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Home » Budget Travel » best international sim cards

9 BEST International SIM Cards for Travel (Buyer’s Guide • 2024)

SIM cards are a royal pain in the butt when travelling. Every time you land somewhere new, you have to perform the same song and dance of going out of your way to get a new sim pretty much as soon as possible.

Usually what happens is that you land in the airport and then you either get ripped off buying a SIM card there or navigate to town without any connectivity. Once you’re in town, you have to navigate a foreign city sifting through local SIM providers, various plans, and also probably getting lost along the way. It’s not the ideal way to start a vacation and I cannot even count the hours I’ve lost shopping for sims in new countries.

That’s why buying one of the best international SIM cards is THE way to go.

An International SIM card is one which will work all over the world meaning that you never have to change it again – no more messing around at the O2 Kiosk in strange airports!

Now, to set the record straight, while there are cheaper travel SIM cards in existence, they still aren’t exactly cheap. Nine times out of ten, a local SIM card is always going to be the cheaper option for budget backpackers.

Maybe you’re a digital nomad who always needs to be connected, maybe you’re a high-flying businessperson with fancy business attire who makes busy business calls while on holiday or maybe (like me) you are just sick of having to change sims.

Either way, this is the list of the best international SIM cards on the market! I’ve done all the leg-work and the research to deliver an international SIM cards review in full. So let’s get ourselves connected.

3 travel sim card

Compare The Best International SIM Cards

What is an international sim card, the best sim cards for international travellers, international data sim cards for digital nomads, social media addicts, and tinder aficionados, a quick review of each sim card, frequently asked questions about travel sim cards, should you buy an international sim card.

This isn’t the whole roundup but it is my personal pick of the best international SIM cards worth looking into, each one serving a different niche.

onesim card for travellers

  • > e-Sim and Traditional Sims available
  • > Wide and reliable coverage
  • > Low SIM-purchasing fees

mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

  • > Virtual sim – no plastic needed!
  • > Excellent range of packages
  • > Download before you leave home

3 travel sim card

TravelSim Worldwide Card

  • > Cheaper initial cost
  • > Some cheaper rates for off-beat countries
  • > No long-standing reputation

3 travel sim card

KeepGo Lifetime World SIM Card

  • > Reliable connection
  • > Prone to cutting rates
  • > Coverage could be better

3 travel sim card

Surfroam SIM Card

  • > Simple rates – no bundle packs
  • > Huge coverage
  • > Requires a PRO account for maximum coverage

3 travel sim card

Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid SIM Card

  • > Extremely reliable in Europe
  • > Easily sufficient for a two-week holiday
  • > Excludes a number of countries in Europe

International SIMs, roaming SIMs, travel SIM Cards whatever: a rose by any name can still order you a pizza when you don’t want to leave the guesthouse after all right? That’s what an international SIM card is, a SIM card that will have you hooked up from “anywhere” .

Why did you put ‘anywhere’ in quotes?

Because it’s a highly variable anywhere. “Anywhere” really means from the countries that the international SIM covers. That said, some of these travel SIM providers cover over 200 countries.

That also said, there are only 195 countries in the world so I’m not sure how they mathed those numbers out. Still unsure, have a look at our guide to local vs international SIM cards .

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So, how does an international SIM card work?

Without getting too technical, an international SIM card isn’t programmed to one specific network. It’s programmed to operate on a number of networks in a number of different geographical locations – specifically, networks using the GSM (Global Systems of Management Communications) framework.

That’s why to use your cell phone internationally with a travel SIM card it needs to be:

  • GSM-compatible (many phones are).
  • Unlocked, i.e. not tied to a provider.

Do be sure about that unlocked phone bit before you go ahead and buy a new one.

Hacker googling

Basically, global SIM cards will plug into a local network from the country you’re travelling to… Consensually, of course.

That’s why coverage so strongly varies among the many international SIMs. Some SIM cards are for worldwide use and programmed accordingly. Some SIM cards are for international roaming in certain regions like Asia, the USA, or Europe (usually, omitting a third of Europe in their coverage).

For example, you’ll need a different sim card for the USA and Canada in most cases, but in Europe you’ll more than likely be able to use the same one.

Who benefits from buying an international SIM card?

Well, like I said, not so much the longterm backpacker types . A local SIM card is pretty much always cheaper and much more practical (and reliable) for long stays in any country. Unfortunately, actual cheap international sim cards don’t exist yet.

Country-hoppers , on the other hand, may want to consider buying some sort of prepaid international SIM card. Buying local SIM cards for only 1-2 weeks of use eight times in a trip is nobody’s idea of fun, especially if you care about data usage and double especially if you care about plastic ending up in the ocean.

Businessman talking on the phone with a internationally roaming

People living the digital nomad lifestyle may also benefit from a travel SIM. Though a local SIM is much more equipped for longterm stays in a country, sometimes the options or service is crap and sometimes you’ll spend long stretches in transit which is a perfect time to crunch out a few hours. Besides, there is no rule that says you can’t have two SIMs. A prepaid international sim card might be the best option here (more about that later).

Lastly, business people or people that take frequent short trips will benefit from a SIM card for international travel. I might be stereotyping here but I kinda feel that these folk are less concerned with the costs associated. Plus, most SIM cards for overseas use tend to have 1-year validity for purchased credit, so it’s totally viable to park your SIM after a trip and then pop it back in for the next one.

Beginning the list are the top international SIM cards for traveling that do everything a SIM card should do: call, texts, and mobile data . These SIMs have some pretty major coverage globally and for most travellers in the world, are more than sufficient.

Of course, there has to be a best-of-the-best in this international sim card comparison. So first up–the best travel SIM card!

#1 The Overall Best International SIM Card – OneSim

OneSim

Ok, so what makes OneSim the best travel SIM card? It’s a fine difference between the first few candidates but OneSim edges out on top for a combination of versatility, pricing, and reliability.

First up, they offer multiple different SIM cards each catering to different travelling needs INCLUDING (but not limited to) 2 awesome e-Sim options :

  • OneSimCard e-Sim World (From $9.95) – Coverage of 150 countries with free incoming calls on EU numbers.
  • OneSimCard e-Sim Asiana (From $9.95) – Specially designed for Asia and Oceania. Data packages available.

If your phone is not yet e-Sim ready, then worry not because OneSim also offer some excellent deals on plastic sims:

  • 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.

OneSim

How OneSim Works

You’ll get a $10 bonus credit with any OneSIM roaming SIM card purchase, but once that’s gone, you’ll have to continue buying data plans. Rates vary wildly by both the choice of travel SIM card you are using and the country you’re in so you’ll need to check these rates to see if they suit you.

You’ll receive two numbers: a European (Estonian) number and a choice of one from the USA, UK, Australia, or Canada. Incoming calls on the primary European number is free in a large coverage of countries or starting from $0.25/min otherwise. Outgoing calls also start from $0.25/min (dependent on locations) and receiving texts are free.

Casual data rates start at rather hefty $0.20/MB . However, what makes this such a good prepaid international SIM card is that there is a lot of choices to lower your costs. You can buy data bundles ranging from one/two weeks to a month divided by zone or region. There are also discount plans and bundles available for call rates. This makes the OneSIM one of the best international SIM cards for data as well.

So, is it worth it?

Although not strictly the cheapest international SIM card on the market, the wealth of choices means that you can tailor your SIM card to your world travel needs and minimize costs. The added bonus is that OneSim has been kicking around for a while so they know the market well.

They provide a reliable service, as well as a bunch of neat extras, to keep their clients happy chappies. If you’re looking for the best sim card for international travel, OneSIM is definitely one you should consider getting.

#2 Best Global eSim Provider – Holafly

HolaFly eSIm

If you have a modern phone (iPhone 11 , Samsung Galaxy S21, etc or above) it will probably be eSim compatible. This means that you don’t actually need a plastic SIM card but can simply download an eSim via HolaFly the same way you would download an app.

When I first heard of eSim about one year ago, it was something of a niche product simply because most travellers were using phones and devices that were not eSim compatible. However that is changing fast and by 2024, an estimated 80% of travlers will use eSim. The eSim marketplace is a very exciting one and the providers are contently innovating to come up with some new, better, cheaper packages – according to our research, HolaFly are currently leading the pack.

The HolaFly App is easy to use

How HolaFly Works

Firstly, do note that at this time HolaFly don’t offer a single International Sim Card that covers the entire world. However the beauty of using HolaFly is that once the app is downloaded onto your phone, it is incredibly simple to log into it and select a package for the destination you need.

Furthermore, HolaFly do currently offer an easy-to-use and competitively priced Europe package that covers the entire continent (more or less). Hopefully they will soon offer a similar product for South America and Southeast Asia too.

Simply download the HolaFly app onto your device and then you can use it to browse and compare eSim packages from well over 100 countries. HolaFly also offer data sharing capabilities in some destinations, which is very handy for couples traveling together.

So, Is It Worth It?

The packages available via HolaFly are not the cheapest and you may end up paying a bit more than you would with a plastic sim. Unless of course you use our exclusive THEBROKEBACKPACKER coupon code and bag yourself some savings.

Overall though, in terms of sheer convenience yes HolaFly is worth it – you you can browse for and install an eSim from the comfort your device and get it ready to use before you even leave home which saves a whole lotta hassle. That said, the one I tried in India last year did not work too well.

View on HolaFly

#3 A Cheaper International SIM Card – TravelSim

TravelSim

TravelSim gets a tentative recommendation. It doesn’t quite have the lofty reputation of OneSim, but it does work out pretty well as a cheap(ish) international SIM card. Also, I like that there isn’t a whole range of SIMs to slog through and instead its just one choice, plain and simple.

How TravelSim Works

The initial fee for TravelSim’s universal SIM card is $10 ; already cheaper. You get coverage in 170+ countries with free incoming calls to more than 135 of them.

Much like OneSim, you can buy credit for a pay-as-you-go international SIM card setup, but the rates will be worse. For better rates, you’re better off purchasing one of their zonal/regional bundles .

TravelSim edges out the competition in this regard. A number of their bundles for Zone B countries (off-beat travel destinations) are cheaper than the competition. Not massively so, but enough to make some solid savings in the long run. Outside of that, their rates tend to stand pretty toe-to-toe with OneSim.

It’s a cheap international travel SIM card overall given the lower purchase price. Furthermore, for those that enjoy the adventures in lesser-explored places in the world but still need to stay connected, TravelSim may be the better choice of SIM card for overseas use. The coverage isn’t quite as wide as some other competitors, but the extra savings are nice.

Oh, and as an added bonus, they have a Vietnam-specific bundle that’s really good! I don’t know why – it’s a bit weird – but I suppose that also makes this the best international SIM card for travelling to Vietnam !

#4 Best SIM Card for Travelling Specific Regions – GoSim

GoSim

GoSim, much like OneSim, provides a selection of different international SIM cards for travel to allow you to be a bit more selective with your rates. The difference is that GoSim divides this up more zonally and they all cost the same – $13 .

