For wanderlusters, the opening of vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) this year means one thing — it’s time to explore the world again! But before you embark on that well-needed getaway, you’ll need to arm yourself with some of the best SIM cards for travel, lest you receive a bill for sky-high roaming charges and international calls from your telco. After all, who can blame you for getting hyper-enthusiastic about creating Instagram Reels and making all your friends envious? Read on to find out what to consider before getting an overseas SIM card as well as our list of best SIM cards for travel, sorted by continent.
Do you need a SIM card when travelling?
While having a SIM card for your travels allows you to stay connected with your loved ones back home, not everyone needs to be hooked onto their phones when exploring the world. Before you decide if you need to buy an overseas sim card, consider the following factors to determine the necessity of an overseas SIM card with data.
How long is your trip?
Most overseas SIM cards offer unlimited data and international calls for a fixed number of days. However, your trip may sometimes last longer than the number of days on the SIM card. If so, consider purchasing one with a longer validity so you won’t run out of data on the go, or see if you’d rather exist on free Wi-Fi for those missing days!
How much data do you normally use?
Take that amount, and multiply that by two or three. This is because a simple 10-second Instagram story overseas already uses more than 1.9MB of data. When you’re live streaming videos of your travels, all that data can add up to a lot. If you’re a data-hungry user, it might be better to go for overseas SIM cards with unlimited data and international calls. Alternatively, if you’re intending to go on a social media detox during your trip, consider getting an international SIM card with more free calls and less data.
Are you sharing data with your travel companions?
If you’re travelling as a group, a more cost-effective way is to share data via a WiFi hotspot. However, do note that turning on your WiFi hotspot can drain your phone battery quickly so be sure to bring along a portable charger!
Do you use the GPS on your phone?
If you’re planning to explore the outskirts or go on outdoor hikes in the country you’re visiting, then you’ll probably want to invest in an international SIM card with lots of data so that you can use the GPS on your phone to navigate your way around. However, if you’re just staying within the city, you’ll probably just need an overseas SIM card with enough data to share all your travel shots online!
Should I buy a SIM card at the airport?
For greater convenience, we recommend purchasing pre-loaded, local SIM cards online so that you can start using your phone as soon as you arrive at your destination. However, the majority of international airports will also have an official phone company kiosk. So, if you forget to get one online, you can simply head there immediately after landing or purchase one at any local convenience store.
Overseas SIM cards for use in Asia
Tired of only visiting JB and want to see other parts of Malaysia? Then it’s time to equip yourself with some of the best international SIM cards such as this Malaysia SIM Card (available on International Card Center) should you decide to visit our neighbours. Whether you’re going to be there for a quick three-day visit or a month-long stay, you’ll definitely find a Malaysia SIM card package that suits you. Psst, some of these Southeast Asia SIM cards also have unlimited local calls! Additionally, these SIM cards come with unlimited high-speed data for YouTube from 1am to 7am. What a steal for the night owls!
- Amount of data: Unlimited 4G data for 3 – 30 days
- Price: From $11.90
- Telco: Maxis, Celcom
2. South Korea
If you’re obsessed with K-pop, then you must have data available for Instagram in case you brush shoulders with your favourite oppa or unni in Seoul! Fret not, this South Korea SIM Card (available on International Card Center) will do the trick. You can choose from several package options of unlimited data, depending on how long your trip is, provided by one of South Korea’s largest telcos, SK Telecom. What’s more, you can also make unlimited local calls during the trip, making this Korea SIM card one of the best SIM cards for travel!
- Amount of data: Unlimited data (1st 1GB on 4G, subsequent data @384kbps) for 4 – 12 days
- Price: From $13.90
- Telco: SK Telecom
Make your friends drool over those well-loved Taiwanese snacks and that XL crispy chicken from Taiwan’s night markets! All you need is this Taiwan SIM card (available on International Card Center) that can document your travel shenanigans on the go online. This international SIM card for Taiwan has up to 30 days of unlimited data provided by FarEastTone network, with some bundles offering up to 40 minutes of local call time as well.
- Amount of data: Unlimited data (1st 10GB on 4G, subsequent data @128kbps) for 4 – 30 days
- Price: From $7.90
- Telco: FarEastTone
Japan is a breathtaking country, and you will definitely want to share the amazing views of Mount Fuji, the fashion-forward trends in Harajuku and the best ramen restaurants in Tokyo with your friends online. This Japan SIM Card (available on SIMCard.SG) provides you with at least eight days of unlimited data from the largest telcos in Japan, NTT DoCoMo and Softbank Network. As one of the best overseas SIM cards for Japan travel with data, there are 15 and 30-day options available as well – great for those who are taking a longer vacation!
