The best international data SIM cards prepaid for traveling abroad

If you are looking for the best international prepaid data SIM cards to connect abroad, we will tell you the current alternatives: international SIM cards. Don’t include contracts, signatures or subscriptions.

We’ll give you details on how they work and where to get them; We’ll also contrast them against other options for connecting to data mobile such as Pocket Wifi and the new virtual SIMs or eSIMs.

You’ll learn about their advantages and disadvantages compared to a traditional local card; finally, we’ll give you recommendations for making and receiving calls abroad.

Several of the international SIM cards mentioned in this post have already been used by prominent Spanish travellers such as Molaviajar, Voyanyc, Japonismo, Japonpedia, Dos Mochilas en Ruta, among others, in destinations such as Andorra, Japan, China, USA, Mexico and many more countries!

Whats about the international SIM card? 

An international SIM card allows you to use internet services, text messaging and calling in several countries. The international SIM card works for specific areas, continents or regions.

They work by agreements reached between the company issuing the card and the local operators in each country.

An international data SIM cards does not work with a no-established carrier, in case you connect with the incorrect carrier, you should select manually on the settings device the right network.  

How to get an international data SIM cards to travel around the world?

The international SIM card is easily available online to your home address free of charge within 1-2 working days.

You can order from Holafly, this card will deliver within 1-2 working days of your purchase. If you are running out of time, you can opt for an international eSIM card and receive it immediately in your email.

In case you are still undecided and want to know more about eSIM cards, read on to find out how they work, the advantages, disadvantages and other features.

How to find out if my mobile phone is compatible with international SIM cards?

Before you leave for your trip, make sure your phone will work in your destination country. You can easily find out by chatting with Holafly Customer Service, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

It is important to note that there are different versions of mobiles, such as Global Version, American Version, China, etc. If you buy your mobile phone online from shops like Amazon, from the chat you can also find out which version you have and if it will work in the destination country such as the United States, Mexico, Japan, China and many more countries around the world.

Could I avoid roaming charges with the international data SIM cards?

Roaming is quite expensive, regardless of which operator you have your mobile line with. Turn on the roaming for travel is not a recommended alternative.

Buying an international SIM card will help you avoid paying for expensive roaming no matter where you travel. Keep in mind that each operator has classified countries by zones and depending on where you are travelling you will be charged a different rate.

In countries belonging to the European Economic Area, it will be more feasible to activate the roaming service, because you will continue to use your minutes, data and text messages, just like in Spain.

However, these destinations are small and limited to European countries within the European Union, so if you travel for example to the Balkans, you will mostly be charged an expensive rate. This applies to making calls as well as connecting to the Internet.

Roaming rates

The rates charged by Spanish operators to get internet abroad are usually between 6.05€ and 18€. The most common price is 12.10€/MB consumed.

For calls, prices are lower, but also expensive. When travelling to Zone 2 countries you are charged approximately €1 per minute. On the other hand, when travelling to destinations in Zone 3 or 4, you can be charged up to €6 per minute per call. Most of the time, these rates apply to both making and receiving calls.

As you can see, roaming to travel abroad with Spanish operators is expensive and an international SIM card will help you avoid it. The best thing is that you don’t need contracts or signatures. You buy it, use it and recycle it – it’s as simple as that!

Advantages of a SIM card for travelling abroad

To show you just how valuable international prepaid SIM cards can be, here are some of the benefits they offer: These has compared to local SIM cards or the one you have in your home country with your local operator.

1. The card is Multi-Country

This is perhaps the main advantage of international SIM cards. These allow you to travel to several countries without having to change your number or remove it. Unlike a local SIM card, where you have to change the chip when you land or maybe look for it in shops; in this case, you land and you already have secure Internet.

2. Internet without contracts or signatures

The goal is clear, you want to have the Internet to travel and return home with peace of mind. You already have a data plan in your country, you don’t need two. A local SIM card does not give you this advantage, it is normal that you are asked for personal data, passport, etc. to activate your SIM.

3. You avoid surprises after returning from your trip.

You pay once, not contracts, use your SIM card without fears, you are the manager for data usage.  

Disadvantages of a SIM card for travelling abroad

Not everything is perfect and international SIM cards are not perfect either. Here we also tell you about the negative things you might miss about traditional SIM cards.

1. You have to report your new number

When you travel abroad and need to communicate with your family and friends, you must inform them of your new number so that you can receive calls. To solve this problem, you can consult your operator and redirect incoming calls to your new number.

Nowadays, the best way to communicate is via WhatsApp, so that you don’t have to change your number at any time. It also has the advantage of being free for both the receiver and the caller. Something that does not happen with traditional calls, where the person making the call must always pay.

2. You will not be able to receive local SMS

If you are going to buy a product or service over the Internet, you may need to enter a number and with these cards, you will not be able to receive it because you will have an international number. For this reason, international SIM cards are recommended mainly for your trips abroad so that you avoid paying roaming charges, save time, enjoy your tour more and don’t need to search with your suitcases when you arrive at your destination country.

