Best Travel SIM Card – Where You Travel Makes All The Difference

Is there a travel SIM card that you can use to travel the world? Actually there are a couple of options to choose from if you’re looking for a SIM card that can provide “world” coverage. We put quotes around “world” because even those SIM cards that promise worldwide coverage, and could therefore be considered the best travel SIM card won’t necessarily provide coverage in the entire world. Yes, there are a couple of options that can grant you coverage in over 150 to 200 countries. That’s a lot of places no doubt about it! There may still be certain spots though where you won’t be able to get coverage. 

We’re going to be looking at 2 main options as the best travel SIM card for world coverage. At the same time we’ll be exploring another dilemma. Would it be better to just get multiple SIM cards that can grant you local coverage instead of one card to have coverage everywhere? We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here, but the truth is there’s no one right answer. Where you travel, and how much of a menace it may be for you to have to switch between SIM cards or eSIM coverage are factors that we would have to take into consideration to come up with a winner for the best travel SIM card or the best ways to get coverage abroad. In any case, we’ll walk you through virtually all of the main options that are out there.  

Pros of Having One SIM Card That Covers Multiple Countries 

As we’ve stated you’re going to have the option of choosing one SIM card or eSIM that can cover multiple countries. If you’re going to go on a trip that’s going to cover not only multiple countries, but multiple continents, getting a global SIM card could be an interesting option. Essentially the main benefit that you’re going to have is that you’re not going to have to worry about switching SIM cards when you find yourself in a new country. You can just monitor the amount of data or minutes that you have left on the card and recharge when you need to. This is something that you’re likely going to be able to do rather quickly through an app or a website. Depending on who your wireless service provider happens to be. 

Would having one SIM card to cover multiple countries result in cheaper coverage overall? Yes, and no, it kind of depends on the type of trip that you’re taking. The problem with getting a new SIM card or eSIM for every different country that you visit is that if you have unused data or minutes on one country card you’ll essentially lose those credits. If you pick one best travel SIM card for the entirety of the trip you can carry over the credit that you have on the card. If you can keep track of the data or minutes that you’re using effectively you’ll find that you saved some cash at the end of your trip for sure!  

Cons of Having One SIM Card For Multiple Countries

Although it’s certainly comfortable to be able to keep one SIM card to get coverage wherever it is that you travel there are certainly drawbacks to this decision. Usually travel SIM cards that promise worldwide coverage are going to be data only. If you go with local or regional options you could add calls and texts to your coverage. That’s certainly something that you’re going to want to account for. Also, the speed of the coverage may not always be optimal with a travel SIM card that covers the entire world. The reason for this is actually rather simple even though the SIM card can grant you cover in multiple countries it still has a base country so to speak. Usually the further you are from the base country the less converged you get. Also, that coverage tends to be slower. 

As we’ve mentioned there are going to be countries where you won’t be able to get coverage with a global SIM card. Even if it is the best travel SIM card that covers the most countries out of all of the options that are on the market. In some cases, as we’ve just described, even if you can get coverage in a particular country the amount of data that you get for your buck can be limited. That’s something that we’re really not on board with because for the same amount of money you could be getting considerably less coverage depending on where you travel. If this sounds a bit awkward don’t worry we want to explain it further in the following paragraph when we look into the options that are available.  

Best Travel SIM Card – eSIM or Regular SIM Card

No matter what type of SIM card you end up choosing to go with, you’re going to have to decide if you want to get a regular SIM card or an eSIM. Of course to be able to choose an eSIM card you need to make sure that you have a phone that is eSIM compatible. This is something though that is fast becoming less and less of an issue. As all of the newer phones that are appearing on the market are effectively eSIM compatible. The obvious benefit that you’ll have with an eSIM over a regular SIM card is that you don’t have to worry about knowing how to do a physical SIM switch. This can be a real challenge for those people who aren’t really accustomed to dealing with hardware. Also, you may have to keep track of any SIM cards that you remove from the phone. 

