Monday, July 6th 2020

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from airports that start with Y."

2020
11
February
What is the best local SIM card or portable wifi hotspot to get when I travel to....



One of the most common topics I see people asking for help with in the Ydeals travel advice Facebook groups revolves around which SIM card provider to go with when traveling to (insert country or region here).

I thought it might be useful to organize the experiences that travelers have reported of using various SIM card providers around the world by country and region.

The best local sim card to buy, by country

I've found that this usually offers a pretty clear consensus on which SIM card provider to go with.

For example, when visiting Italy, you would likely want to go with the TIM Tourist Sim card, based on the number of positive experiences reported.

For the purposes of this step-by-step guide, I'll assume you've never bought a local SIM card before.

If you're already familiar with buying a local SIM card, and just want to know which one to get for the country or region you're visiting, you can skip ahead to step 3.

STEP 1

Should I buy a local SIM card when I travel to [country/region], or should I just use my cell phone provider's 'roam like home' option?

The primary reason people buy a local SIM card when they travel is because it's virtually guaranteed to be a cheaper way to stay connected than any 'roam like home' option that your Canadian cell phone provider is offering.

If you've never heard of 'roam like home', it's an option that all Canadian cellular providers offer, which allows you to use your current cell phone plan while traveling. It's convenient, but it comes at a steep price!

Here in Canada, we have the most expensive cell phone rates in the world. No matter where you travel, you can rest assured that buying a local SIM card will be cheaper than paying your cell phone company's 'roam like home' fees of $8 to $12 a day!

However, there is a tradeoff. When you install a local SIM card, your phone temporarily has a new phone number while you travel. This can be inconvenient for some things, mainly the fact that your friends and family won't have this new number to text you or call you.

Most people get around this inconvenience by installing an app like WhatsApp, which allows your friends and family to reach you at your phone's usual number, even while your phone temporarily has a new number.

Generally speaking, the longer your trip, the more likely it is to be worth buying a local SIM card. If your trip is relatively short (1-4 days), it may not be worth the inconvenience.

Here's a rough idea of how the math typically works out...

Cost of roam like home vs a local sim card

If you're going on a trip for 1 to 4 days, is it worth saving $15 by buying a local SIM card? Probably not.

But if it's a 10 day trip, is it worth saving $70 by buying a local SIM card? Probably.

Some providers have a cap on their roam like home fees, and charge a maximum of, say, $150 for 15 days of usage (how kind!). Others may charge more, or charge per billing cycle. So beware.

You have to decide how much you're willing to overpay the Canadian cell phone providers for the convenience of their Roam Like Home option.

You may be wondering if a $25-$35 local SIM card will come with enough data and minutes for your entire trip. It's *very* likely that you'll be able to get way more than you would ever need, and it will make you realize even more just how insanely expensive our cell phone rates are in Canada, when you see how cheap they are everywhere else.

STEP 2

If you've decided that purchasing a local SIM card is the way you want go, here's a checklist of what you need to do.

before your trip

     a) make sure your phone is unlocked

By law, all cell phone providers now have to provide a way to unlock your phone for you.

If you're not sure if your phone is unlocked or not, you can call your cell phone company and ask.

cell phone SIM card removal

     b) watch a YouTube video and practice removing your SIM card

Just go on YouTube and type in the name of your phone and the model, followed by 'how to remove sim card'

It's generally really easy to remove your SIM card. There's usually a slot on the side or back of your phone, or a hole that you insert a paper clip into to eject it.

You don't *have* to learn how to do this. When you buy a local SIM card, there's a very good chance the person selling it to you will know how to change it for you.

But there's a few reasons it's worth taking 3 minutes to learn how to do it yourself...

- sometimes you may want to buy a SIM card from a vending machine and swap it yourself

- the day of your trip, you may want to remove your current SIM card (see below).

the day of your trip

     c) you may want to remove your current SIM card before you step foot on the plane

I've learned the hard way how easy it is to forget to completely disable your phone's ability to use data .

If your phone uses data for even just 1 second while in another country, your Canadian cell phone provider will automatically charge you the $8-$12 'roam like home' daily fee.

By removing the SIM card at home before you get on the plane, it's now impossible for you to be charged any sort of roaming fees, no matter what your cell phone settings are.

SIM cards are usually tiny, so put it in a zip lock bag or somewhere you won't lose it.

I usually bring my home SIM card with me when I travel, just in case something goes wrong and I need to swap it back in.

STEP 3

Buying a local SIM card when you land (or buying one before you leave).

These days, there are often booths, kiosks, or vending machines selling local SIM cards right at the airport when you land.

I find it's usually worth buying the SIM card at the airport if you can. But if not, there's likely to be plenty of shops selling them in the city of your arrival.

Some people prefer to have all of this dealt with before they arrive. And in some cases, you can get a SIM card delivered to your home in Canada before you leave.

And that brings us to the point of this article, to help you quickly narrow down your best SIM card option, depending on the country or region that you're visiting.

Below you will find a list of Regions and Countries.

If you're visiting multiple countries in a region, like a trip around Europe for example, you may want to click on 'Europe' first and read the advice about SIM cards that are known to work well all over Europe.

But you should also click on the individual countries of the region you're visiting, for specific recommendations of SIM cards that work well in each country.

For some Regions or Countries, I've listed 'proven winners' when there appears to be an obvious choice that really works well for everyone.

What is the best SIM card (or portable wi-fi hotspot) to get when I travel to...

North America

      Canada
      United States
           Hawaii
      Mexico

Caribbean

      Barbados
      Cuba
      Curacao
      Dominican Republic
      Jamaica

Central America

      Belize
      Colombia
      Costa Rica
      El Salvador
      Guatemala
      Nicaragua
      Panama

Europe

      Austria
      Balkans
      Baltics
      Belgium
      Bosnia & Herzegovina
      Canary Islands
      Croatia
      Czech Republic
      Denmark
      England
      Estonia
      Finland
      France
      Germany
      Greece
      Holland
      Hungary
      Iceland
      Ireland
      Italy
      Latvia
      Lithuania
      Luxembourg
      Malta
      Netherlands
      Norway
      Poland
      Portugal
      Romania
      Russia
      Scotland
      Serbia
      Spain
      Sweden
      Switzerland
      Turkey
      Ukraine
      United Kingdom

Asia

      East Asia
           China
           Hong Kong
           Japan
           South Korea
           Taiwan
      Southeast Asia
           Cambodia
           Indonesia / Bali
           Malaysia
           Philippines
           Singapore
           Thailand
           Vietnam
      South Asia
           India
           Sri Lanka
      Eurasia
           Russia

South America

      Argentina
      Brazil
      Chile
      Colombia
      Peru

Africa

      Egypt
      Eswatini
      Kenya
      Madagascar
      Morocco
      Mozambique
      Rwanda
      Senegal
      South Africa
      Swaziland
      Tanzania
      Uganda

The Middle East

      Iraq
      Israel
      Jordan
      Saudi Arabia

Australasia & Oceania

      Australia
      New Zealand

      The Cook Islands
      Fiji
      Tahiti

Worldwide

(works anywhere in the world)

Hey what about e-SIMs?

(the future)

North America

Canada

"When I'm visiting Canada, the best option for me is Keepgo. You pay $9 for 100MB, $26 dollars for 1GB, or $88 for 5Gb. The data never expires, you just need to refill every year to preserve the data."

United States

proven winners: Roam Mobility

Roam Mobility

"I just get Roam Mobility. Easy and works mostly everywhere."

"Roam Mobility. You have to have an unlocked phone though."

"For travel to the US, I have a Roam Mobility SIM. It's for local calls, as well as text and data, and their plans include unlimited calls from the US to Canada. But there's also AlwaysOnline Wireless (they have the parent company as Roam Mobility), which is global data and text (but not calling)."

"Roam mobility is your best bet. I think London drugs has the sim cards."

"As long as your phone is unlocked, I always use a Roam Mobility SIM card. It's a few dollars a day for calling, text and data."

"Roam Mobility. We have used them last 3 years. 50 per month CND. Unlimited. You can buy sim cards online or at Staples. Probably other places as well."

"We used Roam Mobility while commuting through the U.S to Mexico. Worked well and you can purchase only the days you need. Purchased the sim at Office Depot and purchased days online."

"Roam mobility is good. You can order the sim card online and set the days and plan you want (data only or data/call/text). And you can keep it to use again next time you go to the states as long as you use it once a year"

"I've been using Roam Mobility for years. Works wonderfully. I get the plan that is $4.95 per day"

"Roam Mobility is awesome works flawlessly!"

"I always use my Roam Mobility sim card when I travel to the states. Way easier just to use them than the Canadian companies that rip you off for service down there."

"Roam Mobility is the "cat's meow" for any Canadian travelling to US."

"Roam Mobility is our choice. We've used it all over the US with no problems."

"Roam Mobility is the way to go. great product"

"I used to use Roam Mobility SIM cards when travelling to the US for more than a couple days because it's cheaper than Fido's $7/day for roaming data. Worked pretty well but you have to load it up once a year or something so the SIM and number doesn't expire."


T-Mobile / Ultra Mobile

note: What used to be known as the T-Mobile Tourist SIM has been replaced in T-Mobile stores by a similar offering from Ultra Mobile, who T-Mobile has had a relationship with for years.

"Go to a T-Mobile store and ask for a tourist SIM. It's US$30 plus sales tax and it is good for 3 weeks. You'll have a phone number, 1000 texts, and 2 GB of data. Just make sure that they don't charge you $10 for the SIM. It's all included but some T-Mobile people don't know that. US$30 and you are good plus people can call you!"

"I went to T-Mobile while in California earlier this year and purchased a 1 month prepaid plan. $40 us got me all you can call and text and 10 gb of data. I'm heading back this summer and will just top up my plan. Worked great."

"We went to California for two weeks and bought SIM cards from T-Mobile when we arrived. You can also look into Roam Mobility, but I find that more expensive for longer trips."

"T-Mobile SIM card 100%. Lived there and paid 40 a month my whole time living in California"

"Whilst in USA for 3 weeks we got a sim that was $50 unlimited data calls and text for a month by T-Mobile and after the month you can top it up."

"Ultra mobile - Pick it up from a T-Mobile store. $30 usd for 21 days of unlimited data but slows a bit after 2gb. Overall pretty sweet deal in my opinion."

"We bought a T-Mobile SIM card for our trip to Florida last May. I can't say enough good things about it. Easy to connect, fast data speeds, the kids could even tether their devices in the vehicle. Very reliable and cost efficient. Highly recommend."


