SIM cards are a royal pain in the butt when travelling. Every time you land somewhere new, you have to perform the same song and dance of going out of your way to get a new sim pretty much as soon as possible.

Usually what happens is that you land in the airport and then you either get ripped off buying a SIM card there or navigate to town without any connectivity. Once you’re in town, you have to navigate a foreign city sifting through local SIM providers, various plans, and also probably getting lost along the way. It’s not the ideal way to start a vacation and I cannot even count the hours I’ve lost shopping for sims in new countries.

That’s why buying one of the best international SIM cards is THE way to go.

An International SIM card is one which will work all over the world meaning that you never have to change it again – no more messing around at the O2 Kiosk in strange airports!

Now, to set the record straight, while there are cheaper travel SIM cards in existence, they still aren’t exactly cheap. Nine times out of ten, a local SIM card is always going to be the cheaper option for budget backpackers.

Maybe you’re a digital nomad who always needs to be connected, maybe you’re a high-flying businessperson with fancy business attire who makes busy business calls while on holiday or maybe (like me) you are just sick of having to change sims.

Either way, this is the list of the best international SIM cards on the market! I’ve done all the leg-work and the research to deliver an international SIM cards review in full. So let’s get ourselves connected.

Call your Mum yo!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you. Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more.

Compare The Best International SIM Cards

This isn’t the whole roundup but it is my personal pick of the best international SIM cards worth looking into, each one serving a different niche.



  • > e-Sim and Traditional Sims available
  • > Wide and reliable coverage
  • > Low SIM-purchasing fees
  • > $9.95 – $39.95


  • > Virtual sim – no plastic needed!
  • > Excellent range of packages
  • > Download before you leave home
  • > $69.99


  • > Excellent value – starts at $1
  • > Range of packages available
  • > Great coverage
  • > $1 – $80


  • > $67.50

KeepGo Lifetime World SIM Card

  • > Reliable connection
  • > Prone to cutting rates
  • > Coverage could be better

Sim Local

  • > Simple rates – no bundle packs
  • > Huge coverage
  • > Requires a PRO account for maximum coverage
  • > $10 – $100

Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid SIM Card

  • > Extremely reliable in Europe
  • > Easily sufficient for a two-week holiday
  • > Excludes a number of countries in Europe
  • > $46.99

What is an International SIM Card?

International SIMs, roaming SIMs, travel SIM Cards whatever: a rose by any name can still order you a pizza when you don’t want to leave the guesthouse after all right? That’s what an international SIM card is, a SIM card that will have you hooked up from “anywhere”.

Why did you put ‘anywhere’ in quotes?

Because it’s a highly variable anywhere. “Anywhere” really means from the countries that the international SIM covers. That said, some of these travel SIM providers cover over 200 countries.

That also said, there are only 195 countries in the world so I’m not sure how they mathed those numbers out. Still unsure, have a look at our guide to local vs international SIM cards.

Looking for Best Coworking Hostel in the World?

Come visit Tribal Bali – Bali’s first specially designed, custom-built co-living hostel… 

Bali’s most special backpacker hostel is finally open…. Tribal Bali is a custom-designed, purpose-built co-living hostel – a place to work, rest, play and stay. A place to find your tribe and hands down the best place in Bali to hustle hard and make new friends…

So, how does an international SIM card work?

Without getting too technical, an international SIM card isn’t programmed to one specific network. It’s programmed to operate on a number of networks in a number of different geographical locations – specifically, networks using the GSM (Global Systems of Management Communications) framework.

That’s why to use your cell phone internationally with a travel SIM card it needs to be:

  1. GSM-compatible (many phones are).
  2. Unlocked, i.e. not tied to a provider.

Do be sure about that unlocked phone bit before you go ahead and buy a new one.

Hacker googling
Basically you with an international SIM card.

Basically, global SIM cards will plug into a local network from the country you’re travelling to… Consensually, of course.

