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.
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.
For your convenience I ranked the best international sim cards from best to worst. Number 1 is my top recommendation, then number 2 and so on…
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.
But there are also international sim cards and e-sim cards that can be used in multiple countries.
It would be devastating to travel the world and not being able to connect to the internet or make phone calls. Having the newest smartphone but not being able to use it and keep in touch with your friends and family is frustrating.
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 May 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries.
Thanks to local prepaid sim cards, e-sim cards or international sim cards we don’t have to rely on international roaming or WiFi anymore when we travel overseas. In the past, it was the go-to option but the sky-high roaming charges necessitated the creation of more reliable and affordable options. Especially since public WiFi is an UNSECURED connection. We want to be online in a secure and reliable way when traveling.
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.
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Prepaid sim cards vs. International sim cards
There is a big difference between local prepaid sim cards and international sim cards. While the former is great for traveling in 1 country, an international sim card is a great option for travelers who don’t intend to stay in a country for very long and visit multiple countries on one trip.
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.
What is cheaper?
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.
But where local prepaid sim cards stop working, international sim cards continue to roam! With a sim card designed with overseas travel in mind, you’ll always be able to go online as soon as the plane touches the ground. With international sim cards, you can cross borders and continue to enjoy data on your phone and browsing the internet, make/receive calls, and send texts as though you are still at home.
Crossing many borders in a short period of time? International sim cards are the best solution! Which one? Personally I recommend e-sim cards for traveling in 2023.
Where can you buy an international sim card?
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.
Where can you buy a local prepaid sim card
Local prepaid sim cards can only be bought in a store or kiosk in the destination itself. In almost every country you will find local prepaid sim card shops on arrival at the international airport.
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.
Two things that both local and international sim cards have in common is that they avoid high roaming costs!
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.
Also keep in mind that overseas data plans and roaming packages from the mobile operator from your home country do NOT allow you to use full data speed!
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!
International sim card comparison
As expected, there’s a wide range of international sim cards available on the internet. The challenge that most travelers are faced with is choosing the best one for their trip. The pricing and capabilities vary widely and some cater best for one trip, but suck for another trip.
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!
- Best sim card for Europe: Orange Holiday World & Three UK or a Discover Global E-sim card
- Best sim card for Caribbean: Knowroaming or KeepGo
- Best sim card for North America: Orange Holiday World & Three UK or a Discover Global E-sim card
- Best sim card for Central America: Three UK
- Best sim card for South America: Three UK or Discover Global E-sim card
- Best sim card for Africa: Orange Holiday World & Surf Roam
- Best sim card for Asia: Discover Global E-sim card
- Best sim card for Southeast Asia: Smart Data eSim
- Best sim card for the Middle East: Smart Traveller eSim
- Best sim card for Oceania: Smart Traveller eSim
Traveling to the Middle East? I visited all countries in the Middle East myself and wrote detailed sim card guides for them: Qatar, Dubai, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, etc.
12 Best International Sim Cards with Data
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.
1. Orange Holiday World - NOT available as e-sim card
The international sim card with data that covers EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. Yes, with this prepaid travel sim you have data roaming included in 197 countries!
And the price? It is good! Otherwise I would not list on top and name it the best international sim card in the world. :)
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.
Orange was initially referred to as France Telecom. As of today, the network has more than 250 million customers worldwide thanks to its big value data plans and free roaming in every country in the world.
Click here to directly order an Orange Holiday World as a prepaid sim card.
Unfortunately the Orange Holiday World is NOT available as an e-sim card. There is however an Orange Holiday Europe with 20 GB data available as an e-sim card as an alternative.
Prices and rates Orange Holiday World
The Orange Holiday World international sim card costs $49,90 and comes with data included. The volume of the package depends on your destination(s).
You get 10 GB data if you travel to any EU country and/or any of the other countries in Zone 1: Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Benin, Botswana, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Macao, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Switzerland, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom, Uganda, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam
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.
You get 1 GB data in: Afghanistan, Belarus, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Sri Lanka, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Togo, Venezuela
In any other country you get 50 MB. That is obvious not a lot!
If at any point, you run out of data, calls, or texts, you can top up your sim card online from the Orange website. The same package then costs you only €29 and you get again up to 10 GB data.
Review Orange Holiday World
If you are traveling to any of the countries listed in Zone 1 or Zone 2 then the Orange Holiday World is an excellent prepaid global sim card that I would recommend to buy.
Personally I wish the package would be valid for a little more than 14 days and I am missing some countries in the Caribbean that could be useful to add as these are popular tourist destinations for people from the US.