- Amount of data: Unlimited 4G LTE data for 8 days
- Price: From $24
- Telco: NTT DoCoMo & Softbank Network
A trip to the Land of Smiles isn’t complete without a Thailand SIM card to share your shopping haul from the malls and street markets online! With different packages of up to eight days of unlimited data available at affordable prices, this Thailand SIM card (available on International Card Center) gives you the biggest bang for your buck. Furthermore, you can choose to subscribe to the Data Booster plan if you need more 4G data halfway through your trip.
- Amount of data: Unlimited 3G/4G data (1st 9GB or 15GB on 4G, subsequent data @128kbps) for 7 – 8 days
- Price: From $6.50
- Telco: TrueMove, AIS, DTAC
Brunei is home to beautiful beaches and lakes which make for great Instagram posts that will leave you friends back home drooling in envy. Be connected the minute you land in Brunei and enjoy a strong connection throughout your stay when you get one of the best international SIM cards for travel such as this Brunei SIM Card (available on International Card Center). Offering data for up to 30 months, you don’t have to worry about a laggy feed with this Brunei SIM card!
- Amount of data: Unlimited 3G/4G data (1st 500MB on 4G, subsequent 3G data @384kbps) for 5 – 30 days
- Price: From $24.90
- Telco: Progresif Cellular
A big fan of street food? Then you must go to Vietnam! Vietnamese street food is always tasty, fresh, and healthy, from pho noodle soup to spring rolls and banh mi. This Vietnam SIM card (available on wefly), which is one of the best roaming SIM cards for travel, will allow you to easily update your TikTok account and share the best food recommendations with your followers! With data packages up to 20GB, you never have to worry about exceeding your data usage on a short-haul holiday with this Vietnam SIM card.
- Amount of data: 300MB – 20GB for 1 – 10 days
- Price: From $2.90
- Telco: Vietnamobile
8. Hong Kong
Travel to Hong Kong this holiday season to immerse yourself in the land of Dimsum! After all that eating, take advantage of the amazing hiking trails to burn off those calories! Staying online with one of the best roaming Hong Kong SIM cards for travel is an amazing way to document your HK trip. This Hong Kong SIM Card (available on Yoowifi) includes an eSIM option, which adds convenience by allowing you to activate a cellular plan from your carrier without using a physical SIM. With up to 90% savings on roaming charges, you can easily share the magnitude of this beautiful region’s beauty online.
- Amount of data: Unlimited data for 1 – 7 days (First 500MB High Speed)
- Price: From $2.80
- Telco: According to your default local telco
A trip to the Philippines is a must if you want to escape the winter. As a tropical country, the Philippines offers a variety of outdoor activities such as surfing, waterfall tours, river adventures, and food tours. If you’re that IG basic girl who loves to share her sunny adventures, you’ll need a good roaming Phillippines SIM card for travel. This Philippines SIM card (available on Global Sim Card) provides 4G High-Speed unlimited data to ensure that your photos and videos are uploaded smoothly to your social media – no more delays in sharing your happy days!
- Amount of data: Unlimited for 2 – 8 days (First 300MB or 2GB High Speed)
- Price: From $4.90
- Telco: Smart
Overseas SIM cards for use in Oceania
Whether you’re surfing at beautiful beaches along the Gold Coast or tasting wines at famous wineries, Australia definitely makes a good getaway! You wouldn’t want to miss out on sharing these amazing memories with your friends though, so remember to get this Australia SIM Card (from SIMCard.SG). With at least 30GB for 30 days, you’ll have more than enough for a long trip to the Down Under! Additionally, this Oceania SIM card for travel comes with unlimited international calls – a great alternative to laggy Zoom meetings! Say no more and get your Australia SIM Card today!
- Amount of data: 30GB or 50GB for 30 days
- Price: $21.38
- Telco: Optus, Lycamobile
11. New Zealand
New Zealand is arguably one of the most beautiful places on Earth, so you’ll definitely want to snap all the best scenic shots and upload them on your social media. To avoid laggy public WiFi, a great option is to get this New Zealand SIM Card (from International Card Center) which has unlimited data for up to 30 days. As one of the best SIM cards for travel, you can also top-up and use this New Zealand SIM Card in over 190 other countries!
