Buy Global Sim Card
Traveling overseas soon? Avoid high roaming costs and get yourself a travel sim card, an international sim card with data that works all over the world! Does that exist? Yes! And good news for my 2023 comparison I included e-sim cards as well.
buy global sim card
Let me first explain the differences between a local prepaid sim card and a global travel sim card. Then I give you a comparison of the best international sim cards available for traveling abroad in 2023 including all the pros and cons, so you can decide for yourself if you think it is worth buying an international sim card or go for a local prepaid sim card on arrival in your destination.
Sim cards are tiny plastic cards comparable with a microSD card that you put in your phone and allows you to connect to a mobile network. Slowly though these physical sim cards will be replaced by e-sim cards, the easiest way to stay connected when traveling. Prepaid sim cards that you buy in a store are generally just valid in the country you it in.
Since I am on a journey to travel to every country in the world I get to a new country regularly. Everywhere I go I buy a new local prepaid sim card, since it is the best and cheapest way to stay connected. In my bag I have a collection of about 200 little prepaid sim cards from all over the world. As of March 2023 I have visited more than 150 countries.
But before buying an international sim card for your trip abroad I want to make you aware of the existence of local prepaid sim cards. Because the main reason I am writing this blog post is to save you on high roaming costs when traveling and in most cases local prepaid sim cards are the cheapest way to get data on your phone.
An exception is a European sim card. There are international sim cards created just for Europe, but also a lot of local prepaid sim cards in Europe allow FREE roaming within the EU. Click here for more information about buying a local prepaid sim card in Europe in 2023 or check my list of the best sim cards for Europe travel in 2023.
For example all the below listed international sim cards claim to cover Africa. Yes, they are not lying, but the rates per MB are averaging around $0.10, that means 100 MB will cost you $10. That can be as little as using Instagram for about 5 minutes! Comparing this to a local prepaid sim card in Uganda for example where the same $10 gives you more than 12 GB data for 1 month, you can understand why Traveltomtom recommends a local prepaid sim card over a global sim card.
A local prepaid sim card is in 95/100 times cheaper than an international sim card. Therefore in the beginning of this article I told you that you will have to decide whether you want to buy an international sim card for traveling or buying a local sim card on arrival.
Because I am aiming to travel to every country in the world I wrote already more than 200 guides for buying local sim cards: London, Paris, Tanzania, Lebanon, Rome, USA, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Guatemala, Honduras, Turkey, Israel, Dubai, Thailand, Kenya, Indonesia, Sydney, Singapore, Vietnam, UK, Spain, Italy, France, Norway, Georgia, Colombia, Dominican Republic and many more.
Local prepaid sim cards are often pretty cheap and come with big value data bundles. Most countries and operators have special tourist sim cards. Downside is that you can only buy them on arrival, so you have to visit a phone store during your holiday or get one from the airport.
Buying an international sim card can only be done online through a third party. In this article I will show you the best available offers for buying a global sim card for world travelers and I will link directly to the companies website so that may you be interested you can have a look for more details on their homepages.
Great resources for buying international sim cards and e-sim cards are: SimOptions for physical sim cards as well as e-sim cards and Airalo for e-sim cards. Personally I use SimOptions more than Airalo.
Keep in mind that buying a local prepaid sim card on an international airport is mostly more expensive. You can get much better prepaid sim card deals from official retail stores in city centers, shopping malls or from random mobile phone shops.
In some countries you will also find local prepaid sim cards in convenience stores, gas stations or supermarkets. Keep in mind when buying a local prepaid sim card in any of these shops that you will mostly have to activate the sim card yourself. That means it is not like plug and play.
When you have time and want the cheapest option you should consider buying a prepaid sim card on arrival in your destination. But if you are looking for the most convenient way to stay connected and want to arrive prepared at your holiday destination then order an international sim card or an e-sim card.
Traveltomtom recommends an Orange Holiday World sim card, a Three UK AIO20 sim card or a Discover Global e-sim card for traveling the world in 2023. Personally I have a Discover Global e-sim card for 180 days with 20 GB data installed on my phone and then mostly I buy a prepaid sim card in the destination as well. But keep in mind that I travel 365 days a year. In 2022 for example I visited a total of 62 countries!
