.

Cell phone user in New York City, guide to sim cards for america

Now, if you’re getting a traditional travel SIM for America , you can use it just as you would normally use your at-home SIM card. That is, you simply insert it into your device. This is a breeze if your phone has a dual slot; if not, remove your regular SIM and keep it somewhere safe for the time being.

In the case of an eSIM , you’ll receive a QR code in your email when you purchase the digital card. You can scan this code off another device with a screen to install the configuration on your phone. Of course, you should check that your device is compatible with eSIM technology here first .

It also doesn’t hurt to check your phone’s compatibility with the physical SIM cards since some of them come from local telephone companies in the U.S.

USA SIM card price comparison

The chart below will give you a better idea of the different prices for USA SIM cards . In addition to prices, I included plan durations and amount of GB. This chart compares the USA eSIMs from Holafly, Airalo, and Knowroaming, and the physical cards from SimOptions, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

Despite being very well-known, Verizon isn’t part of this comparison since it uses CDMA technology, which isn’t compatible with most international devices . If you want to use Verizon, you’ll need to buy a new phone in the U.S.

*Price doesn’t include taxes and fees, which vary depending on the state where you buy the card

From this comparison, you’ll see that Holafly is the best overall option, offering unlimited data at an affordable price. I recommend it for short trips (less than 15 days) and long trips (more than a month). As for Airalo and Knowroaming , their USA eSIMs are pretty expensive for a limited amount of data.

For trips between 15 and 30 days, the local USA SIM cards from AT&T and T-Mobile offer competitive prices. However, if you don’t think you’ll need unlimited data, the 30-day SIM card from SimOptions is a good deal, offering 10 GB of high-speed data for $25. This should be enough for you to use Google Maps and WhatsApp and make simple Internet searches.

Don’t forget that you can take advantage of free Wi-Fi at hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers for things like video calls and checking email.

What is the best SIM card for a USA trip?

No matter where we’re traveling, we like to use the eSIMs from Holafly . They come at a great price and include unlimited data, making them great for short or long trips . In addition, you can buy this USA SIM card any time, and you’ll receive it immediately in your email, so it’s super convenient.

If your phone isn’t compatible with a USA eSIM , or you prefer a physical card, you can find some alternatives below.

1. Holafly eSIM , the best USA eSIM card with unlimited data

First, the Holafly card is the best eSIM for the USA since its digital format allows you to have mobile data without having to remove your usual SIM. You can buy it anywhere at any time, even if you’re in the middle of traveling. Once you make your purchase, you’ll receive a QR code in your email, so you can scan it to activate it and start using data.

While installing this virtual card is quick and easy, remember that you must print out the QR code or download it to another device with a screen so you can scan the configuration code .

Holafly, another tourist sim card for usa

As for the price of this USA SIM card , it’s cheaper than most of the physical cards. Below, you can see the different costs and durations, all of which include unlimited data.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that not all mobile phones are compatible with eSIMs , so you should check your device’s compatibility here . Also, as I mentioned in our Holafly eSIM review , this card doesn’t allow data sharing, so you and your travel companions must each have your own eSIM.

We’ve traveled to many countries all over the world, and we’ve always had great experiences with the Holafly cards, including in the U.S. In some areas, we’ve even had better coverage than with local USA SIMs , such as in Alaska. So, if you decide to go with this company, use our Holafly discount code to save money.

2. SimOptions SIM , the best physical SIM card for US travel

If the Holafly eSIM isn’t compatible with your phone or you prefer a physical card, I recommend SimOptions . Just make sure you order it before your trip since it takes up to three business days to arrive at your home .

You can buy this SIM card for America online here . Once you receive it, simply insert the card into your phone’s card slot . If you don’t have a dual-slot, you must remove your usual SIM and replace it with the SimOptions card. The company’s customer support team is available via chat, email, and phone should you run into any issues.

SimOptions, buying a sim card in the usa

One of the main advantages of this prepaid U.S. SIM card is that it allows data sharing , so you can use more than one device at the same time. Of course, this can become a disadvantage since, unlike Holafly eSIMs, these cards come with limited data. So, the more devices connected to it, the quicker you’ll run out of data.

As I mentioned in our SimOptions review , the pricing for these cards is a bit odd since they don’t always correspond to the duration or amount of data . Different SimOptions plans partner with different local providers, so you’ll notice the inconsistent pricing in the table above. Because of this, I recommend getting the 30-day plan, as the price per GB is much lower.

3. Airalo eSIM , another cheap eSIM for traveling to the USA

Another USA eSIM that you can consider is the one from Airalo . Like Holafly, this company only offers digital cards, so you’ll have to make sure your device is compatible with eSIM technology.

Airalo has some of the cheapest U.S. SIM cards on the market, with plan durations of 7, 15, or 30 days. However, the plans have limited data, and the amounts are quite low, which explains the cheap prices.

Airalo, another place to buy a sim card in the usa

Another thing to consider is that the eSIMs from Airalo are data-only, so if you plan to use an app like Skype to make calls, you’ll end up running out of data rather quickly. Then, you’ll have to buy another eSIM, which will end up costing you more. This is why I prefer paying a bit more upfront for the Holafly card, which offers unlimited data.

To be fair, Airalo has its advantages, namely the fact that it allows data sharing , so you can enjoy data on multiple devices. Just keep in mind that this means you’ll use up your data sooner, so I recommend doing the math before you decide to purchase.

4. Knowroaming eSIM , another SIM card for US visitors

Knowroaming is another option if you’re looking to avoid international roaming with an American SIM card . However, be aware that all of the eSIMs from this company have limited data , and in some cases, the price per GB is quite high compared to other options.

Knowroaming, one of the best sim cards in america

Although this company has prepaid SIM cards for the United States , it doesn’t have cards for all countries, so depending on where else you’re going, it’s not the most convenient choice. While Holafly and SimOptions offer global SIM cards, Knowroaming does not, so you could end up spending more money if you choose this company.

Taking these features into account, I think you’re better off going with Holafly , SimOptions , or even Airalo instead.

5. AT&T SIM card, another prepaid SIM card in the USA for tourists

Yet another option is buying a local USA SIM card , such as the one from AT&T. AT&T is one of the major telecommunications companies in the U.S., offering excellent coverage, even in rural areas.

The company’s SIM card for the USA is available at official AT&T stores and authorized retailers at various supermarkets. You may also find these SIM cards at airport kiosks. This card only has 30-day plans with either 5GB, 15GB, or unlimited data. The prices range from $30 to $50, but they don’t take into account taxes and fees. Plus, the USA SIM card itself costs around $10.

AT&T, where to buy a sim card in the usa

Also, since you have to buy this card in person, you’ll spend a lot of time shopping around and setting up your device . Therefore, I don’t recommend it for short trips to the U.S. It’s better to maximize your time and set up a SIM card before your trip with Holafly or SimOptions . Either of those companies is a better choice, both in terms of cost-effectiveness and amount of data.

*The price does not include taxes and fees, which will vary depending on the state in which you purchase the card

I will say that since the AT&T SIM card isn’t designed specifically for tourists, it can be useful for people who are planning to take multiple trips to the U.S. in the future. You can save the card, bring it with you for your next trip, and purchase the data plan that suits your needs . Just don’t sign up for a permanent contract.

Like other physical cards, the AT&T SIM is easy to install, especially if you have a dual-slot on your phone. After inserting it, make a test call with the number that appears on the card, and you’re all set.

6. T-Mobile SIM card , a prepaid USA SIM card with unlimited data plans

Finally, you can also consider T-Mobile’s prepaid SIM card for the U.S. As one of the top mobile providers in the country, T-Mobile boasts a strong 5G network and quick speeds throughout the United States.

Since it’s a prepaid card, you can buy it without signing up for a data plan, then use the My T-Mobile app or website to add data later or top-up the card. Just keep in mind that each recharge expires after 30 days.

T-Mobile, a local SIM card for USA

As with the AT&T cards, the T-Mobile SIMs are available at physical stores and official points of sale (supermarkets, airport kiosks). Make sure that when you buy this USA SIM card , you don’t sign up for a permanent contract, as that’s only designed for residents.

In terms of data plans, there are two options, both with 30-day durations. The first comes with 10GB of data and costs $40, while the second has unlimited data and costs $50. For the card itself, expect to pay around $10. I think the unlimited plan is a better deal, specifically for trips between two and four weeks. Otherwise, I would go with Holafly or, for a physical card, SimOptions .

Once you purchase this American SIM card , you can insert it into your device and go to the T-Mobile website to activate it by entering the IMEI of your phone and the SIM card . I recommend doing this at the store so you can ask an associate for help. And, of course, make sure your device is compatible with the SIM card .

Where to buy a prepaid SIM card for traveling to the USA

You can buy a SIM card in the USA after you arrive, or you can purchase the card ahead of time in your home country. Personally, I prefer having everything prepared before my trip. In my case, I get the Holafly eSIM, so I can start using data as soon as I land.

Don’t worry if you haven’t planned ahead and you’re already in the United States. I’ll tell you how to buy a USA SIM card from one of the authorized retailers in the country.

Buy in your home country

First, you can buy an English SIM card before you leave for your trip. In this case, the best option is the Holafly eSIM , which arrives in your email. All you have to do is scan the QR code to start using data.

If your device isn’t compatible with the Holafly eSIM, or you prefer a physical card, I recommend using SimOptions . This company delivers to almost every country, so you can buy a prepaid USA SIM card online and have it delivered to your home. Just make sure to do this in advance since it takes up to 3 business days for the card to arrive by mail.

Buy a prepaid SIM card in the USA

If you’re already traveling and haven’t gotten a SIM card for America yet, you have a couple of options. First, you can buy the Holafly eSIM and get the QR code sent to your email. The second option is to go to a physical store to buy a local USA SIM card from AT&T or T-Mobile.

Getting the Holafly eSIM is by far the most convenient option, and it’s the best choice for short trips (less than 2 weeks) or longer stays (more than 4 weeks). Of course, you should make sure your device is compatible with eSIM technology.

For trips between 2-4 weeks, consider getting a prepaid U.S. SIM card from AT&T or T-Mobile .

How to activate your American SIM card

It’s super easy to activate an American SIM card . For digital cards like the Knowroaming, Airalo, and Holafly eSIM, you just scan the QR code to download the configuration. I recommend printing out the code or downloading it on another device with a screen so you can scan it on your phone. From there, the activation itself is straightforward.

When it comes to international eSIMs , Holafly is my preferred choice since they have a great quality-to-price ratio. They have a 24-hour live chat that you can use if you run into any issues, or you can send them an email at [email protected] . Their USA SIM card has unlimited data , but if you’d like more information, check out our guide on Holafly cards .