AT&T

"I buy an AT&T SIM card for my unlocked iPhone and then buy a pay as you go plan and top it up each month."

"I use AT&T when in the US. $30 per month unlimited talk, text and data. I think 4 gigs of high speed and then it drops to a slower speed but for email it is good enough."


KnowRoaming

"I have used KnowRoaming for both the USA and Europe, including Iceland, and it has been fabulous."

"I got a KnowRoaming sticker on my existing SIM. Heading to the US and paying $6/day for unlimited data. "


Three UK

"I agree with Three UK. They have a list of Feel at Home countries (lots, USA included). I top up using Ding.com and the same SIM is valid so long as you make a chargeable transaction (call, text) every 6 months."


Google Fi

"Look into Google Fi cell phone plan like $30 a month but unlimited data in like 160 countries - always take it with me to Florida and Mexico great deal"


"I just bought the 'Most SIM' card on Amazon and it’s working great in the US. Wayyyy better then paying the roam from home with Bell!! Got it before I left, came with great instructions on how to use. "

"Bought a Simple Mobile SIM card at CVS in USA for $1. Plan was then $30US for one month. Reused it 3 months later."

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Hawaii

proven winners: T-Mobile / Ultra Mobile

note: What used to be known as the T-Mobile Tourist SIM has been replaced in T-Mobile stores by a similar offering from Ultra Mobile, who T-Mobile has had a relationship with for years.


T-Mobile / Ultra Mobile

"We have bought at T-Mobile. $40 Included cost of sim, 1000 minutes to US phones and 2 GB of data."

"If your phone is unlocked, you can buy a SIM card and a tourist plan at T-mobile. "

"We purchased a sim card from T Mobile in Maui, having the extra data was perfect when needing directions or looking up where to eat in new areas... I think we paid $30 for unlimited data, calling and texting in March."

"We've bought the T-mobile tourist plan. The sim card is good for 21 days after activation. For $30 USD plus tax you get unlimited text and 1000 minutes and unlimited data (the first 2 GB at 4G speed). Be warned though, depending on where in Hawaii you're going, the signal is spotty."


Roam Mobility

"If you want talk/text/data - try Roam mobility. If you only want data on the SIM card - try AlwaysOnlineWireless ... both by the same company. You can order the SIM ahead of time, load it - and set the activation date for when you arrive abroad."


Other

"I purchased one through AT&T last time I was there. It was about $40 for the month but only like 2 gigs of data. It worked well for us as we were here for 3 weeks."

"Hoku Wireless Ohana East has great data plans!"

"Order a Straight Talk SIM online (~$1US) and have it mailed to wherever you are staying (or a border drop if you are close)"

"Verizon (CDMA) has better coverage than AT&T (GSM) at least on the Big Island. 3 GB unlimited minutes was $45 when I was there."

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Mexico

proven winners: Telcel

Telcel

"We got a SIM card from Telcel for our unlocked phones. Very inexpensive, 1GB with text, messaging and even free calls to Canada for $12 Cdn. each phone. Go to Telcel. But not a distributor but an actual Telcel store. They are the best as far as coverage is concerned"

"Telcel has the best coverage but AT&T is great if you use a lot of social media."

"Telcel is great,200 pesos lasted me a long time, get at any Oxo."

"I got Telcel for 40 bucks from amazon. It worked great!"

"Telcel. It’s $10 for a month with unlimited social media in Mexico and is free to call Canada and the US. The plan continues to work when you’re in Canada (with no roaming costs) and can be recharged from here too! You can go into any Telcel store (they are everywhere) or OXXO."

"Telcel. So cheap. I use it everytime. My parents use it here in Canada, it's so cheap!!"

"Telcel, you can get it from any convenience store (Oxxo, 7-eleven or Circle K) it also includes unlimited social media, and free incoming calls from Canada, and the US, also has data roaming in Canada, and the US. I'm from Baja, Mexico and I travel through the US all the time, so I keep my Telcel sim card to use it in the US as well, it's cheaper than the 7 cad per day for roaming I have on my Rogers plan."

"I got a Telcel card from amazon for $20. I refill it using tel cel website. Super easy"

"Telcel. I change my chip as soon as I get to Mazatlan. It’s so cheap here. Usually $400 pesos is more than enough and is good for a month. "

"Telcel and don't forget to save the sim card for next time Walk into any oxxo to buy one and load money onto it."

"Telcel They’re the biggest with the most coverage. 2.5 gigs for 300 pesos and 60-70 for the SIM card"

"Telcel. Was in Cancun last spring. $10us. For 2G for 2 weeks. Went into an actual Telcel. 7/11 was more expensive. That is for data only. Then used WhatsApp for calls. "

"I buy a Telcel SIM card as soon as I cross the border. It's about 10 CAD. This trip I put 500 peos (maybe 35 CAD) into a 33 day planwith unlimited text and calls in north america plus 12gb of data."

"I bought the Sim card from the Telcel store, they set it up to make sure it worked, 100 pesos, then I walked half block to Oxxo and added the plan I wanted... 2gb data for 26 days for 250 pesos... restarted my phone in the Oxxo and all was good!"

"AT&T Is great but Telcel has better coverage of you are travelling outside of a city centre. Can be bought cheap at any major convenience store.

"I use Telcel in Mexico and find it to be super affordable and have never had an issue in any way. Sometimes I lend my SIM to pals heading down there and they can just top it up during their stay."

"We're using a Telcel sim in Mexico right now and it's great. Very inexpensive and much better than the plans offered at home in Canada."

"I use Telcel in Mexico. Fantastic!"

"I bought a Telcel SIM card in Puerto Vallarta and I was only there for a week. Didn’t give me a whole lot of data (1500 MB I believe ), but free calling and texting. I used WiFi whenever I could. The SIM card and plan cost me CDN $ 12."

"I got the actual SIM card for 30 pesos and minutes from Telcel - 3GB for 30 days included unlimited social media for 200 pesos (about $15 CAD) This was at a Telcel booth in the grocery store in Zihuatanejo (I assume it’s similar in Mazatlan)"

"Telcel for sure...most plans allow you unlimited texts to Canada and some minutes of calling...some plans allow Facebook for free as in not counting toward your data use."


AT&T

"SIM card AT&T. Just about anywhere. Including Walmart im mexico."

"You can get a Mexican AT&T sim card for around 5 or 10 CAD, if you top-up 150 pesos (around 10 CAD) you will get unlimited free calls and texts to and from Mexico, Canada and USA for a month, you can even use it here in Canada!"

"AT&T Is great but Telcel has better coverage of you are travelling outside of a city centre. Can be bought cheap at any major convenience store.


Skyroam (portable wi-fi hotspot)

"I use my Skyroam in small out of the way villages and towns (Mexico, Egypt, Jordan, parts of Africa etc) without any trouble at all. For an approc $100 investment and paying only when you need it (when other wifi not available) I found it was cheaper than our international plans like Telus, especially considering several friends can share the daily use cost."

"I've successfully used Skyroam in Japan, Australia, through the Baltics, France, Mexico,... too many to mention. 47 countries and 6 continents. Many with my Skyroam."


Google Fi

"Look into google cell phone plan like $30 a month but unlimited data in like 160 countries - always take it with me to Florida and Mexico great deal"


Other

"Movistar also works well most places in Mexico."

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Caribbean (to be used in multiple countries)

"In Jamaica and most of the Caribbean the choices are Flow or Digicel. SIM from either costs about $5 Canadian, you have to have at least 2 pieces of ID, and it is pay as you go (load from online, buy credit in shops or reload in store). Super easy, Jamaican phone number."

Barbados

"I am currently in Barbados and went to Digicel and Flow for a travel SIM card to be used throughout the Caribbean. (We are staying in Barbados and then are also going on a cruise). Digicel said they didn’t have anything. Flow suggested the pay as you go. For example, the 14 day plan for $20 US. Also she would not guarantee it would work in all the Caribbean countries."

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Cuba

"They sell wifi cards from Cuba telecom for $4 for 1 hour. They have wifi connections at hotel and airport but not sure where else. Good enough if you are only going to check things once or twice a day"

"There are no decent options... only the ETECSA cards that work at lobbies of good hotels and airport and a few dedicated data centers. http://www.etecsa.cu/"

"We were there in October, there was wifi at the hotel Melia Marina. We bought the Internet cards, something like $3 an hour. It worked perfect, and just enough to check up on things at home.

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Curacao

"There's two providers down there, I went with Chippie, and got my SIM card down by the hotel where all the cruise ships dock, it's a strip mall, and they had more options and better rates than the one at the airport."

"Digicel was what I used for Curaçao when I visited last year."

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Dominican Republic

"I use Altice when in the Dominican Republic... it was Claro but Altice took them over. I've never had an issue."

"I used Claro in the Dominican it was great. Cost about 17$ for unlimited internet for 5 days and with money left in balance about 500 pesos to make text and phone calls."

"In the Dominican Republic we used either Claro or Orange and it was around $14 for unlimited data for a month."

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Jamaica

"In Jamaica and most of the Caribbean the choices are Flow or Digicel. SIM from either costs about $5 Canadian, you have to have at least 2 pieces of ID, and it is pay as you go (load from online, buy credit in shops or reload in store). Super easy, Jamaican phone number."

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Central America (to be used in multiple countries)

general advice: There isn't one SIM card provider that will work 'the best' in every Central American country. But 2 providers that at least work decently in multiple countries are:

Movistar: decent in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama

Claro: decent in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama

The only Central American country Claro doesn't have coverage in is Belize.

Belize

"I use Digi-Cell while in Belize....no problems....At certain periods they have two-for-one, where you get twice the amount of minutes for whatever you spend."

"We use DigiCell while wintering in Belize. If I remember correctly it cost $10BZ ($5US) to buy it initially. They also have free roaming while travelling in Mexico and I even had (partner) service when I returned to Ontario."

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Costa Rica

proven winners: KOLBI

general advice:

"I live in Costa Rica. You can buy a SIM card on the street or most grocery stores. Three main companies, Kolbi, Claro and Movistar. They all use the same towers and service around the country is great. For travellers, a prepaid one is good.... it comes with a little time on it but recharges are available in most grocery or drug stores. It works on 4G LTE but you use data quickly. Use WiFi wherever you can. You can get the Waze app as a GPS system. It works the best here. It doesn't use data just battery! I find that carrying a small external charger is best. If you're going remote, Movistar has data sticks."

"If you are travelling to Costa Rica: Claro, Kolbi or Movistar are all relatively easy to find, have good coverage throughout CR and are mas barato compared to Canada. You can recharge your minutes at most corner stores (pulperias or mini-super) or supermarkets (supermercados)."

