For wanderlusters, the opening of vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) in recent months 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 livestreaming 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 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 going 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!
Overseas SIM cards for use in Asia
Malaysia is the latest country on Singapore’s list of countries that will be having VTLs come late November. As such, it is important 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 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 $6.90
- 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 telco, SK Telecom. What’s more, you can also make unlimited local calls during the trip, making it 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 $9.90
- 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 or the fashion-forward trends in Harajuku 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 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 sharing 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 during your trip.
- Amount of data: Unlimited 3G/4G data (1st 9GB or 15GB on 4G, subsequent data @128kbps) for 7 – 8 days
- Price: From $4.50
- 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 again!
- 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
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 30days, 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!
- Amount of data: 30GB or 50GB for 30 days
- Price: $40
- Telco: Optus, Lycamobile
8. 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 Wi-Fi, 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 this card and use it in over 190 other countries!
- Amount of data: Unlimited data (1st 500MB on 4G, subsequent 3G data @384kbps) for 10 – 30 days
- Price: From $26.80
- 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. 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 $12.90
- Telco: ETNO
10. 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 $48.50
- 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 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 $51
- Telco: Telus, Rogers Wireless, Bell
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 to the must-have carry-on travel essentials so you can fly in comfort!
This article was updated on 10 November 2021. Additional research done by Gabriel Choo.