Holafly eSIM, an international us sim card

If your device isn’t compatible with eSIM technology or you prefer a physical SIM card for the USA , I recommend SimOptions . With this card, you can insert it into your phone’s SIM slot, and if you have a dual-slot, you don’t even have to remove your regular SIM. SimOptions offers customer support via chat, email, and phone.

As for the AT&T card , you must activate it by making a test call with the number that appears on the card , while the T-Mobile card is activated through the website . If you have any problems, go to the store where you bought it so a sales associate can help.

Requirements for using a USA SIM card for travelers

To use a mobile SIM card for the USA , your phone must be compatible with the card itself. You can check your device’s compatibility with the Holafly eSIM here . If you’re interested in the SimOptions card, you can go here to check.

No matter which card you choose, your phone must be unlocked and compatible with the United States’ network frequency . Otherwise, you won’t be able to use any U.S. tourist SIM .

Customer with a SIM, how to get sim card in usa

Also, if you’re planning to buy a card in the U.S. from an AT&T or T-Mobile store, I recommend double-checking your device’s compatibility. You can ask a store associate to help you with this.

Tips for using a prepaid SIM card in the U.S.

If you’re still a little lost or unsure about which is the best USA data SIM card for you, here are some helpful tips:

  • Consider what you’ll need your mobile device for during your trip. This way, you can determine whether or not you need a USA SIM with unlimited data .
  • If you’re going with a USA mobile SIM with limited data , calculate the price per GB to find the cheapest deal.
  • Take advantage of the Wi-Fi in your hotel and at restaurants or shopping centers , especially if your card has limited data. Accessing free Wi-Fi is a good way to complete tasks that use a lot of data.
  • If your device is compatible with virtual SIM cards, I highly recommend getting a USA eSIM . You can buy it anywhere, anytime, even if you’re already traveling.
  • Make sure your phone is unlocked and compatible with the USA’s network frequency.
  • If you plan to be in the U.S. for a while, get a local USA SIM card and recharge it monthly. This will be much cheaper for you.

Getting a mobile SIM for the USA is just one part of planning a trip , so check out our guide for more tips and advice.

Alternatives to a USA SIM card for tourists

If you’re still not sure whether you want to get a SIM card for a USA trip , there are other ways to have travel Internet . Below, I’ll share some alternative options that let you have Internet in the United States .

Portable Wi-Fi device

A portable Wi-Fi router is a handy way to get stable Internet while traveling. It’s especially useful if you need to work remotely, as you can connect several devices simultaneously.

These gadgets are small and lightweight, so you can easily stow them in your bag, backpack, or even your pocket. However, keep in mind that these routers require a SIM card or a data plan subscription to work.

Solis Wi-Fi router, mobile internet usa tourist

We’ve been using the Solis router for a while now, and we’re very satisfied with it. For this portable Wi-Fi router, you don’t need a SIM card , but you must purchase a data plan through its website . There are several types of plans, so you can choose the one that best suits you, even paying per GB, if you want. The Solis router is super easy to use and provides coverage in over 130 countries.

Of course, there are other portable Wi-Fi devices , so you can check our guide for more recommendations.

Public Wi-Fi network

Another alternative to an American travel SIM – and the cheapest option – is to use a public Wi-Fi network . You can typically get free Wi-Fi in hotels, cafes, restaurants, and some transportation centers.

Public Wi-Fi network, an alternative to a sim card for usa data

However, these types of connections tend to be unstable and slow since a large number of people are using them at one time. There are also security and privacy concerns with using a public Internet connection.

Also, remember that you’ll only have Wi-Fi in that particular location, so as soon as you leave, you’ll disconnect from the network. I only suggest this option if you’re using your phone in the hotel or at a restaurant for simple things like checking email. Otherwise, you’re better off buying a USA SIM card .

Pay for roaming

Finally, there is always the option of roaming , but it’s super expensive, so I don’t recommend it . To give you a rough idea, you could pay €6 per day roaming with Vodafone or €8 per day with O2.

Roaming rates vary by provider, but they’re usually very expensive, with very little data, so it’s not worth it. It’s much more cost-effective to get a prepaid SIM card for the U.S. rather than face a huge bill when you return home.

FAQs about prepaid SIM cards USA for tourists

That just about wraps up this guide to American SIM cards , but I’ll leave you with the answers to some common questions below:

Can I use my regular SIM card in the United States?

While you can use your regular SIM in the USA, you’ll have to pay for roaming. This service is much more expensive than the American SIM cards I recommended, so you’re better off buying one of those.

Where can I buy a SIM card in the United States?

You can buy a SIM card in the USA at AT&T and T-Mobile stores. Another option is to buy a SimOptions card online before your trip. The Holafly eSIM can be bought from anywhere since it’s entirely digital.

Is it better to buy a SIM card for the U.S. at home or once I reach the USA?

In my experience, it’s better to buy a SIM card before your trip so it’s ready to go once you arrive at your destination.

Are all U.S. SIM cards compatible with my device?

No, not all English SIM cards may be compatible with your phone, so be sure to check beforehand.

How can I know if the U.S. SIM card is compatible with my mobile phone?

For the SimOptions card and the eSIMs from Holafly , Airalo , and Knowroaming , you can check your phone’s compatibility on the company websites. If you’re getting a card from AT&T or T-Mobile, you’ll have to go to the physical store to check.

How do I activate my SIM card in the United States?

USA eSIMs are activated by scanning a QR code. Physical cards can be inserted into your device. Depending on the company, you can follow the on-screen instructions, make a test call, or activate through the website.

Are there U.S. SIM cards for tourists with unlimited data?

Yes, some USA SIMs have unlimited data , such as the Holafly eSIM.

Can I make international calls from the USA with a traveler SIM card?

American SIM cards typically only include mobile data. If you want to make a call, you can do so through an app like Skype or WhatsApp.

What do I do if I lose my travel SIM card for the United States?

If you lose your SIM card, contact the company you bought it from so they can deactivate it.

What do I do if the U.S. SIM card doesn’t work?

If you bought the card from Holafly, SimOptions, Airalo, or Knowroaming, contact customer support via chat, email, or phone. If you got the card from AT&T or T-Mobile, you must go to a physical store so they can tell you what to do.

Do I need an unlocked phone to use a prepaid SIM card in the USA?

Yes, in order to work, USA SIM cards require you to have an unlocked phone.

Can I use my prepaid USA SIM card with multiple devices?

It depends. Some cards allow data sharing, but they come with limited data.

How can I check the coverage for a specific prepaid SIM card in the areas I’ll be visiting?

You can check the coverage of a prepaid USA SIM card by going to the provider’s website.

Can I recharge my prepaid SIM card if I run out of data while traveling in the USA?

Some cards, like the ones from AT&T and T-Mobile, let you recharge or top-up the card.

Can I use my phone number from my home country when using a prepaid SIM card in the USA?

Yes, as long as you don’t remove or deactivate your main SIM card.

How much does a USA tourist SIM card cost?

The price of a USA SIM card varies, but you can find some for around $3/day.

That’s it for this guide to the best American SIM cards .

If you have any other questions or concerns about getting a U.S. SIM card , leave a comment below. I’d also love to hear about your experience using these cards.

Stay safe, and have a great trip to the USA!

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Best eSIMs for Europe in 2024

Add these to your travel pack list

eSIM setup screen displayed on iPhone 14 Pro

  • Best overall
  • Best for sub-regional plans
  • Best for affordability
  • Best for customizable plans
  • Best for network coverage
  • Best for calling and SMS
  • eSIMs for international travel FAQs

eSIM cards have revolutionized the world and made life easier for frequent travelers. If you travel frequently across Europe, getting a physical SIM card in every new country you visit becomes stressful, but eSIMs have solved this issue. An eSIM is embedded in your phone, and you can seamlessly connect to new networks while you travel.

European travelers have endless eSIM options, and it can be challenging to pick a suitable one. However, you’ve arrived at the right place, which will help you make an appropriate choice. This guide will explore the best eSIMs for Europe and the factors to consider when choosing one. 

  • We've also listed the best eSIM for international travel of 2024.

The best eSIM for Europe in 2024 in full:

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Best eSIM overall

Website screenshot for Airalo

Our expert review:

Specifications

Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

Airalo is a cost-effective eSIM that works in 39 European countries. It supports 5G connectivity, and you can choose a specific data plan and validity period. You can choose a plan covering the whole of Europe or a sub-regional plan like Eastern or Northern Europe. Note that Airalo offers data-only plans, meaning you won't get a phone number for calls and SMS. However, you can use VoIP apps like Skype and WhatsApp to call and text with your data.

Airalo is noticeably easy to activate and use. You'll download the app from the Play Store or App Store, scan a QR code, and activate the eSIM. Airalo supports many payment options, making it easy to pay from anywhere.

We like that Airalo offers a variety of data plans for European users. The 1 GB plan costs $5 and lasts up to 7 days. The 5 GB plan costs $20 and lasts up to 30 days. The priciest plan is 100 GB, which costs $185 and is valid for 180 days.

With an Airalo eSIM, you don’t need to bother switching between SIM cards when traveling across Europe. You'll enjoy swift 4G connectivity and 5G in some cities in the 39 supported European countries. The main drawback is that an Airalo eSIM offers only data– you don’t get an assigned phone number to make calls as you travel across Europe.

Read our full Airalo review.

  • ^ Back to the top

Best eSIM for sub-regional plans

Website screenshot for AloSIM

aloSIM is one of the best eSIM providers, and it has widespread coverage in Europe. It's available in 34 countries, offering excellent network speeds, including 2G, 3G, LTE, and 5G. You can choose the plan covering 34 European countries or a sub-regional plan covering 11 Eastern European countries.

aloSIM is easy to activate and use– you can buy and set up the SIM in a few minutes. Afterward, you can install the Android or iOS app to activate your plan. The app is intuitive and easy to navigate.

This eSIM provider offers data plans of 1 to 10 GB. You can pay $5 for 1 GB for 7 days, $8 for 2 GB for 15 days, $13 for 3 GB for 30 days, $20 for 5 GB for 30 days, or $37 for 10 GB for 30 days. Every data plan comes with a free international phone number to receive calls—a U.S. or Canada number that works over data or Wi-Fi, so it is not really a “phone number.”

With aloSIM at your side, you'll never pay roaming charges when you travel across the 34 supported European countries. Your data is unthrottled, and you can top it up if you run out of your initial allocation. Buying an aloSIM requires little identification and documentation.

Read our full AloSIM review.

Best eSIM for affordability

Saily landing page

Saily is an affordable eSIM provider with widespread coverage across Europe. It is offered by the same company behind NordVPN , one of the best virtual private network (VPN) apps. Saily works in 150+ countries, including 37 in Europe.