That’s why coverage so strongly varies among the many international SIMs. Some SIM cards are for worldwide use and programmed accordingly. Some SIM cards are for international roaming in certain regions like Asia, the USA, or Europe (usually, omitting a third of Europe in their coverage).

For example, you’ll need a different sim card for Canada and the USA in most cases, but in Europe you’ll more than likely be able to use the same one.

Who benefits from buying an international SIM card?

Well, like I said, not so much the longterm backpacker types. A local SIM card is pretty much always cheaper and much more practical (and reliable) for long stays in any country. Unfortunately, actual cheap international sim cards don’t exist yet.

Country-hoppers, on the other hand, may want to consider buying some sort of prepaid international SIM card. Buying local sim cards in Europe for only 1-2 weeks of use eight times in a trip is nobody’s idea of fun, especially if you care about data usage and double especially if you care about plastic ending up in the ocean.

Businessman talking on the phone with a internationally roaming
Why yes, I am conducting some serious business!

People living the digital nomad lifestyle may also benefit from a travel SIM. Though a local SIM is much more equipped for longterm stays in a country, sometimes the options or service is crap and sometimes you’ll spend long stretches in transit which is a perfect time to crunch out a few hours. Besides, there is no rule that says you can’t have two SIMs. A prepaid international sim card might be the best option here (more about that later).

Lastly, business people or people that take frequent short trips will benefit from a SIM card for international travel. I might be stereotyping here but I kinda feel that these folk are less concerned with the costs associated. Plus, most SIM cards for overseas use tend to have 1-year validity for purchased credit, so it’s totally viable to park your SIM after a trip and then pop it back in for the next one.

The Best SIM Cards for International Travellers

Beginning the list are the top international SIM cards for travelling that do everything a SIM card should do: call, texts, and mobile data. These SIMs have some pretty major coverage globally and for most travellers in the world, are more than sufficient.

Of course, there has to be a best-of-the-best in this international sim card comparison. So first up–the best travel SIM card!

#1 The Best International Physical SIM Card – OneSim


Ok, so what makes OneSim the best travel SIM card? It’s a fine difference between the first few candidates but OneSim edges out on top for a combination of versatility, pricing, and reliability.

First up, they offer multiple different SIM cards each catering to different travelling needs INCLUDING (but not limited to) 2 awesome e-Sim options:

  • OneSimCard e-Sim World (From $9.95) – Coverage of 150 countries with free incoming calls on EU numbers.
  • OneSimCard e-Sim Asiana (From $9.95) – Specially designed for Asia and Oceania. Data packages available.

If your phone is not yet e-Sim ready, then worry not because OneSim also offer some excellent deals on plastic sims:

  • OneSimCard Universal ($29.95) – Coverage of over 200 countries but with a more limited data service (50+) countries.
  • OneSimCard Expedition ($34.95) – Offers much the same coverage as the OneSim Universal travel SIM but with way more data coverage. It’s the choice for the explorers.

How OneSim Works

You’ll get a $10 bonus credit with any OneSIM roaming SIM card purchase, but once that’s gone, you’ll have to continue buying data plans. Rates vary wildly by both the choice of travel SIM card you are using and the country you’re in so you’ll need to check these rates to see if they suit you.

You’ll receive two numbers: a European (Estonian) number and a choice of one from the USA, UK, Australia, or Canada. Incoming calls on the primary European number is free in a large coverage of countries or starting from $0.25/min otherwise. Outgoing calls also start from $0.25/min (dependent on locations) and receiving texts are free.

Casual data rates start at rather hefty $0.20/MB. However, what makes this such a good prepaid international SIM card is that there is a lot of choices to lower your costs. You can buy data bundles ranging from one/two weeks to a month divided by zone or region. There are also discount plans and bundles available for call rates. This makes the OneSIM one of the best international SIM cards for data as well.

So, is it worth it?

Although not strictly the cheapest international SIM card on the market, the wealth of choices means that you can tailor your SIM card to your world travel needs and minimize costs. The added bonus is that OneSim has been kicking around for a while so they know the market well.