"As of Nov 2019, there are no longer KOLBI stores to buy SIM cards from at the San Jose (SJO) or Liberia (LIR) airports. Go to the local cell phone or computer store in town."


KOLBI

"Kolbi .. data is super cheap to use."

"Kolbi is the national carrier there. I landed in Liberia and purchased a sim card (CR phone number) at the kiosk just after exiting all the customs area. It was good service, paid about $30USD total for phone/data/texting...worked great."

"We also used Kolbi SIM cards in our phones and had great service wherever we traveled. The data plan was more than enough to run Waze as our navigation tool for the full length of our trip."

"Kolbi in Costa Rica for sure!"

"I used Kolbi in Costa Rica and had great reception as we drove the entire pacific coast and I believe it was around $3 CAN for 5 GBs."


Claro

"I use Claro in Costa Rica. Service is good in the south (Talamanca/ Limon/ Puerto Viejo). Haven't used it elsewhere. Works out to about 10 bucks for 15 days of service with 2.5 GB, unlimited Whatsapp."


ICE

"If I remember correctly I think there is an ICE desk that sells SIM cards at Liberia airport"

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El Salvador

"I used Digicel in El Salvador. It was excellent and not expensive."

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Guatemala

"There are a few options in Guatemala, but we used Tigo. It's not the cheapest but it's the most reliable. You need to bring your passport with you to purchase a sim card by law, so don't forget to bring it with you. The rates are reasonable and it was easy enough to top up. Coverage is excellent, we had 3g even in the dense jungle and on top of mountains, unlike friends who went with other carriers."

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Nicaragua

"In Nicaragua we used Movistar. There is slightly better coverage with Claro, but Movistar had this weird system where they'd text you and if you added even $5 you'd get free fb or WhatsApp and so on for like a week. We were there for 6 weeks and spent maybe $70 total for 2 phones with sims, and that."

"When we were in Nicaragua we had a Claro SIM card (other option is Movistar). I think we had unlimited data for two weeks for around $14."

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Panama

"In Panama we are using +Movil. We went to one of their stores and were set up with a SIM card, a local number, 1.5 gb good for 30 days for $14 US. It lets us use WhatsApp/Facebook."

"In Panama we used Claro, Movistar or Movil- cant remember which or how much but you received a significant amount of data for one month, and it was also cheap."

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Europe (to be used in multiple countries)

proven winners: Three UK, Orange, Vodafone, Giffgaff

general advice: Europe is the easiest place in the world to buy a cheap local SIM card. By law, a SIM card you purchase in the first country you visit will be allowed to roam for free in every country in the European Union you visit afterwards.

That being said, certain SIM card providers may have better coverage in one country than they do in another. If you're visiting multiple countries, you should look at the advice for each individual country, and see which provider(s) work best overall.

And also be aware that Switzerland, Norway and a few other countries aren't in the EU, so they don't have the 'free roaming everywhere in Europe' laws.

With few exceptions, Three UK, Orange, Vodafone, and GiffGaff seem to work well across much of Europe.

If you'd like to buy a SIM card for Europe before you leave Canada, they can all be ordered online ahead of time.

Three UK

"The Three UK pre-paid SIM card works for 30 days in any country and includes from 5GB to 12 GB data, 3000 minutes and texts for 30 days. The price on Amazon.ca is similar to what you will pay locally in the UK. I've used it and it's a good deal, no issues with data or call quality."

"I agree, I bought the Three UK Prepaid 12GB SIM for $35 CAD off of amazon for my trip to Europe. I was in 5 different countries and it worked flawlessly the entire time! It was super easy to use, really quick to activate and I had no issues with connectivity when changing countries. As it is a UK SIM you have a UK number and are unable to text/call non UK numbers but I was still able to make use of iMessage without any problems and used WhatsApp for any calls I wanted to make !"

"+1 for the Three UK. Lived in UK for a while and I go back pretty often and travel in Europe as well. Network coverage is good and great value for money both in terms of data, minutes and text. Absolutely no problem with roaming."

"I agree with the Three UK. They have a list of Feel at Home countries (lots, USA included). I top up using Ding.com and the same SIM is valid so long as you make a chargeable transaction (call, text) every 6 months."

"Get Three UK Prepaid before you leave from Amazon. And have a unlocked phone and roaming enabled. Works in all of UK and Europe."

"Three UK Mobile or Lycramobile! I activated a Three Mobile account in the UK with 12 GB of data and 1000 mins (within the UK or to a UK phone number) but we later saw Lycramobile which would have been better since it included EU calling!!"

"I have used Three UK Mobile and it is great. Can be used in 71 different countries.you can top up at Tesco or any U.K. supermarkets."

"If your phone is unlocked, you could buy a ‘Three Mobile’ network card in London when you land. I was with them when I lived in the UK and could use my phone all over Europe with no issues."

" I use Three UK every time I go to Europe with no problems. I have been to all of those countries and it works without a hitch. You can buy it on Amazon so you have it as soon as you land."


Orange

"I got the Orange European Holiday SIM card on Amazon, went to several countries with no issues"

"I got the orange SIM card for Europe. You can purchase it on Amazon. And plug it into your phone when you get there."

"Anywhere in Europe, the Orange travellers sim card is great. 10 gig's and unlimited text and call for about 40 Euro. Good for 2 weeks, if you top it up within those two weeks all of the data carries over. Super easy to set up and valid throughout the EU."

"I ordered the Holiday Orange SIM on Amazon before I left for multiple European countries last month. Its about $60 for 20 gigs. I had zero interruptions. "

"I used Orange in Europe last month. French phone number. Purchased on Amazon for 60 CAD. 20gb, 120 minutes and 1000 text. Good for 15 days without registering the sim. Good for longer if you register."

"I used Orange SIM card when I went to Europe for a month, never had a problem with the LTE to every country or city I went to. I got it from amazon for $40cad with 10gb data, way cheaper than roaming big time."

"Orange is so far the best we’ve tried in the European Union."

"Get the Orange sim card at amazon. Do not get the O2 sim card. My friends and I went to europe I got the O2 and they got the orange. O2 was really spotty and not working. Orange worked better."


Vodafone

"I paid 15 euros for a sim from Vodafone which included 4GB of data and I was able to use it in any EU country without roaming charges. I’ve used a few other carriers over the years but found Vodafone to be the most reliable"

"Vodafone is widely used in Europe and is extremely cheap. Quite easy to set up and I’ve seen their kiosks in airports."

"I always buy a SIM card from Vodafone. It works all over Europe and costs 15 Euros for 30 days. Inexpensive!"

"Just came back from europe and we bought the Vodafone sim card from England and it worked everywhere with no problems."

"We always use Vodafone and has worked great for us."

"Just got back from Europe yesterday... got a SIM card from Vodafone.. it works in the entire EU.. was a breeze to use and was cheap! I paid 35$ for 30 Gb of data and unlimited calling texting. Valid for 30 days from first use.. I bought it from amazon."

"Well we used Vodafone and their SIM card worked for 14 weeks all through Europe from Denmark to Southern Spain."


Giffgaff

"GiffGaff. £20 for 20gb for 30 days. Important thing is 4G services in the countries you’re visiting. 3 UK have no reception in some area or 3g. I have one on each phone (work and personal). I noticed the UK 3 doesn’t catch reception in places where GiffGaff did. Activate it the day before you leave or day off. Turn on Roaming. As GiffGaff is a UK company, you are roaming in other EU countries but it’s considered Roam at home - no cost Roaming"

"GiffGaff. you can order it in advance and have it mailed to you. i live in the UK now and it's worked great all through europe and super cheap"

"You can order a sim from UK based giffgaff to an address in Canada. Then top up with a goody bag (£10 for 4-6 GB data) and roam anywhere in EU."

"Buy a sim card through GiffGaff! It is fantastic!I lived in europe for a year and it pretty much gives you a solid data, call, and text plan no matter where you travel! It is also super cheap in comparison to some others"

"If you are going to Europe, hands down Giff Gaff. Super cheap and they will send you a SIM free before you go and you will have a UK number that works anywhere in the Europe."


EE

"If travelling in Europe, pick up an EE sim card in London (any airport). They have unlimited roaming throughout Europe. The card cost 15 Pounds and had 10GB of data. More than enough for all of Europe!"

"We landed at Gatwick and bought a SIM card there. Got tons of data and it works all over Europe including when we went to Iceland. I think the brand was EE."

"I live in London and am with EE and I've never had any problems with coverage across Europe."


Hippocketwifi (mobile wi-fi hotspot)

"When I last did a multi country Europe trip (Portugal, Spain, Germany, Croatia, Hungary). I used Hippocketwifi as they worked all across Europe with good prices. And for me it worked without a hitch. It’s a flat rate / unlimited data). Easy pick up at many locations across Europe and drop off at any mailbox when you’re done."

"Check out hippocket wifi. We just travelled for 3 weeks in Europe and 4 of us had unlimited data for less than 10 dollars per day. Connect up to 10 devices."


Lebara

"We have used Lebara and EE while in Europe. We were happier with the Lebara plan since it was easier to renew packages after 30 days with a Canadian credit card and coverage seemed better. EE has been a bit spotty for coverage and you can only buy data packs in the UK or with a European credit card. There's a lot of competition here and it's easy to buy a new sim and switch if you're not happy."

"You can get a Lebara SIM card and charge it when needed it works in 200 countries including France and all of Europe"


GigSky

"Go with GigSky! Their SIM is good in over 190 countries. I’ve used it in Iceland, the Caribbean and will be using it next month in Europe. It can also be used in North America. This company is super reliable, affordable and they are the company Apple chose for their newest dual sim phones. They also sell a hotspot device where 20+ people can connect so I have one of those also as six of us travelling together to Europe. I’ve used other SIMS but this one is by far the best."


Lycamobile

"Lyca Mobile - Widely available at any European airport...they sometimes even have kiosks with cheap or free promo SIM cards."


OneSimCard

"I have used "One Sim Card" in the past and have been happy. You buy the card here before you leave, easy to top up as you travel. There is no daily charge - you pay for what you use."


T-Mobile

"T-Mobile is good, about 10cad for 10gb of data and unlimited everything across EU for 30 days."


Tep Wireless (portable wi-fi hotspot)

"I’ve used Tep Wireless for several trips to Europe and Caribbean. The only place it doesn’t really work well is while at sea on a cruise. Otherwise it’s $10/day rental (shipping is extra) and you can connect 5 devices. Good service in most European countries."