Like Airalo, Saily only supports data plans without phone calls or SMS. We picked it because of its affordability and widespread coverage, with plans starting from just $2.49 weekly for 1 GB, depending on the country. You can choose a data plan between 1 GB and 20 GB, with the latter typically costing $28.99 monthly.

This eSIM provides speedy 4G or 5G connectivity as you travel across Europe. It removes the need for physical SIM cards and mobile contracts whenever you visit a new destination.

The main drawback we observed is Saily's limited data options. The highest plan you can get is 20 GB, unlike Airalo, which offers up to 100 GB. Saily also has no pay-as-you-go option, unlike some other eSIM providers.

Read our full Saily review.

Best eSIM for customizable plans

Website screenshot for Holafly

Holafly is an eSIM provider that gives unlimited data, unlike other providers with capped data plans. It offers plans ranging from 1 to 90 days, and you’ll enjoy unlimited data as long as your plan hasn’t expired.

An unlimited data plan is preferable if you plan to travel for a long time. It ensures you have data as you visit multiple countries, with no need to monitor your data usage constantly. Holafly works in 32 countries, from the U.K. to Romania, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, and more.

A good thing about Holafly is that users can customize their plans. You can choose the exact number of days, and Holafly bills you according to what you choose. For instance, 1 day costs 6 euros, 5 days costs 15 euros, 20 days costs 57 euros, and 90 days costs 129 euros. Holafly is more expensive than Airalo and Saily, but the unlimited data makes up for the high cost. 

With Holafly at your fingertips, you don’t need to worry about data access when traveling across Europe (in supported countries). Holafly doesn’t offer a phone number with its eSIM, but you can call via WhatsApp and other VoIP apps.  Use code TECHRADAR to get 5% off.  

Read our full Holafly review.

Best eSIM for network coverage

Bouygues my European eSIM landing page

5. Bouygues my European eSIM

Bouygues Telecom is a well-known French mobile carrier. It offers an eSIM with coverage in all European countries, enabling you to enjoy vacations or business trips without worrying about roaming charges. 

This eSIM includes 30 GB of data valid for 30 days. It comes with a French phone number, which gives it a competitive advantage over other eSIMs in this guide. Many eSIM providers don’t offer phone numbers because of the complex infrastructure and regulations required to do so. However, if your eSIM comes from an established telecoms firm like Bouygues rather than a non-carrier provider, it’ll almost always include a phone number. 

Bouygues Telecom’s my European eSIM costs 39.90 euros ($43). After purchasing the eSIM online, you must scan a QR code on your smartphone to trigger the activation request. If you’re within Europe, you can activate your Bouygues eSIM immediately after triggering this request. There’s no need to download any app as with the other eSIMs on this list. You can transfer your Bouygues eSIM profile from one smartphone to another or delete it when you no longer need it.

Best eSIM for calling and SMS

Orange eSIM landing page

6. Orange eSIM

Orange is the largest French telecommunications company by market share. Like its rival Bouygues Telecom, Orange offers an eSIM package that works in most European countries. Customers can get up to 50 GB of data and a French phone number with up to 120 minutes of calling and 1,000 texts. 

Orange offers three Holiday eSIM plans: 4.99 euros for 1 GB (without calling or text), valid for 7 days, 19.99 euros for 12 GB (30 minutes calling and 200 texts), valid for 14 days; 39.99 euros for 30 GB (120 minutes calling and 1,000 texts), valid for 14 days; or $49.99 euros for 50 GB (120 minutes calling and 1,000 texts), valid for 28 days. Users can enjoy high speeds of 4G, LTE, or 5G (only available on the 50 GB plan)

This eSIM has rigid plans that cannot be customized, as you can with Holafly. We also don’t like that 5G is restricted to the most expensive plan. However, Orange’s extensive network coverage and robust SMS and calling allowance make up for these drawbacks.

Best eSIMs for international travel FAQs

Factors to consider when choosing an esim.

1. Coverage

Coverage is the first thing to consider when choosing an eSIM that works in Europe. What countries does the eSIM provide network connection in? Europe has 44 sovereign countries, and the ones you travel frequently to determine the eSIM package to choose. 

It’s a good thing that some eSIM providers offer sub-regional packages for Eastern or Northern Europe. This way, you can pay for a cheaper package only covering the few countries you’ll be visiting instead of a more expensive package covering the whole of Europe.

If you’re a frequent tourist or business traveler, you can choose a package like the Bouygues my European eSIM, which works in all European countries. The rule of thumb is that eSIMs from established telecom firms offer more widespread coverage than those from eSIM-only providers like Airalo and Saily. The higher the coverage, the more you should expect to pay.

2. Phone number

Most eSIM packages don’t come with phone numbers. The exception is eSIM packages from telecom firms like Orange and Bouygues, which almost always include a phone number.

Most eSIM packages don’t include phone numbers because of the complex infrastructure and strict regulations required to offer them. Any company issuing a phone number must have a service provider license, which is very expensive to get. In contrast, data-only providers can easily tap into the infrastructure of existing telecom firms to provide network connectivity.

If you need a phone number for calls and SMS, look for an eSIM package from a well-known European telecom firm. But if you require only data, you can choose from Saily, Holafly, and Airalo. 

3. Data allowance

Look at the data plans and see the highest amount of data you can get under a single plan. If you’re a heavy internet user, you’ll likely need an eSIM with a robust data offering, i.e., 20 GB and above. The good news is that many eSIM providers offer up to 50 GB on a single subscription, and you can top up your data if the initial allocation runs out. 

Some providers offer unlimited data, eliminating any worry about accessing the internet when you travel across Europe (these are usually from established telecom firms with robust infrastructure).

Always check if the eSIM allows you to use your mobile phone as a hotspot, which is important if you’ll be commuting a lot during your visits. 

4. Length of stay

The duration of your trip is an essential consideration when choosing an eSIM package. Most eSIM providers limit the validity of your data and calling allowance. The smaller the data allowance, the shorter it lasts. For instance, you can find a 1 GB plan that lasts for barely 7 days or an unlimited data plan for 30 days. The longer the duration, the more expensive the eSIM package, but the price is worth it because it lets you avoid more steep roaming charges.

Of course, pricing must be considered when choosing an eSIM bundle. It’s necessary to choose a bundle you can afford without stress. Some eSIM providers offer fixed plans, while some allow you to pay-as-you-go. The latter is preferable if you’re not sure about the duration of your trip, while the former is preferable if you know the exact length of your trip and how much data, calling, and SMS allowance you need.

The good news is that there’s no shortage of affordable eSIM packages. You can find an unlimited data package for as low as 15 euros, depending on the validity period. The longer the period, the higher you should expect to pay.

Even if an eSIM package seems expensive at face value, consider that it saves you from potentially steep roaming costs when you travel. It’s not uncommon for people to rack up hundreds of euros in international roaming charges because they used a lot of data, SMS, and calling allowance. With an eSIM package, you’re assured of paying a fixed price beforehand and only topping up if necessary. In contrast, international roaming prices vary depending on the countries you visit, and you can end up paying much more than you expect. 

  • We've also listed the best eSIMs for Turkey in 2024.

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best traveller sim

Travel Europe on a Budget

The Savvy Backpacker

City Guides .\33 a132798-3f3b-4585-954d-7e70cf863447{fill:#231f20}

The best prepaid sim card data plans for usa travel.

What you need to know about buying a prepaid data plan for visiting the USA.

phones and technology

best traveller sim

Having fast and reliable high-speed data for your phone is essentially a requirement when you travel to the USA but visitors are often surprised that prepaid SIM data plans aren’t as widely available or as affordable as in their home country.

In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about buying a SIM Card in the US and how to buy the best US prepaid mobile data plans at the best price.

Important Note About Prepaid SIM Card Data Plans in the US

Getting a prepaid data plan in America is a frustrating experience—especially for international visitors. Mobile service is generally much more expensive in the US than in the rest of the world so tourists are often surprised when they arrive expecting easy access to cheap data.

Prepaid data plans aren’t common in the US because most Americans have year-long phone service contracts. To make things more complicated, many mobile carriers also require that you use a US credit card if you’re buying a month-to-month plan.

That’s why many tourists have issues when it comes to buying a data plan when they arrive in the US because they have to go out of their way to find prepaid service in the US.

Even major airports like New York’s JFK have very few options and the ones you’ll find are costly and not convenient.

I’ll cover all this more in-depth later in this article but I wanted to get this out of the way up front.

In short, I highly recommend buying a data plan before arriving in the US if you don’t want to deal with the hassle. Check out SimOptions (physical SIM cards and eSIM plans) or Holafly (eSIM only) for a few different options—I recommend buying an eSIM data plan if your phone is compatible.

How To Buy A Prepaid Data Plan For The US

best traveller sim

You have three main options when it comes to buying a data plan for the US:

Prepurchase an eSIM Data Plan (Easiest)

The easiest way to buy a data plan for the US is to buy an eSIM data plan because you can activate it instantly so you don’t have to pay for shipping. All you have to do is buy the service and then activate it once you’re in the US. As an added bonus, using an eSIM allows you to keep your original phone number active on your phone.

I’ve personally used both SimOptions and Holafly in the past to buy international data plans. You can also read my guide to the best prepaid USA eSIM data plans .

Not sure what an eSIM is? Here’s a quick video showing you how easy eSIMs are:

Not all phones are eSIM compatible (although most modern phones are compatible) so keep that in mind.

Prepurchase a SIM Data Plan (Easy)

If you want to sort out your data plan prior to your trip, I recommend buying your SIM card before you leave so you’ll have data as soon as you arrive (i.e. no tracking down a SIM card once you arrive in the US).

The main downside is that you’ll have to wait for the SIM card to arrive and pay for shipping so it might not be a great option if you need your SIM Card right away.

Wait Until You’re In The US To Buy A SIM Card (Most Difficult)

The third option is to wait until you arrive in the US to buy your data plan. As I mentioned earlier, prepaid data plans aren’t very popular in the US so you’ll have to go out of your way to find them.

I’ll cover this in more depth further down in this article.

The Best Prepaid SIM Card and eSIM Data Plan You Can Buy Before Arriving In The US

Here’s a list of both prepaid eSIM data plans and physical SIM card data plans that will work in the US.

I’ve tried to list both pros and cons of each plan so spend a little time reading up on each because some have a few quirks.

Holafly US Data Plans (Unlimited Data eSIM)

best traveller sim

Holafly  is a new data-only eSIM startup that I’ve personally used on a recent trip and found worked surprisingly well (read my  Holafly eSIM Review  to learn more).