They provide a reliable service, as well as a bunch of neat extras, to keep their clients happy chappies. If you’re looking for the best sim card for international travel, OneSIM is definitely one you should consider getting.

#2 Best Global eSim Provider – GigSky


If you have a modern phone (iPhone 11 , Samsung Galaxy S21, etc or above) it will probably be eSim compatible. This means that you don’t actually need a plastic SIM card but can simply download an eSim via GigSky the same way you would download an app.

When I first heard of eSim about one year ago, it was something of a niche product simply because most travellers were using phones and devices that were not eSim compatible. However that is changing fast and by 2024, an estimated 80% of travellers will use eSim. The eSim marketplace is a very exciting one and the providers are contently innovating to come up with some new, better, cheaper packages – according to our research, GigSk are currently leading the pack.

How GigSky Works

I had the pleasure of reviewing Gigsky and It’s really very simple. You either download the GigSky App (which we do recommend) or else go to their website and check out their “Global Plans”. You buy the package you want (in the 5GB World Plan) and download it not your phone BEFORE you fly, using either a link or a QR code.

The joy of eSim is that you can install it before you leave and then activate as soon as the plane touches down meaning you are rocking and rolling all over the world before you even get your luggage.

GigSky offer 1 Global Package only – 5GB over 30 days for $69.99. I can be topped up (if you somehow burn through all 5GB) but it cannot be extended past the 30 days.

So, Is It Worth It?

Well, $69.99 is a lot for a 30 day package but International Sim Packages do not come cheap. GigSky also have a wide range of global carrier partners meaning their offer better connectively than most platers in this space.

Overall though, in terms of sheer convenience yes GigSky is worth it – you you can browse for and install an eSim from the comfort your device and get it ready to use before you even leave home which saves a whole lotta hassle. However, the package does NOT include an actual phone number which is a bit of a bummer.

#3 Great Global eSim Package – Sim Local


Sim Local is recognized as a global leader in the travel SIM card and eSIM retail market. The company specializes in serving global travellers, enabling them to stay connected while avoiding expensive roaming charges. During my review of Sim Local, I was impressed to see they provide local SIM cards and eSIM profiles directly to customers through a variety of channels, including retail stores, kiosks, vending machines, a mobile app, and an eShop.

Their services are aimed at offering significant savings on data, calls, and texts compared to traditional roaming options, and they also offer a range of mobile handsets and accessories tailored to the needs of travellers.

How Sim Local Works

First up, note that Sim Local are an eSim-only provider so if you’re phone is not eSim ready…go elsewhere. Providing it is, you simply hop over to their site or get the app and check out their global packages. At the time of writing the site offers their own brand one for just $10 for 3 days, or an Orange one that costs $28.00 for 14 days.

So, is it worth it?

I’ll be frank, eSims are still often more expensive than buying physical sims but they are a lot easier to install and to operate and best of all, you can install them before you even leave home. In my view, $28.00 for 10GB of data over 14 days is good value for an international sim but bear in mind it don’t come with a local numero.

#4 A Worldwide SIM Card – WorldSIM


WorldSIM gets a mention on this list because it’s another puller in the market with some comparatively awesome rates. It’s also got some really weirdly expensive outlying rates. As such, we certainly don’t feel like it’s a fit for the best SIM card for international roaming.

How WorldSim Works

The WorldSIM international SIM card has no purchasing fee- woo! Now, before you get too excited, it does require a top-up of credit at purchase.

That means that you’re paying a minimum of $33.75 plus shipping. For $67.50 of credit, shipping is free.

The casual rates for outgoing calls, texts, and data usage are the cheapest I’ve found so far with data coverage extending to countries missed out on by OneSim. Except, a lot of the rates in various countries for incoming calls are shockingly high.

As for the data bundles? No idea. Their website isn’t working for that page and is just stuck in an infinitely loading loop.

So, is it worth it?