Travel Wifi (portable wi-fi hotspot)

"Company called travelwifi. Worked very well in France and Italy. Good rates. Unlimited."


Other

"There is no better deal than Iliad for anything in Europe. It works everywhere, has 50GB of data (when bought in Italy anyways) and has unlimited text and calling to anywhere in many countries, including Canada and the US. For 8 euros!!! "

"I have used KnowRoaming for both the USA and Europe, including Iceland, and it has been fabulous."

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Austria

"I bought a pay-as-you-go 'HoT' sim card at a Hofer grocery store in Vienna. One of the workers helped me activate and load the SIM card with money since I don’t know German. It was cheap and LTE data worked very well. I found that HoT is better than A1 in Austria because there’s an actual person who can help with it. A1, you’ll have to go to a post office to get help, and they're not always willing to do so."

"I got a KeepGo for my birthday and we just tried it in France, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland and it works great. You just prepay for data and use it as a mobile hotspot."

"We use Three Mobile everytime we go. Worked well in Germany, Italy, Austria, France, Ireland, Turkey, Croatia, and Greece."

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Balkans

"We found that Vodafone was good but doesn’t work in some of the Balkan countries....we had to get different cards for Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia but they were not super expensive "

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Baltics

Three UK

"I am someone who also bought a Three UK SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."

Other

"We purchased an Orange brand sim card from amazon,ca for our recent trip through the Baltics. Worked like a charm. Installed it in Europe."

"I've successfully used Skyroam in Japan, Australia, through the Baltics, France, Mexico,... too many to mention. 47 countries and 6 continents. Many with my Skyroam."

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Belgium

Three Mobile

"I am someone who also bought a Three Mobile SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."

Other

"Lebara worked well for us in Holland and Belgium, France, Switzerland and Spain."

"I have giffgaff and I’ve been to Germany, Iceland, Belgium and Luxembourg with perfect 4G coverage. It’s a 'roam like home' sort of package for everywhere in Europe and they mailed it to my home in Canada."

"The Orange simcard in Belgium has a great offer for visitors for up to a month. You can top it up and use it throughout most of Western Europe as well beyond that. One of the few times I’d recommend buying something at the airport."

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Bosnia & Herzegovina

note: Bosnia & Herzegovina is not in the EU, so a SIM card from another European country does not roam for free here.

"We found that Vodafone was good but doesn’t work in some of the Balkan countries....we had to get different cards for Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia but they were not super expensive "

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Canary Islands

"I used the 4G Cellhire sim in Spain and the Canary Islands last month and it worked great. Works for all European countries."

"Canary Islands, Tenerife. Vodafone. E20 for 30 days, unlimited data."

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Croatia

"When I last did a multi country Europe trip (Portugal, Spain, Germany, Croatia, Hungary). I used Hippocketwifi as they worked all across Europe with good prices. And for me it worked without a hitch. It’s a flat rate / unlimited data). Easy pick up at many locations across Europe and drop off at any mailbox when you’re done."

"Oddly enough, Croatia was one place where EE worked very well"

"Check out the Orange Holiday SIM on Amazon for about $60 CAD. The list of supported country is on there. I recently used it for France and Croatia and it worked flawlessly. "

"We use Three Mobile everytime we go. Worked well in Germany, Italy, Austria, France, Ireland, Turkey, Croatia, and Greece."

"We found that Vodafone was good but doesn’t work in some of the Balkan countries....we had to get different cards for Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia but they were not super expensive "

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Czech Republic

proven winners: Vodafone

"I am currently in Czech Republic and all Over Europe they use Vodafone. For $26 I got a SIM card here with unlimited social media and 3 gigs of data."

"We used Vodafone in the Czech republic and it was great."

"I got a KeepGo for my birthday and we just tried it in France, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland and it works great. You just prepay for data and use it as a mobile hotspot."

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Denmark

Three UK

"I am someone who also bought a Three UK SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."

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Estonia

Three UK

"I am someone who also bought a Three UK SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."

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Finland

Three UK

"I am someone who also bought a Three UK SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."

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France

proven winners: Orange, Free Mobile

Orange

"In France Orange has a 20 gig for 40 euro. Works in 30 countries. Highly recommend"

"i got Orange in Paris and used it all over!!! it was fantastic!!!!"

"Check out the Orange Holiday SIM on Amazon for about $60 CAD. The list of supported country is on there. I recently used it for France and Croatia and it worked flawlessly. "

"We went with a company called Orange, purchased at the airport in France. SO much cheaper than the cell companies here and came with a pile of data."

"We landed in CDG and bought a Holiday Orange SIM card for 40 euros at the airport (although there are lots of Orange boutiques in Paris). You get 10GB of data, 120 mins of international calling, and 1000 international texts. "

"I ordered an Orange SIM card for France off Amazon. It worked perfectly, no set up other than popping it into the phone. It had tons of data so I didn’t have to worry about going over when using Google Maps constantly."

"Pre-ordered a SIM from ORANGE (for use in France), and I just switched SIM while descending to Nice Airport, and badaboom, badabing. I even received my own "local number". Could not have been easier."

"I bought an Orange SIM with unlimited everything on Amazon.ca before I headed to France for three weeks. It was nice having it ready to go!"


Free Mobile

"Free from France was great. we got 25GB for Europe and 100GB in France for 19.99E/month."

"Get a Free Mobile SIM when you land in France, it's the best. You're covered pretty much everywhere in Europe and if you get the 20 euro per month you can phone Canada for free ( only in France though)."

"Free mobile! You’ll get 20GB in data per month ... ! Since you start in France, Free is a good option."

"The operator 'Free' in france .. you can have for 2 euros per month a plan where everything free in france and 30 days of data anywhere."

I highly recommend Free Mobile from France. You can pay 20 Euros per month and get coverage everywhere... Even in Canada! (For 4 months after returning). And the 20 euro plan even covers Switzerland. You can set it up at any Free Mobile store in France."


Three UK

"We did England, France, and Italy as well. We used Three Mobile it was 30pounds for 10 gigs of data and a few thousand mins. Worked fine in all three countries. "

"We use Three Mobile everytime we go. Worked well in Germany, Italy, Austria, France, Ireland, Turkey, Croatia, and Greece."

"We used the Three Mobile card with zero issues! Popped the card in when we got to France and it worked!"

"I am someone who also bought a Three Mobile SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."


Lebara

"You can get a lebara SIM card and charge it when needed it works in 200 countries including France and all of Europe"

"Lebara worked well for us in Holland and Belgium, France, Switzerland and Spain."

"In France I used the Lebara sim. They mailed it to my Canadian address."


Keepgo (portable wi-fi hotspot)

"I got a KeepGo for my birthday and we just tried it in France, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland and it works great. You just prepay for data and use it as a mobile hotspot."


Lycamobile

"Buy Lycamobile sim as you land.. Internet at great prices.. Activates instantly."

"I use Lycamobile in France (it's prepaid)."


O2

"We bought O2 SIM card from SIM Corner for our trip to England and France....worked like a charm."


SFR

"I’ve just returned from France and used a local data SIM card from SFR that I picked up in the airport. 15 Euros ($22 CAD) for 15GB."


Travel Wifi (portable wi-fi hotspot)

"Company called travelwifi. Worked very well in France and Italy. Good rates. Unlimited."


Other

"I spent 5 days in london, 6 days in Paris. I bought the GiffGaff sim in London and it worked perfectly. Plan was not expensive, like 10 g for 10 pounds? You can buy a sim card at any grocery store, you can order and get it delivered to your home."

"We used the Trio Sim card with zero issues! Popped the card in when we got to France and it worked!"

"Just got back from living in Scotland for a year and a half, and we used Giff Gaff as our cell provider. £25/month got us unlimited texting, calling and data (no roaming fees in Europe). No contract and you can go month to month. You can throw some extra cash on it to call home if you need to (super cheap rates - I think I used up 3 hours of calling and it didn’t even cost me £1). We used it in Amsterdam, Poland, Ireland, Spain, France and Malta with no issues."

"I've successfully used Skyroam in Japan, Australia, through the Baltics, France, Mexico,... too many to mention. 47 countries and 6 continents. Many with my Skyroam."

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Germany


Three Mobile

"We use Three Mobile everytime we go. Worked well in Germany, Italy, Austria, France, Ireland, Turkey, Croatia, and Greece."

"I am someone who also bought a Three Mobile UK SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."


Other

"When I last did a multi country Europe trip (Portugal, Spain, Germany, Croatia, Hungary). I used Hippocketwifi as they worked all across Europe with good prices. And for me it worked without a hitch. It’s a flat rate / unlimited data). Easy pick up at many locations across Europe and drop off at any mailbox when you’re done."

"I have giffgaff and I’ve been to Germany, Iceland, Belgium and Luxembourg with perfect 4G coverage. It’s a 'roam like home' sort of package for everywhere in Europe and they mailed it to my home in Canada."

"In Germany they implemented additional security checks in the last years, so that you have to proof you’re a German resident to activate a German sim. If you plan on getting a SIM card in Europe, I’d suggest to also make sure you’re able to activate it as a non-resident."

"Now that you can use one SIM card across European country( some limits apply) I got my sim from O2 mobile in Frankfurt. They had 120 Gb promotion and I was able to use it with no issues in both Malta & across Germany."

"Vodafone worked well for us last summer in Portugal, Spain, Greece and Germany...30 days for 20 euros. Came with data and was called travellers sim. Coverage was excellent in all 4 countries."

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Greece

proven winners: Vodafone

"We used Vodafone in Greece. We're able to use the same sim card in Italy as well. Super cheap and just put the sim card in our phone"

"bought UK Vodafone sim for 10 pounds. 3G and works fine in Greece."

"Vodafone worked well for us last summer in Portugal, Spain, Greece and Germany...30 days for 20 euros. Came with data and was called travellers sim. Coverage was excellent in all 4 countries."

"We use Three Mobile everytime we go. Worked well in Germany, Italy, Austria, France, Ireland, Turkey, Croatia, and Greece."

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Hungary

"When I last did a multi country Europe trip (Portugal, Spain, Germany, Croatia, Hungary). I used Hippocketwifi as they worked all across Europe with good prices. And for me it worked without a hitch. It’s a flat rate / unlimited data). Easy pick up at many locations across Europe and drop off at any mailbox when you’re done."

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Iceland

proven winners: Vodafone, Trawire (portable wifi hotspot)

general advice:

"Portable/pocket wifi is best and some of the car rental companies offer it free."

"I unlocked my phone and purchased a SIM card at the tourist bureau in Reykjavik. Came with 50 international minutes, 50 text messages and 5gb of data. Used my phone as a GPS the whole time we were there (had rented a car for the week) and had no issues. Pretty cheap too at what I remember being $25."


