WiFi Router vs. SIM Card vs. Data Roaming: Which Should You Get?

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Once you’ve downloaded the best free apps for travelling, you’ll need to do the next thing on your list – getting your overseas data covered so that when you’re looking to post an #OOTD, you won’t have to rely on the buggy (and dodgy) free WiFi. Well, this is when we swoop in and say – we’ve got your back (or rather your data) covered! Read on for our full breakdown on whether getting a WiFi Router, a SIM Card or subscribing to data roaming is more suitable for you and the place you’re travelling to. 

But, of course, before we deep-dive into the specifics of which is better, in terms of cost, let us first explain the differences between the three options here:

WiFi Routers

Also known as Pocket WiFi, WiFi Routers are one of the most convenient options here because all you have to do is collect the WiFi Routers (or have it delivered to you, depending on the service provider), switch it on and connect your device to it via, well, WiFi. The only not-so-good part about these devices is that it requires charging too – and this means that you’ll have one additional gadget to charge (on top of your phone, portable charger, wireless earphones, camera etc. etc.) But if you’re travelling with friends, we’ll definitely recommend getting a WiFi router because each router can typically connect up to 5 devices!

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SIM Card

This hardly needs an explanation. A travel SIM Card works like any other normal SIM Card, providing you with the convenience and more importantly, secured network and connection. Do take note that different mobile phones have different SIM Card size requirements though, which is why you should probably get a SIM card adapter too. In addition to that, we’ll recommend getting SIM card holders to store your local SIM Card after changing them out. 

Data Roaming Service

Hands down, this is the most convenient option since it does not require you to charge another device or switch out your SIM Card for another. Needless to say, this convenience does come at a price because you will have to contact your Telco for this added service to roam outside of your home network.

 

And now that we’ve got the ground covered, let us compare the cost of each option and we’ll be basing our comparison based on the different regions around the world:

Asia (Thailand)

Thailand
(pixabay)

Option 1: WiFi Router

Company Changi Recommends Klook kkday
Cost From $2.50 per day (Unlimited data) From $4 per day (Unlimited data) From $5.40 per day (Unlimited data)

Option 2: Travel SIM

Company Changi Recommends Klook kkday ICC Travel
Cost $5 for 8 Days ($0.63 per day) (Unlimited data) $6 for 8 Days ($0.75 per day) (Unlimited data) $6 for 8 Days ($0.75 per day) (Unlimited data) $6 – $6.50 for 8 Days ($0.75 – $0.81 per day) (Unlimited data)

 

Option 3: Data Roaming

Company SingTel StarHub M1
Cost $5 per GB (Valid for 7 days) ($0.70 per day) $5 for 1GB (Valid for 3 days) ($1.66 per day) $15 per day 

 

Looking at all three options, a WiFi router seems to be the best option for a really short trip to Thailand but if you’re going to the land of smiles for more than a day, you’re better off with a Travel SIM as it gives you unlimited data!

 

Asia (Japan)

Tokyo Skyline
(flickr.com)

Option 1: WiFi Router

Company Changi Recommends Klook kkday
Cost From $2.50 per day (Unlimited data) From $3 per day (Unlimited data) From $4.78 per day (Unlimited data)

 

Option 2: Travel SIM

Company Changi Recommends Klook kkday ICC Travel
Cost $21.90 for 8 Days ($2.74 per day) (Unlimited data) $32.65 for 8 Days ($4.08 per day) (Unlimited data) $30.31 for 8 Days ($3.79 per day) (Unlimited data) $20.50 for 8 Days ($2.56 per day) (Unlimited data – 1GB Daily)

 

Option 3: Data Roaming

Company SingTel StarHub M1
Cost $20 for 2GB (Valid for 30 days) ($0.67 per day) $5 for 1GB (Valid for 3 days) ($1.66 per day) $25 per day 

 

Whether you’re heading to Japan for a day (side note: why are you going to Japan for just a day?!) or a week, a WiFi router from Changi Recommends seems to be the best option at just $2.50 per day! 