- Amount of data: Unlimited data (1st 500MB on 4G, subsequent 3G data @384kbps) for 10 – 30 days
- Price: From $17.90
- Telco: Vodafone
Overseas SIM cards for use in Europe and America
You won’t need to worry about changing SIM cards whether you are visiting the beautiful Swiss Alps or the majestic castles in the United Kingdom with a Europe SIM Card. Continue to keep your friends updated on your adventures with this Europe SIM card (from International Card Center). Making its mark as one of the best international SIM cards for travel, you’ll have unlimited data for up to 90 days with this Europe SIM card! If you’re not visiting many countries, you can also get SIM cards specifically for Germany and Switzerland (both available on Frewie Data Roaming Solutions).
- Amount of data: Unlimited data (1st 500MB on 4G, subsequent 3G data @384kbps) for 7 – 90 days
- Price: From $11.90
- Telco: ETNO
Istanbul is such a fascinating and historic city that it’s a compelling reason to visit Turkey. You can visit thousand-year-old mosques one minute and enjoy a beer in a lively bar the next. With one of the best international roaming SIM cards for travel, you can now take your loved ones on a virtual adventure with a Turkey SIM Card! This Turkey SIM card (available on Echo Networks) offers a stable data connection and 200 minutes of voice call time, allowing you to stay in touch with your companions even if you get lost in this picturesque city!
- Amount of data: 9GB to 25GB for 28 days
- Price: From $23.90
- Telco: Vodafone
14. United States of America (USA)
A holiday to the United States can give you enough photos and videos to hype up your Instagram feed for a whole year. Prepare for your mass Instagram spamming with this USA SIM Card (from Frewie Data Roaming Solutions) that offers up to 35GB of data for a year! With an option to top up to high-speed data, it is truly the mark of one of the best America SIM cards for travel that cater to your internet needs.
- Amount of data: 10GB to 35GB for 30 – 365 days
- Price: From $41.23
- Telco: T-Mobile, AT&T
Say goodbye to your poor WiFi woes when you’re in Canada! Whether you’re marvelling at the Northern Lights or having a yummy maple syrup breakfast, you can document them online with this Canada SIM card (from Frewie Data Roaming Solutions). With 20GB available for up to a month, you’ll have more than enough data for all your posts. But what makes this Canada SIM Card one of the best SIM cards for travel is the fact that it is super cost-effective and you’ll save up to 90% on roaming charges! How worthy!
- Amount of data: 10GB – 20GB for 14 – 30 days
- Price: From $11.21
- Telco: Telus, Rogers Wireless, Bell
Multi-country overseas SIM Cards
16. AIRSIM Reusable Travel SIM Card
For globetrotters who travel to multiple destinations within a short amount of time, getting a reusable travel SIM card will save you time and money! The AIRSIM Reusable Travel SIM Card (available on airsimsg) lets you enjoy roaming data in 130 countries from Southeast Asia, Oceania, to Europe. All you need to do is download the AIRSIM Roam mobile app and purchase your data package on the app prior to your trip. As long as you do so, you’ll be able to enjoy data with the AIRISM reusable SIM card at any destination once you arrive! Do remember to turn off the roaming function on the app when you’ve changed back to your original SIM card to avoid extra charges.
- Amount of data: 500MB – unlimited unrestricted data per day
- Price: From $20
- Telco: Varies according to country
17. SIMCard.SG Multi-Country Asia / Global SIM Card
Are you planning a solo trip around the world for the holidays? The SIMCard.SG Multi-Country Asia / Global SIM Card (available on SIMCard.SG) allows you to stay connected 24/7 as you travel from place to place, while enjoying the best food, or even chasing your favourite idols! It covers 18 Asian countries and 120 other countries worldwide — with this best roaming SIM card for travel, you won’t have to worry about losing your way around the big cities.
- Amount of data: Unlimited data (First 6GB High Speed)
- Price: From $22
- Telco: Varies according to country
Stay connected with the best SIM cards for travel
When buying the best SIM cards for travel, don’t forget to store it in some of the best camera phones which can also be used to take high-quality photos of your travels. For other travel accessories, check out our wide array of passport holders and travel pillows and eye masks that will come in handy on any flight. For more travel tips, read our checklist of the must-have carry-on travel essentials so you can fly in comfort! Be sure to check out the best carry-on luggages to carry along your barang-barang too!
This article was updated on 11 November 2022. Additional research done by Shermyn Tan.