Vodafone

"I just came back from Ireland, Iceland and Scotland. Picked up a SIM card with Vodafone, 20 euros for 20 GB data and limited local calling minutes. Worked great for us in everywhere we visited."

"We used a Vodafone SIM card and had good reception almost everywhere in the country."


Trawire (portable wi-fi hotspot)

"For internet, I used a portable wifi box called Trawire that you can bring anywhere. You'll always have internet on the road. It's $10 a day but I split this cost with two people."

"I got the hotspot from Trawire- best decision for travelling iceland. It is easy you pick it up at the Duncan Donuts at the airport and drop off in mail box at airport, 10 USA a day you have unlimited internet access and no need for a map while on the road."

"Trawire, we had 4 people so that was the best value, convenient pickup/drop-off and reliable!"


Three UK

"Three UK is the best sim card to use anywhere in Europe including Iceland. Just pop into your phone on the plane."

"We were constantly losing coverage outside of Reykjavik with our Three SIM card we purchased in the UK."


Giffgaff

"I have Giffgaff and I’ve been to Germany, Iceland, Belgium and Luxembourg with perfect 4G coverage. It’s a 'roam like home' sort of package for everywhere in Europe and they mailed it to my home in Canada."


KnowRoaming

"I have used KnowRoaming for both the USA and Europe, including Iceland, and it has been fabulous."


Siminn

"We bought a local SIM card (Siminn prepaid 10GB data) from the 10-11 store at the airport. Only 2900ISK ($35 Cdn)."

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Ireland

proven winners: Vodafone

Vodafone

"I used Vodafone in UK, Ireland & Netherlands. $30 for all that I needed. Got it on the spot."

"We used Vodafone in Ireland 2 years ago with a sim card. Worked well."

"I just came back from Ireland, Iceland and Scotland. Picked up a SIM card with Vodafone, 20 euros for 20 GB data and limited local calling minutes. Worked great for us in everywhere we visited."

"Vodafone worked well for us in UK, Ireland and Portugal."


Three UK

"Three Mobile in Ireland had one that was 20 euros with unlimited everything in the EU and 8GB when outside of the EU

"We use Three Mobile everytime we go. Worked well in Germany, Italy, Austria, France, Ireland, Turkey, Croatia, and Greece."

"I’ve been to Ireland twice and use the Three Mobile prepaid sim for 20 euros which has unlimited data, 10 GB for EU countries and unlimited calling for Three to three customers. My friend in Ireland said the cap for data is 30 GB but I never encountered that and also never connected to wifi for my 2 week stay in November. I purchased my sim directly from a Three location. Highly recommend if anyone is travelling to Ireland."

"In Ireland go with Three Mobile. For 20 euros you get unlimited data for a month."


Lycamobile

"I used Lycamobile in Ireland. Bought a sim chip and a big prepaid pack of data for much less than the ripoff Rogers roam like home. I think it was 20 EURO in total for 30 days compared to $100 from rip-off Rogers"


Giffgaff

"Just got back from living in Scotland for a year and a half, and we used Giff Gaff as our cell provider. £25/month got us unlimited texting, calling and data (no roaming fees in Europe). No contract and you can go month to month. You can throw some extra cash on it to call home if you need to (super cheap rates - I think I used up 3 hours of calling and it didn’t even cost me £1). We used it in Amsterdam, Poland, Ireland, Spain, France and Malta with no issues."

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Italy

proven winners: TIM Tourist, Vodafone

TIM Tourist

"I purchased a TIM tourist SIM card. I think it was 25 euros for 30GB and 200 international minutes. I found the service was great. I got it at the main terminal in Rome (termini station)."

"All the major Italian providers have tourist packages for about 20-30 euros. If you are traveling to other EU countries, go with TIM or Vodafone, otherwise 3 or Wind will work fine too. Might get better price in town compared to airport though."

"I can vouch for TIM. Used it last year in Rome, Almafi coast and in between. Good service. If you are using internet it allows your phone to connect as hotspot to others (in case you are trying to avoid buying 5 SIM cards and your group travels together). Used it to Bolt (to hail a taxi), google maps, search info on google and occasional use of google translate (and social media of course)"

"I purchased the TIM Tourist SIM online ahead of time and picked up the SIM card at the TIM store in the airport. It’s 5 euro cheaper to purchase online vs in store. Service was great. If you need iMessage then there was a €5 add on for that. The plan provides free messaging with WhatsApp, Messenger and Snapchat though.
I used this in Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi coast and Naples with no problems. Coverage was great. Even out at sea on ferries we had coverage."

"I bought the SIM card from TIMS at FCO airport. There is a booth apparently at baggage claim and it is cheaper than the booth located outside the baggage check."

"Go to a TIM store and buy sim card for your UNLOCKED phone - it was a data and cellular plan for 30 days, it was perfect for when we travelled in Italy"

"Visit a TIM cell phone store in Rome and prepaid SIM card."

"Buy a SIM card at the Italian airport. I bought ours in Rome through TIM I believe and paid 20 euro for 20 GIG and friend paid 25 euro for 25 GIG and 1000 minutes."

"I used the TIM Tourist Card while in Italy and it worked very well for me. It was good deal at 30 Euros with 15GB Internet G4 and 200 Minutes in Italy and abroad for 30 days. Free chat on Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Skype etc. I purchased online here at home in Canada and paid with paypal."

"We used TIM in Italy with no problems - 30 euros with 15 G of data. No problems connecting and streaming."

"I used TIM in Italy and Barcelona. No problems at all. About 60euros total for 2 months of data (15gx2). 40euros for the initial 15g for 1 month then topped up for an additional month and ~20euro."

"Totally agree on Tim Tourist for Italy. Don’t buy the voucher ahead of time because a lot of stores don’t know what to do with it, or there may be an even better deal! For 10E less, I got 40GB of data for a month and unlimited local calls."


Vodafone

"I did vodafone! It was 50 euros for unlimited basically. But I found cheaper after the fact, but same carrier it was just more at the airport"

"All the major Italian providers have tourist packages for about 20-30 euros. If you are traveling to other EU countries, go with TIM or Vodafone, otherwise 3 or Wind will work fine too. Might get better price in town compared to airport though."

"We used Vodafone in Greece. We're able to use the same sim card in Italy as well. Super cheap and just put the sim card in our phone"

"Vodafone was perfect. 30 euro got us one month of calling and data. Worked great! And data didn't get used up quickly."

"I used Vodafone in both Italy and UK....really cheap! About £10 for 30 days....just buy a £5 SIM card!"

"Vodafone in Italy is extremely expensive and data coverage was spotty at best."


Three UK

"I ordered a Three UK SIM off of Amazon before my trip to Italy, Greece and Croatia. It worked phenomenally. 12GB +.3000min voice + 3000 txt for $33 CAD. It gives you a UK number and the calling and texting is between UK numbers but if your whole group gets them then it'll work perfectly! There' s also more than enough data to call and video chat via whatsapp."

"We did England, France, and Italy as well. We used Three Mobile it was 30pounds for 10 gigs of data and a few thousand mins. Worked fine in all three countries."

"We use Three Mobile everytime we go. Worked well in Germany, Italy, Austria, France, Ireland, Turkey, Croatia, and Greece."


Iliad

"Iliad is super cheap!"

"I used Iliad. It works everywhere, has 50GB of data (when bought in Italy anyways), and has unlimited text and calling to anywhere in many countries, including Canada and the US. For 8 euros!!! I was in Italy for 2 months and could basically watch Netflix on my phone regularly, call home anytime and keep up with business email and texts - as if I was home. And for less than the cost of a single pizza!"


Lycamobile

"I’d recommend Lycamobile. You can roam across Europe at rock bottom prices, so the 5 of you get your own plan. I’m seeing 6 Euros for 1GB of data, 200 mins calling. Or 12 Euros for 15GB and unlimited! www.lycamobile.it"

"We got a SIM card from Lycamobile in a tobacco shop in Florence. We were away for almost a month and it was €10 for 30 days to use up 3gb of data. We travelled as far South as Amalfi and North up to Venice and didn't have any issues."


Other

"Expresso Wifi - They have a kiosk at some airports (I’m flying into Milan). Good price - unlimited, 5 devices. Bring a backup power pack."

"Used GiffGaff for England and Italy. Got it at the Heathrow airport as recommended. Super easy to use, cheap, and easy to cancel once you go home."

"We are currently in Italy and got a 1 month phone plan for 20 euros with TRE (similar plans available with Vodafone). Paid cash so no need to worry about additional charges after the month. Comes with 30 gb and the SIM card. It’s best in Italy while the rest of Europe is limited."

"I used WiTourist the 2 times I was there in November and it’s super easy. Also good price and can hook up 5 devices I believe. They will drop it off and pick up at your hotel if you want and good all over Italy!"

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Latvia

Three UK

"I am someone who also bought a Three UK SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."

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Lithuania

Three UK

"I am someone who also bought a Three UK SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."

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Luxembourg

"I have GiffGaff and I’ve been to Germany, Iceland, Belgium and Luxembourg with perfect 4G coverage. It’s a 'roam like home' sort of package for everywhere in Europe and they mailed it to my home in Canada."

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Malta

"Now that you can use one SIM card across European country( some limits apply) I got my sim from O2 mobile in Frankfurt. They had 120 Gb promotion and I was able to use it with no issues in both Malta & across Germany."

"Just got back from living in Scotland for a year and a half, and we used Giff Gaff as our cell provider. £25/month got us unlimited texting, calling and data (no roaming fees in Europe). No contract and you can go month to month. You can throw some extra cash on it to call home if you need to (super cheap rates - I think I used up 3 hours of calling and it didn’t even cost me £1). We used it in Amsterdam, Poland, Ireland, Spain, France and Malta with no issues."

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Netherlands / Holland

proven winners: Vodafone

Vodafone

"I used Vodafone in UK, Ireland & Netherlands. $30 for all that I needed. Got it on the spot."

"Get Vodafone! I currently got a prepaid sim card in Amsterdam for 20 euro 6 GB,30 min and some texts. Only thing is the country you buy the sim at, is the only one you can upload money (since its prepaid sim card)."

"We used a Vodafone SIM card Amsterdam with no issues."


Three UK

"I am someone who also bought a Three UK SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."


Other

"Lebara worked well for us in Holland and Belgium, France, Switzerland and Spain."