International data SIM cards comparison

Several companies offer international SIM cards. In the table below we compare three that cover various European countries. The cards described have a duration of 30 days.

SIM card
Card priceData costShipping costFixed price
Holafly0 €44 €0 €44 €
TravelSIM10 €39 €15 €64 €
One SIM card18,37 €45,39 €? €64,36 €
Table 1. Comparison of international SIM cards from Holafly, TravelSIM and OneSimCard

In this comparison, you can see that initially, the card that appears to be the cheapest is the TravelSIM card. However, it has a hidden cost that corresponds to its shipping, with which it exceeds Holafly’s SIM card by around 20€ and equals OneSIMcard’s SIM card.

Situations like the one above arise in many comparisons of this type of card. The prices are usually higher for two reasons; firstly, because they charge you for the chip or plastic and secondly, they charge you for shipping.

International SIM card vs Roaming

international sim cards to doesn't 
 pay roaming
Antennas needed for roaming to work. Source: LEEROY Agency on Pixabay

Roaming and an international data SIM card have the same purpose: to allow you to connect when travelling abroad. To see which one best suits your needs, we’ll make a comparison in the table below:

Unlimited datasome countriesNot
Calling servicesome countriesyes
SMSsome countriesyes
Data plan optionsyesNot
Coverage qualityDepends of the local carrierDepends of the local carrier
Table 2. Comparison of International SIM cards vs Operator Roaming

Based on the before drawing, international SIM cards and roaming service provides similar ways to connect. However, an essential point we see to consider: The international data SIM cards for data overseas cost less, you can make several decisions what’s plan are you choose for your trip.

How useful you find one or the other depends on your travel needings; To receive an SMS while abroad is more viable to use the roaming service of your local operator for instance.

Whereas, if you’d like give priority to looking for information, use social media to get in touch far away or rent uber service and more, you should take into account the international SIM cards could save money.

International data SIM cards vs Pocket WIFI

pocket wifi comparison international sim cards
Pocket Wifi for Internet on your travels. Source: Huawei

Pocket Wifi is another alternative you have at hand to connect to the internet on your travels. This option is sold as an alternative for sharing data to multiple devices on your travels and one very important thing: it’s unlimited.

Be very careful with this last part and always read the conditions or restrictions in the small print. This will help you avoid headaches. Most of the time the longed-for unlimited internet offered by routers for travelling is not unlimited, it has restrictions.

Look closely at the daily limit they offer, it is usually around half a gigabyte or 1GB. If you start watching a Netflix movie or series, you’ll be halfway through the movie and in the middle of the street without the Internet.

One limitation of the Wifi pocket is related to how is the exact number of devices can I connect, to be honest, we don’t know when we are offline. 

We hope you are aware of the following details. First, battery life will extremely low  (it is common to rent a new battery for around €10). Therefore we have to pay extra charges. Also, Try to review the conditions in case of loss or theft, you may be fined (to avoid the penalty, sometimes they will sell you insurance for another €10) the price of the penalty can be €150 with immediate effect.

Sometimes the service sellers of pocket WIFI hide the shipping price. Here you have to add between 8 to 10 €. You have to pay for shipping two more times to receive the device and to return it.

Comparison table

We have told you about the Pocket Wifi and given some recommendations for you to consider, we already contrast it against international SIM cards.

Price per month74 € note 1124 € note 2
Shipping costNotyes
Data shareSome timesyes
Unlimited datayesyes
penalty by losingNotyes
External batteryNotyes
Table 3. Comparison between International SIM Card vs Data SIM Card

Note 1: the price of Holafly Japan SIM Card

Note 2: the price of Pocket Wifi Japan RailPass

After looking at the table facts, we can conclude that pocket wifi has replaced by SIM cards technologies. In previous years they were a good option for connecting abroad. Today, smartphones have evolved by leaps and bounds and are replacing them.

With your international data SIM cards, you can also share data with other devices so, don’t have to rent anything. Nor do you need to receive or return anything that is not yours. In short, you are worry-free.

Do you know the best SIM cards in the USA don’t provide you with domestic calls, on the other hand, international sm cards like these provide you with incoming calls free? Besides, Has comes up with new ways to make calls through social media, the data unlimited by Whatsapp or any others let to do it. 

eSIM or virtual SIM against international data SIM cards

Back in the days, most people were kept in a post about the revolution into telecommunications and roaming technologies: Apple had launched the iPhone XR and XS, the first Apple devices to incorporate a new technology well-known as an eSIM.

While it is true that Google had already implemented this technology in some of its Pixel devices, it is Apple that has taken the lead in implementing and expanding the use of the evolution of the traditional SIM. 

Nowadays, there are also international eSIM cards which you can connect anywhere and anytime online from the WFI connection, the only requirement you need is a compatible device.

Before you buy one, you should check the compatibility of your mobile phone. If you do and your device does not support it, it will be to find a cheap phone compatible with eSIM.

Comparison table

Below you can watch a comparison table features for international data SIM cards against eSIM.