GoSims travel SIM cards include:

  • International SIM Card
  • Europe SIM Card
  • USA SIM Card
  • Asia SIM Card

You can expect some added bonuses and cheaper rates on their region-specific SIMs, but let’s break down their international SIM card… because this is a ‘best international SIM cards’ guide.

How GoSim Works

With the GoSim International SIM card, you get coverage in over 210 countries (again, there are only 195 in the world, but maybe they know more than us…) with free incoming calls in more than 135. The casual rates, again, don’t differ much from OneSim. The coverage for data services is comparable to OneSim’s Expedition card.

So how do the data bundles stack up? Well, they’re more expensive across the board… damn.

GoSim doesn’t excel past the other options of sim cards on this list. In fact, insofar, it is the most expensive entry on this list, at least in regards to data bundles. If you’re looking for the best international SIM card for data, this might not be the one.

However, while their international card doesn’t really stand out as the best travel SIM card on the market, it is worth taking a look at their region-specific roaming SIMs. If you’re traveling to a specific country or area, these SIMs come with some nice extra perks.

I mean, hell, the Asia Travel SIM Card even advertises being able to bypass the Great Firewall of China. If that’s true, then this it’s definitely the best SIM card for travelling to China . Probably for citizens of China too…

#5 A Worldwide SIM Card – WorldSIM

WorldSIM

WorldSIM gets a mention on this list because it’s another puller in the market with some comparatively awesome rates. It’s also got some really weirdly expensive outlying rates. As such, we certainly don’t feel like it’s a fit for the best SIM card for international roaming.

How WorldSim Works

The WorldSIM international SIM card has no purchasing fee- woo! Now, before you get too excited, it does require a top-up of credit at purchase.

That means that you’re paying a minimum of $33.75 plus shipping . For $67.50 of credit, shipping is free.

The casual rates for outgoing calls, texts, and data usage are the cheapest I’ve found so far with data coverage extending to countries missed out on by OneSim. Except, a lot of the rates in various countries for incoming calls are shockingly high.

As for the data bundles? No idea. Their website isn’t working for that page and is just stuck in an infinitely loading loop.

Our gut says no. But, you do you. You shouldn’t base your decisions on buying an international SIM card on the gut instincts of a stranger online. All the same though, our gut says no.

Between the mildly bait-and-switch-y “$0” SIM purchasing fee, the janky and unwieldy website, and the weird incoming call rates that could potentially trap an unwitting consumer, WorldSIM in review doesn’t feel like an international SIM card worth purchasing, especially in comparison to other choices on the market.

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These are the best international  data SIM cards for those of us that scoot by without the extras.

#1 Best Data SIM Card for International Travel – KeepGo

KeepGo

KeepGo offers a prepaid international data SIM card that, while not the cheapest, comes out on top in terms of reliability. To reiterate, this is a data-only travel SIM card but in the world of WhatsApp, Messenger, and a million-billion other services, an international data plan is more than sufficient to keep you covered in your travels.

Coverage is decent for the KeepGo World SIM. More than a hundred countries ( here’s the list of coverage ) with locations throughout Asia, the Americas, the Middle East, Europe, and others. However, coverage for less-frequented locations (Africa is largely absent) is weak so this may not be the best SIM for international travel for those who prefer their destinations rugged and untamed.

KeepGo advertises unthrottled 4G connections but this is only applicable in countries where 4G is available.

How it Works

The KeepGo worldwide SIM card costs $49 to purchase and comes with 2 GB of data loaded . The data has a “lifetime validity” provided that you top up at least once a year. That’s still pretty good all things considered.

Data can be topped up with a number of plans ranging from 100 MB up to a slammin’ 25 GB ! The prices of data top-ups are:

  • 100 MB – $3
  • 1 GB – $24
  • 3 GB – $58
  • 5 GB – $79
  • 10 GB – $155
  • 25 GB – $250

While this isn’t the cheapest international data SIM card, it is the best for the purpose of getting connected on the road. Reliability and speed is strong in a large array of destinations and, depending on your usage, that 10 GB data pack could keep you set for awhile if you have access to wifi. We’d consider this one of the best pre paid international sim cards on the market.

#2 A Simple Data SIM Card for Worldwide Travel – Surfroam

Surfroam

Yay! No prepaid data packages, no contractual mumbo-jumbo, no running out of data right when you settle in for a long Netflix and poop session: Surfroam keeps it Pura Vida!

It’s data-only with coverage of 200+ countries – even Afghanistan and Yemen are covered! So, what’s the go?

Essentially, you pay €45 for the physical SIM card (which includes €25 credit) and then top-up as you go with pack options starting at €25 . You’re charged a pay-as-you-go rate per megabyte starting as low as €0.01/MB . So that’s way cheaper than the KeepGo data roaming sim card, right? Not quite…

Rates vary substantially by country so while this going to be a cheaper option across, say, Europe, it may not necessarily pan out that way in other places. That said, prices are still pretty cheap for most places and tend to beat out KeepGo.

As a final note, there is an eSIM (€30) available with the same data rates.

Ok, so ‘simple’ might be stretching it upon reflection, however, once you’re away, its streams ablaze! If you’re jet-setting and changing countries a lot, you will need to stay keyed in as to the rates .

Otherwise, the coverage significantly beats out KeepGo, and in many cases, Surfroam will end up being the cheapest international data SIM card you can purchase. It’s the simplest choice for staying connected pretty much anywhere in the world.

#3 The Cheap but Restrictive International Data SIM Card  – GigSky

GigSky

To be perfectly honest, trying to decode the GigSky international SIM card data plans does our head in which doesn’t bode well for its recommendation. It does, however, seemingly come out cheaper than KeepGo in a number of circumstances.

Based on their site, the GigSky data SIM card for world travel works for unlocked phones and devices that have eSIM support. This includes:

  • The iPhone XS and above
  • Apple iPad Cellular
  • Google Pixel 3 and above

There is also support for a number of further devices including those running Android 10.

To utilise GigSky’s service, you’ll need to buy the international SIM card for $9.99 . After the SIM is installed in your phone, you’ll need to download the GigSky app to set the SIM up for use.

Plans are purchased separately and divided amongst country-specific, region-specific (eg. North America, Europe, Asia Pacific), and global plans allowing you to tailor your international SIM card plan to your travels.

Prices vary by locale but noticeably come out cheaper than KeepGo throughout most scenarios.

Notably, a lot of regional data plans can net you 5 GB for 30 days for just $50 while global plans will give you 3 GB of data for 30 days for $60 .

If you meet the device requirements, this a comparatively cheap SIM card for data. However, coverage of countries is nowhere near that of Surfroam, it only offers data packages (no local calls), and the restrictions may not work for everyone and all device types.

Overall, it doesn’t get a strong recommendation considering the difficulty I had deciphering their site and exact terms, but it is worth scoping out for anyone looking for a cheaper option for an international data roaming SIM. Personally, I prefer the GigSky eSIM for ease of use.

#4 The Best International SIM Card for Europe – Orange Holiday Europe

Orange Holiday Zen/Europe

Are you just doing a little banger holiday in Europe and need a physical SIM card for your travels? Orange has got you covered. Specifically:

  • Orange Holiday Europe SIM Card
  • Orange Holiday Zen SIM Card

The Orange Holiday Zen is for light usage or a short trip. It’s a straight prepaid SIM card for travellers in Europe and it couldn’t be simpler.

For $27.29 , you get 8 GB of data, 30 minutes of calls worldwide, 200 texts, all lasting for 14 days before it expires. The Holiday Zen covers 30 countries in Europe including all the heavy-hitters, but it certainly doesn’t cover all of Europe (my boy Serbia – forever underrepresented). Still, this makes it one of the best European SIM Cards for travellers.

The Orange Holiday Europe takes all of that and just upgrades it: 20 GB in data, 120 minutes, and 1000 texts for $44 . The same coverage of countries applies and it’s a 14-day expiry again.

Orange also partners with a bunch of networks around the world- even offering an Israeli sim card called partner. If you take a look around their website, you can find more far-flung networks than you expected!

Both cards are able to be topped up online for more credit.

Yeah, so I wouldn’t call ‘30 countries in Europe’ an internationally roaming SIM card, but it is a super simple choice for anyone just travelling to Europe for a holiday. It’ll keep you safe in an emergency thanks to that fact that it’s not a data only service. PLus: you’ll have a SIM ready from the moment you land!

Orange is a pretty major provider in France so you’ll have a consistent connection. There’s no constant checking of rates calculators either. It’s just a perfectly simple prepaid SIM card for any travellers heading to Europe.

Y’all want more? Another option to look at is getting an Airalo eSim instead.

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Some commonly asked questions about the world’s best travel SIM cards…

How do I activate my international SIM card?

Each international SIM comes with detailed instructions on how to set up and load your SIM. It’s always a good idea to get things set up before you leave home to avoid any mishaps.

What does international SIM mean?

An international SIM is a type of SIM card that will allow you to use your phone internationally by connecting to global carriers. Some of these SIMs will allow you to make calls as you normally would, while others only offer data plans.

What is the best SIM card for international travel?

Some of the best SIMs for international travel include OneSim , Nomad , KeepGo , and TravelSim .

Do international SIM cards expire?

Most of the SIMs on this list require you to recharge at least once a year, but in doing so all your data will remain usable.

will hatton working with a business partner

That depends on how you travel. If you’re adept at buying prepaid SIM cards locally when you hit the ground, then I wouldn’t worry.

However, for the people that an international SIM card suits the travelling style and needs of, then yes, definitely. I think if you’re that person, then you probably already know that you’re that person.

People looking for the all-round ol’ reliable, OneSim is the go-to choice of travel SIM cards. For those who want the best data SIM card they can use overseas, that choice is KeepGo .

Skip the lines and skip the painful errand days in a foreign city. Buy one of the best international SIM cards you can and have yourself connected before you even touchdown on the landing.

Want another kind of sim card? Check out the revolutionary new Nomad e-sim , an app-based sim card covering over 100 countries that can be organised before you leave home! If that’s not enough, there’s another new service from HolaFly which offers similar coverage and deals so check them both out and see which fits your needs best.

Maxwell Smart calls Agent 99 with a roaming SIM card installed in his shoe

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Ziggy Samuels

Ziggy Samuels

International Sim Cards Pinterest Image

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3 travel sim card

I think eSIMS are the future gamechanger here. You can download a digital SIM to your phone which has eSIM support.

I use a second phone to provide data to my main phone via bluetooth internet sharing. Wifi sharing can be used as well but bluetooth uses less power. On my main phone I leave the mobile data turned off and use the paired second phone for data. This allows me to use my main phone for Whatsapp, iMessage, email, etc.

10/10 review – exactly the type of info I was after. Plus, I liked your no BS style of writing. Thanks.