"Just got back from living in Scotland for a year and a half, and we used Giff Gaff as our cell provider. £25/month got us unlimited texting, calling and data (no roaming fees in Europe). No contract and you can go month to month. You can throw some extra cash on it to call home if you need to (super cheap rates - I think I used up 3 hours of calling and it didn’t even cost me £1). We used it in Amsterdam, Poland, Ireland, Spain, France and Malta with no issues."

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Norway

Three UK

"I am someone who also bought a Three UK SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."


Other

"When we went to Scotland, England and Norway last year, the SIM card we got in Scotland (Vodafone) for 5-10£ lasted the week in Scotland, a day in Southampton, and occasional use through a 12 day Norwegian cruise. I only had to top up again when we hit London after the cruise. Well worth it!"

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Poland

Three UK

"I am someone who also bought a Three UK SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."


Other

"Used Orange in Poland. Insanely cheap."

"Just got back from living in Scotland for a year and a half, and we used Giff Gaff as our cell provider. £25/month got us unlimited texting, calling and data (no roaming fees in Europe). No contract and you can go month to month. You can throw some extra cash on it to call home if you need to (super cheap rates - I think I used up 3 hours of calling and it didn’t even cost me £1). We used it in Amsterdam, Poland, Ireland, Spain, France and Malta with no issues."

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Portugal

proven winners: Vodafone

Vodafone

"Had great luck with Vodafone in Europe. I recently paid 20 euro for 5gb in Portugal and Spain."

"Vodafone has a one-month tourist card that is all most people would need, and good coverage. There are shops in the airports so you can pick one up on arrival. Get them to put the card in set it up and test it, sometimes there are glitches if you try diy (eg they charge 50 cents for store service then it shows insufficient balance because they charged the normal price which I think is 20 euros. )"

"Just came back from there - check out Vodafone. They have a great 2wks tel/txt/approx 4GB for 15 euros. If you want you can also buy a wifi bar on a 4G network for approx $40 euro and load that up with just internet. 30gb = $15 euros. Super cheap compared to the $12/day that Rogers wants to charge here. There is a Vodafone store in the airport but be prepared it will be packed and line ups are long. I would try and locate a store close to your hotel."

"Everyone said it, but Vodafone for sure. I did the 30 Gb for 15 euro, and I was able to use it all across Portugal and Spain"

"The airport lines at the Vodafone can be quite long! I was in Lisbon last sept. I waited 30 min before I realized the queue had hardly moved and there were still 5 people ahead of me. Have a back up and find a Vodafone near where you are staying just in case there are long lines.
Hint- there is a 2nd Vodafone in the airport In the departure section (one level up). The queue was shorter...but still too long for me to wait!"

"Vodafone - They have them in the Lisbon airport. 10-15 Euros. They have 2 week cards and a month."

"Vodafone.... they are everywhere. I bought a 30 day sim card for 20 euros no issues, it worked great. There is a kiosk in the airport, otherwise they are the largest carrier in Portugal."

"Vodafone worked well for us in UK, Ireland and Portugal."

"Get a Vodafone SIM card in the first place you land. It will work all through Europe. We got a Portugal one for 15 euro. 5 gb data and 30 minutes overseas calling."

"I also recommend Vodafone. Easy and convenient. Just check the lineup when you arrive at the airport. Sometimes the line is long but it goes quickly."

"I bought a SIM card for a month in Portugal recently for 20 Euros that included 500 minutes, unlimited texting and 5 gigs of data from Vodafone. The cards are often available from a booth in the airports."

"Used Vodaphone in Portugal. It was great! They have a booth at the Lisbon airport where you can purchase a SIM card."

"Vodafone worked well for us last summer in Portugal, Spain, Greece and Germany...30 days for 20 euros. Came with data and was called travellers sim. Coverage was excellent in all 4 countries."


Other

"We used MEO visitor card which is available in any airport or MEO points of sale, but I think the other carriers have similar products"

"When I last did a multi country Europe trip (Portugal, Spain, Germany, Croatia, Hungary). I used Hippocketwifi as they worked all across Europe with good prices. And for me it worked without a hitch. It’s a flat rate / unlimited data). Easy pick up at many locations across Europe and drop off at any mailbox when you’re done."

"We used the O2 cards in Spain and Portugal and they worked well. We ordered them on amazon before we left for our trip and then installed them in our phones in Paris. Apparently you are not supposed to load them in your phone until you get to Europe. Had 20 gb. cards for around $40 U.S."

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Romania

"In Romania I went with Orange."

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Scotland

proven winners: Vodafone

Vodafone

"When we went to Scotland, England and Norway last year, the SIM card we got in Scotland (Vodafone) for 5-10£ lasted the week in Scotland, a day in Southampton, and occasional use through a 12 day Norwegian cruise. I only had to top up again when we hit London after the cruise. Well worth it!"

"I just came back from Ireland, Iceland and Scotland. Picked up a SIM card with Vodafone, 20 euros for 20 GB data and limited local calling minutes. Worked great for us in everywhere we visited."

"I'm from Scotland and my husband was a tour driver drove all over the EU and he bought a pay as you go Vodafone sim and topped it up and used it all over."

"I found Vodafone had the best coverage in Scotland -- I spent most of my time in the Inner Hebrides and between Glasgow and Oban. You can order a SIM (free) online and have it delivered to your destination. Or pick one up on arrival."

"In the UK I used Vodaphone. Used their 10pound/month package. Mostly for internet as we used my phone as the GPS for 8 hours a day almost everyday. Worked brilliantly throughout even in the very northern reaches of Scotland."

"My first day in Edinburgh went to a Vodafone shop. Signed up for a basic plan 15-20 lb sterling for the month. It worked brilliantly using Google as my GPS."


GiffGaff

"I used Giff Gaff in England and Scotland with no issues. About $35 Canadian for unlimited minutes, texts, and data."

"Just got back from living in Scotland for a year and a half, and we used Giff Gaff as our cell provider. £25/month got us unlimited texting, calling and data (no roaming fees in Europe). No contract and you can go month to month. You can throw some extra cash on it to call home if you need to (super cheap rates - I think I used up 3 hours of calling and it didn’t even cost me £1). We used it in Amsterdam, Poland, Ireland, Spain, France and Malta with no issues."


Other

"I used O2 because they were reported to have better coverage in the Highlands of Scotland."

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Serbia

"We found that Vodafone was good but doesn’t work in some of the Balkan countries....we had to get different cards for Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia but they were not super expensive "

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Spain

proven winners: Vodafone

Vodafone

"Had great luck with Vodafone in Europe. I recently paid 20 euro for 5gb in Portugal and Spain."

"Everyone said it, but Vodafone for sure. I did the 30 Gb for 15 euro, and I was able to use it all across Portugal and Spain"

"Landed in Barcelona last week. Got a Vodafone SIM for 25 Euros for 10gb. It’s good for three weeks and I’m using it in the U.K. right now with no problem. Cheaper than adding the $12/day roam away from home with my cdn provider. Just make sure your phone is unlocked."

"I used Vodaphone in Spain last March. It was very cheap. A month cost me about 15$ cdn incl data and phone in Spain (no texting) they were very helpful. it was easy."

"Vodafone worked well for us last summer in Portugal, Spain, Greece and Germany...30 days for 20 euros. Came with data and was called travellers sim. Coverage was excellent in all 4 countries."


Other

"I used the 4G Cellhire sim in Spain and the Canary Islands last month and it worked great. Works for all European countries."

"Just got back from living in Scotland for a year and a half, and we used Giff Gaff as our cell provider. £25/month got us unlimited texting, calling and data (no roaming fees in Europe). No contract and you can go month to month. You can throw some extra cash on it to call home if you need to (super cheap rates - I think I used up 3 hours of calling and it didn’t even cost me £1). We used it in Amsterdam, Poland, Ireland, Spain, France and Malta with no issues."

"When I last did a multi country Europe trip (Portugal, Spain, Germany, Croatia, Hungary). I used Hippocketwifi as they worked all across Europe with good prices. And for me it worked without a hitch. It’s a flat rate / unlimited data). Easy pick up at many locations across Europe and drop off at any mailbox when you’re done."

"Lebara worked well for us in Holland and Belgium, France, Switzerland and Spain."

"We used the O2 cards in Spain and Portugal and they worked well. We ordered them on amazon before we left for our trip and then installed them in our phones in Paris. Apparently you are not supposed to load them in your phone until you get to Europe. Had 20 gb. cards for around $40 U.S."

"Just got an Orange SIM in Spain. 40 Euros for 25G. Think I used about 3G. Totally worth it."

"I used TIM in Italy and Barcelona. No problems at all. About 60euros total for 2 months of data (15gx2). 40euros for the initial 15g for 1 month then topped up for an additional month and ~20euro."

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Sweden

"I lived in Sweden and had a Telenor pay as you go SIM card."

"In Sweden get Halebop. Go into any Telia store and ask for halebop. I spend weeks in Sweden every year and buy 4gigs/30 days for about $25 CAD. That includes tons of calls and texts and I think it’s good all over Europe as well."

"I am someone who also bought a Three UK SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."

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Switzerland

note: Switzerland is not in the EU, so a SIM card from another European country does not roam for free here.

"Lebara worked well for us in Holland and Belgium, France, Switzerland and Spain."

"I got a KeepGo for my birthday and we just tried it in France, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland and it works great. You just prepay for data and use it as a mobile hotspot."

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Turkey

"Mobile wifi from @RentnConnect."

"There are 3 big companies , Turkcell, Vodafone , Turk Telecom. They have kiosks at the airport. Now, I don’t know the exact procedure for a foreigner to buy a SIM card but I’m sure it’s easy. I’d go for Turkcell. Prices Will be very similar with all companies. You can get 1000 minutes and text , 4-5 gb data for about 15-20$ CAD. it’s very inexpensive compared to Canada."

"We use Three Mobile everytime we go. Worked well in Germany, Italy, Austria, France, Ireland, Turkey, Croatia, and Greece."

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Ukraine

"I have used a 'Lifecell' SIM card before with no issues."

"In Ukraine we used Lifecell. Very cheap and worth it."

"I used Vodafone in Kiev. $6/month for 5GBs."

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United Kingdom

proven winners: Giffgaff, EE, Three UK, Vodafone

Giffgaff

"I used Giff Gaff in England and Scotland with no issues. About $35 Canadian for unlimited minutes, texts, and data."

"GiffGaff in UK is excellent. Great deals where you can buy a goodybag with various data packages. 2019 Network of the year. There's no contract, lots of flexibility and you can order a free SIM to be sent to your Canadian address in advance."

"I used giffgaff the whole time I lived in the UK and traveled with it tons - always happy with it! Super cheap data plans and easy to buy more whenever you need (dont have to wait for the month to end!)"

