Buying SIM Cards Internationally

Trip_tipsย Quick Tip Guide – SIM cards

Before we step foot into a new country, we purchase our SIM cards in the airport right when we land. This is our lifeline for research, planning, navigation, and posting on the go.


When weย approach a provider these are the questions we ask before purchasing a SIM card:
  • What is the speed, 3G? 4G?
  • Can you show me a map of your companies coverage?
  • What are the data size options? (we estimate using 3GB per week)
  • Is there a cap on how much data I can use in a 24hr period?
  • Can I make local calls? International calls?
  • How can I reload the SIM card?
  • Is there an app to download for tech support? Number to call? Kiosk or store support?
  • Does the card expire by a certain date?

It is also a good idea to have them install the card for you. We usually run a quick HD video on Youtube to make sure the speed is up to their claims. Your current SIM card will have been removed, ย tuck it in a safe place for when you return home. You likely will need to present your passport when you purchase the SIM card.

SIM cards can drastically range in price depending where you are ex. $50 in New Zealand for a 2GB card and $10 for an unlimited month in Thailand. We’ve found having access to GPS, the ability to book restaurants/excursions, and do research on the go make traveling internationally much more comfortable.

*We recommend getting this at the airport if possible because 1) you’ll likely want to start using it immediately to route yourself to your first stop and 2) there are often several phone companies situated right at the arrivals terminal (giving you multiple options). If you’ve already left the airport without purchasing a SIM card, ask where the closest cell phone store is – they typically sell cards too.

Note: be sure your phone is unlocked before hitting the road, otherwise getting a SIM is tricky.