Unlike other companies, Holafly’s plans give you unlimited data (they will throttle your data if you use excessive data but this won’t be an issue for most users) and their plans run from 5 to 90 days. Holafly also connects to both the AT&T and T-Mobile networks—which are two of the largest mobile carriers in the US.

In short, if you don’t want to worry about monitoring your data usage while traveling then Holafly is your best option.

  • 5 Days: $19
  • 10 Days: $34
  • 15 Days: $47
  • 20 Days: $54
  • 30 Days: $64
  • 60 Days: $84
  • 90 Days: $99
  • Service Speed:  4G/LTE
  • Calls:  None
  • Texts/SMS:  None
  • Tethering:  No

Three 30-Day Pass (Digital eSIM Plan)

best traveller sim

Plan Specs:

  • PRICE:  $35
  • DATA:  20GB
  • INCLUDES TEXTS OR CALLS?: NO
  • CREDIT VALID FOR:  30 Days

If your phone is eSIM compatible, the Three 30-Day Pass is hard to beat for the price and data allowance. This data plan gives you 20GB of data for $35 and it’s valid for a month.

And since this is an eSIM, you get instant delivery via email and you don’t have to pay for shipping.

Smart Traveller eSIM (Digital eSIM Plan)

best traveller sim

  • PRICE:  $18
  • DATA:  6GB
  • CREDIT VALID FOR:  10 Days

The Smart Traveller eSIM is a good budget option for shorter trips since it’s only valid for 10 days. If you’re visiting for longer than 10 days, it makes sense to go with the Three 30-Day Pass for $35.

Orange Holiday World (Physical SIM Card)

best traveller sim

  • PRICE:  $50
  • DATA:  10GB
  • USED AS A MOBILE HOTSPOT?:  Yes
  • CREDIT VALID FOR:  14 Days

The Orange Holiday World is a very popular choice for travelers for a few different reasons.

First, it’s run by Orange—the largest mobile carrier in Europe and they’ve partnered with major US mobile carriers so the service tends to be better than no-name SIM data plans.

Second, the Orange Holiday World plan includes 10GB of 4G/LTE data in the US. This plan also works in Canada and Mexico if those happen to be part of your trip.

Third, there is no registration needed—simply install the SIM and you’re ready to go.

The main downside is that the data plan only lasts for 14 days so it’s not ideal for longer trips but you can top up the card one time for €29 to get another 14 days of service with an additional 10GB of data.

Three PAYG MBB 12GB (Physical SIM Card)

best traveller sim

  • PRICE:  $60
  • DATA:  12GB
  • USED AS A MOBILE HOTSPOT?:  NO
  • CREDIT VALID FOR:  1 Year

The Three UK PYAG MBB is another popular SIM data plan option thanks to its 12GB of data for $60. It doesn’t allow data tethering and you can use it with a pocket WIFI. This card is valid for a year after activation so it’s a nice option for longer visits to the US.

Three PAYG MBB 24GB (Physical SIM Card)

best traveller sim

  • PRICE:  $80
  • DATA:  24GB

The Three UK PAYG MBB 24GB data plan gives you 24GB of mobile data for $80 so this is a good option for heavy data users. If you have a pocket WIFI, this can also be a good option for groups traveling together so you can split data over multiple phones.

How To Buy A Prepaid Data Plan In The US

best traveller sim

Most prepaid data plans offered by US carriers are billed on a month-to-month basis so if you don’t cancel the plan you’ll be charged when the new month starts. Because of this, many mobile companies require that you have a US credit card.

Verizon Prepaid Data Plans

best traveller sim

Verizon of the largest mobile provider in the US and their prepaid plans start at $40/month for 5GB of data. Verizon is also the most expensive option. Visit the Verizon website to learn more.

Verizon also has a new budget service called Visible but you’ll need a US credit card and only certain phones work on their network (visit the Visible phone compatibility checker to see if your phone works).

T-Mobile Prepaid US Data Plans

best traveller sim

T-Mobile offers a monthly prepaid data plan that starts at $40/month (not including taxes and fees—a $10 SIM starter kit may be required). The $40/month plan gets you 10GB of data but the $50/month plan has unlimited data. Click here to visit the T-Mobile website to learn more.

AT&T Wireless Prepaid Data Plans

best traveller sim

AT&T Wireless has prepaid data plans that start at $30/month for 5BG of data. Visit the AT&T website to learn more.

Google Fi Prepaid Data Plans

best traveller sim

Google Fi has a monthly plan and a pay-as-you-go plan. The monthly plan has unlimited data for $50/month and the pay-as-you-go is $20+$10 for every 10GB of data. Visit the Google Fi website to learn more.

Straight Talk Wireless Prepaid

Straight Talk Wireless is a budget carrier that’s mainly sold at Walmart stores. The main problem is that Walmarts are generally located outside large cities so you’ll need a car to reach the store. You can also have the card shipped to a US address.

Get More Budget Travel Tips For The USA

best traveller sim

Here are a few articles to help you visit New York City:

  • The Savvy Backpacker’s Guide To New York City
  • Best Hostels in NYC
  • The Best Things To Do In NYC
  • Best Cheap Restaurants In New York City
  • How Much To Budget For Visiting NYC
  • The Best Travel Shoes
  • The Best Travel Backpacks  and  The Best Travel Backpacks for Women

Traveling to Europe too? Check out my guide on  how to use your phone in Europe  and our guide to  the best SIM Cards and Data Plans for Europe . If you have a newer phone, check out our guide to  the best Prepaid eSIM Data Plans for Europe .

  • Recent Posts

James Feess

  • Best Prepaid eSIM For Spain | Data Plan Buyer’s Guide - June 21, 2024
  • Best eSIM For Europe Travel | Everything You Need To Know About European Prepaid eSIM Data Plans - June 6, 2024
  • Orange Holiday Europe SIM Card Review | I Test This Popular Tourist-Focused Data Plan - June 4, 2024

best traveller sim

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Thanks For Reading! — James

Questions? Learn more about our Strict Advertising Policy and How To Support Us .

Related Reads

Best prepaid esim for spain | data plan buyer’s guide.

A guide to finding the best prepaid eSIM data plans for visiting Spain.

Best eSIM For Europe Travel | Everything You Need To Know About European Prepaid eSIM Data Plans

A guide to everything you need to know about using eSIM data plans while traveling through Europe.

Orange Holiday Europe SIM Card Review | I Test This Popular Tourist-Focused Data Plan

A hands-on review of the popular tourist-focused data plan from Orange

Best Prepaid UK eSIM | Data Plan Buyer’s Guide

A guide to finding the best prepaid eSIM data plans for visiting the United Kingdom

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best traveller sim

Connect Worldwide: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best eSIM for Travel in 2024

June 27, 2024 by Diane Taylor

Travel Effortlessly: Why eSIMs are the Traveler’s New Best Friend

Imagine landing in the bustling heart of London or the tranquil beaches of Bali, and instead of scrambling for a Wi-Fi password or hunting down a local SIM card vendor, you’re instantly connected. That’s the magic of eSIM technology—transforming the way modern travelers navigate the globe. This guide will delve into the top eSIM providers, highlighting Global YO, Manet Travel, Flexiroam, and Drimsim. We’ll offer not only critical insights but also some playful commentary to make your decision both informative and enjoyable.

Explore the Best eSIM Options for Global Nomads

Choosing an eSIM provider is like picking a travel companion: you want reliability, ease, and perhaps a bit of fun. Here’s a detailed look at some of the top contenders who promise to keep you connected and carefree on your international exploits.

Global YO: Seamless Connectivity with a Touch of Fun

Global YO offers more than just connectivity; it’s about enhancing your travel experience with a blend of reliable service and engaging entertainment options. Designed for the savvy traveler, Global YO is your passport to a world of seamless communication and fun.

  • eSIM+ Digital Experience: Stream movies, enjoy live concerts, or relax with playlists curated to enhance your travel experience—Global YO turns downtime into delight.
  • Engagement Rewards: The more you use the Global YO app, the more YOYO$ you accumulate, which can be redeemed for discounts on subsequent purchases.
  • Incentive Structure: This unique system encourages continued app usage by directly rewarding user interaction with tangible benefits.
  • Enhanced Savings: Users can leverage their accumulated YOYO$ to access the lowest possible prices, enhancing the affordability of already competitively priced plans starting from $0.59.
  • Entertainment options keep your journeys lively.
  • Affordable plans that make global roaming a breeze.
  • Intuitive setup means more time exploring, less time configuring.
  • Limited coverage in remote destinations can be a challenge.
  • Relies on internet access for entertainment features.
  • South Korea eSIM : $0.89 for 1GB
  • Saudi Arabia eSIM : $0.89 for 1GB
  • UAE eSIM : $0.89 for 1GB

Manet Travel: The Smart Traveler’s Choice

Manet Travel isn’t just an eSIM provider—it’s a comprehensive travel tool that offers connectivity alongside a plethora of travel assistance features, making it an indispensable travel buddy.

  • Comprehensive Travel Tools: Everything from local guides and language translation to booking tickets for attractions, Manet keeps you informed and organized.
  • Customizable Data Plans: Tailor your data usage to match your travel itinerary with flexible plan options.
  • Integrated travel tools enhance and simplify your travel experience.
  • Flexible data plans ensure you only pay for what you need.
  • The array of features might be overwhelming for users seeking just simple connectivity.
  • Higher price points for advanced features.
  • Australia: $14 for 2GB
  • India: $19 for 4GB
  • Spain: $23 for 6GB

Flexiroam: The Globe Trotter’s Go-To

With vast coverage and a focus on ease of use, Flexiroam caters to travelers who want dependable connectivity in over 150 countries. It’s designed for those who want to stay connected no matter where their journey takes them.

  • Wide Coverage: Stay online whether you’re in the frozen Arctic or the Sahara Desert.
  • Flexible Data Packages: Choose from a variety of plans to suit short trips, long adventures, or intermittent travel.
  • Broad global coverage ensures you’re rarely without service.
  • Customizable plans to fit various travel needs and budgets.
  • Premium pricing for extensive coverage.
  • The app and service management can sometimes be less intuitive than competitors.
  • UK: $12 for 2GB
  • USA: $18 for 4GB
  • Italy: $25 for 6GB

Drimsim: Budget-Friendly Connectivity for Every Traveler

Drimsim offers straightforward, affordable eSIM services for travelers in over 160 countries. It’s perfect for those who want no-fuss access to essential connectivity without the frills.