Thanks! Very useful! My main concern is regarding how long do the sim cards remain active if you are not buying credit regularly. I usually travel at least once or twice to congresses per year, but I wonder if some of these cards would stop working after a long time inactive. Is that information available for the cards discussed here? Cheers!

Heya, absolutely you can find that info! It’ll be in the terms and conditions/fine print for individual cards/plans. I’d like to say most last at least a year (which always seemed standard for SIM cards in general), but defs check that before you go buying any SIMs. Good question though!

You guys should definitely include DENT, a block chain based international E-Sim card, that offers flexibel data exchange. You can sell your unused data and always find the cheapest offer worldwide and cross boarder operational. Can’t be missed from this list!

Dude – hectic! I’m defs not about to go and update this article, but I looked and DENT seems pretty legit and totally worth the investigation. Anyone reading these comments, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not scoping them out at least! 😀

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

Make sure your phone speaks the right language.

At a glance

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

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 FAQ

When you're preparing for a big trip, the last thing you want to worry about is finding the best prepaid SIM card so you can stay in touch with folks at home. Luckily, we've done the heavy lifting so you can spend less time picking out a SIM card and more time packing. 

As long as your Android phone is unlocked for international use 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 simple. 

Keep reading for all of 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. 

Mint Mobile Logo

From $15 at Mint Mobile

Soon to be 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, with unlimited talk/text, a mobile hotspot, and more. 

Read more below.

Ultra Mobile logo

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 free Wi-Fi calling.

Read more below.  

Lycamobile logo

From $15 at Lycamobile

If the ability to call abroad is your main focus, all Lycamobile plans come with unlimited talk and text to over 85 countries and a variety of data options.

AT&T logo

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 over 230 countries for free.

T-Mobile logo

From $40 at T-Mobile

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

Cricket Logo

From $35 at Cricket Wireless

If you only need data on 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 one of the best MVNO carriers today and uses T-Mobile's 4G LTE and 5G network, making it a great 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 , Mint's 5G connection is strong, and its phone compatibility is one of the best in the country.

With Mint, you need to purchase at least three months of service upfront. After that, the best deals are offered when you sign up for six months or 12. For three months on the unlimited plan, you'll pay $90 and get 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 to call your friends such as WhatsApp or Line, 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 especially easy if your phone is eligible for an eSIM since you can then activate the SIM straight from your phone and later continue your 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 an MVNO on 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. Though Ultra Mobile 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.

This is a more traditional SIM and after 30 days, the plan will expire, making it great for users who just wanted simple talk and text to a wide range of destinations and don't need a lot of data on their travels. For $19 with the SIM kit included, you'll get unlimited talk and text to over 90 countries worldwide, plus free Wi-Fi calling and up to 4GB of 5G/LTE data, meaning you should have no issue reaching 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 on 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.

Lycamobile offers several plans to pick from and really caters to those who need unlimited nationwide talk and text and international calling and texting to 85+ countries. Each plan includes these features at no additional charge, making this the perfect plan if you're someone who wants to be able to call abroad whenever you want.

When it comes to data, you have multiple options starting at just 250MB and going up to 60GB. The cheapest 250MB plan costs $15, while the top unlimited data plan costs $59. The 2GB plan is only available to new customers so if you're already signed up, this plan will come with 1GB of data. 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'll also find Lycamobile SIM cards in several retailers, including 7-Eleven, pharmacies, local convenience stores, etc. When in doubt, 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 great coverage, AT&T is also an excellent carrier to consider getting a SIM card from when visiting the U.S. and 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 (plus taxes and fees), AT&T Prepaid will get you 5GB of high-speed data, which is then throttled to 128Kbps. As always, you should check your device's compatibility with AT&T online before signing up.

On this plan, you're able to use your mobile hotspot, and you can text to more than 230 countries. You'll also be able to talk, text, and use data in Mexico and Canada (though data speeds may be slow). And if you think you'll need more than 5GB of data, you can always upgrade to a 15GB prepaid plan for $40, 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 option that will suit most travelers and tourists needs when visiting the U.S. Because T-Mobile's network has improved vastly over the past few years and its 5G network has 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.

There are four T-Mobile prepaid plans from which to choose, though the ideal plan for most visitors will be T-Mobile's 10GB prepaid plan for $40 per month. This plan includes unlimited domestic talk and text, up to 10GB of high-speed data, free mobile hotspot data, and a music unlimited feature so that any music you stream won't eat up your data. If you want to add international calling, you can do so for $15 extra, 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.

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 on AT&T's network. For $35, you'll get 20GB to use during the month, or for $55, you'll get 100GB.

Again, this plan doesn't come with any minutes, so you'll have to be sure you're fine using apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Skype to connect with family or friends. 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 will be spending lots of time on the road and wants to be able to stream, download, and do some high-speed browsing.

You can get a Cricket SIM card by going into a Cricket Wireless authorized retailer, which you can locate with Cricket's online store locator. Other popular retailers such as Amazon, Target, Best Buy, and Walmart will 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 Cricket'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 on T-Mobile or AT&T's network while visiting the U.S., and the right fit for you depends 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, the Ultra Mobile 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 is 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 directions and means 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, PayPay, 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.

  • MVNO deals: Mint Mobile | Visible | Boost | Tello | Cricket

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Patrick Farmer

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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Find your SIM Card number on the back of the product package or if you no longer have the product package, you can also find the SIM Card phone number from the plastic card .

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Savvy Travellers Choose Travelsim for Peace of Mind, 4G Speed, and to Save up to  85% on International Roaming Charges

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Stay connected with a single eSIM in 100+ countries

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NEW! eSIMs with unlimited data plan for Europe or USA

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  • Works in  over 135+ countries , with a single card & phone number. (And get your card FAST with express delivery).
  • Better coverage – wherever you are – because we use over 300 networks all around the world to keep you connected.
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If you change your mind or can’t use our service, we will issue you a refund to the last penny on all unused services from 14 days of purchase.

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TravelSim has more than 4.5 million users worldwide and covers 135+ countries, here’s why...

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It’s prepaid, so you’re in control of the costs.

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Has data, so you can use the internet, emails, etc.

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Incoming calls cost you nothing in many countries

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Incoming messages cost you nothing.

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Customer support—so we are there if you need help (but we doubt you will).

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PrePaid Europe (UK THREE) sim card 12GB data+3000 minutes+3000 texts for 30 days with FREE ROAMING / USE in 71 destinations including all European countries

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PrePaid Europe (UK THREE) sim card 12GB data+3000 minutes+3000 texts for 30 days with FREE ROAMING / USE in 71 destinations including all European countries

Purchase options and add-ons, about this item.

  • 12GB data to use in 71 destinations, 3000 voice mins and 3000 texts can ONLY be used to call UK numbers, AND European numbers WHILST you are in Europe.
  • Covers Europe inc UK, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, USA, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and more.....
  • Use in a phone only. No tethering, personal hotspot or video streaming allowed.
  • Easy activation, No personal ID required for registration , Plug and go. Ideal for the European Travelers.
  • Trio SIM suitable for all cell phones. Can be recharged for more data.

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Very useful in any Europe travel

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Unbox PrePaid Europe sim card 12GB data

Product information, warranty & support, product description.

What do you get: 1. A trio size (nano/micro/std) SIM which will fit all phones, make sure your device is GSM unlocked either 3G or 4G compatible. 2. A Prepaid bundle of 12GB data, 3000 voice mins, 3000 texts for 30 days use How to activate: 1. Simply insert SIM into your unlocked phone, make sure you enable roaming in settings. 2. Wait for the signal, accept Three UK setting messages, then you are all set to go. 3. Test it in the US before your travel Check Balance: Call 333 from your handset and choose option 3 Countries where you can use: Azores,Australia,Austria,Balearic islands, Belgium,Brazil,Bulgaria,Canary Islands,Channel Islands,Chile,Colombia,Costa Rica,Croatia,Cyprus,CzechRepublic,Denmark,El Salvador,Estonia,Finland,France,French Guiana,French West Indies,Germany,Gibraltar,Greece,Guadeloupe,Guatemala,Guernsey,Hungary,Hong Kong,Iceland,Indonesia,Isle of Man,Israel,Italy,Jersey,Latvia,Liechtenstein,Lithuania,Luxembourg,Macau,Madeira,Malta,Martinique,Netherlands,New Zealand,Nicaragua,Norway,Panama,Peru,Poland,Portugal,Puerto Rico,Republic of Ireland,Reunion,Romania,Saint Barthelemy,Saint Martin,SanMarino,Singapore,Slovakia,Slovenia,Spain,Sri Lanka,Sweden,Switzerland,Uruguay,USA,US Virgin Islands,Vatican City,Vietnam Any restrictions: 1. Use in a phone only 2. No tethering, personal hot spots. No video streaming 3. 4G signal is available dependent on geographical locations, see Three website for further information 4. Please note you cannot use the 3000 mins/ texts to call or text US numbers. In order to do this, you would need to add credit to the account by purchasing a top up voucher. Calls to USA costs 3p per minute. 5. Top up vouchers are available from third party online resellers, whilst Three UK only offer this, if you hold an UK credit / debit card Three UK customer services: From your Three phone dial 333, From abroad +44 7782 333 333

Customer reviews

Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them.

To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzed reviews to verify trustworthiness.

Customers say

Customers like the ease of use of the wireless accessory. For example, they mention it's super easy to set up and get going, with clear and easy-to-follow instructions. That said, some complain about the quality and international calling. Opinions are mixed on performance, value, connectivity, data, and speed.

AI-generated from the text of customer reviews

Customers find the wireless accessory easy to set up and use. They mention the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The installation of the card into the phone was simple, and the activation process was smooth. Customers also say that tech support is easily available to answer any questions.

"... It went smoothly , they loaded the funds before the 24 hours was up and I “purchased” the pre-paid plan for that value..." Read more

"...Pros: good value, sometimes works, comes quickly in the mail, simple to install , good service when working..." Read more

"...Overall--it works, but it has some issues and takes some patience ...." Read more

"I used it in Germany, Austria and UK. It is easy to use . Just you have to put in the SIM card into your phone." Read more

Customers are mixed about the performance of the wireless accessory. Some mention that it worked well for their recent Europe trip in all 4 countries they went to, while others say that it didn't work when arriving in the UK.

"...TLDR: worked great , would buy again!" Read more

"...Look -- what really frosts me is not that the SIM card didn't work , though that's bad enough, but that despite in-person customer support, they..." Read more

"... Cell service seemed to work , but no data available...." Read more

"This sim card worked reliably on my recent trip to the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy,..." Read more

Customers are mixed about the value of the wireless accessory. Some mention that it's good value, works well, and has cheap rates. However, others say that it was a waste of time and money.