"Just got a GiffGaff SIM for our UK trip 30GBP ($45) for unlimited calling, and texts, and 3GB data for a month. Unsure how that works through rest of Europe though. They will mail them here and activate onlanding."

"Giffgaff was great in the UK. Ordered 2 sim cards in advance off eBay. Easy to set up."

"I have used several pay as you go SIM cards in the UK. the best I’ve found to date is Giffgaff. Last summer it was £8 for 30 days with 500 minutes and 2 GB. Price goes up from there for more minutes or data. The best part is they will mail you the prepaid card and you activate upon arrival in the UK. They use the O2 network so good coverage."

"Used GiffGaff for England and Italy. Got it at the Heathrow airport as recommended. Super easy to use, cheap, and easy to cancel once you go home."

"Gifgaff for the UK. You can order it direct from the website and it's less than $20CCad for the month and they ship the SIM straight to your home address."

"I spent 5 days in london, 6 days in Paris. I bought the GiffGaff sim in London and it worked perfectly. Plan was not expensive, like 10 g for 10 pounds? You can buy a sim card at any grocery store, you can order and get it delivered to your home."

"Giffgaff SIM card. You order it online and they’ll mail it to your home. Costs approx CAD $15. We did not have to pay anything extra. Was sufficient for 3 weeks of travel."

"Order some Gift Gaff sim cards sent to your house in Canada. Activate and buy a goodie bag before you leave and it'll work on your arrival. I visit family in the UK regularly and have never had an issue with the service for the money. I usually get the 6Gb package and it's around $15cad for the month. Just remember to now allow automatic renewal and you'll be good. The Sim stays active for 6 months as well if you happen to go again in that period."


EE

"Currently using the EE sim in the UK, £27 for 20gb. I’ve been from Durham way up north to Portsmouth in the south and have had excellent coverage at all times."

"Used EE in the UK in November and it activated for use in all EU countries. Since you are starting in the UK I would recommend them and 02. Loads of data plus text and calls throughout the EU."

"I always use EE, 10 pounds for a month, only 1Gb of data though but plenty of minutes for calls and unlimited texts. You will need to check with any sim if there are restrictions for calling Canada though."

"While in the U.K. we've tried Vodafone, EE and O2 and found EE the most dependable."

"My wife and I both have a sim card from EE and love the prices and service. Been using it for about 5 years."

"I always use EE. Amazing and cheap. Can buy sim card anywhere with like 6 gb, valid for 30 days and it's like 10 or 15 GBP."

"I got a sim from EE when I went. Now I picked mine up at the airport just because I didn't want to be without my data incase I needed it because I was going from Heathrow to Kings Cross to catch a train. They have some great rates for more than enough data and a fair bit of minutes. I was just looking last night that Asda has a prepaid that uses EE and is even cheaper."

"We landed at Gatwick and bought a SIM card there. Got tons of data and it works all over Europe including when we went to Iceland. I think the brand was EE."


Three UK

"Get Three UK Prepaid before you leave from Amazon. And have a unlocked phone and roaming enabled. Works in all of UK and Europe."

"Three UK in the UK is a great option, as it works everywhere in Western Europe and is very reasonable."

"I lived there and used Three Mobile. £20 Go Roam pay as you go gives you 12GB data and unlimited calls texts. Works every country (except Canada) without any roaming charges. Highly recommend and they have good customer service if you need. Can get them at airport or any '3' kiosks"

"We also use Three UK for SIM cards while in Britain. They are also good in 70 countries throughout the world and have had great sucess using it all over."

"Three UK is a UK-based provider, but the EU mandates borderless telecom services. 12GB of data for less than 35 bucks, you can't beat that. Bonus is that you can order it before to avoid the stress of looking for a counter without your phone"

"We did England, France, and Italy as well. We used Three Mobile it was 30pounds for 10 gigs of data and a few thousand mins. Worked fine in all three countries. "

"Recently spent New Years Week in London, got a Three UK SIM card. Speed wise, I got up to 3G. Not as quick as I hoped, but it still got the job done."

"I am someone who also bought a Three Mobile SIM card from amazon. I called and had it set up before leaving Canada. I was on a 15 day Baltic cruise with extended time in Stockholm before and London afterwards. The SIM card worked everywhere except Russia but I knew that when I bought it. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK."


Vodafone

"When we went to Scotland, England and Norway last year, the SIM card we got in Scotland (Vodafone) for 5-10£ lasted the week in Scotland, a day in Southampton, and occasional use through a 12 day Norwegian cruise. I only had to top up again when we hit London after the cruise. Well worth it!"

"I used Vodafone in UK, Ireland & Netherlands. $30 for all that I needed. Got it on the spot."

"I used Vodafone in both Italy and UK....really cheap! About £10 for 30 days....just buy a £5 SIM card!"

"Vodafone worked well for us in UK, Ireland and Portugal."

"I got Vodafone the last two times I visited London. No complaints. I didn't do it from Heathrow and waited until I got to the city instead, most stations have a place where you can get a Sim."


Lebara

"Lebara was great in the UK."

"I get a Lebara pay-as-you-go SIM card when I travel in England. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s easy to use, no plans to cancel, and you can get a few gigs for less than $20/CAD."


O2

"We bought O2 SIM card from SIM Corner for our trip to England and France....worked like a charm."


Orange

"I got Orange for $20£ good anywhere in UK/Europe 30GB for 30 days. Worked awesome."

"I used Orange. The price was great and so was the service. The store even installed the SIM."


Other

"We bought a Argos mobile WiFi hotstop hub over there and a local sim and then connect all our devices to it like a hot spot. But will only work if you are all together all the time. There was quite a lot of free WiFi especially in stores over there."

"Tesco Mobile is good, and cheap. The SIM is just a pound and you can do pay as you go."

"I use a Tip Wireless hotspot. Connect up to 5 devices, and you can carry it around in your bag."

"I was just in London and signed up with Voxi, it’s honestly the best... payed 10 pounds for 8GB, Unlimited calling, text and endless social media meaning all social media doesn’t count towards your data... plus when I went to Paris roaming is included in the plan."

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East Asia (to be used in multiple countries)

"Pokefi! Check it out! With pokefi you just pay a flat amount for 5G an d then have two years to use it up. This way you can use free wifi whenever it’s available and use pokefi only when necessary."

"+1 for pokefi! I've used it all over the place. You can buy online or if you're flying Cathay you can buy it onboard."

"I have used AIS in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. No issues at all, highly recommended."

"Ubigi is good especially if your phone supports esim."

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China

"Bought a Sim Easy (www.simeasy.com) China Sim card. 3gb data 50 minutes air time all over China. Shipped to home but give enough time for shipping. No setting required. Plug in n turn on phone when arrived in Shanghai. No issue."

"I buy mine on taobao and then pick up the SIM card while I transit in China."

"I have used AIS in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. No issues at all, highly recommended."

"I’ve used Google Fi in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, and China and found it very reliable. You don’t need to find a local provider and it works on long haul multi-country trips. However, at the time I got it you needed to have a US address and credit card, and access to a google phone for activation."

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Hong Kong

"Buy a SIM card right at hong kong airport with China Moble cell network. Many options. 4 gb. 30 days. Reload at 7/eleven convenient stores."

"I have used AIS in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. No issues at all, highly recommended."

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Japan

proven winners: Japan-Wireless (portable wi-fi hotspot),
B Mobile (sim card), eConnect Japan (portable wi-fi hotspot)

General advice:

"Just buy at biccamera or yodobashi there’s a wall of data sims."

"If you’re staying in an Airbnb a lot of them included a pocket wifi device!"


Japan-Wireless (portable wi-fi hotspot)

"We went with Japan-wireless.com. If I recall correctly it was cheaper because you did pickup/drop off at the postal office at the airport rather than a airport desk that offered this service (there were a few!)."

"I always go with the SIM card from Japan-wireless.com. Fast. Reliable. Best rate imho."

"Japan Wireless. At the time it was $10 a day unlimited data. We got the portable pocket wifi which allowed multiple phone devices to connect and the battery lasted the whole day out."

"I used Japan Wireless for my portable WiFi. They had great service."


B Mobile (sim card)

"I purchased a b mobile sim card that was approximately $40 cdn and it included 5gb data only for 21 days. The sim card can be purchased at the following stores in Japan: AEON, Yodabashi Camera and BIC Camera."

"IIJ (https://t.iijmio.jp/en/), So-Net (http://www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/en/), and B-Mobile Visitor (http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/english/) are your three best options"

"I bought a b-mobile visitor for 14 days and it was perfect. BIC Camera like others have mentioned."

"Get the b-mobile sim card."

"I used the B Mobile sim while traveling in Japan. Easy to use with good value."


eConnect Japan (portable wi-fi hotspot)

"eConnect Japan I used them in October for 3 weeks. Not one issue...so easy to use. Pocket Wifi was shipped to my hotel and waiting for me when I arrived."

"I used eConnect for Japan last time i went. Also very seamless. Came with an extra battery pack too!"

"I rented a pocket wifi from eConnect because my phone was not unlocked at the time. It was great."


Ivideo (portable wi-fi hotspot)

"I rented mine online from ivideo and they shipped it to my Tokyo hotel the day before I arrived there. Worked great."

"I used ivideo. The wifi was waiting for me at the hotel when we checked in and I just dropped it off in a prepaid envelope at a mailbox before leaving Japan."


Global Advanced Communications

"I've used Global Advanced Communications and it was really straight forward and easy. You can reserve a portable WiFi device online and pick it up at the airport."

"I rented a pocket wifi a few times from Global Advanced Communications and know they rent SIM cards and even phones as well. Haven't had any issues with them."


Mobal

"I used Mobal in Japan and was very satisfied with it. I paid online and pick up the sim card at a little booth in the airport."

"For Japan, those options mentioned are fine for short trips and I've used some of them. But for a long stay or for the frequent visitor, it goes hands down to Mobal. You sign up and buy the SIM online for CAD $35 and they ship the SIM to you here in Canada ahead of time. . For CAD $55, you get 7Gb of LTE speed data per month, and if you run out there are no overage fees, you just drop to a slower data speed."


Other

"I have got a prepaid one from a vending machine and Docomo one from the counter before, and both worked great."

"When I was in Tokyo last year (travelling with a group), about half the group rented a portable wifi device while in-country. I picked up a global sim through Always Online Wireless. It was about the same price. The nice thing with AOW is that the sim card is usable in many different countries, and doesn't expire if you use it at least once every 12 months."