 

Asia (South Korea)

South Korea
(pixabay)

Option 1: WiFi Router

Company Changi Recommends Klook kkday
Cost From $2.50 per day (Unlimited data) From $3 per day (Unlimited data) From $2.53 per day (Unlimited data)

 

Option 2: Travel SIM

Company Changi Recommends Klook kkday ICC Travel
Cost $17.80 for 10 Days ($1.78 per day) (Unlimited data) $39.20 for 10 Days ($3.92 per day) (Unlimited data) $39.00 for 10 Days ($3.90 per day) (Unlimited data) $26.90 for 10 Days ($2.69 per day) (Unlimited data)

 

Option 3: Data Roaming

Company SingTel StarHub M1
Cost $20 for 2GB (Valid for 30 days) ($0.67 per day) $5 for 1GB (Valid for 3 days) ($1.66 per day) $25 per day 

 

If you’re heading to the land of Kimchi for more than 10 days, and with a group of friends, a WiFi Router from Changi Recommends is one of the better options. Otherwise, you’re better off getting a Travel SIM from Changi Recommends because it is just $1.78 per day for unlimited data!

 

Australia/New Zealand

Sydney
(pixabay)

Option 1: WiFi Router

Company Changi Recommends Klook kkday
Cost From $6 per day (500 MB per day) From $8 per day (500 MB per day) N.A.

 

Option 2: Travel SIM

Company Changi Recommends Klook kkday ICC Travel
Cost $26 for 28 Days – Australia ($1.08 per day) (12 GB); $18 for 30 Days – New Zealand ($1.67 per day) (1.25 GB)  N.A N.A $21.50 for 15 Days – Australia ($1.43 per day) (45GB); $35.80 for 15 Days – New Zealand ($2.39 per day) (7.5GB)

Alternatively, you can also get Travel SIMs from Optus and Vodafone: $15 for 35GB – Australia

Option 3: Data Roaming

Company SingTel StarHub M1
Cost $20 for 2GB (Valid for 30 days) ($0.67 per day) $5 for 1GB (Valid for 3 days) ($1.66 per day) $25 per day 

 

The obvious winner for this is… getting a travel SIM directly from Australia at any Optus or Vodafone outlet. If you’re heading to New Zealand and do not want to scrimp on just 1.25GB for 30 days, you might want to get a WiFi Router for Changi Recommends. At the very least, you’ll be limited to just 500MB per day before running on really slow internet. 

 

Europe

Paris
(pixabay)

Option 1: WiFi Router

Company Changi Recommends Klook kkday
Cost From $6 per day (500 MB per day) From $8 per day (500 MB per day) N.A.

 

Option 2: Travel SIM

Company Changi Recommends Klook kkday ICC Travel
Cost $46 for 30 Days ($1.53 per day) (10GB) $20.50 for 20 Days ($1.03 per day) (5GB) $39.31 for 30 Days ($1.31 per day) (8GB) $30.90 for 30 Days ($1.03 per day) (Unlimited data)

 

Option 3: Data Roaming

Company SingTel StarHub M1
Cost $35 for 3GB (Valid for 30 days) ($1.17 per day) $40 for 2GB (Valid for 30 days) ($1.33 per day) $50 per day 

 

If you’re willing to stinge on data and survive on 3GB for 30 Days (and if you’re on SingTel), getting the data roaming plan here is the obvious choice. If not, getting a Travel SIM from Changi Recommends isn’t such a bad idea because at just $1.53 per day for a 10GB plan, it is rather affordable. Psst, for all our phone addicts out there, there is a 20GB plan too for $98

 

USA

Hollywood Sign
(CC BY-SA 3.0)

Option 1: WiFi Router

Company Changi Recommends Klook kkday
Cost From $6 per day (500 MB per day) N.A. N.A.

 

Option 2: Travel SIM

Company Changi Recommends Klook kkday ICC Travel
Cost $42 for 30 Days ($1.40 per day) (7GB)  N.A. N.A. $62.90 for 30 Days ($2.10 per day) (Unlimited data + Local Call)

 

Option 3: Data Roaming

Company SingTel StarHub M1
Cost $35 for 3GB (Valid for 30 days) ($1.17 per day) $40 for 2GB (Valid for 30 days) ($1.33 per day) $50 per day 

 

Similar to Europe, getting a data roaming plan from SingTel (and scrimping on just 3GB for 30 Days) is the cheapest option. However, if you’d like to Instagram Story every meal and place you’re at, we’ll recommend getting a Travel SIM from Changi Recommends. At just $42 for 7GB of data over a month, we’ll say it’s quite a steal!

But if you’re bent on getting just SIM cards for your travels, here are some of the best overseas SIM cards for your next travel. Let us know if you have any other tips and recommendations in the comments below.

Need some tips on how to best pack for your travels? Watch our video here:


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