"...Pros: good value , sometimes works, comes quickly in the mail, simple to install, good service when working..." Read more

"...is legitimately from the 3 Phone network but it essentially ships with no value in it and the 24 hour period the instructions tell you to wait for..." Read more

"...Summary - I got what I needed and it is a GREAT VALUE ...." Read more

"...but this card was trash and that's where it's going." Read more

Customers are mixed about the connectivity of the wireless accessory. Some mention that they have never had any sort of connection issues, while others say that they no longer got any data connectivity. The connection can get weak and delay responses.

"...However, when we traveled through Andorra, and I no longer got any data connectivity . Cell service seemed to work, but no data available...." Read more

"...Buyer beware of this one. Once the data was added, I had no issues with the reception , which is why this is not a one star review." Read more

"...French networks, get what appears to be full signal, but have no data access (on a 12GB plan activated 4-ish hours earlier)...." Read more

"...It worked great for me, internet was reliable and fast and automatically switched carriers when I travelled to Belgium from NL...." Read more

Customers are mixed about the data. Some mention that it comes with plenty of data, while others say that it only has a small amount of data.

"...Cell service seemed to work, but no data available ...." Read more

"...IF you need to call Three Support, the holder has important information ..." Read more

"...realize is that regardless of the SIM card size you buy, you can only roam with 12 GB and can only use the remainder in the UK...." Read more

"...TLDR - register SIMs prior to travel, initial data allowance is provisional - email the company to get your actual data package, if you outside UK it..." Read more

Customers are mixed about the speed of the wireless accessory. Some mention that the data speeds are plenty fast for web access, GPS, and photo taking, while others say that it's slower than expected and 3G is too slow to effectively use Google Waze.

"...I'll mention later, but it provided excellent coverage and reasonable speed throughout Spain and Southern France...." Read more

"...Get a few advisory texts about roaming costs, and service is spotty on the RER into the city, but that's not really where I need service...." Read more

"...My last thought is that the data rate was pretty good in Denmark and Sweden and Germany and not good at all in the Czech republic...." Read more

"...NO STREAMING VIDEO on 3G networks. 3G is too slow to effectively use Google Waze.Summary - I got what I needed and it is a GREAT VALUE...." Read more

Customers are dissatisfied with the quality of the wireless accessory. They mention that the SIM cards stopped working, had faulty parts, and were unusable for two days. Some say that the product has a batch of faulty SIM cards and that they're the third such customer.

"...The woman behind the counter tells me that they've had a batch of faulty SIM cards and that I'm the third such person to come in that day..." Read more

"...Within an hour of ending just an hour-long call, the sim card was deactivated ...." Read more

"...The sim card worked for first few hours, then mysteriously stopped ...." Read more

"...for Google Maps, Google Translate, Uber, etc... we found it very useful to have and had I known it was going to work so well I'd have bought 2...." Read more

Customers are dissatisfied with the international calling capabilities of the wireless accessory. They mention that they are unable to make or receive calls or texts to outside the UK. They also say that they have never been able to call any US numbers while on US networks or European. Additionally, they mention that the voice call does not work in the US and that they can't send text messages to one person.

"...texts and calls from a mate in the UK, but I still was not able to call or send texts - so don't let that lead you to believe it's all working as it..." Read more

"...11. This will not call to the states from Europe . So, make sure you have a way to call loved ones such as WhatsApp...." Read more

"...each time I'd receive a welcome message and still could not use the phone to call out (I could receive calls though)...." Read more

"...I CAN CALL non-UK numbers using SKYPE, Google Voice, Talkatone, etc.6) SAVE the data card holder that you punched the SIM card out of...." Read more

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Best global SIM cards of 2022

Access worldwide calls, texts, and data

Best global SIM

Everyone likes to be able to use their smartphone when they travel internationally, but it’s too easy to rack up a large roaming bill if you’re not careful. Fortunately, you can usually cut costs by purchasing a local SIM card in the country that you’re visiting.

1. Knowroaming

2. flexiroam x, 4. worldsim, 5. travelsim.

This is usually the cheapest option, but if you’re visiting numerous countries in a short space of time, a global SIM might be more suitable. In general, global SIMs work worldwide, allowing you to text, call, and browse the internet from wherever you are.

We’ve put together the following list of the best global SIM cards currently available. Included are affordable options for international calls and texts, as well as a few data-heavy choices.

  • Want your company or services to be considered for this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to [email protected] with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line.
  • We've featured the best SIM-only deals .

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Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid.

Knowroaming offers a selection of international SIM options for travelers in different parts of the world. For starters, you can purchase a SIM sticker ($14.99) that attaches to your current SIM card, effectively transforming it from a local to an international card.

Alternatively, a physical SIM ($9.99) is available. This can be recharged with credit or specific pre-paid plans. Knowroaming also offers an innovative QR code eSIM that can be used to connect to different mobile networks across the world.

Prices vary according to your location and the type of service you want. Global data plans start from $3.99 per day or $9.99 per three days. Alternatively, purchase a Global 5GB data plan for $99.99. A 5GB data plan confined to Europe, Asia, or the USA costs $39.99.

On the other hand, voice and text service is only available on a pay-as-you-go basis. Rates vary by location but generally range from $0.10 to $0.30 per SMS, $0.10 to $0.50 per MB of data, and $0.10 to $1.00 per minute of calling.

Flexiroam X

Flexiroam X offers a range of local and global SIM options for travelers around the world. Its global plans are on the expensive side, but the long-term data plans with up to 360 days’ validity are great value for the money.

Both physical and eSIM cards are available, providing flexibility for those who want to keep their local SIM as well. Data roaming is available in over 140 countries, and any unused data will be rolled over when you recharge.

Unfortunately, Flexiroam X is a data-only service. Voice and text services aren’t available, which could frustrate some people.

Three

UK-based Three mobile offers an impressive suite of options for international travelers. For starters, all Three users with an advanced plan will benefit from free data roaming and free calls/texts to the UK. Prices vary significantly by plan.

Alternatively, those who need a large amount of data will benefit from Three’s Data Passport. 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 lengths of time.

WorldSIM

WorldSIM is a global SIM card specialist that supports 200 countries across the world. When you order a free SIM card, it will come triple punched to fit micro, nano, and standard card slots. Delivery is free with an initial credit purchase of $65 or more.

On top of this, your WorldSIM card includes free USA and UK numbers. If required, you can pay an additional fee for a number from any of the 50 supported countries. Prices for data, calls, and texts vary by country. In general, though, these are quite affordable compared to those of many other international SIM services. Data-only bundles are also available in most countries, with prices starting from just $0.005 per MB.

TravelSIM

TravelSIM has become a favorite among business travelers across the world. It offers international roaming in over 170 countries and boasts more than 4.5 million worldwide users. Even better, TravelSIM allows you to receive calls and texts for free from anywhere in the world.

Both physical and eSIM cards are available, providing flexibility for travelers of all demographics. Unfortunately, TravelSIM’s rates are extremely variable between countries. It’s important to check the prices for your destination before you travel, to ensure that you’re not paying a small fortune for your phone use.

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Daniel Blechynden

Daniel is a freelance copywriter with over six years experience writing for publications such as TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, and Hosting Review. He specializes in B2B and B2C tech and finance, with a particular focus on VoIP, website building, web hosting, and other related fields.

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USA prepaid travel SIM card  (Data, Calls & SMS plans)

USA prepaid travel SIM card (Data, Calls & SMS plans)

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South Africa prepaid travel SIM card

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United Kingdom prepaid travel SIM card

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North America prepaid travel SIM card

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Costa Rica Prepaid travel SIM Card

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Why travSIM?

Experience staying connected while traveling abroad with our international travel SIM cards for students, business executives, group travelers, teams, seafarers & families

  • Prepaid SIM cards that offer effective cost control
  • Save 90% on roaming with our cheap travel SIM cards
  • Multi-lingual customer support team
  • Wide range of global SIM cards from 150 + countries
  • Group discounts for SIM purchases ranging from 5-15%
  • Online activation of all global travel SIM cards

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Travel SIM Features

  • Fast worldwide shipping for all travel SIM cards (2-5 in EU & 3-10 days outside EU)
  • Free shipping on all tourist SIM card purchases to any international destination
  • Unlimited travel data SIM cards for select countries with 3/4G speeds
  • SIM cards compatible with iPhone's, iPads, tablets, routers & smartphones
  • National voice minutes & SMS's with every prepaid international SIM card

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an international travel sim card, what are the benefits of prepaid travel sim card, do i get a local number with an international travel sim card, what is the best international travel sim card, how do i get or buy an international tourist sim card online, how do i activate a travel sim card, how do i recharge or top-up a travel sim card, can a tourist get a sim card before leaving their home country, how does a prepaid travel sim card work, why do i need a tourist sim card when traveling internationally, what is a tourist sim card.

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Attention, Travelers: Now Is the Best Time to Switch to eSIM

The digital version of the SIM card, included on many newer phones, is set to become prevalent. It also offers affordable cellular data abroad.

3 travel sim card

By Brian X. Chen

Brian X. Chen is The Times’s lead consumer technology writer and the author of Tech Fix , a column about the social implications of the tech we use.

As vacation season looms, now is as good a time as ever to bite the bullet and become familiar with a smartphone feature that many of us have ignored for years: the eSIM, the digital version of the SIM card that carries your phone number.

Among many benefits, eSIM technology is a boon for travelers, and pretty soon we will all be using it because the physical SIM card will be no more. Let me explain.

Last year, Apple eliminated the SIM card tray from the iPhone 14 to free up space. That means the SIM card, which acts as a key that connects your phone with cellular networks, is being phased out for Apple phones.

Where Apple leads, others typically follow, so you can expect handset makers like Samsung and Google to also go all-in on eSIM — a digitized SIM card embedded into the phone’s computer chip that you can activate with any cellular network’s service plan.

“Whether we like it or not, it’s coming,” Roger Entner, a telecom expert and founder of the research firm Recon Analytics, said about eSIM technology.

But this move isn’t really all about Apple. The Federal Communications Commission also favors eSIM technology , because it makes it easier for people to switch to a different carrier by using software instead of going to a store for a physical SIM card. And the technology has security benefits: If your phone is stolen, thieves can’t remove an eSIM to hijack your phone number and commit identity theft, as they could with a physical SIM card.

Most important, the experience of using eSIM data plans for travel has greatly improved. About five years ago, eSIM data plans for international roaming were overpriced, and cell service was sometimes unreliable. But in the last year, I’ve tested a few eSIM services when I left the country and found them to be cost-effective and zippy.

As is always the case with new technology, there are downsides. Activating a data plan on a foreign network with an eSIM is not as straightforward as sticking a different SIM card into your phone. The process is especially challenging for those who are less familiar with technology, putting the onus on more tech savvy companions to help them make the switch.

There are also privacy concerns. Many eSIM service providers offer apps that collect your data for tracking purposes.

You can use my experience as a template for navigating the inevitable transition to eSIM. Recently, I tried eSIM data plans when traveling with several members of my family and acted as their tech sherpa through the switch.

