Best Travel SIM Cards for International Mobile Data in 2024

By Freya Tilly

Best Travel SIM Cards for International Mobile Data in 2024

By Freya Tilly

Thinking about how to plan your trip? You need to think about more than what to pack for your travels. A seamless and safe journey relies on connectivity – this starts with your mobile data! Bid farewell to hefty roaming costs and embrace the convenience of international SIM cards. In this updated guide for 2024, we delve into the nuances of local prepaid SIM cards, global travel SIM cards, and the evolving realm of eSIM cards. Let’s explore the best travel SIM card options, pros and cons, and tips to keep you connected while saving on roaming costs.

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Local Prepaid SIM Cards vs. International Travel SIM Cards

Local prepaid SIM cards from destination stores are perfect for single-country travel, offering cost-effective solutions available on arrival, often bundled with generous data for tourists. However, for the avid explorer hopping across multiple countries, international SIM cards and e-SIM cards purchased online provide unmatched flexibility and continuous connectivity. This eliminates the hassle of needing to find a new SIM card every time you enter a new country.

Pros of Local Prepaid SIM Cards

  • Cost-effective for single-country use
  • Available for purchase on arrival
  • Often come with large data bundles for tourists

Pros of International Travel SIM Cards

  • Usable in multiple countries
  • Ensures continuous connectivity across borders
  • Ideal for frequent travellers exploring diverse destinations

Understanding E-SIM Cards

eSIM cards, the future of mobile connectivity, eliminate the need for physical cards. While local prepaid SIM cards are readily available in stores, eSIM cards are primarily obtained online, offering ease of use and flexibility. This means you will be connected as soon as you arrive in the country, eliminating the hassle of needing to find a SIM care in a local store. If you want a seamless, convenient and safe trip, this is the best option for you.

Where to Buy an International SIM Card

Acquiring an international SIM card can only be done online. This is often facilitated through third-party platforms. This guide will direct you to the best websites to buy a global SIM card tailored for world travelers. Direct links to the operators’ websites will be provided, allowing you to explore further details if you find a particular option intriguing.

International SIM cards designed for global travel come in two formats: physical prepaid SIM cards and e-SIM cards. Physical prepaid SIM cards are dispatched to your home address, while e-SIM cards are transmitted to you as a QR code via email.

Where to Buy a Local SIM Card

If you’re in search of local prepaid SIM cards for tourists, they can only be obtained in-person, typically from stores or kiosks within the destination itself. Most countries have dedicated shops offering local prepaid SIM cards at international airports upon your arrival. 

It’s worth noting that purchasing a local prepaid SIM card at an international airport is often pricier. Optimal deals can be secured from official retail stores in city centers, shopping malls, or even random mobile phone shops.

In certain countries, convenience stores, gas stations, or supermarkets also offer local prepaid SIM cards. However, be aware that activating the SIM card from these establishments is typically a self-service process, requiring manual activation rather than a plug-and-play experience.

5 Best Travel SIM Cards for International Mobile Connection

Airalo (Recommended #1: Best Travel SIM)

Key Features:

  • Data Options: Tailored plans from 1GB to 20GB.
  • Validity: Flexible plans ranging from 7 days to 180 days.
  • Coverage: Extensive network spanning 84 countries.
  • Ease of Use: User-friendly app for buying and activating eSIMs.
  • User Trust: Trusted by over 1 million users worldwide.

Best Suited for:

  • Frequent travelers exploring diverse regions.
  • Those seeking a seamless, app-driven experience.
  • Individuals desiring a variety of data options and flexible validity.

Why Airalo?

Airalo stands out as a top choice for global connectivity, offering a range of data options to suit different traveler needs. With a user-friendly app, seamless activation process, and coverage in 84 countries, Airalo ensures that staying connected internationally is convenient and reliable. Whether you’re on a short business trip or an extended backpacking adventure, Airalo provides the flexibility and trust you need for uninterrupted communication on the go. Click here to check out Airalo SIM cards best suited for you.

Types of SIM Cards

Airalo offers a range of SIM card options, with different coverage:

  • Local eSIMs: Choose an eSIM specifically suited for the country you are visiting. This is typically more affordable than multi-country options.
  • Regional eSIMs: Choose an eSIM which will keep you connected across entire continents (e.g., one eSIM for all of Europe). This is the best option if you will be travelling through multiple countries.
  • Global eSIMs – the “DISCOVER CARD”: One eSIM for global connection. This card will keep you online in every single country. This will be suitable for travellers hopping across the globe, through multiple countries and continents.


Key Features:

  • Data Options: Tailored plans to suit various data needs.
  • Validity: Ensuring connectivity for the duration you need.
  • Coverage: Extensive network spanning global destinations.
  • No physical swapping: Fully virtual SIM cards eliminates the hassle of physical SIMs. You will not need to constantly swap or manage multiple cards.
  • 24/7 customer support: You will have assistance around the clock to ensure connectivity.

Why Drimsim?

Drimsim emerges as a go-to choice for global travellers seeking seamless connectivity. With customisable data plans, reliable coverage worldwide, and a commitment to providing connectivity for the duration you require, Drimsim ensures you stay connected effortlessly. You select the country you are visiting, then pay only for the data you use. Whether you’re a business traveler or an adventurer exploring diverse regions, Drimsim offers the flexibility and reliability needed for a smooth communication experience on the go. Click here to check out Drimsim SIM cards best suited for you.