New is always better so there is nothing that a regular SIM card can have over an eSIM right? Well, not quite, at least not at the time of writing for this article. It may actually be easier to find a regular SIM card that offers calls and texts. eSIM options tend to be data only options. So again if this is something that’s important to you, looking into regular SIM cards could be something that you’ll want to do. Again, we’ll go over this next issue in depth coming up, but at the time of writing you could get cheaper coverage with a regular SIM card. So that’s also something that you may want to consider before you make your purchase. 

Best Travel SIM Card – The Regular SIM Card Option

There are going to be multiple options in this department. Orange who is one of the top wireless service providers of local SIM cards has long featured its Holiday World SIM card option. That can be a great option for travelers on the grounds that you don’t have to change your SIM card no matter where you travel. However, that’s not necessarily accurate; you can’t expect the same type of coverage for the entirety of your trip abroad. With the world option you’ll have different data allowances depending on where it is in the world that you’re traveling. Of course the coverage speed is going to vary as well. When you take that into account you may realize that the best travel SIM card is really the one that gets you the most and the fastest coverage wherever it is that you’re traveling.     

One thing that we want to point out is that Orange has rather recently started offering travel eSIM cards. Currently, the eSIMs still offer coverage in less locations than the regular SIM cards that are offered. As we’ve covered multiple times on this site though, the change towards eSIM technology is inevitable. There are going to be parts of the world though where we might see some reluctance to change. That reluctance is going to come about because a lot of these countries that we are referring to still don’t have the infrastructure to create, for example, a 4G network in the whole country. Some countries in Africa, and South America are really falling behind.  

Best Travel SIM Card – The eSIM Option

The Airalo marketplace currently offers quite the lineup of options to obtain a worldwide eSIM card. They call the card the Discover global eSIM card, and it typically grants users coverage in around 87 countries. The 5GB card for 35 dollars, and 30 day credit validity is one of the best options on the market. The price tag may seem a little steep when you see that you can get double the coverage for 50 dollars on the Holiday World SIM card from Orange. However, the global eSIM usually offers faster speed coverage allowing users to connect to some of the main networks in any of the countries that they visit. Did we mention that the credit validity on the Holiday card is only 14 days?

If for example you’re going to send your parents on a trip to multiple countries and you want them to have coverage without them having to worry about a thing activating one of these global eSIM cards before they leave for the airport can be a great way to ensure that they are able to stay in touch. Even if you’re the one who needs to stay connected to this world, the eSIM option can be a great way to get that done. Provided that you visit multiple continents within a monthly span. If not region or local SIM cards could work better.      

What Can I Do To Get Coverage In Other Parts of The World 

person tossing globe
Photo by Valentin Antonucci on

We’ve mentioned that even the best travel SIM card that offers world coverage is still going to be missing some countries from the list. The easy option that you could look into, is to find a local SIM card that does offer coverage in the country that you’re traveling to. You may be able to find that local SIM card in the same sites where you can go ahead and buy some of the other SIM cards that we’ve already talked about. There are usually more options being offered on these pages than just the 85 countries or whatever it is that the global SIM cards offer. 

Another thing that you could look into, which is usually not something we recommend, in this case though it can be considered a last ditch effort is to just get a SIM card off the street. If you really can’t find a way to be able to get a local SIM card online then go ahead and get the card once you arrive at a local convenience store. There’s a good chance that you’ll find them there. If you’re visiting places like China, Russia, or North Korea which usually are at odds with the western world it may not be a bad idea to ask your tour guide directly what they recommend.  

Best Travel SIM Card Conclusion 

We kind of felt that we were forced to label some of the world SIM cards as the best travel SIM card available. When it’s all set and done that’s probably not the case. You’d have to be taking a unique trip for one of these cards to be your main option. You’d have to visit different continents within a matter of days. Now that Orange and other top companies are going to start offering travel eSIMs at the same cost as their regular SIM cards we are likely going to start seeing the death of the traditional travel SIM card.  

A lot of the other eSIM options out there were a bit more expensive than these regular SIM card options. Yet, the cost maybe made sense because you were getting a bit of a novelty. As soon as that stopped being the case it’s really hard to talk about the benefits of a regular SIM card or some of the other options out there to be honest. The bottom line here is that the best travel SIM card is the one that gets you the best coverage at the lowest price wherever you decide to travel.