  • Universal Compatibility: Works with any eSIM-enabled device, offering straightforward connectivity.
  • Transparent Pricing: No hidden fees, no complex packages—just simple, clear costs.
  • Cost-effective plans great for budget-conscious travelers.
  • Ease of use with a clear focus on basic connectivity.
  • Limited extra features for travelers looking for more than just data.
  • Customer service might lack the responsiveness of more premium brands.
  • Brazil: $10 for 1GB
  • China: $15 for 3GB
  • France: $20 for 5GB

Smart eSIM Choices: Your Passport to Global Connectivity

When weighing your eSIM options, consider the coverage, cost, convenience, and whether additional features will enhance or complicate your travel. Here’s a quick guide to help you decide:

  • Coverage: Essential for ensuring connectivity wherever you roam.
  • Cost: Look for transparent pricing that matches your budget without sacrificing quality.
  • Convenience: Opt for providers that offer easy setup and management.
  • Features: Decide if extra features will be beneficial or just an added expense.

eSIM FAQs: Your Questions Answered

How do i switch between esim profiles.

Switching is typically done through your device’s settings, allowing you to manage multiple profiles easily.

Can I retain my original phone number?

Most providers offer options to port your number to the eSIM, depending on the regulations in your home country.

What if I lose my phone?

An eSIM can be locked remotely, making it more secure than traditional SIM cards.

Conclusion: Stay Connected, No Matter Where You Are

With the right eSIM, you’re ready to conquer the world without losing touch. Whether you’re a casual traveler or a constant jet-setter, choosing the right eSIM means enjoying every moment of your travels, assured that you’re just a click away from home. Pack your bags, pick your provider, and prepare for an unforgettable journey with the world at your fingertips. Safe travels, and stay connected!

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The Havok Journal seeks to serve as a voice of the Veteran and First Responder communities through a focus on current affairs and articles of interest to the public in general, and the veteran community in particular. We strive to offer timely, current, and informative content, with the occasional piece focused on entertainment. We are continually expanding and striving to improve the readers’ experience.

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Best Netherlands SIM card for travelers in 2024

Travel to the Netherlands with a SIM card from Vodafone, Orange, KPN, or Simyo, or get and eSIM from Holafly and stay connected!

Julio Osuna

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June 30, 2024

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United Kingdom

Are you planning to travel to the Netherlands soon? Chances are you need a SIM card to stay connected during your trip, and there are different alternatives to make it happen .

That’s why we will talk about the different SIM cards the Netherlands travelers can get, and we’ll get to know whether these are prepaid SIMs or rather purchased in-store and what they offer!

What to know about Netherlands SIM card for tourist

Throughout the article, we will talk about the different options people have to stay connected when arriving in the Netherlands. It’s important to have a SIM card when arriving , as you might need internet to get an Uber or look at Google Maps!

netherlands landscape

We will also discuss the difference between prepaid SIM cards and postpaid plans . So, if you are planning on getting one soon, keep reading to learn more about the Netherlands SIM cards that are available to visit Amsterdam or Rotterdam !

How to get a Netherlands SIM card?

The first thing people need to know about the Netherlands SIM cards is that postpaid plans aren’t available for travelers . People can only get access to prepaid cards, and that’s what we will focus on.

Overall, there are two options for getting physical prepaid SIM cards when traveling to the Netherlands : purchasing one online or purchasing one upon arrival in the country .

Let’s talk about both alternatives and choose which one is right if you who need to stay connected.

Buying a prepaid Dutch SIM card Online

If you are looking for Netherlands prepaid SIM cards to get before traveling, there are different options available in the market.

Companies like Orange or Bouygues Telecom offer travelers the chance to get a prepaid SIM card before traveling. These include mobile data, and the Orange packages include phone calls and text messages.

bouygues sim card

Prices for these SIM cards vary from €4,99 to €49,90 depending on the data plan you choose and what you need when visiting the Netherlands.

The downside of using any of these Netherlands SIM cards is that people have to wait for them to arrive. So, it’s not worth buying any of these for people who are planning to travel in the next few days.

orange sim card

If you have an eSIM-compatible phone , Holafly is an alternative for getting a mobile data plan easier and faster. It is immediately sent and doesn’t require many steps to activate. 

Holafly Netherlands virtual SIM card with unlimited data

Now that we have an idea of what Holafly is let’s talk about what it offers and why it’s better than using a data roaming service . 

As for prices, the Holafly eSIM for the Netherlands costs $6 . This is the starting price for 1 day of usage, but people can choose up to 90 days and get unlimited data for as long as the eSIM is working.

As for the purchase, people can either do it through the website or app, and there’s no delivery time . As soon as the purchase is completed, travelers will receive a QR code to activate their eSIM. 

If you plan to activate it while traveling, remember to get a Wi-Fi connection to complete the process. Other than this, you will get 500 MBs of data to share per day, and there are no hidden costs when using this service! 

Buying a SIM card in the Netherlands 

Let’s move on to the next option travelers have for getting the best Netherlands SIM card. Here, we will discuss how to get one in physical stores around the country.

As said before, you can only get prepaid mobile data plans . Postpaid plans aren’t accessible, but what’s not clear so far is how much these packages cost, what carriers are available to use, and where you can get a SIM card.

Before talking about the available data plans, people need to know where to get a SIM card . 

You have different options in the country for getting prepaid SIM cards, such as mobile phone shops, convenience stores, retailers, or vending machines. So, before choosing which data plan to purchase, remember to buy your SIM card!

So, let’s talk about how to get a physical prepaid SIM card in the Netherlands for travelers from different providers.

Vodafone Netherlands SIM card

As for Vodafone, once you have gotten your SIM card after arriving in the country if it doesn’t include a data plan, there are different options to consider using.

As you can get a SIM card from the previously mentioned stores, the good thing is that there’s no need to worry about going back to the store to get a data plan. These are sold online after having the SIM card.

The available plans vary from monthly bundles, unlimited data bundles, and call & text bundles . The favorite for travelers are the ones with mobile data, as expected.

These cost from €5 to €29 and include data packages ranging from 500 MB to 10 GB. To get one, send a text message to 400 plus the package code. 

vodafone sim card

For those with a Vodafone account, these packages are accessible through “ My Vodafone. ”

Unlimited internet bundles vary from €4 to €14, but these SIM card plans only work for one day to a week. Lastly, for phone calls and text messages, prices vary from €4 to €14 and include a limited amount of both; there are no unlimited calls available .

KPN prepaid Netherlands SIM card

While you might think that getting a KPN prepaid SIM card is the same as getting other alternatives, things are a bit different. These can be bought through their official site, and they will arrive in two days max . Travelers will have to activate this SIM card through the official KPN app!

You can still get a SIM card from the company at a mobile phone shop, retailer, or vending machine, but these will surely include a mobile data pack . 

kpn sim card

If you prefer to do the process manually, once you get your SIM card, which costs €4,99, travelers can get a data package that costs €10 and includes 1 GB of mobile data that lasts for a month.

Another package includes 500 MB of mobile data plus phone calls and text messages, and it costs €9,99 . However, there are no unlimited calls or better data allowances to choose from.

Simyo Netherlands prepaid SIM card 

Similar to KPN, Simyo allows travelers to get a prepaid SIM card through their website . This makes it easier for you to avoid time looking for one, but there are physical stores that offer a prepaid SIM card from Simyo as well.

The process is a bit different for those bought online. Three different packages cost €7,50 to €35, and compared to other companies, this is the money people can spend while using the SIM card.

simyo sim card

Phone calls cost €0,10 per minute, text messages €0,10, and mobile data costs €0,15 per MB, so keep this in mind when adding to your SIM card. Fortunately, you can top up online with other data packages that cost €5 to €10, depending on what you need.

eSIM cards vs. Postpaid SIM cards

Up to this point, we have discussed how to get and what a prepaid SIM offers, but what about postpaid SIM cards vs. eSIMs? These are other alternatives we discussed, so let’s discuss them.

The first thing to note is that travelers can’t purchase a postpaid SIM card . While these offer different benefits, such as a better internet bundle, international roaming for better prices, and different data plans, these require long-term contracts that foreigners can’t sign.

On the other hand, eSIMs are the closest someone can get to these plans . You can get access to the best mobile networks when traveling, avoid data roaming charges, and even find competitive pricing when compared to other alternatives.

While this might leave things clear, let’s compare the two to see which to choose for staying connected as a traveler.

Which Netherlands SIM is best?

Up to this point, we have talked about the different Netherlands SIM cards . White SIM cards are a great alternative for travelers based on their cost and what they offer, but chances are you prefer other alternatives when visiting the country. 

While a prepaid local SIM card is good, most of the data plans are quite limited, and people need to wait until they arrive to find where to get one, which can be an extra cost when looking for a store.

So, rather than choosing the best prepaid SIM card for the Netherlands, we’d rather pick an eSIM for Netherlands from a carrier like Holafly , which offers affordable mobile services and can be purchased before the trip!

The final decision is up to you, but we’ve made it pretty clear which of these options is better and will help travelers save money!

FAQ about Best SIM card Netherlands

No. If people buy a SIM card in the Netherlands, there’s no need to worry about registering it, as it is not required for now.

It depends on the carrier. For example, only KPN has an online pricing for their SIM card, which is €4,99, plus the data plan people get. There’s no need to worry about activation costs.

Based on the available SIM cards in the country, the best option would be KPN or Simyo. Holafly, while it is not a SIM, it’s also among the best alternatives to stay connected in the country.

Europe

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Review of the Best eSIM Cards for Travel in UAE

As a digital nomad and full-time travel blogger, I’m constantly on the move visiting new destinations around the globe. Last year alone I traveled to over 60 countries! So you can imagine how many local SIM cards I’ve had to buy over the years. Lugging around heaps of plastic SIM cards is not only inconvenient but costly as well.

That’s why I was super excited when eSIM technology started becoming more widely available globally a few years ago. eSIMs have been an absolute game-changer, allowing me to access data internationally with just a few taps on my phone. No more fussing with physical SIMs or waiting in long queues at the airport to get connected.

So if you’re planning a trip to the United Arab Emirates anytime soon, I highly recommend getting an eSIM instead of a regular SIM card during your visit. With an eSIM for UAE, you can have local connectivity ready before you even land, saving you time and money.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll be sharing my tips for choosing the best eSIM for travel in the UAE based on months of first-hand experience. You’ll learn:

  • What exactly are eSIMs and how they work
  • Pros and cons of using an eSIM vs. physical SIM in UAE
  • My top recommended eSIM providers for UAE
  • Features to look for when selecting an eSIM service
  • Step-by-step guide to installing and activating eSIM
  • FAQs on eSIM usage in the UAE

So whether you’re traveling to Dubai, Abu Dhabi or anywhere else in the UAE, read on to find the perfect eSIM plan for your trip!

What Exactly Is an eSIM and How Does It Work?