Key Features:

  • Virtual SIM Technology: HolaFly introduces virtual SIMs, eliminating the need for physical cards and simplifying the connectivity process.
  • Diverse Packages: Offering a range of packages, HolaFly ensures users can choose plans that align with their specific data and travel requirements.
  • Downloadable Convenience: With the ability to download the virtual SIM before departure, HolaFly streamlines the onboarding process, making it a convenient solution for modern travelers.
  • Global Compatibility: As e-SIM compatibility becomes more widespread, HolaFly positions itself as a leading provider with innovative and competitive packages for the future.
  • User-Friendly Experience: HolaFly prioritizes a user-friendly experience, making it easy for travelers to navigate and manage their virtual SIM connectivity.

Best Suited for:

  • Modern travelers with e-SIM compatible devices.
  • Those seeking a streamlined and convenient connectivity solution.
  • Individuals desiring diverse data packages for global travel.

Why HolaFly?

HolaFly stands at the forefront of global connectivity with its virtual SIM technology, diverse packages, and commitment to user-friendly experiences. Whether you’re a tech-savvy explorer or a business professional on the move, HolaFly provides the innovative and convenient connectivity solution needed for a seamless global travel experience. Click here to check out Holafly SIM cards best suited for you.


Key Features:

  • Versatility: OneSimCard offers both e-SIM and traditional SIM options, providing users with flexibility in choosing their preferred connectivity method.
  • Wide and Reliable Coverage: Boasting extensive coverage in over 200 countries, OneSimCard ensures a reliable connection wherever your travels take you.
  • Low SIM-Purchasing Fees: With affordable SIM-purchasing fees, OneSimCard makes global connectivity accessible without breaking the bank.
  • Global Compatibility: Suited for both e-SIM and traditional SIM devices, OneSimCard caters to a broad range of users with varying device preferences.

Best Suited for:

  • Globetrotters seeking a universal SIM solution for diverse destinations.
  • Those desiring both e-SIM and traditional SIM options for device compatibility.
  • Travelers looking for cost-effective global connectivity.

Why OneSimCard?

OneSimCard serves as a universal passport to global connectivity, offering versatility, wide coverage, and affordability. Whether you’re exploring multiple countries or simply need a reliable solution for a specific region, OneSimCard provides the connectivity you need without the hassle of changing cards at every turn. Click here to check out OneSimCard options best suited for you.

TravelSim Worldwide Card

Key Features:

  • Cost-Effective Solution: TravelSim provides a budget-friendly international SIM card, making it an economical choice for global travelers.
  • Straightforward Pricing Structure: With a transparent pricing structure, TravelSim eliminates surprises, ensuring users understand their costs upfront.
  • Broad Coverage: Usable in over 170 countries, TravelSim offers extensive coverage, making it a reliable choice for diverse travel itineraries.
  • In-Store Availability: Convenience is key, and TravelSim can be purchased not only online but also in physical stores, providing flexibility in procurement.

Best Suited for:

  • Cost-conscious travelers seeking an affordable international SIM card.
  • Individuals desiring transparent and straightforward pricing.
  • Those requiring broad coverage for travel across various countries.

Why TravelSim Worldwide Card?

TravelSim Worldwide Card stands out as a cost-effective and transparent solution for global communication. Whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler or someone looking for hassle-free connectivity across diverse destinations, TravelSim offers a reliable gateway to seamless global communication. Click here to check out TravelSim cards best suited for you.


Navigating the vast landscape of international SIM cards is a crucial step in ensuring seamless connectivity during your global adventures. Whether you’re a solo backpacker, a digital nomad, or a casual traveler, choosing the right SIM card can make a significant difference in your journey. In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the merits of local prepaid SIM cards, the convenience of global travel SIM cards, and the promising future of e-SIM technology.


Which SIM is best for tourists?

The best SIM for tourists depends on individual preferences and travel patterns. Options like Airalo, Drimsim, and OneSimCard offer global coverage, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness for different travel needs.

Are travel SIMs worth it?

Travel SIMs are often worth it for frequent travellers or those exploring multiple countries. They provide cost-effective connectivity, eliminate high roaming costs, and offer tailored data options.

Is there a SIM card that works in all countries?

While no SIM card works in every country, options like OneSimCard and Drimsim offer broad international coverage, making them suitable for diverse travel itineraries.

What is the cheapest way to use your phone overseas?

Using a local prepaid SIM card in each country is often the cheapest way to use your phone overseas. Alternatively, global SIMs with competitive rates, like TravelSim, can also be cost-effective.

Can you buy a SIM card as a tourist?

Yes, tourists can buy SIM cards in most countries. They are available at international airports, local stores, and convenience shops. Online options like Airalo and SimOptions also cater to tourists.

Is eSIM or physical SIM better for travel?

Both eSIM and physical SIM have their advantages. eSIMs offer flexibility and convenience, while physical SIMs may be preferred for users with older devices or those who prefer a tangible card.

Do eSIMs work on international roaming?

Yes, eSIMs work on international roaming, offering the convenience of activating multiple profiles for different countries without the need for physical swapping.

How do eSIMs work?

eSIMs work by digitally storing SIM card information on a device. Users can download eSIM profiles, allowing them to switch between different mobile carriers without the need for a physical SIM card.

Should I take out my SIM card when I travel?

Taking out your home SIM card and using a local or international SIM can save on roaming costs. For those with dual SIM phones, keeping the home SIM for calls and using a travel SIM for data is a common approach.

What is the difference between a tourist SIM and a local SIM?

Tourist SIMs are often designed for short-term use, offering specific benefits like large data allowances. Local SIMs may require more extensive documentation but may provide better long-term value with local rates.

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Written By Freya Tilly

Freya is a travel writer from the UK. She loves discovering unique destinations, exploring old towns and hiking through beautiful natural landscapes.

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