Your Essential Guide to International (Global) Travel Sim Cards


Communication and travel are entwined in many ways. While travelling overseas, each one of us has need to use our cell phones to keep in touch with family and friends. Not only calls from overseas, but also keeping our Facebook and Instagram stories updated with all the travel landings would require a good data usage.

International traveling with your smartphone may be appropriate, but it can also be damn expensive. And While saying that, we once used our local India number in US without knowing that it would badly burn our pocket. Hence, we thought it is certainly good to let you all know about an International SIM cards and global cards.  

(c) – Wiki

Global SIM cards make it possible for handlers to communicate with anyone through these devices. They can call or text friends and loved ones, no matter where they may be. It also helps us to access the Internet from any part of the world at certainly a cheap cost.  There are many providers who have great deals on international roaming which you should certainly check before departing the country.

Here’s our essential guide for you to deal with International roaming and Travel sim cards.

** Make sure your phone is unlocked**

(c) – Wiki

Not all cell phones will work in every country, so your best bet is to carry a phone that will operate on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network. Firstly, to use a travel SIM in your device, you’ll need to make sure that your handset is network unlocked. When you buy a device through a carrier, it’s usually ‘locked’ to that network – meaning you can’t simply take your phone and use it on a rival carrier’s plan.

** Get Your International Roaming Plans Activated ** 

(c) – Wiki

International roaming packs are an easy solution. Service providers such as Airtel and Vodafone allow highly lucrative plans for their users. This will allow you to choose the network of the local operator of the country you are travelling to at a minimal cost with using the same number. We activated Vodafone’s I-roaming pack which allowed us unlimited Data & Calls in 20 countries for 10 days at a cost of INR 3000. Isn’t that a great deal? There are lot many other deals on international roaming available with your local operator. Do check with them about all the options and see which one suits your need.

** Choose Wise Data Plans ** 

data plans
(c) – Wiki

If you’re going to be traveling internationally and using your phone’s data services, it’s important to sign up for one of well-chosen data plans, otherwise you can expect an extremely large roaming bill when you come home. If you plan on using a lot of data services while traveling, make sure you check with the carrier to see if they offer international data roaming plans. If you can live with limited data service during your trip, be sure to turn off data usage and the “fetch new data” option. Those are two important ways to reduce your cell phone bill during an international trip. Also look for complimentary Wi-Fi “hot spots” in places like coffee shops and malls to keep you social media updates live . 🙂 


* * Buy a local SIM card when you arrive * *

(c) – Wiki

This is another great option to buy a local simcard of the country you are visiting. You will always find a mobile store at the international airports of the country you are going. It would make sense if you are going to stay in a country for more than 3 days to buy a local sim which is pre-paid card and use for the time you are there.

We bought local Sim cards when we travelled to Srilanka and Maldives. They only need your passport copy and one passport size photograph to give you the pre-paid simcard. Call and Data Charges apply as per usage and the activation of simcard depends as per your stay duration in the country.

** Test Your Phone with The New Sim Card **

If you are buying a sim locally in the country, you are in then do not leave the store before testing the new Sim Card. Some sim cards will have quick activation, and some might take couple of hours. You will probably need to restart your phone and choose the local network to access the data and make a voice call. It is helpful to send a text or call someone just to make sure everything is working.

** Buy Matrix Calling card ** 


This is great option and we often buy this when we travel to US for business needs. Matrix offers International SIM cards and data packs for your Smartphone and Tablets at a minimal cost. They do have offers for postpaid and prepaid cards and have sim cards for nearly all the major countries like USA, UK, Europe, Thailand, China etc. With Matrix you can stay connected to your loved ones back one and travel the world hassle free without worrying about exorbitant roaming charges. Their voice and data plans enable you to enjoy seamless connectivity and multiple advantages.

** Understand the Different Global SIM Card Options ** 


A Global SIM card comes with an international roaming feature, which means users can use this card to call or text from any country.

Users can choose from a countless of global SIM cards today from different service providers like AT&T, Sprint, Vodafone etc. However, you should consider all available options before buying one as completely depends on your need. While some people may want to have a data plan, others may want a device that can be used for calling or texting. So, it’s always a good idea to understand what global SIM cards have to offer, and then, look for one that specifically meets your expectations.

Before buying a global sim card, you should investigate is the list of countries that can be accessed through it. Most cards have a specified list of countries to which calls can be made and you must check if the country you want to call is on that list.