Before we dive into the best eSIM options for UAE, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page regarding what an eSIM is and why it’s useful for travelers.

An eSIM, short for “embedded SIM”, is a digital version of the regular physical nano-SIM card. As the name suggests, an eSIM is built into the phone rather than inserted like a plastic card. It allows you to activate a cellular data plan remotely, straight from an app on your phone.

So instead of having to purchase a physical SIM at your destination, you can simply order an eSIM before your trip. Upon payment, you’ll instantly receive the eSIM profile via email. Just scan the QR code or download the provided file to add the plan to your phone. It only takes a minute or two!

As soon as you land in UAE and connect to a local cellular network, your eSIM plan kicks in. This means you get instant internet access and avoid roaming charges from the get-go. With an eSIM UAE plan ready to use, you’ll save precious vacation time otherwise spent tracking down SIM stores.

Another major perk of eSIMs is flexibility. You aren’t tied to just one SIM profile. For example, I always keep my “home” eSIM active alongside my travel eSIM. This allows me to retain my regular phone number and home plan while accessing cheap, local data abroad.

Most newer flagship smartphones are eSIM-capable, including iPhones and high-end Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel devices. To enable eSIM on iPhone, simply head to Settings > Cellular > Add Cellular Plan. On Android, go to Settings > Network & internet > SIM cards.

So in summary:

  • eSIM  = Digital SIM card profile downloaded directly to your phone
  • No physical nano-SIM card required
  • Buy data plans  remotely before travel
  • Use alongside regular home SIM
  • Get connected right upon arrival at foreign destination
  • Compatible with latest iPhone and Android smartphones

Clear as day, right? Now let’s look at some key pros and cons of using eSIMs for travel versus traditional SIM cards in UAE.

eSIM Vs Physical SIM for UAE Travel – Pros and Cons

Here’s a quick comparison of the major benefits and drawbacks when deciding between electronic SIM and conventional plastic SIM options for your UAE visit:

Advantages of eSIMs

  • Convenience  – Instant activation before/upon arrival
  • Flexibility  – Use alongside regular home SIM
  • Cost savings  – Cheaper data rates, no roaming fees
  • Locals-only deals  – Some plans restricted to residents
  • Multi-country options  – One eSIM for Middle East/Asia region

Disadvantages of eSIMs

  • Compatibility issues  – Doesn’t work on every mobile device
  • Technology problems  – Potential activation difficulties
  • No calls/texts  – Most eSIMs are data-only

As you can see, eSIMs have far more benefits than downsides for travel use-cases. The main drawback is compatibility, as eSIMs don’t yet work on every smartphone model.

However, with ultra convenience, flexibility and big cost savings, I believe eSIMs are undoubtedly the best connectivity option for travelers in 2024. Using one in the UAE is quick and easy. You’ll save hours otherwise wasted buying local SIMs while enjoying cheaper data rates from the moment you touch down.

Next, let me introduce you to some reliable eSIM providers I’ve personally used and recommend for smooth travels in the UAE.

Top eSIM Providers for UAE Travel

NYU eSIM Code

Over the years, I’ve tested dozens of global eSIM providers in search of the best solutions for hassle-free worldwide connectivity.

Based on extensive first-hand experience, I highly recommend the following three eSIM brands for travel in the UAE:

  • Airalo  – My #1 choice for UAE with best value data buckets
  • eSIM.net  – Cost-effective with calls/texts, good regionwide plans
  • AlwaysOnline  – Leading choice for iOS, regional packages

I’ll provide a quick rundown of each to help you select the best fit. But you really can’t go wrong with any of these top eSIMs for UAE!

🏆 Airalo – Best Value UAE Data Plans

Airalo is absolutely my go-to for seamless connectivity at a fantastic price whenever I’m visiting the UAE.

In my experience, they offer cheaper high-speed data buckets than any local provider in UAE. Their app also makes it super quick and easy to manage your plans.

Some highlights of using Airalo eSIM include:

  • Cost  – As low as $1.50 per GB, great value deals
  • Speed  – Fast 4G/LTE speeds on Etisalat network
  • Coverage  – Uses leading Etisalat network, wide UAE coverage
  • Duration  – Flexible packages from 2 days to 1 month
  • Activation  – Instant email delivery, app managed

With top-notch rates for ample data allowances, you really can’t beat Airalo if looking for an affordable pure data eSIM solution for travels in UAE.

I’ve used them repeatedly when visiting the Emirates without any issues. Their app also enables you to extend high-speed data anytime with a few taps.

Simply scan the activation QR code from the Airalo email and you’re all set! Couldn’t be much easier and their UAE plans are just unrivaled value.

eSIM.net – Calls & Texts Included

Another awesome eSIM choice for UAE is eSIM.net. Unlike most providers, many eSIM.net plans include voice calls and SMS messaging.

So if you want full cell plan features beyond just data, eSIM.net has you covered.

Key things to know:

  • Calls & texts  – 100 regional minutes & texts included free
  • Speed  – 4G LTE data, up to 150 Mbps downloads
  • Network  – Uses Du network, also wide coverage
  • Multi-country option  – 1 eSIM valid in 12 Arab/Asian countries

Do note their “Union Pay” product offering the included calls & texts has a 3-month minimum term. But eSIM.net also offers shorter validity pay-as-you-go data-only plans. Either way, you get excellent connectivity through eSIM.net across UAE and wider region like Asia. Their eSIM app also makes it a total breeze to signup and activate plans instantly.

AlwaysOnline – Great for iOS Users

Dedicated Apple fans should check out AlwaysOnline for accessing ultra reliable eSIM service in UAE and Middle East.

Why choose AlwaysOnline? A few good reasons:

  • iOS focus  – Made for iPhone and iPad
  • Premium quality  – Top class carrier partners
  • Easy setup  – Hassle-free activation process
  • Good value  – Competitive rates for region As you can tell by the name, AlwaysOnline is all about keeping users connected 24/7 wherever they roam. With the highest grade telco partners across Middle East, this company certainly delivers.

Their eSIM offerings for UAE and surrounding region strike an excellent balance between affordability and quality. You can depend on Ao for solid performance with LTE speeds up to 150 Mbps.

While great overall eSIM service for both iPhone and Android users, AlwaysOnline does cater extra to iOS devices. So for Apple loyalists visiting Dubai or elsewhere in UAE, look no further for your connectivity needs!

What to Look for in a UAE Travel eSIM

Hopefully the recommendations above give you some good options to choose from.

However, as more carriers launch eSIM offerings in future, you may come across other providers not covered here.

To help you select a reliable eSIM source for travels in UAE, here are the key criteria I consider:

  • Price per GB  – Lower costs for more data the better!
  • Carrier partner  – Uses reliable national network?
  • Plan flexibility  – Short term options? Pause/resume?
  • Ease of setup  – Smooth digital activation process?
  • Customer support  – Responsive team support available?
  • Multi-country  – Reuse option for region?

For UAE specifically, I would look for an eSIM plan costing around $5 USD or less per 1 GB data if possible. This seems to be the current sweet spot of getting good value while still maintaining high mobile broadband speeds.

My choice provider Airalo actually offers data rates as low as $1.50 per GB, which is just unbeatable value in my experience for local quality connectivity.

Ideally, pick an eSIM sourced directly from leading national carriers like Etisalat or Du network. Avoid third parties reselling subpar service if possible.

Also see if you can pause/resume data plans when not actively traveling in UAE to save credits for future trips. And definitely access quality customer assistance in case any activation or usage issues.

Lastly, some eSIM brands cater to the entire Middle East and Asia regions. If UAE is just one of multiple stops on your itinerary, a “multi-country” plan valid beyond the Emirates could prove very useful. Okay, ready to get connected? Let me walk you through the quick process of setting up an eSIM for usage in UAE.

Step-By-Step Guide to Installing & Activating eSIM for UAE

eSIM Cards for Travel in UAE

Here is a concise walkthrough to get your eSIM card up and running for travels in the United Arab Emirates:

Step 1 – Order Your UAE eSIM

First, pick an eSIM provider like Airalo and purchase the plan that fits your travel duration and data needs. Enter payment details to complete checkout.

Step 2 – Verify Email & Wait for Delivery

Check your inbox for an order confirmation email, and click to verify it’s really you that made the purchase. The eSIM digital profile will be delivered to your verified email within 1 hour (often instantly).

Step 3 – Download eSIM Activation File

Open the email from your eSIM provider containing the activation details for your UAE plan. For iOS, you will see an attachment ending in  .Esim . For Android, it’s a  .txt  link to download. Save this file to your device. Side note: You can also scan the QR activation code instead on supported phones. But manually downloading the profile works 100% guaranteed.

Step 4 – Add eSIM to Device

Now it’s time to install the eSIM plan on your smartphone or tablet.

Go to Settings > Cellular > Add Cellular Plan and select the downloaded  .Esim  file from your email. Follow the onscreen prompts to activate the add-on cellular plan.

On Android Samsung S20/S21

Navigate to Settings > Connections > SIM Card Manager. Select Add mobile plan and choose the  .txt  file downloaded from your eSIM email.

That’s it! Once installed, you should see something like “Airalo UAE” now listed under cellular plans or SIM cards.

Tip: You can disable cellular data for your regular “home” SIM card to avoid roaming fees.

Step 5 – Connect & Enjoy Your UAE eSIM!

First off, congrats for setting up your eSIM hassle-free for travels in UAE!

Now when you land at the airport in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, your phone should automatically connect to the local network once WiFi is disabled. Launch your browser or app and voila, you’ll be using your personal UAE eSIM plan for cheap, high-speed internet access!

No more fussing with dodgy mall kiosks for plastic SIM cards. Just instant connectivity through the power of eSIM technology! 🙌

Common Questions about eSIM Usage in UAE (FAQ)

Lastly allow me to address some frequently asked questions I often receive about using electronic SIMs specifically for travel in the United Arab Emirates: Q – Will eSIM work in my phone?

A – Most newer iPhone and Android smartphones support eSIM. Click here to see the full list of eSIM compatible devices. As long as your device is unlocked and eSIM capable, you will be fine.

Q – Can I use mobile apps with an eSIM in UAE?

A – Certainly! eSIMs provide full cellular data connectivity just like a physical SIM card. So you can use apps, browse the web, access emails, stream video and more with no issues.

Q – Why are most UAE eSIMs data-only?

A – For regulatory reasons, some UAE carriers like Etisalat don’t permit offering calls/texts via eSIM to tourists yet. So global eSIM providers partner with data-only network operating partners. But the eSIM.net option mentioned earlier does still include voice & SMS. Q – What happens if my eSIM doesn’t activate?

