If you’re traveling, there’s a good chance you’ll need to access your phone on the road. Although you can certainly get international calling on your United States phone, it can be expensive.
Fortunately, these best international sim cards can save you money and keep you connected at all times.
What Are the Best International Sim Cards?
The best international sim cards work in many different counties. However, even if you’re not planning to make calls overseas, you still need a sound sim card for data, as it’s not always possible or safe to connect with local WiFI networks.
Our Picks for the Best International Sim Cards:
- Best Overall: GigSky 4G LTE/3G Data SIM Card
- Best for Your European Adventure: Orange Holiday Europe
- Best for eSim: OneSimCard Travel
- Best for Paying as You Go: Three Mobile Pay
- Best for Travelers on a Budget: Ultra Mobile Trial Kit
- Best for Data: Keepgo Lifetime Prepaid Data Sim Card
- Best for Linking to Local Networks: KnowRoaming Global Sim Card
These sim cards will allow you to stay connected to the world without wreaking havoc on your bank account. All of them are relatively easy to get and install, too.
Why You Need an International SIM Card
You need an international sim card for several reasons, precisely convenience, and safety. International calling plans can be extremely expensive, especially if you’re traveling for long periods.
You could rack up huge costs without knowing it and be stuck with a giant bill when you return to the United States. Even if you install an international plan on your phone, you will still probably pay more than you would with an international sim card.
Going with no sim card at all can be dangerous. Sometimes you need to access your data, and there are no safe WiFi options around. There’s also a good chance that you could have to make a call while abroad.
Also, open WiFi networks are not always that safe. Accessing your banking information on an available network is ill-advised, and even checking your email can pose some risks. It’s a good idea to play it safe and get an international sim card.
Best International Sim Cards: Our Top 7 Picks
These best international sim cards will help you make the most of your travels while minimizing hassles. We’ve broken down our top 7 picks into the best overall international sim card and the best international sim cards for specific needs.
1. Best Overall: GigSky 4G LTE/3G Data SIM Card
- Use it almost anywhere
- Easy to top up
- Lets you keep all of your applications
- Hotspots can be difficult to use
- Some plans are more costly
GigSky 4G LTE/3G Data SIM Card is an exceptional choice that allows you to travel seamlessly from country to country and always have access to your data and calling options. Plus, it’s easy to log onto and top up, and you can keep all your applications.
If you’re traveling between several different countries, or if you don’t know where you want to go next, GigSky 4G LTE/3G Data SIM Card can make your life a whole lot easier.
The only actual downsides are that some plans can be a bit more costly, and the hotspot takes a slight learning curve to get used to. Otherwise, it’s an excellent international plan.
2. Best for Your European Adventure: Orange Holiday Europe
- Use virtually anywhere on the European continent
- Plenty of data is available
- Easy to top up
- It won't work in the United States
- There's limited tech help in specific languages
Orange Holiday Europe offers a massive 20 gigabytes of internet in Europe and is the perfect companion for your holiday trips. It’s easy to install and use the sim card as long as your phone is unlocked.
One of the best things about this sim card is that you can use it in multiple countries without having to change any preferences within the card itself. It’s a reasonably priced option for those traveling in and through Europe.
Unfortunately, although you can make calls to the United States with this sim card, you can’t use it when you’re home in the United States or anywhere outside of continental Europe itself.
3. Best for eSim: OneSimCard Travel
- eSims are super convenient and don't require you to remove your old card
- You'll get the voucher and instructions quickly
- Account setup is a breeze
- This card can be difficult to top up
- The website is a little hard to use
This sim card offers contract-free international phone services with the option of using an eSim card. eSims are easy to set up, and you can keep your previous sim card in the phone. So if you’re someone who worries about losing their sim card, this option is perfect for you.
Also, OneSimCard Travel is relatively inexpensive and covers 150 different countries. Check your destination before committing to ensuring that OneSimCard Travel works there.
It’s a good option for people who want to streamline everything on their phone and don’t want to have to mess around with additional sim cards. It’s also suitable for people traveling to multiple countries because it doesn’t just work in one part of the world.
4. Best for Paying as You Go: Three Mobile Pay
- You only pay for what you use
- Very easy to install and turn on
- Excellent hotspot capabilities
- If you don't pay close attention to the data packages, you could wind up paying more
- Some users had trouble with the activation
Three Mobile Pay’s sim card comes with 12 gigabytes of data and allows you to top up your account as needed. As a result, you never have to pay for more data or services than you use.
It also works amazingly well in over 70 countries, and you can store and use your data for an entire year. This is excellent news for people who worry about wasting data because their plans roll over.
Three Mobile Pay’s sim card also works on virtually any unlocked phone or tablet, and there’s no contract for usage. However, some of the packages can be a little bit confusing, so it’s a really good idea to read the fine print before selecting one.