Step 1: Pick an eSIM

The main reason to use eSIM services for travel is to save money. The big U.S. carriers, like AT&T and Verizon, offer international roaming options, including $10 day passes for using your phone in foreign countries. The costs quickly add up for a two-week trip with family.

In contrast, an eSIM data package that can be used for the entirety of your trip costs a few dollars. The tricky part is choosing an eSIM service provider because there are many, and most are unfamiliar brands like Airalo, GigSky and Flexiroam. (Apple provides a list of eSIM service providers on its website.)

For a recent weeklong trip to Montreal, I researched travel blogs and picked Nomad , which offered a gigabyte of data that could be used for seven days in Canada for $7. I had the option to activate the plan with Nomad’s app or by following setup instructions on the company’s website. The app had high reviews in the App Store, so I clicked the download button.

Step 2: Activate the eSIM Service

A nice thing about eSIM is that you can buy a plan and set up the service on your phone well in advance of a trip, then activate it when you arrive at your destination. After you buy a plan, the eSIM service provider sends you a list of instructions.

The Nomad app showed a list of steps. In the iPhone’s settings app, I clicked on the cellular menu, clicked “Add eSIM” and typed in an activation code. As I crossed the border into Canada, I went back into the cellular settings, selected the Nomad phone line and toggled on the option for “Turn on this line.”

(If you still use a physical SIM card for your domestic phone line, you need not remove it. In the phone’s cellular settings, you just switch off the service for your primary line to avoid roaming charges.)

After I picked this eSIM plan, I shared the Nomad app with my wife and brother-in-law, who each followed the instructions to set it up by themselves. I didn’t know how to advise my mother-in-law, who never downloads apps, how to set up the plan, so I did it for her.

Herein lies the real problem: Less tech-inclined folks are probably not going to know how to use eSIM services. When my mother-in-law went on a trip to Hong Kong alone and I wasn’t nearby to set up the service for her, I told her to pay for AT&T’s international roaming plan and find a store later to buy a SIM card from a Hong Kong phone carrier.

Terry Guo, a chief product officer of LotusFlare, the company that developed Nomad, agreed that the main demographic of travelers using eSIM service plans comprised younger, more tech-savvy people.

“We are doing a lot of work in the app to make this simpler,” he said.

Optional (but Important) Step: Protect Your Privacy

Another downside to eSIM services is privacy-related. All the eSIM service providers I researched in Apple’s App Store said in their app descriptions that they did some tracking of users across different apps and websites.

Toni Toikka, the chief executive of Alekstra, a company that helps businesses reduce their wireless bills, underlined the importance of safeguarding personal information from eSIM providers. He said many of these companies, known as mobile virtual network operators, had struggled to generate profit.

“One way they think they’ll make money is selling your information,” Mr. Toikka said. “That’s why you should always opt out of any tracking. You shouldn’t sell yourself for pennies on a dollar.”

Mr. Guo said that the Nomad app contained Google’s analytics technology to see how people were using the app, and that people who logged into the app with their Facebook accounts could also be tracked by Facebook.

A simple workaround to data collection is to avoid logging into an app with third-party sites like Facebook and Google. Apple users can also click “Ask app not to track” when opening an eSIM app for the first time.

Android users don’t have the option to ask apps not to track them, so their best option is to buy the eSIM plan from the company’s website and set up the service without downloading the app.

Bottom Line

Overall, the pros of eSIM outweigh the cons. Traveling with a smartphone with SIM cards wasn’t relaxing because you needed to carry a pin to eject the card tray; plus you had to make sure not to lose the tiny SIM card.

When returning from a trip using eSIM services, all you have to do is go back into the phone’s settings app and switch your domestic phone line back on. That simplicity and peace of mind make eSIM worth the hassle.

Brian X. Chen is the lead consumer technology writer for The Times. He reviews products and writes Tech Fix , a column about the social implications of the tech we use. Before joining The Times in 2011, he reported on Apple and the wireless industry for Wired. More about Brian X. Chen

How to Make Your Smartphone Better

These days, smartphones include tools to help you more easily connect with the people you want to contact — and avoid those you don’t. Here are some tips .

Trying to spend less time on your phone? The “Do Not Disturb” mode can help you set boundaries and signal that it may take you a while to respond .

To comply with recent European regulations, Apple will make a switch to USB-C charging for its iPhones. Here is how to navigate the change .

Photo apps have been using A.I. for years to give you control over the look of your images. Here’s how to take advantage of that .

The loss of your smartphone can be disruptive and stressful. Taking a few simple steps ahead of time can make things easier if disaster strikes .

Many default settings make us share superfluous amounts of data with tech companies. Here’s how to shut those off .

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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

3 travel sim card

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

3 travel sim card

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)

3 travel sim card

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)

3 travel sim card

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)

3 travel sim card

  • 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)

3 travel sim card

  • 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)

3 travel sim card

  • 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)

3 travel sim card

  • 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

3 travel sim card

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

3 travel sim card

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

3 travel sim card

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

3 travel sim card

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

3 travel sim card

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

3 travel sim card

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 eSIM For Europe Travel | Everything You Need To Know About European Prepaid eSIM Data Plans - March 24, 2024
  • Holafly eSIM Review | Testing The New eSIM Data Plan from Holafly - March 3, 2024
  • Fashion Advice: How to Avoid Looking Like An American Tourist In Europe - February 20, 2024

3 travel sim card

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Go Roam lets you call, text, and use your data in 71 destinations around the world. It’s made up of two parts - Go Roam in Europe and Go Roam Around the World . 

Read on below for more info.

Check your destination

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Tell us where you're going, and we'll let you know if it's a Go Roam destination

With Go Roam in Europe, you can unlock your allowances to:  

  • call and text back to the UK or another Go Roam in Europe destination  
  • use your data up to a fair use limit.  

If you don't have any allowance left, you'll benefit from our special roaming rates. 

If you're in one of our Go Roam Around the World destinations, you can unlock your allowances to: 

  • Call and text back to the UK 
  • Use your data.  

Go Roam Around the World does not include calls or texts to international numbers. 

Daily roaming charges

Unless stated otherwise, there’s a daily roaming charge to unlock your UK allowance for 24 hours in Go Roam destinations. You'll be charged as soon as you use any of your plan's allowances in a Go Roam destination.

Europe £2 a day

Around the world £5  a day

If you’re on Pay As You Go, or your Pay Monthly plan started before 1 October 2021, these charges won’t apply. Republic of Ireland and Isle of Man are excluded from the daily charge. Fair use policies apply in Go Roam destinations,  check out our FAQs for more info .

Countries not covered in the Go Roam destinations are charged at standard roaming rates. See our  Price Guides  for the latest information and pricing. 

Sign-up for email alerts and read the travel advice for your destination . You'll receive the latest updates in your inbox. You can also refer to  guidance for travel during the coronavirus pandemic .

Go Roam Passes

Planning ahead before you travel? Our Go Roam Passes let you arrange your data in advance. You can buy passes for 3, 7  and 14 days, for Go Roam in Europe and Go Roam Around the World.

  • Buy a Go Roam Pass

You can buy more than one Go Roam Pass, of any duration, and these will be redeemed in the order of purchase for that type of pass. For example, if you've bought three Go Roam in Europe passes, they will redeem in the order they were purchased. And if you've bought five Go Roam Around The World passes, they will redeem in the order they were purchased.

You can also purchase more than one type of Go Roam Pass.  If you have both Go Roam in Europe passes and Go Roam Around The World passes and the first use of your UK allowance is in a Go Roam in Europe destination, Go Roam in Europe passes will redeem ahead of any Around The World passes.

Your questions answered

How do i activate go roam.

Go Roam works automatically when you arrive in a Go Roam destination, as long as data roaming is switched on in your device's settings and you have a compatible device with the latest software downloaded. If you’re a Pay As You Go customer, you’ll need to have activated your SIM and made a chargeable event - such as making a call, sending a text or getting online - in the UK first.

When you arrive in your roaming destination, you’ll receive a text confirming the roaming charges costs in that country. To check out the standard international roaming charges for the country you’re visiting, click the ‘Roaming Charges’ link and choose your destination.

Don't forget that when you're calling or texting back to the UK, you'll need to replace the first 0 in the number you're calling or texting with +44.

What are our roaming fair use policies?

Our fair use policies differ depending on whether you are roaming in a Go Roam in Europe or Go Roam Around the World destination and may be updated from time to time.

Go Roam is intended for our UK customers, who are UK residents visiting one of the destinations for short periods, like holidays or business trips.

More information is available on our  Support Page .

What if I’m travelling to a non-Go Roam destination?

If you’re traveling to a non-Go Roam destination, you will not be able to use your available allowances; you’ll be charged the standard roaming rates which vary depending on destination. Visit our  Roaming Abroad page  to find out more.

Inadvertent roaming

Inadvertent roaming is when your device connects to a network in a different destination from that which you're currently in. This can happen if you live or travel near to an international border, or on a coastline where you may connect to maritime services. Connecting to another network could mean you potentially pay higher roaming charges.

To avoid this, you can turn off data roaming on your device and look out for any notification messages that we send you. You can check roaming costs on our  Roaming abroad  page.

Inadvertent roaming in Northern Ireland

If you live close to the Northern Irish border, you may sometimes roam onto a Republic of Ireland network without meaning to. 

To ensure there are no accidental charges applied to your monthly bill in this circumstance, we've excluded the Republic of Ireland from our monthly fair use limit of 12GB, which usually applies when roaming in our Go Roam in Europe destinations. This means you'll be able to use your data without fear of inadvertently crossing the 12GB limit.

There are no fair use limits for making calls or sending texts whilst roaming in a Go Roam in Europe destination, and the Republic of Ireland is also excluded from the daily roaming charge.

Traveltomtom<span>.</span>

Buying a Sim Card for Russia at Moscow Airport in 2024

3 travel sim card

Flying to Moscow Airport Sheremetyevo soon? Avoid on high roaming costs and buy a sim card for Russia on arrival at Moscow Airport or get yourself an e-sim card for Russia. Prepaid sim cards in Russia come with a lot of data and are cheap, but language barriers are real! E-sim cards are easier, but a couple dollar more expensive.

In this guide you can read everything you need to know before buying a sim card for Russia at Moscow Airport, where to buy a sim card, up to date prices as per January 2024, my recommendation and even info about international and e-sim cards for Russia.

Staying connected is the first thing I do when I get to a new country. These days I mostly order an e-sim card online because it is so easy, but buying a local prepaid sim card is sometimes a better option.

I love to document all my travel tips for other travelers and since  I am also aiming to travel to every country in the world you can already find more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all around the world: Europe ,  Dubai , Saudi Arabia , Pakistan , Nairobi , Johannesburg , London , Paris ,  New York , Toronto , Dominican Republic , Bogota , Panama City , Mexico City , Singapore , Hong Kong , Vietnam , Uzbekistan , Philippines , Turkey  and many more.