A – Make sure to test activation before leaving home while connected to WiFi for troubleshooting if needed. But in rare cases of activation failure, promptly contact customer support so they can send a replacement eSIM profile free of cost.

Okay friends… that wraps up my in-depth guide detailing everything YOU must know about using eSIM technology for your upcoming travels in the United Arab Emirates! 🥳

To Summarize…

  • An eSIM for UAE allows instant access to local high speed data coverage to avoid roaming fees.
  • Order an eSIM plan securely online BEFORE arrival for true travel convenience.
  • Leading eSIM card providers like Airalo offer fabulous deals costing as little as $1.50 per GB in UAE!
  • Setup only takes a minute or two by scanning a QR code or downloading the eSIM profile to your phone. I hope this breakdown gives you total clarity about how eSIM cards function and why they kick butt over old school plastic SIM cards when traveling internationally. Do drop any remaining questions in comments below! 👋 Just thrilled to share my eSIM knowledge so YOUR vacations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or elsewhere in UAE can be simpler plus cheaper! And if you appreciate this guide, please share it with any other world wanderers in your life. Safe travels and as I always say… enjoy the journey my friends! 😎☀️🏝

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The Best Travel Strollers for Your Summer Adventures

I love travel strollers. I test strollers as a part of my job , but whenever I'm not testing something new, I switch to these fantastic, lightweight strollers, even if I'm not traveling! They've become my go-to everyday strollers since my kid turned 1 and could face forward on our walks. They're quick to fold and easy to throw in the trunk of my small sedan, and I can carry 'em with one hand while balancing my kid and unlocking the door with the other. They're great for actual travel too. Whether you're on a road trip or a plane ride, these lightweight travel strollers are the ones I love most after weeks of testing.

Be sure to get our tips on how to buy a stroller first. If you're curious about more parenting gear, check out our related guides, including the Best Baby Monitors , Best Breast Pumps , Best Baby Gear , and Best Strollers .

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Nuna TRVL stroller

Best Overall

No stroller is as easy to fold as the Nuna TRVL . Just the other day a fellow mom asked me what stroller it was, saying she'd never seen a stroller fold like that before. The 14.6-pound Nuna quickly folds forward onto itself into an upright position, sticking the belly bar in the air for you to grab and go, whether you're in the airport or piling into the car after a day at the zoo. It comes with a travel bag, which you can stuff into the lower storage basket and then use when checking the stroller onto a plane. Speaking of, the storage basket’s sides are a little low, but it was a perfect size to fit my favorite diaper bags .

I really love this stroller for the hand fold. I used to live in an apartment with a staircase between me and the rest of the world (my car! the street! any useable sidewalks!) and having a lightweight, easy-to-fold stroller made getting out of the house or coming home from a walk so much easier. For my next little one, I'm buying Nuna's car seat and using this system from day one, since Nuna's TRVL line is compatible with its car seats . It offers a smooth ride even with the lightweight frame, though you do have to look out for big bumps on the sidewalk.

13.6 pounds without handlebar, 14.6 with the handlebar. Comes with a travel bag.

Zoe Tour Stroller

Best Budget Travel Stroller

The Zoe Tour V2 stroller has a lot of what I like about the Nuna, with a slightly worse fold and not as nice of a finished folding position. But it's $200 cheaper! It also comes with cup holders for both parent and baby, and even a little snack bowl for my kid (these are so often extra upgrades you have to pay for on other strollers). You do have to choose either the belly bar or the kid cup and snack holders—you can't have both. The belly bar is handy to lift the stroller with when folded.

The Tour V2 looks nice, though the materials feel a little rough and the build doesn't feel as sturdy. But the seat was still plenty comfy for my kid, and this compact stroller was easy to maneuver around. It's the lightest stroller I have tested and recommend, though the difference isn't that noticeable compared to other strollers that weigh between 13 to 15 pounds. You can also buy car seat adapters from Zoe to make the Tour V2 compatible with car seats from Graco, Chicco, Nuna, and others.

13.4 pounds. Comes with a parent drink holder, baby drink holder, and baby snack bowl.

Left Side view of a stroller with a black frame and teal canopy with a garage doors in the background. Right Front view...

Best Carry-On Stroller

Most planes will make you check your stroller at the gate. The ones that won't require a stroller within carry-on dimensions; many travel strollers fold too long and wide to fit perfectly. But the Silver Cross Jet 5's folded position looks like a piece of luggage, folding down to 10 x 14.5 x 24.5 inches with a handle sticking straight up like on a traditional carry-on. You can lug it around like luggage when folded, which is super handy when you let your toddler run wild so they nap on the plane. It has a cover to make it look more suitcase-like too. It's still a few inches larger than carry-on luggage—most airlines are looking for 8 or 9 inches by 15 and 22 inches for overhead bin luggage—but the Jet 5 might honestly pass for a carry-on when you wheel it past the flight attendant. You'll need to pop the handle off to fit it in the overhead compartment, which is easy to do.

The build materials are fantastic and the stroller is sturdy, but I did find this one more challenging to unfold than any other stroller I've tested. You have to snap the supports together and while they have handles, my small hands struggled to snap them into place while holding the stroller up. It's easier with two people, but even my husband found it difficult. There’s a seat that reclines into a bassinet-like mode with an included piece of fabric to keep the baby in place, but it didn’t feel secure enough for me to want to use with a newborn.

15.9 pounds. Comes with a travel cover and rain cover.

Doona Stroller

Best for Infant Travel

Any trip you're taking with an infant will require a car seat. That's true for road trips, air travel, quick Ubers from your hotel, or even just going home to the hospital (baby's first big trip home!). So why deal with a stroller and a car seat when you can have two in one? The Doona Car Seat & Stroller had me kicking myself that I didn't try it sooner. I was so stressed out trying to make a car seat and stroller pair on a budget, and I should have just bought this all-in-one for the early days and then bought a real travel stroller when my kid grew out of it. Another idea for kid number two!

The Doona is 17 pounds, which isn't light once the baby is in there, but it doesn't feel too heavy. It's easy to switch from stroller to car seat mode once you get the motion down to click the legs back up or out again. The Doona's seat and handle are a little low compared to normal strollers, so tall parents might not like it as much, but it's a great pick to go from car to airport to plane and back again without needing more than one gadget. Just remember—infants can't be in a car seat for more than two hours at a time.

17 pounds. Comes with a car seat base.

Side view of a stroller with a black frame and pink partially mesh canopy with bushes behind

Best for Taller Kids

The Bugaboo Butterfly is like the Nuna TRVL with a similarly easy fold, but the seat is a little taller and my 70th-percentile-height 2-year-old has plenty of headroom when he's sitting in it (and room to grow into it too). I like that the extendable canopy is larger, giving my son better coverage when we're on a day trip to the zoo or walking around the park on a sunny afternoon. My kid doesn't like to wear hats, so I'm dependent on my stroller's canopy to protect his poor little head. The Bugaboo's frame doesn't feel as sturdy as the Nuna TRVL though.

It has a slightly shorter, more compact fold than Nuna's strollers, almost perfectly hitting carry-on luggage size. It's still a little wide— 17 inches when carry-on luggage usually can only be 14—but it has a better shot than most other strollers. It's rated to be IATA (International Air Transport Association) compatible, so it should fit in most overhead compartments. Bugaboo also has adapters to make this stroller work with popular infant car seats from Maxi Cosi, Graco, Cybex, and others. The Butterfly has a carry strap rather than a handle when folded, which is fine but not quite as convenient to grab—it often got stuck inside the stroller for me. You can also grab the handle but avoid the center button.

16 pounds. Comes with a rain cover.

★ Easier fold, smaller canopy: The Nuna TRVL LX ($550) also has more headspace for bigger kids like the Bugaboo Butterfly. The Nuna has a softer seat and I find the fold a little easier , but the Bugaboo offers a better canopy and is slightly more compact.

Thule Shine stroller

A City Stroller I'd Travel With

This is not a travel stroller. The Thule Shine ( 9/10, WIRED Recommends ) is a city stroller, meaning it's a little more compact than your usual everyday stroller, but still has all the capabilities of a full-size stroller. It has a toddler seat that can face both inward and outward and works with third-party car seats with adapters (sold separately).

That said, I like it for travel since it's much smaller than other traditional strollers, like the Uppababy Vista V2 or the Nuna Mixx Next, while still packing similar features. Thanks to the adjustable handlebar, it wasn't too short for my 6'3" dad, and it folds compact enough to almost pass for a travel stroller. It's super easy for city strolling thanks to its slim size and would be a fun stroller to bring on a longer trip where you'll be walking a lot. I'd happily tote it around Europe for a few weeks if I ever get the guts to take my kid on such a long flight. You'll have to check the Thule Shine and it doesn't come with a travel bag, but Thule sells one ($80) . Thule also has a rider board ($130) for older children to hop onto, letting this stroller easily transform into a double stroller. The rider board can get in the way when folding, but it's easy to remove when you aren't using it.

21.6 pounds. Comes with a rain cover.

Side view of a stroller with a black frame and pink canopy with garage doors in the background

Honorable Mentions

There are a lot of strollers out there. Here are a few more I like but aren't my top recommendations for one reason or another.

Joovy Kooper for $200 : This stroller is the cheapest I've tested, and I like that it comes with a full snack tray—something you won't find in almost any other travel stroller. It folds down flat rather than upright.

Colugo The One for $395 : This is a fine stroller with similar features to the above picks, but I like the Zoe Tour V2 better for the price, or I'd rather pay $50 more for the Nuna TRVL. That said, Colugo has great stroller accessories I've used with non-Colugo strollers.

Baby Jogger City Mini GT2 for $430 : This is another city stroller like the Thule Shine, but its nearly flat fold reminds me of a travel stroller. It comes with a car seat attachment that works with many popular car seat makers, so it's a great pick if you want something to work with a car seat right away and still has a great, lightweight fold. It has fantastic wheel suspension, similar to a jogging stroller but with much smaller wheels.

Thule Spring for $400 : This stroller reminded me of the Baby Jogger with its three-wheel design and nice suspension, but folds a lot taller and thicker. It does stand up on its own if you put the handle at a middle height, which is nice. It's touted as a compact stroller for a reason—it's not lightweight or travel-friendly like our other picks. But it still has a nice size and handling if you want something more compact for everyday use.

Two strollers upright in a folded position collapsed in front of green bushes

What to Look for in a Travel Stroller

Shopping for a stroller can be intense. They're not a small investment, and you want them to last until your kid grows out of them (usually once they hit 50 to 55 pounds). If you're trying to pick a travel stroller in a pinch, or are feeling overwhelmed by the options, here are some guidelines that can help.