5. Best for Travelers on a Budget: Ultra Mobile Trial Kit
- Fairly cost-effective
- Easy to install
- Great customer service
- Sometimes the texting services can be challenging to use
- It might have compatibility issues with older phones
Ultra Mobile Trial Kit is an excellent option for people who are trying to cut back on costs and are willing to deal with a few minor inconveniences like difficult or slow texting and occasionally spotty internet.
Ultra Mobile Trial Kit has excellent customer service and is supposed to be a way to try out their plans before buying a package, but you can also use it for your overseas trip.
Serving over 80 international destinations, this phone is an excellent choice for people who need to be connected overseas but don’t want to break the bank.
6. Best for Data: Keepgo Lifetime Prepaid Data Sim Card
- Get access to the internet virtually anywhere in the world
- All of your apps will still work
- You can top up your data easily
- Refunds go through a department that's not customer service, which can be confusing
- You need to enter pard of your sim card to top up your data
Getting access to quick internet is almost always on the top of every traveler’s list. Fortunately, Keepgo Lifetime Prepaid Data Sim Card lets you have data at your fingertips all the time.
This sim comes with a ton of data that you can refill annually, and the internet is super-fast. You can also use this sim as a hotspot for work devices.
It’s easy to activate, you can use it just about anywhere, and all of the applications on your phone will still work the same way they always did. Just remember to keep your sim card information on hand to access your account and be patient with customer service.
7. Best for Linking to Local Networks: KnowRoaming Global Sim Card
- Use it in plenty of different places
- Fairly inexpensive
- Works on most devices
- It can be a little tricky to install
- It might not pick up all networks
This sim card works by finding and connecting to local networks. It’s an excellent option for people who are traveling to very populated parts of the world where there are multiple carriers, but it might not be as good for those who are going to remote spots.
The true benefit is if there is a good network where you’re traveling, this sim card can pick it up. So you’re not limited to a specific region of the world. It’s also relatively inexpensive, and it works well on almost all devices.
Finding the Best International Sim Card
Trying to find the best international sim card for your needs can be slightly daunting. There are a few things that you should keep in mind before making your decision. Thinking it through will yield the best option in the end.
How Often Will You Be Moving?
Plenty of sim cards work in one part of the world, but that’s it. However, if you will be moving around a lot, especially between continents, you will want a sim card that is as flexible as you are.
Make sure that you read the fine print before making your decision.
Do You Have a Business Number?
Often, you’ll get a new phone number with your sim card. While this is entirely ordinary and expected, it can wreak havoc on your business if you use your American phone number for work.
In cases like this, it’s a good idea to either get a sim card that allows you to keep your number or get an eSim card.
What’s the Length of Your Trip?
Your trip’s length will dictate what you should look for in a sim card, specifically when it comes to things like data packages.
If you’re not sure how long you’re going to be gone, it’s not a bad idea to opt for a “pay as you go” package.
Do You Need a Phone, Data, or Both?
Many international sim cards come with both phone and data packages, although some are one or the other. Think about what you’re going to use your phone for, and act accordingly.
If you only need one or the other, you’ll wind up paying less and making the most out of your international sim card.
Keep these considerations in mind when purchasing your international sim card, and you’re more likely to make an informed decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re still not sure how to find the best international sim card for you, don’t worry. These frequently asked questions will help clear up any confusion and help you become confident in your decision.
Can I Use Applications Like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger With an International SIM Card?
Yes, all of your applications will work with an international sim card. So, for example, although WhatsApp acts a lot like a texting service, it’s a web application that doesn’t have much to do with your sim card number. You’ll still be able to log into Facebook, Instagram, and other applications as yourself with your new number.
Can I Use My International SIM Card as a Hotspot?
You can use many international sim cards as hotspots, although some are better than others. If you need a hotspot for working abroad or for any other reason, check the information on your sim card. It’s also a good idea to read reviews to make sure that the card you’re looking at will do what you need it to.
What Is the Difference Between a Mobile SIM and a Data SIM Card?
Mobile sim cards let you do everything you usually would with your phone number, including making calls, texting, and using limited data through the sim card itself. Data sim cards provide you with specific data packages where you can access the internet or applications from your phone.
What’s the Difference Between a Local SIM Card and an International SIM Card?
Local sim cards are ones that you buy specifically from a phone carrier in the country that you’re visiting. Often, ex-pats will get local sim cards rather than international ones because they’re staying for months or years on end. Local sim cards tend to be less expensive, but they’re not as ubiquitous, and you can only really use them in one country. So if you’re traveling around a lot, it’s a good idea to get an international sim card.
How Do I Use an International SIM Card?
For physical sim cards, remove your sim and replace it with the new one. For eSim cards, you need to log online and install them.
So, What’s the Best International SIM Card?
What constitutes the best international sim card comes down to your preferences and needs. The seven choices on our list are a good jumping-off point and can help you hone down your decision to select the perfect one for your travel needs. Happy travels!