** Rent a phone with Trabug ** 


If you are travelling to India then it’s quite reliable to rent a phone with the local sim cards. As buying local sim cards in India not simply picking one up in the shop, instead it requires a lot of documents before you can get connected. Trabug is a new service that lets you rent a smartphone and local sim card that is delivered to your hotel in India. The Trabug pack contains a Smartphone encumbered with curated information and services which help you on the go. Bundled with the phone is a SIM card with 4G data and voice minutes. The phone is made available to you for rental only and will be delivered and picked up for free from any location within India.

Documents you need to buy Trabug plan:

  • Your Passport ID pages
  • Your valid Indian VISA or OCI card
  •  Passport size photograph



A Global SIM card or having an international roaming activated on your phone is essential for anyone who travels abroad frequently. Not only It helps us to stay connected with our families and friends, but a working cell phone can be a lifesaver in the event any unpleasant situation in a foreign country.

  How do you stay connected with your family and friends when you travel abroad? Share with us in comments.

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24 comments on “Your Essential Guide to International (Global) Travel Sim Cards”

  1. Agh I wish I knew about Trabug when I went to India last year! I knew someone had to have solved this! I discovered first hand last year (and too late), that getting a local SIM card there isn’t just a one hour matter – in fact, at some point I’m going to write up on my blog, the tragic-comedic story about my quixotic quest for an Indian local SIM card hahaha!

  2. Useful. Yes. At some point, I will have to think about it. Last year getting around Europe and Russia, for which I have reasonable roaming prices.

  3. I don’t know how I could survive in a country without some sort of connection. Getting a SIM is such a good idea even for safety and in case of emergency but also to find where you’re going (can’t do anything without Google maps these days)

  4. Useful information here. I try and not use phone and mobile data whilst aboard, rather use WIFI and actually explore the place with my own eyes than staring into a phone 😀 But good information here.

  5. Great post! Mobile phones can always be confusing while traveling to a variety of different countries. Being from the United States, many carriers here are providing global data packages. We use T-Mobile and we get free data and sms in almost every country in the world. The only drawback is that it isn’t full speed data (which doesn’t bother me, I’m on vacation 🙂 )

  6. Great tips, we’ve ended up not being able to use our phones abroad because we didnt have a plan so this sort of info helps a lot!

  7. Really useful information! I had to do this frequently 6 years ago when I was traveling around Asia. Getting the phone unlocked by my provider was an issue sometimes depending on the person I got at the call center, but it may be easier 🙂

  8. I have always wondered do I get a sim card or do I try to buy extra this or extra that on my own plan or maybe purchase some kind of travel plan. This definitely helps and breaks down what you can do.

  9. I’ve always found local sim cards to be the most useful. Nowadays, because everyone is so wifi dependent; I’ve seen multiple hotels also have this thing called pocket wifi which might be useful for VOIP calls.

  10. I had never heard of Tramburg. Have had many visitors to India and always shared simcards from friends. Great research and very helpful! Thank you!

  11. Great guide! I used to had such a big bill from my provider when I was travelling, luckily now you can get sim with data easily, you can find wifi easily plus if you have your phone from any European country you can use it the same as you do at home. I remember I also got little pocket wifi device when I was in Japan, that really helped me a lot and saved me a money!

  12. We always manage without SIM cards because we remain switched off for a majority of the time during our trips abroad. It is so peaceful to not have to stay in touch 🙂 But very useful post here. Will certainly explore the option.

  13. A really useful guide. I’ve thought many times about getting an international sim card, and next time I jet off further afield, I might.

    Fortunately for me, I’m in Europe at the moment. Here, the European Union has activated free roaming charges for other EU mobile users, within EU countries.

    For UK, travellers like myself, what’s going to happen after Brexit, who knows…

  14. The Philippines is SIM Card country! Hehehe! Thank you for this guide. We are planning our first out-of-the-country trip, and this blog post is helpful. We know virtually nothing of the cellphone protocols outside of our our country.

  15. This is super informative! I love it. We tend to call our carrier before we leave and tell them where we are going so we know what to turn off and what to turn on so that we do not have a nice big bill waiting for us when we return.

  16. I wish the world would unite on this and we wouldn’t have to wonder if our phone works in another country. First, getting your phone unlocked here in the US. is a hassle while I’m used to having my phone automatically unlock in my old homecountry after the contract is over. Also finding a sim card in a strange country can be confusing.

  17. This is such a useful guide – so sick of being charged a bomb of roaming charges when I go abroad. In Indonesia recently picked up a really cheap sim which had fast data on it and worked perfectly!

  18. This is a very important aspect to look into before traveling. Things like unlocking the phone are very important points which many may not be aware of or tend to neglect. Trabug is a very reliable option for India.

  19. Nice post. I have a plan to go abroad on this summer but still have to struggle with problems of keeping connection with my family. Your post is really helpful

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