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.
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.
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Knowroaming (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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.
UK-based Three mobile (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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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