  • Is there a five-point harness? Five-point harnesses are the standard for securing your baby in the stroller via the straps. Every pick we recommend above has one. This is a feature you want and should be included.
  • Do you need car seat compatibility? If you're traveling with an infant, you'll either need a bassinet mode or the ability to connect your car seat to the stroller. You can DIY a travel system by pairing any stroller with a compatible car seat. Many strollers we recommend have car seat attachments you can buy that work with popular brands, but some aren't so flexible. (Uppababy's car seats only work with its strollers.)
  • Do you want a travel pram? A travel pram or bassinet is the lie-down flat mode that allows newborns to lie on their back while you walk. It's a nice mix-up from always being in a car seat—especially since infants can't stay in a car seat for more than two hours at a time. I haven't liked most bassinet modes I've tried on travel strollers since they feel a little flimsy and not as secure as I'd want an infant to be, but we're testing more soon and will update this guide with more recommendations.
  • Are these umbrella strollers? There's a mixed category of strollers sometimes called lightweight, travel, or even umbrella strollers. Umbrella strollers are less popular and are known for their rounded umbrella-like handle. This guide focuses on more general travel strollers, but we plan to test a few of these.
  • Do you need a double stroller? If you have two kids, you might be wondering if you're screwed. You're not! If I had two kids, I'd get a stroller I can add a rider board to, like the Thule Shine (if one of my kids is old enough to ride it). If not, the Zoe Twin V2 ($530) is a double stroller version of the Tour V2, and is a great price for two kids (and can still use Zoe's infant car seat attachment).
  • Can you bring it on the plane? Many major airlines, like American Airlines and British Airways, require you to gate-check strollers, which means you can still use them at the airport, but can't put them in overhead space. Some airlines like United, Emirates, and Virgin Atlantic allow a travel stroller (often called a “collapsible stroller”) as carry-on luggage as long as it fits the size requirements of carry-on luggage, which is usually around 8 x 14 x 22 inches. None of the travel strollers I've tested so far fit into these size constraints, but the Bugaboo Butterfly and Silver Cross Jet 5 have a compact size when folded that gets closer than most (as long as you remove the Jet 5's handle, that is).

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COMMENTS

  1. 9 BEST International SIM Cards For Travel (2024 Update)

    OneSimCard Universal ($29.95) - Coverage of over 200 countries but with a more limited data service (50+) countries. OneSimCard Expedition ($34.95) - Offers much the same coverage as the OneSim Universal travel SIM but with way more data coverage. It's the choice for the explorers.

  2. 12 Best International (E)-Sim Cards for Traveling in 2024

    As promised I listed the best travel sim cards on top! In short: Best sim card for Europe: Orange Holiday Europe & Bouygues Telecom (e-sim) Best sim card for Caribbean: Knowroaming or KeepGo, Gigsky; Best sim card for North America: Orange Holiday World & Three UK or a Airalo Discover Global E-sim card; Best sim card for Central America: Three UK

  3. The 7 Best International Sim Cards in 2024

    Our Picks for the Best International Sim Cards: Best Overall: GigSky 4G LTE/3G Data SIM Card. Best for Your European Adventure: Orange Holiday Europe. Best for eSim: OneSimCard Travel. Best for Paying as You Go: Three Mobile Pay. Best for Travelers on a Budget: Ultra Mobile Trial Kit. Best for Data: Keepgo Lifetime Prepaid Data Sim Card.

  4. The Best International SIM Cards For Travel

    If you need less data and want to save a little money, check out the Orange Holiday Zen SIM and the Orange Holiday Zen eSIM —both are great all-around options for European data because you still get a solid amount of data for a reasonable price. Both plans also include worldwide calls and texts. Price: $29.90.

  5. The 6 best eSIMs for international travel in 2024

    The best eSIM services for international travel. Slice Ceramic Scissor. $30 $23 at Amazon. 25% off. Skip international roaming charges on your next trip abroad with a travel-friendly eSIM. These ...

  6. Best prepaid SIM Cards for U.S. travelers

    Mint Mobile. From $15 at Mint Mobile. Best overall. Now owned by T-Mobile, a Mint Mobile SIM is a perfect choice if you're staying in the U.S. for three months or longer, offering unlimited talk ...

  7. Best global SIM cards of 2022

    It costs approximately $6.20 per day (£5 per day) and includes unlimited data in 90 countries. This is quite an expensive option, but it could suit business users and those who travel for short ...

  8. 5 Best International SIM Cards for Travel in 2024

    Best international SIM cards. To help you choose the best international SIM card for your needs, I'm sharing the details for each of the top options below. 1. Holafly, an international SIM with unlimited data. First, Holafly is the best international data SIM card, offering unlimited data plans for most countries at a pretty affordable price ...

  9. 11 Best International SIM Cards for Travelers

    The best SIM cards for international travel will keep you connected abroad. Find affordable and reliable options to avoid expensive data and roaming fees. By using our site you agree to our use of cookies. Read our Cookie Policy for details. Choose Experience. Online Programs. How it Works Help Me ...

  10. Best Travel SIM Cards for International Mobile Data (2024)

    5 Best Travel SIM Cards for International Mobile Connection Airalo (Recommended #1: Best Travel SIM) Key Features: Data Options: Tailored plans from 1GB to 20GB. Validity: Flexible plans ranging from 7 days to 180 days. Coverage: Extensive network spanning 84 countries. Ease of Use: User-friendly app for buying and activating eSIMs.

  11. Best eSIM for international travel of 2024

    With Nomad, you can purchase one GB of data for as low as $1.30 (in Asia and the Americas). It has an incredible value proposition in North America, Asia, and Europe. However, when it comes to ...

  12. Beginner's Guide: Best Travel SIM Cards

    This beginner's guide will provide an overview of the best travel SIM cards on the market today, so you can choose one that fits your needs and budget perfectly! We'll also mention how eSIMs can help travelers, as well as how to avoid common SIM card pitfalls. So, if you're ready for a smooth and stress-free international experience, read ...

  13. How to Find the Best Sim For Travel in 2024

    Yes (Within Europe) This short-trip specialist used to be one of the best deals in the business. New competition like HolaFly's unlimited packages and OneSim's e-SIM local calling features have knocked the Orange Holiday down a few pegs. However, they're still one of the most reliable names in international SIM cards.

  14. Best prepaid SIM & eSIM cards for travelers

    Maya is a US-based mobile data provider using eSIM technology to deliver highly secure, on-demand travel SIM cards to tourists and travelers around the world. Get fast 4G/5G international roaming data and the best coverage in 194 countries with our eSIM plans for international travel. Get Maya eSim. MAYA ESIM.

  15. Complete Guide: Best eSIM For International Travel

    Here are the three top eSIM providers for international travel. Airalo: Perfect for travelers looking for short-term and long-term options worldwide. (My pick) Holafly: Great options with several unlimited plans. Nomad: Offers a variety of country and global plans, as well as unlimited data plans in some destinations.

  16. 12 Best Sim Cards for Europe in 2024

    On top of that you get unlimited calls and text within Europe and 120 international minutes to any phone number in the world. It leaves no doubt why the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM is ranked as the best e-sim for traveling to Europe in 2024. 2. Bouygues Telecom Travel Basic+ with 20 GB data - $23.90 USD.

  17. Best Europe Sim Cards for Tourists [2024]

    If you want to purchase a Europe sim card for 60 days or longer, just purchase multiple sim cards to cover your period of travel. Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

  18. The best eSIM for international travel in 2024

    Looking at Greece as an example, if you want 10 gigabytes over 30 days, Airalo costs US$25 while Nomad costs US$19. And in Thailand, for example, 10 days of unlimited data with Holafly costs US$34 while it's US$30 with Nomad. (Although, in this case, you can get a deal of 15 days unlimited with Airalo for US$20.)

  19. The Best eSIMs for international travelers in 2024

    1. Airalo Best for Truly Global Coverage. Airalo steps up as one of our go-tos for international travel, offering a range of plans that cater to short trips and extended stays too, with flexible and affordable plans.Its coverage spans over 200 countries, making it a versatile choice for nearly any destination.. We recently gave Airalo a spin on our travels to Thailand, Portugal, the Canary ...

  20. 6 Best SIM Cards for USA Travel in 2024

    ORDER KNOWROAMING ESIM. 5. AT&T SIM card, another prepaid SIM card in the USA for tourists. Yet another option is buying a local USA SIM card, such as the one from AT&T. AT&T is one of the major telecommunications companies in the U.S., offering excellent coverage, even in rural areas.

  21. Best eSIM For Europe Travel (2024)

    UPDATE (June 2024): Orange has automatically upgraded this 50GB eSIM plan to 100GB of data for all activations between June 6th and October 9th 2024. Price: $59.90 (Check SimOptions for details) Data: 50GB. Service Speed: 4G/LTE. Calls: Unlimited within Europe and 120 min outside of Europe.

  22. Best eSIMs for Europe in 2024

    Add these to your travel pack list. Airalo is a cost-effective eSIM that works in 39 European countries. It supports 5G connectivity, and you can choose a specific data plan and validity period.

  23. The Best Prepaid SIM Card Data Plans For USA Travel

    In short, if you don't want to worry about monitoring your data usage while traveling then Holafly is your best option. Prices For Unlimited Data (Check Holafly for details) 5 Days: $19. 10 Days: $34. 15 Days: $47. 20 Days: $54. 30 Days: $64.

  24. Connect Worldwide: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best eSIM for

    Travel Effortlessly: Why eSIMs are the Traveler's New Best Friend Imagine landing in the bustling heart of London or the tranquil beaches of Bali, and Imagine landing in the bustling heart of London or the tranquil beaches of Bali, and instead of scrambling for a Wi-Fi password or hunting down a local SIM card vendor, you're instantly connected.

  25. Best Netherlands SIM card for travelers in 2024

    Travel to the Netherlands with a SIM card from Vodafone, Orange, KPN, or Simyo, or get and eSIM from Holafly and stay connected! Julio Osuna. June 30, 2024. In this article ... So, rather than choosing the best prepaid SIM card for the Netherlands, we'd rather pick an eSIM for Netherlands from a carrier like Holafly, ...

  26. Review of the Best eSIM Cards for Travel in UAE

    As a digital nomad and full-time travel blogger, I'm constantly on the move visiting new destinations around the globe. Last year alone I traveled to over 60 countries! So you can imagine how many local SIM cards I've had to buy over the years. Lugging around heaps of plastic SIM cards is not only inconvenient but costly as well.

  27. The Best Travel Strollers for Your Summer Adventures

    Get best-in-class reporting that's too important to ignore for just $2.50 $1 per month for 1 year. Includes unlimited digital access and exclusive subscriber-only content.