There is NO activation needed as the sim card automatically activates upon insertion in your phone, tablet or WiFi device. It is like plug and play.
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.
However may you be traveling to countries listed in Zone 3 or 4 the Orange Holiday World sim card is not the best buy. Orange is also not a great sim card for traveling in the Caribbean.
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.
Click here for more info or to directly order an Orange Holiday World sim card.
2. Discover Global E-Sim Card
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.
You keep your own phone number and whenever you want to use your own phone number you simply switch networks again in your phone's settings.
Prices Discover Global E-Sim Card
- 1 GB for 7 days = $9 USD
- 3 GB for 15 days = $24 USD
- 5 GB for 30 days = $35 USD
- 10 GB for 60 days = $59 USD
- 20 GB for 180 days = $89 USD
The above data packages are valid in 87 countries:
- Europe: every European country is covered, including: UK, Turkey, Georgia, Russia
- North America: USA, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Panama, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands
- Asia: China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Macau, Philippines, Tajikistan, Taiwan, Vietnam
- Oceania: Australia, New Zealand
- South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay
- Middle East: Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia
- Africa: Sudan, South Africa
Click here to order a Discover Global E-Sim Card directly online or find more info.
Review Discover Global E-Sim Card
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!
3. Three UK - PAYG AIO20 - also available as e-sim card
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.
The sim cards from Three UK allow users to browse in more than 70 countries around the world at no extra costs and therefore holds the spot for the second best international sim card for travelers.
The above Orange international sim card does NOT allow incoming and outgoing calls/text. Big advantage about the Three UK PAYG AIO20 global sim card is that it allows incoming calls & text for free in any of the 71 ‘Go Roam’ countries. You will receive a phone number from the UK that starts with +44.
Three UK offers an international “Pay As You Go’’ sim card, a common name for a prepaid sim card in the UK.
Prices and rates 3 UK
This Three UK International sim card for travelers costs $39,90 and comes with 12 GB data INCLUDED! Credit is valid for 30 days in the countries below.
Data roaming is free in all European countries + the following countries:
Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Macao, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, United States Virgin Islands, USA, Vietnam
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.
There is no registration needed as this international sim card gets automatically activated from its first use.
Review 3 UK PAYG AIO20
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.
Little downside is that you can only top up this Three sim card with a UK registered credit card. Therefore after 30 days you can only use this sim card to receive calls and text.
Click here for more info or to directly order a Three UK PAYG AIO20 sim card.
A Surfroam international sim card is a data only global sim card. With mobile coverage in 200+ countries and territories as they state on the Surfroam website.
You can not receive and make phone calls however you can receive sms. Also Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Viber are unlimited and always accessible when buying a Surfroam prepaid travel sim card.
Prices and rates Surfroam
At Surfroam they offer 2 products: a normal sim card for €15 and an e-sim card for €20. Basically Surfroam is a free international prepaid sim card as you get either €15 or €20 credit INCLUDED.
The common rate for most Western countries is €0,01 per MB, which means €10 per 1 GB data. They charge you per MB. See here a quick overview of the costs per MB per continent.
As opposed to other world sim cards, with Surfroam you don’t need to buy data bundles in advance. This flexibility appeals to long-term travelers or those hopping between different countries of the world constantly.
Also a big plus of Surfroam is that they are providing a ‘free’ international sim card, what you pay, you get back in credit.
Overall, the Surfroam data roaming rates and its pricing model is flexible and easy to understand. Compared to other international sim cards this is very clear, transparent AND MUCH CHEAPER!
There is data roaming coverage in over 200 countries and territories and per country is stated how much they charge per MB.
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.
Also when looking at the rates per MB of the countries in Africa, it is an easy conclusion that Surfroam is one of the best sim cards for traveling in Africa, but not so much for South America.
Click here for more info and to order a Surfroam sim card directly from their website.
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.
5. Know Roaming
They call themselves the ultimate travel sim card you will only ever need to stay connected in 200+ countries & territories.
Prices and rates Know Roaming
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.
You will have to buy any of the below data packages to use your sim card abroad:
- Global: 5 GB data for 30 days in 79 countries = $99,99
- Europe: 5 GB data for 30 days = $39.99
- Asia: 5 GB data for 30 days = $39.99*
* valid in: Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
Know Roaming also offers an international e-sim card service with data plans for Europe, Asia, Caribbean, Latin America, Middle East & Global.
- Europe: 5 GB data for 30 days = $39.99
- Asia: 5 GB data for 30 days = $39.99
- Caribbean: 1 GB data for 30 days = $39.99*
- Latin America: 5 GB data for 30 days = $117.99**
- Middle East: 5 GB data for 30 days = $40.99***
- Global: 5 GB data for 30 days = $110.99****
* valid in: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, French Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands.