In the following section, I will review and compare the top international sim cards. Read through the list carefully and only pick that travel sim that works for you. As promised I listed the best travel sim cards on top!
All the international sim cards below can be ordered directly online and will be shipped to your home address. They come in a 3-in-1 sim sizes which makes the fit into any smart(phone), tablet or portable WiFi device.
Only down side of this international sim card is that you can NOT make or receive calls, it is a pure data sim card only. The Orange Holiday World sim card comes with credit included which is valid for 14 days. After these 14 days you can easily top up online.
The Orange Holiday World sim card allows you to use 5 GB data in Zone 2: Albania, Argentina, Bahrain, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Polynesia, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Dominican Republic, Uruguay.
Lots of travelers from different parts of the world opt for Orange Holiday World because they are generous with data and very cheap compared to other international sim cards. Therefore I call Orange Holiday World the best prepaid data sim card worldwide.
The Orange Holiday World sim card is the best prepaid sim card for Africa as it covers a wide range of countries with 10 GB data roaming included, especially in Central and West Africa. For East Africa check my prepaid sim card guides per country: Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia.
The easiest and most convenient way to get internet when traveling abroad in 2023 is an e-sim card! The way e-sim cards work is that through software on your phone (just settings, nothing fancy) you are able to switch to another network. On this network you are able to use the data allowance according to which package you activated.
Mind you this is an e-sim card and NOT a physical sim card. Therefore it does NOT come with a phone number and calling is NOT supported. However, when looking for a data-only international sim card this is the perfect match.
I am very overwhelmed with the amount of countries and especially the exact countries. Almost all the countries above are well known tourist destinations around the world. Fact is that the Discover Global E-sim card is NOT good for traveling in Africa. But it is by far the best for traveling in South America and Asia. It literally covers almost all countries!
Personally I have a Discover Global e-sim card activated on my phone as well. I bought the 20 GB for 6 months and using it a lot when I go to countries for just a couple days like when I was in Qatar, visiting family in Netherlands for 3 days, a couple days in Turkey, etc. To me this international e-sim card is a game changer! I am loving it!
Three is a telecommunication provider that operates as a subsidiary of CK Hutchinson Holdings, originated in Hong Kong. Over time, it has evolved into one of the major internet service providers around the globe. As of today, Three (3) has more than 130 million customers globally.
Incoming calls & texts are free in all the above countries as well and unlimited calls & texts are INCLUDED within Europe. Therefore this Three international sim card is one of the cheapest sim cards for traveling in Europe.
As a lot of Latin America countries are included, this travel sim card is one of the best sim cards for South America as well as Central America. On the contrary the 3 UK sim card is NOT good for traveling in Africa and or Asia.
One of the negative sides of Surfroam are the steep shipping costs. For most Western countries you already pay more than $20, for the USA Surfroam adds even $25 shipping fee. Therefore I would recommend you buying the Surfroam e-sim travel sim card instead to save on shipping costs.
In 2021 I traveled more than 6 months in Africa and wrote detailed prepaid sim card guides for the following countries in Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Djibouti, South Africa, Uganda, Gabon, Cameroon, Rwanda, Burundi, Namibia, Lesotho, Egypt. May you travel to any of these countries I would recommend you to check the link.
The price for a Know Roaming Travel SIM card is $9,99 and does NOT come with any credit. Know Roaming international sim cards do NOT support incoming and outgoing phone calls. You can opt for a Know Roaming e-sim which is for free.
Compared to other international sim card services the Know Roaming sim card is cheap: just $10. Their global data packages are average priced compared to other services and you can choose per continent.
Know Roaming is one of the best prepaid international sim cards for the Caribbean as they cover almost every island, however data roaming is expensive. The Know Roaming Latin America sim card is way overpriced and not recommended at all. Instead Know Roaming is one of the best sim cards for Asia. 041b061a72