Beginner’s Guide: Best Travel SIM Cards | 2023


Traveling abroad can be a thrilling experience, but it can also come with its share of headaches.

One of the most common issues is dealing with international mobile phone plans and SIM cards.

It’s crucial to find a plan that works for you while still being cost-effective and reliable.

Fortunately, there are now several options available that make navigating this tricky terrain much more manageable.

This beginner’s guide will provide an overview of the best travel SIM cards on the market today, so you can choose one that fits your needs and budget perfectly!

We’ll also mention how eSIMs can help travelers, as well as how to avoid common SIM card pitfalls.

So, if you’re ready for a smooth and stress-free international experience, read on and find the perfect travel SIM card for you.

Traveler with a mobile phone in her hand

Quick Overview: The Best SIM Cards For Travelers

Want to get the best travel SIM card fast? Here are the top three providers for international travel.

  1. Simify: This online store allows you to buy SIM cards in several destinations, including Europe, the UK, Asia, North America, and more.
  2. SimOptions: This online store allows you to buy SIM cards in several countries across continents.
  3. Orange: Orange is a SIM card provider you can find on SimOptions or Amazon.

Now, let’s see how you can purchase a SIM card for your travels.

How To Buy An International SIM Card

The process of buying a travel SIM card isn’t complicated, but it can change depending on your destination and where you’re buying from.

For example, you can purchase a SIM card before your trip or buy a SIM card locally at the airport or in a store.

If you’re looking for an online option, there is a wide variety of travel SIM cards available.

For instance, you can buy SIM cards from Simify and SimOptions, among others.

That said, nowadays, many people prefer to use eSIMs while traveling abroad.

eSIMs are virtual SIM cards that don’t need to be physically inserted into your phone, making them a great option for international travel.

I’ve been using eSIMs for a while now, and I really love how convenient it is. I can be connected as soon as I land in a new country by purchasing an eSIM online before my trip.

Learn more about the best eSIM providers.

If you prefer to purchase a SIM card in person, you can do so at the airport or in a store.

It’s important to note that buying a SIM card in an airport is usually the most expensive option, and you may need to wait in a long queue. That said, you won’t be able to find SIM card shops in every airport.

Buying a SIM card in a shop requires you to find a store that sells them to tourists. You may need to present your passport and use Google Translate to communicate with the shop seller.

Depending on your destination, the process of buying in person can be easy or quite challenging.

SIM card


Simify provides prepaid travel SIM cards for a worry-free holiday. This means you can activate your SIM card as soon as you land.

Let’s take a look at their plans:

  • Asia
  • Europe & UK
  • New Zealand & Fiji
  • North America
  • Middle-East & Africa
  • South America

When you choose a plan on Simify, you’ll get to choose amongst different length or data plans. But there are two important things to consider here:

  1. At the moment, they only ship in the United States.
  2. Some of their SIM cards get sold out quickly, so availability can be an issue at times.

Our readers get 10% off their first order with our discount code: ABB10.

Psst. Simify also sells eSIM plans.


SimOptions provides prepaid SIM cards in several countries and regions.

Let’s take a look at their plans:

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • North America
  • Middle-East
  • South America
  • South-East Asia
  • Oceania

When you pick a destination, you’ll see all the prepaid options available for the chosen country/region.

This way, you can pick a plan that suits your needs and budget.

Psst. SimOptions also sells eSIM plans.


Orange offers prepaid plans and is popular because of its European plan that covers 30 countries. You can get the Orange prepaid tourist SIM card via SimOptions or Amazon.

Now, this option can work for you if you understand how to set up a SIM card on your own. If you’re unsure how to set it up yourself, chances are you will have a bad experience.

While it’s relatively easy to set up, many people struggle. If you buy a SIM card with a third party like Amazon or SimOptions, you might need to look for another option to have better customer service.

But if you’re tech-savvy, you shouldn’t face any significant issues.


As I mentioned, eSIMs are virtual SIM cards that don’t need to be physically inserted into your phone. This makes them an ideal option for international travel.

If you want to learn more about eSIM, you can read our guide that compares SIM and eSIM.

There are several eSIM providers out there, but here are my favorites:

  1. Airalo
  2. Holafly
  3. Nomad

You can learn more about them or compare different plans on

Do You Really Need A Travel SIM Card?

Ultimately, the decision to purchase a travel SIM card is up to you. If you’re planning a long trip and need access to data throughout your travels, then a travel SIM card might be the best option for you.

However, if you’re traveling for a short period, you may be able to get by with your existing SIM card or free Wifi.

At the end of the day, it’s important to weigh your options and pick what works best for you.

Having access to data during my travels can be super handy.

For example, it can be fantastic if the airport Wifi doesn’t work, if I need to call a Uber, or even if I want to use Google Translate to read the restaurant menu.

So, depending on your needs and situation, it might be worth investing in a prepaid travel SIM card.

Traveler with a mobile phone in her hand

Final Thoughts On International SIM Cards

Getting a travel SIM card is definitely something to consider when planning an international trip.

However, it’s essential to do your research to pick the right plan for your destination.

You can purchase a SIM card in person or online, or you can opt for an eSIM, which will make your travels more convenient.

No matter what you decide, I hope this guide has helped you decide if a travel SIM card is right for you.

Need help preparing for your next trip? Read one of the following guides:

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