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

Buying a prepaid sim card for Russia is actually really affordable! Great value for money. When I discovered this it definitely made me smile. Who does not love cheap data?

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends buying a Megfon prepaid sim card at Moscow Airport for traveling in Russia. Megafon has a great prepaid sim card deal for tourists: 30 GB data + free social media for just $6 USD.

Be prepared that pretty much no one speaks English at Moscow International Airport so buying a prepaid sim card can be a hassle.

Therefore Traveltomtom definitely recommends e-sim cards for traveling to Russia. As soon as the plane lands you are online. However, there are not many e-sim cards for Russia available on the internet. SimOptions is the only e-sim provider that sells e-sim cards for Russia .

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19 Things To Know When You Visit Altai Region, Siberia

You can also look into buying an international sim card for traveling in 2024 . Again here, SimOptions is the only provider that still offers physical prepaid sim cards for traveling to Russia.

Need some travel inspiration for Russia? Check out my  trip to Altai Mountains ! Absolutely amazing.

Best e-sim cards for Russia

The easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Russia in 2024 is an e-sim card.

You order an e-sim card for your trip to Moscow on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a Russia e-sim card installed on your phone.

Upon arrival in Moscow it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.

Airalo has recently stopped supplying e-sim cards for Russia until further notice! As of January 2024 Airalo e-sim cards for Russia are still not available.

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $9 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $11.5 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $17 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $29 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $48 USD

Click here to directly order any of the above e-sim cards for Russia online or get more info.

simoptions esim card plans for russia 2024

SimOptions is currently the only e-sim provider that sells e-sim cards for Russia. Traveltomtom has used SimOptions in more than 50 countries around the world without any problems.

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $7.90 USD
  • 3 GB data for 15 days = $14.90 USD
  • 5 GB data for 15 days = $19.90 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $34.90 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $64.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order an e-sim card for Russia via SimOptions .

Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Russia.

You can also order a physical prepaid sim card for traveling in Russia online and get it shipped to your home address before your trip. Click on the link to get an international data sim card for Russia with 10 GB data for $49.90 USD and get more info and see all the sim card deals.

Arriving at Moscow Airport SVO

First off this airport is spread out with 6 terminals and traveling in and between the terminals takes time. There are trains that connect the terminals so if you are in transit don’t worry the transportation system is pretty well organized. But hey we are in Russia, be prepared to struggle with languages barriers.

You may think at an international airport with this status there would be a ton of people speaking English, but forget about it. Welcome to Russia!

The ladies at the information desk all spoke good English and were very helpful. A tip for when you visit Moscow, download a translate app this will make traveling in Russia much easier.

To use most translate apps that use the dictation function you need a working internet connection. Sheremetyevo Airport has very easy access to good and free WiFi but as soon as you leave the airport you would wish you had a prepaid sim card for Russia with data. So no need to explain you anymore why you should buy a Russia sim card on arrival.

Aeroexpress SVO Airport

In and between Terminal D and E there is the Aeroexpress train station, the most convenient way to get from Sheremetyevo Airport to Moscow city. Just before you enter the train station there are many mobile phone shops where they sell prepaid Russian sim card for tourists.

Mobile internet operators in Russia

The main mobile internet operators in Russia are: Tele2, Beeline, MegaFon, MTS and Yota. Apart from Yota and MTS you can buy a Russia sim card from any of the operators at Moscow Airport.

Yota is a fairly small operator with a weak 4G network in Russia and is not recommended for tourists. But especially for an MTS prepaid sim card it is a pity they don't sell them at Moscow Airport. MTS has the strongest 4G network in Russia and is the only provider that offers 5G in Russia.

Where to buy a sim card at Moscow Airport

As I said the airport is pretty big and it more or less comes down to which terminal you arrive. Most travelers from Europe will arrive at Terminal B or D so let’s have a look at buying a Russian sim card there first.

If you are about to visit Moscow then I recommend you to go to the city by Aeroexpress, a convenient train that connects Sheremetyevo Airport to Moscow city. It is located between Terminal B and D. Just before you enter the train station there are many shops lined up where you can buy Russia sim cards for tourists as well.

At Terminal F there are also shops in the arrival hall where you can buy a prepaid Russia sim card.

Buying a sim card at SVO Terminal B

Arriving at Terminal B at SVO airport makes things easy for you as there is no choice. The only available sim card for Russia is Beeline. It is impossible to miss the Beeline shop as it is straight in front of you when you walk out of arrivals.

Prepaid sim card Beeline

beeline russia sim card

The picture is hard to read when you don’t speak Russian. Neither do I so I had the guy selling the Beeline sim Russia sim card explain me in his best English what everything means.

600 Rubles = $9

  • 15 GB - 4G internet
  • 500 minutes calling in and to Russia
  • Valid for 30 days

Total costs for this package is only around $9, that is only $0,60 per GB data. I told you Russian sim cards are cheap! When arriving at Terminal B buying a Beeline sim card for Russia is worth it.

Buying a sim card at SVO Terminal D

At Moscow SVO Airport Terminal D there are two options for you. In the arrivals hall on level 1 there is TELE2 and at the departures hall level 3 you can buy a Megafon sim card.

Prices and info below are updated in January 2024. Prices are in Russian Ruble: $1 USD  = 88.5 RUB and 100 RUB = $1.13 USD.

Megafon Russia prepaid sim card

megafon russia

Let me tell you if it is worth going up two levels to the Megafon kiosk to buy your Russia sim here.

I went there twice as a week later I wanted to double check the information what I wrote down and both ladies spoke very little English. Service level for English speaking tourists is zero at Moscow Airport so be prepared. I used a translate app to get the following info.

There are two Megafon sim cards for tourists available:

  • 20 GB + 750 minutes + unlimited texting - valid for 1 month =  750 Rubles - $8.5 USD
  • 30 GB + 1,500 minutes + unlimited texting - valid for 1 month =  1,000 Rubles - $11 USD

Both packages are really great value for money!

TELE2 Russia prepaid sim card

tele2 sim russia

Depending on which exit you take from the luggage belts you will either walk up to the TELE2 shop or it is on your left in the arrivals hall. At the small shop two young employees were very helpful and explained the available TELE2 sim cards fro tourists in Russia.

TELE2 Russia offers the following sim cards for tourists:

600 Rubles (400 + 200 activation costs) = $7 USD

  • Unlimited calls to TELE2  numbers in Russia
  • Free Facebook, VKontakte, Viber, Whatsapp
  • 1 month valid

900 Rubles (700 + 200 activation costs) = $10 USD

  • 30 GB - 4G internet
  • 800 minutes calling in and to Russia

Looking at these Russian prepaid sim card packages I am impressed by the value for money of TELE2. Since I never really call and text anyway, a TELE2 sim card for Russia was a perfect match.

Beeline Russia prepaid sim card

beeline russia shop

There is a Beeline shop that sells the following package:

500 Rubles = $6

  • Unlimited internet - 4G network
  • No hotspot available
  • 14 days valid
  • 30 Rubles per day extra, top up credit can be bought everywhere

sim card russia moscow airport

There is also a shop called EBPOCETb where they sell Megafon sim cards and Beeline sim cards. The guy in the shop recommended me to buy a Megafon sim card instead of Beeline. Scroll down to see 4G network coverage maps for Russia.

Buying a sim card at SVO Terminal F

In the end I headed to Terminal E and F to find the perfect Russia sim card for tourists. At Terminal E there is NO shop that sells prepaid sim cards for Russia, but in Terminal F there was a Megafon kiosk again.

Megafon sim card Russia at SVO Terminal F

sim card russia airport moscow

Of course here they sold the same sim cards for tourists as they did at the Terminal D, but to my surprise they also sold a specific tourist package.

Megafon tourist sim card Russia

russia sim for tourists

  • 30 GB data + 1500 minutes + unlimited social media - valid for 15 days =  500 Ruble - $6 USD

WOW! Looking at the above I am sure you are stunned too! Free social media and on top of that 30 GB data just for $6 USD. I asked if there would be any activation costs, but nope you pay just the 500 Rubles.

For tourists traveling to Russia for less than 2 weeks this for sure is the best Russia prepaid sim card you can find at Sheremetyevo Airport. The Megafon shop is open from 09.00 to 21.00 daily and is next to the meeting point at Terminal F.

Best 4G/5G mobile network in Russia in 2024

Let’s quickly have a look at the mobile providers in Russia selling sim cards at Moscow Airport to determine who has the best 4G/5G network in Russia. For more detailed maps of the 4G/5G network coverage  in Russia have a look at the link and you can zoom in to the region in Russia you will be traveling.

Is there 5G in Russia?

No, there is still no proper 5G network in Russia in 2024. Only in the city center of Moscow there is a small 5G network available when you are having an MTS sim card. Unfortunately they don't sell MTS sim cards at Moscow Airport. If you want an MTS 5G sim card you have to go to an MTS store in Moscow city center.

Beeline  4G/5G network coverage map

beeline 4g 5g network coverage map russia 2024

TELE2 4G/5G network coverage map

tele2 4g 5g network coverage map russia 2024

Megafon 4G/5G network coverage map

megafon 4g 5g network coverage map russia 2024

Looking at the mobile internet coverage maps for Russia you can see that as of 2024 the 4G/LTE network coverage is pretty similar for each provider. However, Megafon is slightly more extensive than Beeline and Tele2 and therefore is rated as the best 4G/LTE network in Russia in 2024. 

I expect Russia to start rolling out 5G soon, but unfortunately it is hard to go through the Russian news on the internet as I do NOT speak a word Russian! ;)

Order a prepaid sim card for Russia online

orange holiday world international prepaid sim card for russia

With such cheap prepaid sim cards on arrival at Moscow Airport I would not directly recommend buying an international sim card for Russia. However, it makes you forget about all the hassle buying a sim card on arrival since barely anyone even speaks English.

If your phone is not e-sim compatible then look into the following if you want to order a prepaid sim card for Russia on the internet.

Arrive prepared in Russia with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in Russia, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.

SimOptions is the only sim card provider that sells physical prepaid sim cards for Russia:

  • 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order an international sim card for Russia via SimOptions .

Also a last reminder that if your phone is e-sim compatible you can order an e-sim card for Russia online .

My experience buying a Russia Sim Card at Moscow Airport

I decided to buy a TELE2 sim card for traveling in Russia and spent $9 USD on the smallest prepaid sim package. I went on a trip to the Altai Mountains in Siberia and to my surprise I could not only use the network of TELE2, but also the Megafon network. No clue why but it worked smooth.

Another reason why I would recommend you to buy a Megafon or TELE2 prepaid sim card for Russia at Moscow Airport.

A working network connection in Russia is as you can imagine a challenge in the worlds biggest country. But overall if I had a signal the 4G speed was good, especially in cities. On the road in Siberia I mostly just had a 3G signal, which worked fine.