** valid in: Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, Uruguay.
*** valid in: Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Saoudi Arabia, Qatar.
**** valid in Europe & some popular tourist destinations around the world + some off the beaten path countries.
Review Know Roaming
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.
For the Know Roaming e-sim you only pay for the data package which is a great service and therefore prices are cheaper than other services.
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.
For more info about the Know Roaming travel sim card check their website.
KeepGo is an official partner of Vodafone, Telefonica, and AT&T with offices in Israel, the USA, and the Netherlands and operates on 500 connected networks in more than 100 countries. The Keepgo international sim card is a data only sim card and does NOT support any incoming or outgoing calls & text.
Prices and rates KeepGo
GoFi Prepaid Data Sim Card - $39
This is a sim card just for Europe and the USA. With this pay as you go sim card you pay $8 / GB data, regardless where in Europe or the USA you are.
Not great for world travelers, but may be if you travel between the USA and Europe a lot.
Lifetime Prepaid Data Sim Card - $49
This international sim card works in more than 100 countries and comes with 1 GB data included.
If you want more data you will have to add one of the data packages below:
- $14 = 500 MB
- $26 = 1 GB
- $61 = 3 GB
- $88 = 5 GB
- $165 = 10 GB
The data packages are valid for 1 year! If you top up once per year, all data is valid for lifetime.
The Keepgo Lifetime Prepaid Data Sim Card is valid in all of Europe and the following countries & territories:
Algeria, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba Australia, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Georgia, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, Montserrat, Myanmar, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reunion, Russia, Saoudi Arbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Suriname, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunesia, Turkey, Turks & Caicos, USA, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam.
Buying a Keepgo global sim card it self is rather expensive as you pay $49 and only get 1 GB included. Good thing is that Traveltomtom readers can get a 10% discount by applying the KeepGo Coupon Code: TRAVELTOMTOM. They also sell WiFi hotspots for international travel.
The Keepgo data package prices are rather expensive, but compared to other international sim cards they have better prices than for example OneSimCard, Travsim and Gosim and therefore they deserve spot number 6 in this list of the cheapest international travel sim cards in the world.
Coverage wise the Keepgo sim card has some specific advantages. Looking at the list of countries where Keepgo offers free data roaming I come to the conclusion that Keepgo is also one of the best international sim cards for the Caribbean. They cover almost every island, territory and country in this pristine part of the world.
Keepgo offers free shipping worldwide which is another great plus. Click here for more info or order directly order your KeepGo international sim card.
A Travelsim international sim card works in 135+ countries, covers 170+ countries and states to work in 200 countries. All information found on their homepage! Just like free incoming calls and text. Well, I bet some of this is true at least.
Prices and rates Travelsim
Travelsim offers a world sim card for $10 and an e-sim card for $6. When buying a Travelsim sim card it also suddenly states free incoming calls in 70+ countries and coverage in 135+ countries. :)
Their pricing and rates are clear and straight forward though.
When ordering a Travelsim international sim card prices are easy to understand, however more expensive than other global sim cards and therefore not my prefered sim card for travelers. They offer free shipping worldwide on orders over $50 and their calling credit is valid for 18 months. For more info check the Travelsim website.
8. GigSky E-sim Card
GigSky does NOT sell physical sim cards anymore and only offers an international e-sim card. There are multiple data packages available some with pretty good deals. Gigsky is a data only service, you can NOT make or receive phone calls/sms.
Gigsky has coverage in 116 countries. Their coverage in Africa is very limited.
Prices and rates Gigsky
Great thing is that the Gigsky e-sim cards are free, but you will need to download their app to use their service. Through the app you can buy your desired data bundles. They offer regional data packages as well as a World Plan.
There are multiple Regional Plans, a great one is the Latin America sim card, and there is 1 world sim card with fixed data bundle prices.
Some of the offered international data roaming plans are pretty decent. Overall Gigsky is one of the best sim cards for traveling in South America with 5GB in almost every country in Latin America for just $40.
Compared to other international travel sim cards the Gigsky worldwide sim card is cheap with 5GB data for $60 and therefore I rate Gigsky pretty high in the list of cheapest international sim cards.
I would NOT recommend using the Gigsky e-sim card for a trip to Europe, the deals above are much better value for money!
Gosim offers competitive calling and texting services abroad but their world sim cards with data are expensive.
