For the last two years my article about the best Turkey sim card is providing useful information for people traveling to Turkey. But wouldn’t it be much easier to buy a sim card at Istanbul SAW Airport straight upon arrival? For this blog I traveled in August 2019 to Sabiha Gokcen International Airport to find out everything about buying a Turkey sim card for tourists.
I did the same research for IST Airport. May you land at IST then click here for your guide for buying a Turkey sim card at Istanbul airport!
For my quest to find the best sim card in Europe I traveled to many airports checking out the prices for international sim cards for travelers. In for example Vienna, London, Venice, etc. I found out that airport sim cards can sometimes be a crazy expensive and even a rip off. So to help tourists traveling to Turkey I liked doing the research at SAW airport and wrote this blog about it.
Istanbul is full of amazing places to visit! If you like going off the beaten path a little I can recommend you a walking tour in Fener Balat to see the colorful houses in a vibrant neighborhood full of charming coffee places. Or click here for some other unique things to do in Istanbul.
Istanbul SAW Airport
Istanbul has two international airports, one on the Europe side (IST) and one on the Asia side (SAW). So check carefully where you will fly to. Both airports are about an hour away from the city center. Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW) is the smaller airport and is very easy to navigate when you arrive. Istanbul SAW airport has only one arrival hall.
Where to buy a Turkey sim card at Istanbul SAW Airport
There are two exits from the luggage belt, but whatever exit you take, as soon as you walk into the arrival hall you can’t miss the Turkey mobile internet operator shops. Vodafone, Turkcell and Turk Telecom are located just a few meters from each other.
Turkey sim cards and traveling in Europe
Although a part of Istanbul and Turkey is located in Europe, Turkey sim cards don’t allow roaming in other countries in Europe. There is a sim card for Turkey that you can buy online through this link. It gives you 6GB for $40 and the data is valid in more than 50 countries around the world, all of Europe included. Less value than a Turkey sim card but you don’t need to get in line to buy a sim card at Istanbul SAW airport.
Prices Turkey sim cards Istanbul SAW Airport
Turkcell Istanbul SAW Airport
When checking out the Turkcell shop I was offered a wide array of prepaid Turkey sim cards. They claim to have the best Turkey mobile internet network. They offer sim cards with calling time and also data only packages.
Turkcell prepaid sim card
There are 7 data packages available, see the sheet below.
These are the best Turkcell Turkey prepaid sim card for tourists at SAW airport:
- 190 TL ($33): 500 minutes - 1000 sms and 10 GB data.
- 210 TL ($37): 14 GB data.
Turkell has a lot of options to choose from. All bundles are for use in Turkey only!
Turk Telekom Istanbul SAW Airport
There are only 3 Turk Telekom prepaid sim cards for sale at Istanbul SAW airport. These are the available options:
- 160 TL ($28): 750 minutes - 750 sms and 10 GB data.
- 210 TL ($37): 750 minutes - 750 sms and 20 GB data.
- 240 TL ($42): 950 minutes - 950 sms and 30 GB data.
I asked what the surprise gift was and the friendly guy showed me a mini usb cable. All bundles are for use in Turkey only!
Vodafone Istanbul SAW Airport
It is well known that I use Vodafone sim cards a lot for traveling around the world, but what about Vodafone Turkey. They offer at least free social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, Spotify, etc.
They sell 4 different Vodafone Turkey prepaid sim cards at Istanbul SAW Airport:
- 210 TL ($37): 750 minutes and 12 GB data.
- 230 TL ($40): 750 minutes and 15 GB data.
- 270 TL ($47): 750 minutes and 25 GB data.
- 310 TL ($54): 750 minutes and 32 GB data.
Texting is not included in a Vodafone Turkey sim card. All bundles are for use in Turkey only!
Best prepaid Turkey sim card SAW Airport
Most of the Turkey prepaid sim cards at Istanbul SAW airport are similar in packages. The cheapest Vodafone Turkey sim card is more expensive than Turkcell and Turk Telecom, but they offer free social media.
Turkcell offers a lot of different Turkey sim cards and claims to have the best network but are the most expensive!
All in all I thiink Turk Telecom is the best Turkey prepaid sim card in Istanbul SAW airport!
They are the cheapest 190 TL ($33) and you still get calling time, sms and 10 GB data! That probably is more than enough for your Turkey trip as every bar, restaurant and hotel has free WiFi as well.
In case you can to wait until you arrive in Istanbul center then check out my recently updated article about the best sim card in Turkey for tourists and know which one to buy. Landing on the other airport in Istanbul then click on this link to find out everything for buying a sim card at Istanbul Airport IST.
Portable Wifi Turkey
A TEP Wireless portable Wifi device lets you enjoy unlimited data for a couple dollars per day. It is the perfect solution when traveling with kids or with a partner. You can connect 5 devices at the same time to a TEP wireless portable Wifi for Turkey. Click on the banner below to find out more.
How to get from SAW Airport to Istanbul city
Just like buying a sim card at SAW Airport is this also pretty straight forward. When you exit SAW Airport you cross the road and go straight. On your right hand side you will see Havabus busses that have a couple set destinations around Istanbul center.
The bus to for example Taksim Square cost 18 TL, a little more than $3 USD per person one-way. The drive take around 1 to 1,5 hours.
I hope all the above tips for buying a Turkey sim card at Istanbul SAW airport were helpful. May you have any additional questions hit me up on my Instagram @traveltomtom. This may create serious wanderlust with adventure from more than 100 countries, including the colorful houses of Fener - Balat. Curious about my best travel adventures? Click on the link for a list of 30 things to do around the world.