More about my road trip in Altai, Siberia , check out my blog about this undiscovered region in Russia!

I hope this blog about prepaid sim cards in Russia on arrival at Moscow Airport was helpful for you if you have a question please leave me a comment.

Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world ? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.

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

Enjoy your trip to Russia!

Some links in this article about buying a sim card at Moscow Airport are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you!

  • altai mountains

Wealth of Geeks

Wealth of Geeks

7 Smart Ways To Avoid Cell Phone ‘Bill Shock’ After International Travel

Posted: March 2, 2024 | Last updated: March 2, 2024

<p>Nothing is more disappointing than returning from a vacation and receiving an astronomical phone bill. All you did was scroll through Instagram, text family members, and make a 30-minute phone call to your best friend. As frequent travelers, we understand the need to tell everyone about your adventures. Don’t risk losing money amid your excitement.</p>

Nothing is more disappointing than returning from a vacation and receiving an astronomical phone bill. All you did was scroll through Instagram, text family members, and make a 30-minute phone call to your best friend. As frequent travelers, we understand the need to tell everyone about your adventures. Don’t risk losing money amid your excitement.

<p>You’re usually in situations where you can only use your phone with one hand. That’s why there are hacks that make things easier for one-hand operators. While using any app with a map, such as Apple Maps, Google Maps, or Lyft, you can double tap and hold on the second tap to zoom in and out of the map easily.</p>

1. Download Maps To Use Offline Before Your Trip

Getting lost while on vacation is a stressful feeling even the most experienced travelers share. Google Maps , Apple Maps , Maps.me , and Open Street Maps allow you to download maps offline without using Wi-Fi or data. This tip will enable you to navigate busy cities during peak seasons.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

2. Give Your Roaming Data Some Time Off

Turn off roaming data in your phone’s settings before boarding your plane (or train, cruise ship, etc.). Leaving it on will lead to roaming charges after your trip. That’s an expense nobody wants to deal with.

<p>Simply put, natural or “virgin” hair is stronger and healthier. Brittle and dry hair can result from the chemical process, and that’s the complete opposite of the lustrous look we all strive for.</p><p>Dante Jaramillo, a Seattle-based colorist, explains to Wealth of Geeks, “Given the nature of most chemical treatments, deciding not to color your hair anymore will mean that you’re no longer damaging your hair with the stripping/color agents.”</p>

3. Make VoIP Apps Your New Best Friend

Instead of using your data to call or send messages, use VoIP apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, Google Voice, etc., while using Wi-Fi. It’s a great way to stay connected with everyone in your inner circle at little or no cost to you.

<p>International SIM cards allow you to text and use data while you’re at your destination. You can get one through Amazon, an independent provider, your phone carrier, or the airport. From there, you’ll be able to find data options that work with your budget.</p>

4. Snag a SIM Card Before (Or After) Your Arrival

International SIM cards allow you to text and use data while you’re at your destination. You can get one through Amazon, an independent provider, your phone carrier, or the airport. From there, you’ll be able to find data options that work with your budget.

<p>Khing Hnin Wai wasn’t a household name in her native Myanmar before February 1, 2021. However, this changed when the military arrested President Aung San Suu Kyi and overthrew the government, ousting many other party officials. Ms. Khing became a national icon when her live-streamed fitness video inadvertently caught the coup happening.</p><p>Armored vehicles and tanks began rolling in behind as she worked her aerobic magic. Ms. Khing had chosen her favorite <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3gef1Wn9BE" rel="nofollow noopener">streaming</a> spot: the roundabout near the government palace on Nay Pyi Taw. Thinking it was normal to see official vehicles near the compound, Ms.Khing continued her stream, unaware that history was being made.</p>

5. Consider an eSim Card

Speaking of SIM cards, you won’t be the only visitor scrambling to get a SIM card at the airport. If you have a compatible smartphone, you can skip the line by purchasing an eSIM card. Airalo and Nomad have packages for any country you want to visit.

<p><a href="https://www.verizon.com/plans/international/international-travel/" rel="nofollow noopener">Verizon</a>, <a href="https://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans/international-roaming-plans" rel="nofollow noopener">T-Mobile</a>, and <a href="https://www.att.com/international/" rel="nofollow noopener">AT&T</a> have international phone plans that allow you to use your phone without worrying about roaming fees. Some plans include pay-per-use or pre-paid plans. It’s an excellent option if you’re eager to talk and text while abroad.</p>

6. Ask Your Provider About International Phone Plans

Verizon , T-Mobile , and AT&T have international phone plans that allow you to use your phone without worrying about roaming fees. Some plans include pay-per-use or pre-paid plans. It’s an excellent option if you’re eager to talk and text while abroad.

<p>Keep your phone on you in an emergency, but challenge yourself to resist the urge to use it when you don’t need to. Think of it this way: will your parents be awake while you send pictures from your <a href="https://wealthofgeeks.com/navigating-international-trips/">international excursions</a>? If you want to record your travel moments, bring a camera and save your phone’s battery while hiking or visiting a historical site. Cherish the moment for yourself because no phone can capture a lifetime of memories.</p>

7. Take a Break From Your Phone

Keep your phone on you in an emergency, but challenge yourself to resist the urge to use it when you don’t need to. Think of it this way: will your parents be awake while you send pictures from your international excursions? If you want to record your travel moments, bring a camera and save your phone’s battery while hiking or visiting a historical site. Cherish the moment for yourself because no phone can capture a lifetime of memories.

<p>Discussions about places to visit in Montenegro tend to begin with Kotor, and it is easy to see why. Kotor packs plenty into its relatively small borders, with a proud maritime history allied to modern cafes, restaurants, and bars, plus some of the most alluring churches in this part of the world. Stop for a romantic courtyard lunch at Pržun before taking the arduous walk up to the fortress walls, where the ultimate view of the Bay of Kotor awaits.</p>

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CityGuide Book

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What does Moscow CityPass include

Moscow CityPass is a single electronic card for tourists, which include visits to the best museums and excursions, the best deals and discounts.

MOSCOW CITYPASS SERVICE PACKAGE INCLUDES:

Attractions.

The Moscow Kremlin is citadel standing on a high bank of the Moscow River. Here was the residence of grand Russian Tsars and Emperors, now is the official residence of the President of the Russia.

St. Basil’s Cathedral (Pokrovsky Cathedral) on the Red Square is a great creation of Russian architects. The gorgeous temple is a gem of world architecture and a symbol of Moscow and Russia.

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts is a museum complex that is currently in possession of one of the largest world art collections from Ancient Egypt and Greece to our days. Today the holdings of the museum contain around 700 000 art works of different epochs.

Observation deck of the hotel Ukraine located on the 33rd floor of the historic Radisson Royal Hotel, known also as a legendary Stalin skyscraper, in the heart of Moscow. With the Moscow CityPass card free entry and one drink*.

A doubledeck bus trip indeed is the best way to see Moscow. Excursions are available in 10 languages. There exist three possible routes – the red one (#1), the green one (#2) and the orange one (#3). The tour is available for one day.

Unlike the other tourist vessels, these huge snow-white ships do not cease navigation in winter: they pierce the ice so smoothly that that the waiter can easily pour champagne in tall crystal glasses. A tour is available for visiting only by appointment*.

Entertainment

Hockey and ice skating are the national sports. That’s why the ice rink in the AVIAPARK shopping centre is one of the most popular spots for recreational activities for the north of Moscow. You can rent a pair of skates and enter the ice rink for free with the Moscow CityPass.

If you want to know what is the true Russian culture art is like, then you are WELCOME to the National Theater of Folk Music and Song 'Golden Ring'.

Restaurants and cafes

3 travel sim card

"Cafe Pushkin" is the Legendary restaurant of the Maison Dellos. Famous restaurant in Moscow that serves traditional noble cuisine of Russia.

3 travel sim card

"Turandot" is an incredible place filled with genuine things that keep memories of a different century. This is one of the main attractions of Moscow. "Turandot" serves the city's best dim sum, Peking duck and sea bass in honey and a croissant with foie gras.

Download free Gett application in AppStore or Google Play and get 500 rubles discount for your first ride, using promo code from the Moscow CityPass guidebook.

Anna Slavutina – is a famous Russian jewelry brand. Jewelry in Russian Style will be certainly the best memories about your journey to the capital. With the Moscow CityPass card you can get a 15% discount.

IZETA is an unrivalled fashion brand in luxury furs, couture gowns and the most exotic leathers. With the Moscow CityPass card you can get a 10% discount to the products that are included to the collaborative promotion.

Pick up points

Tourist Information Center

Guide Moscow CityPass

Share #russiacitypass in social networks and get chance to win 4 Russia CityPass. We choose a winner every month!

3 travel sim card

The Best Prepaid SIM Cards in Canada in 2024

3 travel sim card

A writer and editor at Monito, Jarrod is passionate about helping people apply today’s powerful finance technologies to their lives. He brings his background in international affairs and his experiences living in Japan to provide readers with comprehensive information that also acknowledges the local context.

Links on this page, including products and brands featured on ‘Sponsored’ content, may earn us an affiliate commission. This does not affect the opinions and recommendations of our editors.

These days, it’s almost impossible to imagine visiting a foreign country without mobile connection. You may need to call a rideshare, find your hotel on maps, connect to the internet when away from Wi-Fi, or translate signs in a foreign language.

However, using international roaming with your home carrier to get data could cost hundreds of dollars. This is why prepaid eSIM cards are the fastest growing option for international tourists who own an eSIM-compatible device.

In this guide, you’ll find the 5 best prepaid SIM and eSIM options available for tourists in Canada in 2024, including their pricing and data plans. Let’s get going!

Airalo is our top choice to avoid expensive international roaming fees. Airalo offers eSIMs tailored to you, from 5 days up to months at a time, covering hundreds of countries, with both multi-country and various GB plans available.

The Best Prepaid SIM Cards in Canada For Travel in 2024

  • 01. Where can I buy prepaid SIM cards in Canada? scroll down
  • 02. Do I need to register my prepaid SIM in Canada? scroll down
  • 03. Physical prepaid SIM cards in Canada scroll down
  • 04. Best prepaid eSIMs in Canada scroll down
  • 05. What are the largest mobile network operators in Canada? scroll down

Facts About Prepaid SIMs in Canada

Where to buy physical prepaid sim cards for canada.

Finding a prepaid SIM card in Canada might require a visit to a mobile carrier store or electronics retailer, as airport availability is limited. The market is not tourist-centric, with a focus on longer-term plans.

A man standing in an airport looking up at a flight schedule

1. Canadian Airports

At major Canadian airports, including Toronto Pearson and Vancouver International, you'll find very expensive options for prepaid SIM cards. 5 GB of data valid for 14 days, with unlimited calling and SMS within Canada and international SMS, may cost $96 CAD, which is almost unheard of in other countries.