Prices and rates GoSim
A Gosim international sim card cost $17 and comes with $10 credit. You can choose between 4 different sim cards:
- International Sim Card
- Europe Sim Card
- Asia Sim Card
- USA Sim Card
I will only highlight the Gosim International Sim Card as for the others I have way better alternatives:
- Traveling to Europe? Check out my article about the best sim cards for Europe.
- Traveling to Asia? Check out my article about the best sim cards for Asia.
- Traveling to the USA? Check out my article about the best sim cards for USA.
GoSim International Sim Card
The Gosim world sim card provides FREE incoming text messages in every country in the world and free incoming calls in more than 135 countries.
This Gosim sim card comes with an Estonia phone number starting with +372. Incoming calls in other countries costs $0,25 per minute. In general outgoing calls around $0,50 - $1 per minute depending how remote you are.
Data roaming is possible in about 135 countries as well, but the rates are minimum $0,25 per MB. That is $10 for opening Instagram just 1 time. :)
To make data roaming more affordable Gosim offers data roaming bundles. They split the world into Zone A (65+ countries) and Zone B (110+ countries). Most Western countries and some exotic tourist destinations are in Zone A. Zone B is Zone A plus 50 more off the beaten path travel destinations. Here are some examples of the prices:
- Zone A - 3 GB data = $70
- Zone B - 3 GB data = $198
I would NOT recommend using Gosim as an international data sim card. Data plans for international roaming are simply way too expensive compared to other international sim cards mentioned above.
For calling abroad and receiving text they have fairly competitive prices with outgoing calls mostly around $0,50 center per minute.
Positive about Gosim is that they offer free shipping all over the world. Unfortunately does Gosim NOT support e-sim cards as per November 2022. For more info check the Gosim website.
For example buying a sim card in Vietnam will cost you $13 and gets you 2 GB data PER DAY + 60 minutes calling time valid for 30 days. Just saying.
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According to many websites OneSimCard takes the cup when it comes to the cheapest international sim card. But is this true? Let's see...
This prepaid mobile service provider is a product of US telecommunication carrier Belmont Telecom. At OneSimCard they say they operate in 200+ countries, but there are only 197 countries in the world!? Bit of a weird start…
The international sim cards offered by OneSimCard come with two numbers, an Estonian one (Europe) and one of your choice: USA, Canada, Australia.
Prices and rates OneSimCard
Anyway at OneSimCard they offer 4 different international sim cards:
Universal SIM - $29,95
- Calling & texting in more than 160 countries*
- Free incoming calls in more than 120 countries
- Free incoming sms in more than 160 countries
- Data roaming in more than 160 countries*
- Free $10 credit
*For using data and make calls/sms you will have to buy additional data or voice packages.
Expedition SIM - $34,95
- Calling & texting in more than 200 countries*
- Free incoming calls in more than 110 countries
- Free incoming sms in more than 200 countries
- Data roaming in more than 170 countries*
- Free $10 credit
*For using data and make calls/sms you will have to buy additional data or voice packages.
Europe & More SIM - $19,95
- Calling & texting in more than 100 countries*
- Free incoming calls in more than 70 countries
- Free incoming sms in more than 100 countries
- Data roaming in more than 90 countries*
- Free $10 credit
*For using data and make calls/sms you will have to buy additional data or voice packages.
This is no physical sim card, but a digital SIM. It allows you to have a data/call package activated through a provider without using a physical sim card. It mostly works by installing an app.
At OneSimCard they offer an international eSIM for $9,95. It does NOT come with any credit, you will have to buy data and calling bundles at extra charge through the OneSIMVoIP app.
The OneSimCard eSIM comes with a European number and has coverage in over 160 countries. There is no shipping needed as you can download it on your phone instantly.
Additional data roaming packages
OneSimCard makes use of two different zones. In Zone A you will find mostly all western countries as well as the standard tourist destinations in the world. In Zone B will find more off the beaten path countries.
The OneSimCard data plan prices are pretty expensive. Here are some examples:
- Universal SIM - Zone A - 5 GB data - 30 days = $90.
- Universal SIM - Zone B - 5 GB data - 30 days = $199.
- Expedition SIM - Zone A - 2 GB data - 30 days = $20.
- Expedition SIM - Zone B - 2 GB data - 30 days = $99.
- Europe & More SIM - Zone A - 3 GB data - 30 days = $50.
- Europe & More SIM - Zone B - 3 GB data - 30 days = $99.
These are examples of kind of standard tourist data packages. Well if you ask me… EXPENSIVE!
Personally I think OneSimCard is very expensive. First off they basically make you pay for an international sim card that has no packages included. When you take away the $10 free credit you are still paying $10 just for an international sim card only. When buying the Expedition SIM even $24,95.