Contrasted featureInternational SIM cardeSIM
CallsSome destinationsNot
Compatible devicesMajorityExclusively
Mobil interchange YesNot
Table 4. International SIM cards vs international virtual SIMs

GSMA had announced in 2016 that the eSIM is the future of the SIM connection online overseas, its likely to be the case. In real terms, they are not replaceable two technologies could coexist on the same mobile phone.

As for the comparison, we can see that both the physical international SIM and the digital SIM can accompany you on your trips abroad.

International data SIM cards for travelling to America

Travel around several countries in North-America, Central America and Sudamericana as well, you can enjoy all connections with the same card, isn’t a great idea?

Latin America

Latin America has a lot to offer for your travels. “The lungs of the world are concentrated in one place on the American continent. Therefore, Don’t stop mattering you have the connection and, best of all, an international SIM card.

You will be able to travel to several Latin American countries without having to look for local SIM cards or change your phone number. Explore the jungle without worries, no matter if there are no villages nearby. With your international card, you can spend days and weeks away from the cities.

What do you think if we say to you one of the best benefits of these cards is to connect with the mean mobile operators so, it is a great advantage compared to a local SIM card restricted to the antennas of a single operator.

Countries included

  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Puerto Rico
  • Uruguay

Buy at Roami your Holafly Latin America Multi-Country SIM card with a 5% discount.

North America

Reach Niagara Falls in Canada, visit New York in the United States and end up on Cancun beaches in Mexico; it’s something you can do without worrying about your connection.

With an international SIM card for North America, you can travel without limits. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the border or in the middle; The card will connect to the highest quality coverage.

Countries included:

  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Canada

Buy at Roami your Holafly North America SIM card with a 5% discount.

SIM card to travel to Europe

After the agreement reached by the European Union and the countries belonging to the European Economic area can take advantage of roaming at home with your Spanish operator.

If you are a Latin traveller interested in visiting several European countries on vacations, we suggest the data international SIM card. We are sure how too much this card can support you far away from your country.

You will be able to connect without your local careers roaming; this International card also includes coverage for several European islands.

Destinations included:

  • United Kingdom
  • Åland Islands
  • Austria
  • Azores
  • Balearic Islands
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canary Islands
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Guiana
  • Malta
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guernsey
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Jersey
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Madeira
  • Martinique
  • Mayotte
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Meeting
  • Saint Martin
  • Romania
  • Saint Barthélemy
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Netherlands
  • Vatican City

Buy at Roami your Holafly Europe SIM card with a 5% discount.

Data SIM for travelling to Asia

Being able to connect in Asian countries will be a challenge, take into account that there are languages other than English or Spanish. So if you have a problem, It might be more tricky to solve it than in your native language.

The international SIM card makes your life easier then won’t need to do anything. Just have to travel because the card will fulfil its function of connecting you to the data regardless of the place or language.

Countries included:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand
  • Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • Hong Kong and Macao
  • Laos

Buy at Roami your Holafly Asia Multi-Country SIM card with a 5% discount.

Prepaid SIM to travel to Oceania

Oceania is another continent you can visit with a good Internet connection. On this continent, you can explore New Zealand and also visit Australia without fear of running out of data in the middle of your trip.

Keep in mind an international SIM card don’t need to share your personal information with anyone. Just insert the cards into your mobile phone, set them up when necessary, so you don’t need to go through any more steps. Once is enough.

Buy at Roami your Australia Holafly SIM card with a 5% discount.

Prepaid SIM card to travel to Africa.

Africa is a continent located in the south of Europe and has several touristic places with a lot of history to tell.

Noted for its deserts and particular customs, you can visit it thanks to an International SIM card.

Morocco is often the preferred destination for Spanish travellers to take holidays, do business or work. Get the data at all times with a data SIM card.

Buy at Roami your South Africa Holafly SIM card with a 5% discount.

Conclusions about international SIM cards

  • International SIM cards are an excellent alternative for you to avoid roaming charges and have the data mobile on your travels.
  • The Holafly company has several valuable travel destinations available for you to surf the web abroad. To know the specific countries included per continent, we leave you in this link the complete catalogue.
  • Right now, there is no international SIM card that includes every country in the world. It depends on the agreements that the companies have with the local operators.

FAQ about international SIM card

Can I get unlimited data with an international prepaid SIM card?

Yes, depending on the country you travel to, you can enjoy unlimited data. Destinations with higher development or economic growth are more likely to provide this service.

What to do in case the international SIM card does not work in a country?

The best thing to do will contact customer service, which is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Does an international SIM card work with any mobile phone?

First, you have to check your mobile must be unlocked or liberated, not blocked by your local operator. If your mobile can work with another carrier, the international SIM card will work.

Will my mobile work in any country with an international SIM card?

No, the performance of your phone depends on several factors. If you have the global version will works in many countries. However, you must check the bands of the operators in the target countries. If you need to check your phone with the cards we have mentioned here, check with customer support 24 hours a day.

Can I transfer my local number to an international SIM card?

Not possible by now, the SIM cards will have their number assigned individually.

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