Our gut says no. But, you do you. You shouldn’t base your decisions on buying an international SIM card on the gut instincts of a stranger online. All the same though, our gut says no.

Between the mildly bait-and-switch-y “$0” SIM purchasing fee, the janky and unwieldy website, and the weird incoming call rates that could potentially trap an unwitting consumer, WorldSIM in review doesn’t feel like an international SIM card worth purchasing, especially in comparison to other choices on the market.

Ladies & Gents, It’s Time to Step Your GEAR Game Up. 😉

REI is one of America’s biggest and most-loved outdoor gear retailers.

Now, for just $30, get a lifetime membership that entitles you to 10% OFF on most items, access to their trade-in scheme and discount rentals.

Join REI Today!

International Data SIM Cards for Digital Nomads, Social Media Addicts, and Tinder Aficionados

Are you turn-of-the-century generational that eschews actually phoning people online for commenting how much you miss them on their latest Insta post? What a coincidence – me too! Rather than risking being ripped off when buying a local SIM card, get your hands on an international data card instead.

These are the best international data SIM cards for those of us that scoot by without the extras.

#1 Best Data Only eSIM Card for International Travel – Jetpac

Jetpac eSim
Jetpac eSim

Jetpac is a Singapore based eSIM company who offer packages, designed primarily for travellers and Digital Nomads. They offer various data plans that can be used across many countries, and the service includes features like free airport lounge access if your flight is delayed.

Jetpac eSIMs are compatible with a range of devices, including many models from Apple, Samsung, and Google. To activate a Jetpac eSIM, users need to sign up on the Jetpac website or app, choose a plan that fits their travel needs, and then scan a QR code to install the eSIM on their device.

We love Jetpac for its ease of setup and reliable connectivity. JetPac makes it a handy tool for international travel, ensuring continuous access to mobile data across multiple destinations. While they don’t offer local numbers, we love that most of their packs last for 30 days by default so you can just concentrate on how much data you need.

Wanna know more: Check out our detailed Jetpac eSim card review here.

How it Works

The Jetpac worldwide eSIM card comes in a variety of different data packages. Data can be topped up with a number of plans ranging from 100 MB up to a slammin’ 25 GB! The prices of data top-ups are:

  1. 1 GB – $1
  2. 3 GB – $10
  3. 5 GB – $25
  4. 10 GB – $30
  5. 25 GB – $38

So, is it worth it?

Absolutely. I mean, come on it starts at one-freaking-dollar and works all over the world. All in all we’d consider this one of the best pre paid international data only sim cards on the market.

#2 A Simple Data SIM Card for Worldwide Travel – Surfroam


Yay! No prepaid data packages, no contractual mumbo-jumbo, no running out of data right when you settle in for a long Netflix and poop session: Surfroam keeps it Pura Vida!

It’s data-only with coverage of 200+ countries – even Afghanistan and Yemen are covered! So, what’s the go?

How it Works

Essentially, you pay €45 for the physical SIM card (which includes €25 credit) and then top-up as you go with pack options starting at €25. You’re charged a pay-as-you-go rate per megabyte starting as low as €0.01/MB. So that’s way cheaper than the KeepGo data roaming sim card, right? Not quite…

Rates vary substantially by country so while this going to be a cheaper option across, say, Europe, it may not necessarily pan out that way in other places. That said, prices are still pretty cheap for most places and tend to beat out KeepGo.

As a final note, there is an eSIM (€30) available with the same data rates.

So, is it worth it?

Ok, so ‘simple’ might be stretching it upon reflection, however, once you’re away, its streams ablaze! If you’re jet-setting and changing countries a lot, you will need to stay keyed in as to the rates.

Otherwise, the coverage significantly beats out KeepGo, and in many cases, Surfroam will end up being the cheapest international data SIM card you can purchase. It’s the simplest choice for staying connected pretty much anywhere in the world.

