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SIM card to travel abroad: prices and where to buy it?

Are you traveling abroad? Forget about roaming and enjoy a stable internet connection during your trip with an international SIM card.

Brenda Beltrán

May 26, 2023

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If you are planning to travel abroad, you have to find a way to keep in touch with your loved ones back home. That’s why it wouldn’t be too much to have a SIM card to travel abroad. Thanks to this, you will be able to go anywhere without losing your connection!

Whether you’re thinking about visiting some parts of Europe or wanting to go a little bit further and visit a country like Japan or China, there are ways to stay connected all the time, such as the traditional SIM card and the new digital SIM.

Digital SIM card for international travel

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How to get a SIM card to travel abroad?

Traveling outside your country and not knowing how to communicate can give you a headache. If you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen when you arrive, it is better to be fully prepared beforehand to enjoy your trip. Do you want to have a calm and relaxing trip? There are ways to buy a SIM card before arriving at your destination.

If you prefer to take things slowly, there are also options. Maybe you want to go to some country in Latin America and want to get your SIM card when you arrive.

Any of those two options are valid. Buying it when you’re still in your country, you can opt for providers that offer an international data SIM card service or also a Digital SIM card, which is a relatively new consumer technology on the market.

Otherwise, if you want to get it when you are at your destination, you can get to know new places as you walk to a nearby store. Also, you can always get one at the airport because there are some cellphone shops in these types of places. Or you can opt to play backpacker as you look for your SIM card. The final decision is yours. 

But, before deciding, you have to know a little bit more about the available options.

A traveler walking on the road. Source: Pexels.

Buying a SIM card before traveling abroad


  • It will let you enjoy your trip better. Buying your SIM card before traveling is very useful. This will let you enjoy your trip without having to worry about staying connected with the world from the very first moment you arrive at your destination.
  • You will have extra money. Having bought your SIM card before traveling will let you know how much money you will have during your stay. You can decide what you can or cannot spend on, or if you want to treat yourself, you won’t have to worry about that.
  • You can check if the SIM card works on your cellphone. Your phone may not be the latest flagship phone, and that’s okay. However, as new technology advances, your cellphone may have difficulties staying up to date. This is something you can prevent when you buy a SIM card beforehand.
  • You will be connected from the very first moment you arrive. This can be important for some people. To have a connection to the internet right when you land to take pictures and share them, to check social media, or even do something very important at work.


  • Wait for delivery. If you purchase your SIM card to travel online, you should do it in advance with good time before your travel as you must wait at home for it to be delivered. It may take two days or more.

Buying when you land

  • Once you are at your destination, you can compare the different options you have.
  • You can visit new places as you look for a store to get your SIM card.
  • In case there is any inconvenience you can file claims in person.
  • You will try the SIM card before buying it, to see whether your cellphone is compatible or not.
  • Usually, buying in physical stores, you can opt for different offers.

Stores to buy SIM cards abroad

Finding a SIM card store abroad won’t be a problem. Out of your country, there are many options, but the quality of service is not the same.

We have to remember that in Latin American destinations, 5G connections are still not available, so during your stay, you can only opt for 3G or 4G SIMs. The good thing is that, just as it is in your country, there are well-known companies that people can recommend.

The best thing you can do before arriving at your destination is to read a little about the telecommunication and cellular market. Is it easy to buy a SIM card? Are there any requirements I must meet? What is the best operator to use?

This is something you must know before arriving. Undoubtedly, it can be very useful to have all this information because instead of wasting time, you can go straight to buy the SIM card that best suits your needs.

Some of the best cellular companies in the world are Vodafone, Movistar, and Orange in Europe, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Telcel in North America, Claro, Movistar, and Tigo in Latin America, and SK Telecom, Docomo, and China Mobile in Asia. You will need a VPN in China to use the internet as you normally do.

Woman enjoying a stroll on a bot. Source: Pexels.

How much does a SIM card cost?

The prices vary depending on the destination and the operator, this is used to catch people’s attention. Let’s see a little bit more about the variety of prices we can find.

Days of useDataPrice (USD)
North America Prepaid Unlimited$60 – $90 USD
Europe 10 GB – 35 GB$10,81 – $21,63 USD
South America Prepaid Unlimited$20 – $79,15 USD
AsiaPrepaid Unlimited$31,17 per 10 days

Digital SIM card to travel abroad, the new alternative

One of the newest and best alternatives in the current market is the Digital SIM. These cards are easy to buy and set up.

You can buy it through the web page, in this case, the Holafly page, and you will receive it in your email in just a few minutes. And it will be ready to be used!

Requirements to buy a Digital SIM card

  • You can buy it only by having a valid physical address to purchase in the store.
  • You must have an account in Google Pay, PayPal, or an active credit card to be able to complete the payment.
  • It is not necessary to provide any personal information when purchasing the chip. 
  • You must choose the destination and the plan before making the purchase, for it to be done successfully.

Advantages and disadvantages of the Digital SIM card to travel abroad

  • The internet speed is usually 4G, and in some cases, it offers an unlimited 2G.
  • You can get it, no matter where you are in just a few minutes.
  • The Digital SIM cellular data can be shared with others.
  • Information stored within the SIM card won’t be lost.
  • Holafly has prepaid eSIM plans if you are traveling to the UK or any of the other 160 destinations.
  • Holafly offers a phone number to make phone calls in specific destinations like with the eSIM card Europe.

Also, you have to consider that:

  • The number of cellphones that are currently compatible with the Digital SIM card is limited.

How much does a Digital SIM card cost?

The prices and amount of data vary from a traditional SIM card, please see the table below:

Days of useDataPrice (USD)
15 days – Latin America6GB$44 USD
5 to 30 days – EuropeUnlimited$19 – $99 USD
15 days – North America6GB$54 USD
5 to 30 days – Mexican eSIMUnlimited$19 – $99 USD
5 to 30 days – Virtual SIM card USAUnlimited$19 – $99 USD
15 to 30 days – Asia6 GB to 10 GB$44 – $54 USD
30 days – South Korea8 GB$47 USD
5 to 30 days – JapanUnlimited$19 – $99 USD
5 to 30 days – China with VPNUnlimited$19 – $99 USD

Frequent questions about the Digital SIM card to travel abroad

Can I get a Digital SIM for just one destination?

Yes. With Holafly you can buy Digital SIMs for different destinations, for different prices.

The Digital SIM can be received anywhere?

Yes. No matter where you are, you can buy a Digital SIM card for your trip.

Am I going to lose my number if I change my SIM?

Not necessarily. You can simply keep your old phone number.