It also states everywhere data roaming from $0,01 cent per MB. Well, I have tried to look for that country, but I can’t find it! Instead, I found out that basically all Western countries you pay $0,25 cent per MB. That is 25x more!
That also means $10 credit is just 40 MB, that is basically opening Instagram 1x and your credit is gone! Oh for example roaming in Algeria cost $1,75 per MB with a Universal SIM and $25,00 per MB with an Expedition SIM. That is $1,000 just for opening Instagram! I am dying… :)
So other international sim card comparisons that recommend OneSimCard... I think are a joke!
All that glitters is not gold in the global sim card world and as you can predict I do not recommend buying a OneSimCard for using data abroad, but just for receiving calls they are ok. For more info check the OneSimCard website.
To put this all in perspective: buying a sim card in Switzerland, one of worlds most expensive countries, will cost you $20, but it comes with $20 credit, 24 hours unlimited high speed internet costs $3 in Switzerland. That means for $21 you have 1 week UNLIMITED high speed internet when buying a local sim card in Swiss.
Another global sim card that claims to be a free international sim card, well… A WorldSIM International travel sim card is only ‘free’ if you add €120 credit to it! Not a great start when Traveltomtom is reviewing your service.
WorldSIM offers a data roaming only sim card as well as an international sim card for calling/texting. They are priced equally, however data roaming with the calling/texting sim card is much more expensive. The data sim card offers data roaming in 188 countries.
Prices and rates WorldSIM
The cheapest deal you can find on WorldSIM is €42. You will get a global sim card (€18) with €24 credit.
Just like for example OneSimCard they claim data roaming rates from 0,01 cents but I can’t find that country. In most Western countries and popular tourist destinations data roaming starts from 0,02 cents.
For a reason it is only listed at spot X in my comparison of the best international sim cards. WorldSIM is pretty expensive and the cheapest data roaming is €20 per 1 GB data.
Most countries off the beaten path are VERY expensive. Don’t go to Cuba, that costs you more than $3 per MB, that is $3,000 per 1 GB or what about the Caribbean countries? About $0,30 per MB, that is $300 per 1 GB.
When looking for a sim card for traveling the world then I would NOT recommend WorldSIM, simply because there are much cheaper options available. For more info check the Worldsim website.
Can International Sim Cards connect from everywhere?
Technically speaking – yes. International sim cards are designed to work in multiple countries, but as you have read above there are a ton of restrictions. An international sim card isn’t programmed to one specific network. Instead, it operates on several networks in different geographical locations and can therefore be used in multiple countries.
International sim cards usually operate on networks that use the GSM framework. GSM stands for Global Systems Management Communications. Once the sim card is inserted, it connects to one of the local networks.
If you intend to use your phone with an international sim card, you ought to make sure that it’s:
International sim cards only work in unlocked phones
As previously mentioned, you need an unlocked phone for the international sim card to work. A cell that comes with a sim lock can only be used within a defined cellular network and is blocked for any other networks.
This mostly applies to phones bought in the USA, Canada. Phones bought in Europe, Australia, Middle East are mostly unlocked.
There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a new phone if you can get your current one unlocked by your carrier. Once your phone has been unlocked, you can easily switch to any local or international sim card whenever you need to.
If you have a sim lock, I recommend you to unlock your phone before your trip. Contact your local mobile service provider to ask them to unlock the phone and find out if you’re required to pay any unlocking charge.
Do you really need an international sim card?
International sim cards are also referred to as travel sim cards and that is simply because of how convenient they can be for travelers. If you don’t want to worry about roaming charges while you travel abroad, you can purchase an international sim card. But if you use a lot of data it is definitely best to buy a local sim card on arrival.
With a prepaid sim card you are in control of your bills!
I cannot stress enough about the importance of staying connected while you travel. International sim cards avoid being charged exorbitant data roaming charges. Enjoy low and affordable rates with no hidden fees by getting an international sim card.
Which international sim card is the best? Did you already pick from all the great options that I recommended you? Well, I hope that all the above tips for buying an international sim card were helpful.
Before you do, remember that there are several factors that you need to put into consideration such as coverage, pricing, data speed, calls, SMS package, credit validity, and duration of travel. At the end of the day, the best international sim card is the one that suits your needs.
May you have any more questions please feel free to leave me a comment below and I am more than happy to help you out.
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Looking for some extra travel inspiration? Check out my Instagram profile @traveltomtom and get fuelled by my journey to visit every country in the world. As of May 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries around the world.
Some links in this article about the best travel sim cards are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using the outgoing links I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at no extra cost to you, but I have the duty to inform you.