#3 The Best International SIM Card for Europe – Orange Holiday Europe

Orange Holiday Zen/Europe

Are you just doing a little banger holiday in Europe and need a physical SIM card for your travels? Orange has got you covered. Specifically:

  • Orange Holiday Europe SIM Card
  • Orange Holiday Zen SIM Card

How it Works

The Orange Holiday Zen is for light usage or a short trip. It’s a straight prepaid SIM card for travellers in Europe and it couldn’t be simpler.

For $27.29, you get 8 GB of data, 30 minutes of calls worldwide, 200 texts, all lasting for 14 days before it expires. The Holiday Zen covers 30 countries in Europe including all the heavy-hitters, if you need a sim in Italy, Greece or Spain it’s perfect but it certainly doesn’t cover all of Europe (my boy Serbia – forever underrepresented). Still, this makes it one of the best European SIM Cards for travellers.

The Orange Holiday Europe takes all of that and just upgrades it: 20 GB in data, 120 minutes, and 1000 texts for $44. The same coverage of countries applies and it’s a 14-day expiry again.

Orange also partners with a bunch of networks around the world- even offering an Israeli sim card called partner. If you take a look around their website, you can find more far-flung networks than you expected!

Both cards are able to be topped up online for more credit.

So, is it worth it?

Yeah, so I wouldn’t call ‘30 countries in Europe’ an internationally roaming SIM card, but it is a super simple choice for anyone just travelling to Europe for a holiday. It’ll keep you safe in an emergency thanks to that fact that it’s not a data only service. Plus: you’ll have a SIM ready from the moment you land!

Orange is a pretty major sim provider in France so you’ll have a consistent connection. There’s no constant checking of rates calculators either. It’s just a perfectly simple prepaid SIM card for any travellers heading to Europe.

Y’all want more? Another option to look at is getting an Airalo eSim instead.

Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
audy on top of a mountain in japan with the osprey aether

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

View on Osprey View on REI

A Quick Review of Each SIM Card

Woo – a table for a final sexy summary!

SIM CardPurchasing FeeRatesCalls and texts?Coverage
OneSim$20/$30/$35StandardYay200+ countries – fewer for data
HolaflyNay, data only100+ countries
TravelSim$10Slightly cheaper for Zone B destinationsYay170+ countries
GoSim$17More expensiveYay210+ countries – presumably fewer for data
WorldSIM$27 minimumWeirdYay190+ countries
KeepGo$49Not the cheapest but fairNay, data only100+ countries
Surfroam$15/$20Mostly cheap but requires regular checkingNay, data only200+ countries
GigSky$10CheaperNay, data only190+ countries
Orange Holiday Europe$28/$47.50GoodYay30 European countries

Frequently Asked Questions About Travel SIM Cards

Some commonly asked questions about the world’s best travel SIM cards…

Should You Buy an International SIM Card?

will hatton working with a business partner
Remember, an international sim is also effectively an internet wireless router.

That depends on how you travel. If you’re adept at buying prepaid SIM cards locally when you hit the ground, then I wouldn’t worry.

However, for the people that an international SIM card suits the travelling style and needs of, then yes, definitely. I think if you’re that person, then you probably already know that you’re that person.

People looking for the all-round ol’ reliable, OneSim is the go-to choice of travel SIM cards. For those who want the best data SIM card they can use overseas, that choice is KeepGo.

Skip the lines and skip the painful errand days in a foreign city. Buy one of the best international SIM cards you can and have yourself connected before you even touchdown on the landing.

Want another kind of sim card? Check out the revolutionary new Nomad e-sim, an app-based sim card covering over 100 countries that can be organised before you leave home! If that’s not enough, there’s another new service from HolaFly which offers similar coverage and deals so check them both out and see which fits your needs best.

Maxwell Smart calls Agent 99 with a roaming SIM card installed in his shoe
Photo: General Artists Corporation-GAC-management (WikiCommons)

Made it this far?
You get 15% OFF to book a place to stay!
Offer valid exclusively for Broke Backpackers 😉