2. Network Provider Retail Stores in Canada

You can visit a Bell, Telus, or Rogers store to find prepaid SIM card options as a tourist in Canada, although we strongly recommend eSIMs in the case of Canada.

3 travel sim card

You could also consider having a physical prepaid SIM card shipped to your house before you travel by shopping on online sites (like Amazon). You’ll often find small SIM card providers that partner with the large Canadian networks (like Rogers Wireless or Bell) to connect your phone to mobile data. You could even consider buying a portable Wi-Fi hotspot device.

Shopping online requires a little travel pre-planning but allows you to search around for better prices and data plans that meet your needs.

The easiest online option, and the one that we highly recommend, is to purchase an eSIM. These digital SIMs can be instantly activated straight from your smartphone from apps like Airalo and Holafly , which then give you seamless access to data in your travel destination.

Registration Process For Prepaid SIM Cards in Canada

In Canada, no registration is necessary, and you don't need to show your passport to the issuer. 

It's worth noting that an increasing number of countries are requiring registration from mobile phone users for security reasons, where purchasing a prepaid SIM card requires consumers to provide proof of identity.

For the countries that have these Know-Your-Customer (KYC) laws, registration will also apply to eSIMs. However, eSIMs do have the benefit of digital registration as opposed to the hassle of an in-person process. If your eSIM is data only (no local phone number), then you may be able to get connected without registering your info.

Cheap Physical Prepaid SIM Card Options For Canada Travel

Here are some of the most popular options for plastic SIM cards for tourists in Canada:

1. Rogers Wireless

Rogers prepaid SIMs, which are not 5G compatible, offer various data plans with unlimited calling within Canada.

Options include 2.5 GB of data for $40 CAD, 4.5 GB for $45 CAD, and 8 GB for $55 CAD.

Bell Canada's prepaid SIM cards also lack 5G connectivity.

Their pricing mirrors Rogers with 2.5 GB of data at $40 CAD, 4.5 GB for $45 CAD, and 8 GB for $55 CAD.

Best Digital Prepaid e-SIMs For Tourists in Canada

Want to ditch physical plastic SIM cards? You can conveniently download and active the following international eSIMs from your smartphone instead.

3 travel sim card

Airalo is an excellent eSIM provider for international travel. For Canada, they offer eSIMs from 1GB for 7 days at $6 up to 20GB for 30 days at $35, and other plans in between. It was super easy for us to set up in the app and purchase instantly.

More info: Read our Airalo review or visit their website .

Holafly offers unlimited data volume packages for international travel. Holafly's data packages for Canada cost between $27 and $54 once off and are valid from 5 to 20 days, offering peace of mind that you'll never run out of data.

Although Holafly offers unlimited data in most countries, including Canada, if you're a globetrotter, it's worth keeping in mind that Holafly offers limited data plans to some other destinations. Be sure to check their website or app before traveling to a new country to confirm whether Holafly's unlimited packages apply.

More info: Read our Holafly review or visit their website .

Yesim, a Swiss-based eSIM service, offers flexible plans for 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, and 20GB. The pricing of these eSIMs for Canada range from $15.40 to $49.50.

The 3GB plan is good for 7 days while the 5GB one is good for 15 days. The 15GB and 30GB plans both last for 30 days.

To make sure your phone can support eSIM cards, read our list of eSIM-compatible phones .

Largest Mobile Network Operators in Canada

eSIMs are great because they connect to the best network available wherever you are. Your phone might connect to Rogers Wireless or Bell, depending on your location, at no extra cost. In contrast, if you buy a SIM card directly from one Canadian telecom provider, then your phone will only access that provider's network.

In Canada, expect to see these names as you connect to data on your travels:

  • Telus: Good customer service and environmental sustainability efforts.
  • Bell: Known for its fast internet services and extensive rural coverage.
  • Rogers Wireless: Wide coverage and pioneering 5G network.

Frequently Asked Questions About Prepaid SIM Cards For Travel in Canada

Yes, it is wise to plan ahead, but you can also opt for an eSIM even 24 hours before your trip if you have an eSIM-compatible phone. The best part about eSIMs like Airalo and Holafly is that the plans won’t activate until you connect within the plan’s designated country. This means you won’t be on the clock until your trip finally starts.

We believe Airalo offers the best prepaid eSIMs in Canada and around the world in 2024, with options that are 5G compatible, starting from 1GB for 7 days at $6 up to 20GB for 30 days at $35.

Check our list to make sure your device is compatible with eSIM technology.

3 travel sim card

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' class=

hi, I would like to buy and e.sim card an have it all ready to go before we travel.

can you please recommend which one to go with, or which ones to avoid?

3 replies to this topic

' class=

We are usually there 17 days+ so go for physical Sim.

Can’t remember exactly how much we paid last year but something around US$10 for 14Gb.

I used to get sims from http://www.klook.com

Klook now offer an eSIM option NZ$21 for 8Gb which you can get at DPS arrival.

https://www.klook.com/en-NZ/activity/78012-4g-bali-sim-card/?spm=Wifi_Sim_Vertical.Activity_LIST&clickId=657aa72afa

For general eSIMS I use Airolo. Only use them for short term max 1 week. Around US$5 for 1Gb.

So use them in Switzerland. Used them when we went for 5 days side trip from Bali to Perth/Rottnest.

Will use them this weekend in London.

hi Notapigsty.

the roaming option with my NZ provider is $8 NZ a day, so looking for a better option.

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How to travel alone without feeling lonely.

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Therapists say it's normal to have pangs of loneliness while traveling alone.

Even the most enthusiastic solo travelers know that loneliness can sneak up on you while traveling the world. While your initial reaction may be to avoid those feelings, therapists say it helps to embrace the emotion.

“Just like you’re choosing to travel to experience new things, give yourself permission to feel different things throughout your journey,” says Samantha Bender , LCSW-S, a therapist at Octave based in Texas. “So often, the most exploring you do when you travel is within yourself.”

Her first suggestion is to ask yourself what you want to get out of your travel experience. Are you traveling solo because you want peace and quiet, and a feeling of independence? Or are you traveling solo so that you have the freedom to meet a lot of different people? Perhaps it’s a bit of both.

While you could tailor a trip to spend most of your solo travel adventure alone, there’s also group trips led by tour companies like Kensington Tours and Abercrombie & Kent that give you an opportunity to meet other travelers with similar interests.

Why Do You Feel Lonely When Traveling Solo?

When we experience amazing moments in our lives, like travel, we want to share it with others, explains Colleen Marshall, MA, LMFT, and Vice President of Clinical Care at Two Chairs .

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“There is even research from the positive psychology world that when we do share something we are savoring or enjoying with others it increases our experience of happiness and sense of joy,” Marshall says. “When we are traveling, solo sharing is harder to do because those we care about are not readily available to share with or talk with.”

Solo travelers can come up with a plan before their trip for how they'll handle loneliness.

Her advice?

Think about how you will share your travel or experiences with others ahead of time.

“Maybe set up a video call with a loved one during a meal or end your day with sharing what you enjoyed,” Marshall says.

7 Ways To Avoid Feeling Lonely When Traveling Solo

While it’s normal to feel pangs of loneliness while solo traveling, you don’t want the feeling to overshadow your trip entirely. With that in mind, therapists and seasoned solo travelers share their top tips to avoid feeling lonely while traveling.

1. Before Your Trip, Come Up With A Plan To Handle Your Loneliness

Some tactics, Bender says, that can be part of your plan include:

  • Bring some journaling prompts
  • Download your favorite podcasts or songs for a mood lift
  • Start a travel journal where you can collect mementos and photos

As part of your plan for preparation, create a plan for when you return home. Schedule an appointment with your therapist where you can share new revelations or insights that you gathered while on your trip.

2. Write Postcards While On Your Trip

Writing can be very therapeutic especially if you’re feeling lonely or dissociated, Bender says.

“When we write, it helps us feel present in our reality,” she says. “Try writing a letter or sending a postcard to a loved one while you’re on your trip. You can even send a note of gratitude to yourself so that you have something waiting for you in the mail to remind you of your experience.”

3. Consider Low-Energy And High-Energy Options To Address Feelings Of Loneliness

If you find yourself lonely on a trip, consider your energy level, and go over different high-energy and low-energy options you have, Bender recommends. This practice is applicable for daily life, but even more important when you’re traveling because it can be so tiring.

A high-energy option would be signing up for a group activity, such as a guided tour or a cooking class, she says. That is a structured way to introduce yourself to others while learning a new skill, and both can be healthy distractions or preventions for loneliness.

Taking a cooking class is a great way to meet people when you are traveling alone.

People-watching is a low-energy thing you can do to feel less lonely while you travel, she says. Embrace that time to people-watch as a way to connect to the world and the people around you.

4. Look For Opportunities To Connect With Others

While traveling, look for activities where you can connect with other travelers or locals, Marshall suggests. For example, rather than going through the museum alone, join a tour guided experience.

“Connection is all around us, we just need to join in,” she says.

Some other ways to meet people organically while traveling solo is to go to local cafes, markets, community events and learn about their culture, says Reen B. Patel , a Licensed Educational Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Participate in group excursions like day trips and tours, she suggests.

5. Co-Work in A New Place

Try checking out a co-working space in a new city.

Ahead of your travels, check out your LinkedIn to see if you have any connections in the destination that you’re traveling to, suggests Katya Varbanova , says CEO of Viral Marketing Stars. If you’re a digital nomad or traveling for bleisure (business plus leisure), rent a desk at a coworking space and meet some fellow travelers or locals. Another option is being a part of a member’s club like Soho House, she points out. The “Every House” membership unlocks access to the houses all around the world, including their amenities, like spas, screening rooms and events.

6. Book an Airbnb Experience

Musician Alissa Musto has taken dozens of solo trips over the past few years and recommends booking an Airbnb experience, which are hosted by locals and are popular among solo travelers who you can connect with over shared interests. These types of experience range from city tours to the ins and outs of beekeeping to learning the art of origami.

7. Volunteer With Other Travelers

Volunteering while traveling is a great way to meet like-minded people.

Another idea? Give back to the place you’re visiting. The Hawaiian islands, for example, started the Mālama Hawai'i program to better connect tourists with Hawaiian land and culture.

“I’ve also found that volunteering is a great way to be part of a community for a day, and do something good with your time and talent,” Musto says. “I’ve met several interesting people from all over the world as a volunteer and they’re always happy to have additional help and meet new friends.”

Good Destinations For Solo But Social Travel

Surprisingly, I’ve found that some of the best places for solo travelers to socialize are not big cities at all, but less popular tourist destinations and national parks, Musto says.

“Big tourist destinations and cities often attract groups of friends traveling together, couples or families that are more into doing their own thing,” she says.

Paddling the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

On the flipside, quieter, outdoors-centric destinations attract many solo travelers trying to enjoy nature, but open to socializing with other-like minded individuals and people tend to be welcoming, inviting and happy to strike up a conversation or share a meal.

Brittany Anas

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