"Airalo e-sim has worked seamlessly worked in Japan and Vietnam so far. I was able to have data without the hassle of switching my physical sim and the data has been very fast so no complaints!"

"I have used AIS in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. No issues at all, highly recommended."

"I love the FlexiroamX app. I’m in Japan right now and got 10g for $15 and it’s worked great even on remote islands. I love not having new SIM cards in every country or having to deal with that first thing after long flights."

"Yeah I just got the iijmio from the airport. I had to restart my phone to log in the first time, but it's worked well for me since."

"We got ours from Japan Rail Pass - we picked up & dropped off at Haneda Airport and it cost roughly $100 CAD for 11 days of unlimited use."

"The Japan Rail Pass sim card worked for us in Japan without fail. 8, 16, and 30 days."

"On our trip to Japan, we used Japan Wifi Buddy. Signing up was easy, the device can be pick up at the airport or have them deliver to your hotel / accommodations. We had no problems staying connected and returning the device was easy too!"

"Get a Pocket wifi, we used this company and it worked really well. https://www.japan-experience.com/rent-pocket-wifi-japan."

"I bought a SIM card online before I left and picked it up at Narita Airport. It was from Klook. They have different plans. I chose 8 days (I think 4 GB) and it cost around $40. I was in Tokyo and Kyoto and it worked well in both places."

"I used ninja wifi box when I was there a few weeks ago. Loved it and helped a great deal when I got lost."

"I use Softbank Global Rental. I have a business in Japan and have travelled from Hokkaido to Kyushu (including many rural areas) with excellent coverage and speed. Unlimited data for 970 yen per day; the battery easily lasts a full day of heavy usage."

"I've successfully used Skyroam in Japan, Australia, through the Baltics, France, Mexico,... too many to mention. 47 countries and 6 continents. Many with my Skyroam."

"We rented one from Wifi-hire in Japan this past spring. We picked it up at an airport shop and returned it five or six days later. Pretty seamless.

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South Korea

"In South Korea just go to the airport on arrival and go to one of these counters: SK Telecom or KT Corporation and get a sim card or wifi egg from there."

"I have used AIS in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. No issues at all, highly recommended."

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Taiwan

"For Taiwan I would recommend Chungwa Telecom's visitor's prepaid cards. They are available at the airport."

"I have used AIS in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. No issues at all, highly recommended."

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Southeast Asia

Cambodia

"I used DTAC for Thailand, Smart for Cambodia and Viettel for Vietnam, they all worked fantastic."

"I currently have a SMART sim card in the Philippines. Choose how much data u want . Includes calling and text. Cheap and easily reloadable. Also had the same in Cambodia last year."

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Indonesia / Bali

proven winners: Telkomsel

"You need your passport to get a prepaid sim. When I went there a couple years ago, there was rumor that tourists couldn't buy a sim card anywhere other than at the airport but that is not the case. Telkomsel is more expensive but it is the best company (coverage and speed) and their simpati card is still affordable by our standard. 'Data only' is ok as everyone there uses WhatsApp."

"In Bali I got a sim with Telkomsel for $20. 18gb of data no calling or texting but everyone uses whatsapp to communicate, coverage for 30 days. I also used Smartfren - $12 for 15gb but it was only good for 14 days and the coverage wasn't as good as Telkomsel."

"In Indonesia (Bali, Gilis, Komodo, Lombok, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida), I use the Telkomsel SIM, and I always buy it at the kiosk right outside the Bintang Supermarket in Bali. I've been to Indo several times, been scammed with crap cards everywhere and crap service, and now only get this card from this kiosk - best service all over the country, and the best prices."

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Malaysia

proven winners: Maxis

"Maxis is good in Malaysia, and I used AIS in Thailand. All easily available at airports, convenience stores, and carrier stores."

"If you’re in Malaysia Maxis Hotlink is great. I used only data as I used a VOIP app, FaceTime or WhatsApp calls."

"In Malaysia my preference is Digi (digi.com.my)...cheap data plan and good reception in most places. If flying into KLIA, buy the SIM card at the booths past immigration before luggage pickup. If you buy outside the airport, you can find it at any Digi store or 7-eleven. but outside the airport they may ask you to show your passport as ID, while they don't ask for any ID inside the airport."

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Philippines

proven winners: Globe

Globe

"You can get a SIM card right at the airport!! I was with Globe when I was there."

"I used Globe when I was there."

"In the Philippines make sure to buy it at the airport before you leave. There is always a table with someone selling Globe sims. You cannot get that deal at any store and it is only available at the airport (one trip I cabbed back to the airport to get the data only deal)."

"In Cebu Airport I picked up a Globe sim card - it was just outside the exit, in a kiosk by the taxi stands. It took 5 mins and was the best purchase for us!!! Not expensive at all. Approx $15CAD for the 6 days we were there."


Smart

"I currently have a Smart sim card in the Philippines. Choose how much data u want . Includes calling and text. Cheap and easily reloadable. Also had the same in Cambodia last year."

"I used Smart in the Philippines and it worked on all the islands."

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Singapore

proven winners: Singtel

"Singtel has great tourist sims, available at the airport."

"We bought sim cards from the airport from singtel. Their prices were amazing and we had access to data and calling."

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Thailand

proven winners: AIS

AIS

"I used AIS in Thailand. Easily available at airports, convenience stores, and carrier stores."

"Thailand...AIS or DTAC, great service everywhere."

"We are using AIS SIM card in Thailand. Good for 30 days. Unlimited. Bought SIM card for 50 Baht, then cost $200 Baht for the data."

"AIS, has a kiosk at the airport and numerous other places throughout the country, super easy to top up and super cheap."

"AIS in Thailand. $30 for a month of unlimited data."

"I'm currently in Thailand using AIS, they provided me with a new sim card with unlimited data for 200 baht / month ( about 9$) no phone but I don't call anyway. I can use Messenger or other apps to call when necessary."


DTAC

"I used DTAC in Thailand recently. Worked great and was easy to access directly from the airport."

"I can second this... I’ve used DTAC every time I’ve been to Thailand and travelled all over the country and it’s worked great. Cheap too!"

"I used DTAC for Thailand, Smart for Cambodia and Viettel for Vietnam, they all worked fantastic."

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Vietnam

proven winners: Viettel

"Viettel, in Vietnam. It was amazing. $25 for 60 gig, and great coverage."

"We used Vietel in Vietnam this past fall. There were 3-4 different carriers with booths at SGN arrivals desk (even open at 2am when our flight got in) but I had read online somewhere before that Viettel had the best coverage. Certainly worked great for us. 200,000 VND (~$11.50 CAD) for unlimited LTE for 30 days. If we needed voice it was a little extra but we opted data only. Worked beautifully, would definitely recommend."

"I used DTAC for Thailand, Smart for Cambodia and Viettel for Vietnam, they all worked fantastic."

"I recently returned from Vietnam and I purchased a local SIM from the hotel I was staying at. The carrier was Vinaphone. It cost me 15 USD for a month and got 2GB data per day! Coverage was countrywide."

"Airalo e-sim has worked seamlessly worked in Japan and Vietnam so far. I was able to have data without the hassle of switching my physical sim and the data has been very fast so no complaints!"

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South Asia

India

general advice:

"There are lots of problem with cell services in India for foreigners. First off, the cell plans offered are multiple times the price when outside the airports. Second is that the different companies have very different coverage depending on where you are in the country, with wildly variable data services rates. Third is that you are constantly spammed by the services. I go every year and it seems like the rules applying to foreigner's use change every year as well."

"We just picked up a SIM card from a local vendor on the street. Did this on two different visits to India. You will need to bring a photocopy of your passport with you. Did not get a plan with data, just phone and text and it was very helpful. Especially in airports where you need to get a text code to use the wifi."


Vodafone

"In India I used Vodafone. Worked no problem. Picked it up at the airport cost me about $17 but feel like it probably should have been cheaper. Lasted the whole 3 weeks. Mainly used for data."

"I used Vodafone in India ($7 for SIM, unlimited talk/text, 1.5 GB data per day for one month, purchased at Kochi airport)"

Sri Lanka

proven winners: Dialog

"I bought a SIM card at the Dialog kiosk in Colombo, Sri Lanka airport just outside of customs for about $8 US, Data and minutes. Great service."

"Sri Lanka-super easy to get in the airport. Dialog is the #1 carrier and has tourist packages, $5 or $10 for the SIM plus 4 or 10G of data which u can buy more of if u need. They switched it out and it works great. Super impressed."

"I used Dialog in Sri Lanka ($5 for SIM and ~3GB and some talk/text, bought in Galle)."

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Eurasia

Russia

"In Egypt I used Vodafone. In Israel 019. In Russia, Beeline. All good experiences, no problems."

South America (to be used in multiple countries)

"If you're looking for a provider that will work well in both Argentina and Chile, look at Movistar."

"I've had great experiences with 3 UK's international roaming sim cards. Amazon has them for like $50 for 12gb data for 30 days (or other combinations); which is definitely cheaper than using roam like home. The sim card comes with instructions on how to activate it ahead of time so that its ready for you to use when you get to your destination. I don't think it will work in Argentina or Bolivia (i dont see those destinations on their website) but will work in Brazil and Chile."

"TEP Wireless"

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Argentina

general advice:

"Just a word of caution. In Argentina, as a foreigner, you can’t just buy a sim and pop it into your phone. Their networks are set up to require you to enter your national ID info in order to activate your phone. I actually couldn’t activate the sim. I got lucky and a local helped me by 'lending' me their info."

"Correct, you need to go into a local telecom and be prepared for a 15 minute process where they scan your ID and activate. Not customer friendly, but it is what it is."


Movistar

"I picked up a pay-as-you-go SIM card from the Movistar store in Argentina last month. Cost me nothing for the SIM card itself, and I could purchase data packages either online or at any kiosco (corner store). In total, I spent about $10CAN for the 2 weeks I was there - if I recall, 2gig data was about $1.20. When it ran out, I would purchase another data package. It pained me to put my Canadian SIM card back in when I got home."

"Movistar is ubiquitous in Argentina and Chile. Buy it at the airport if it's open where they are more likely to speak English well. Be sure to have them activate it correctly before you leave the store either by receiving the text from their server or directly from the agent serving you. When you install a new SIM card their main cellular system may not initially recognize your mobile device."

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Brazil

"When I was in Brazil I loved 'Oi', they have extremely cheap pay as you go plans. I forget the rates as it was a couple years back but it was reliable and easy to figure out, available at literally any corner store."

"I've had great experiences with 3 UK's international roaming sim cards. Amazon has them for like $50 for 12gb data for 30 days (or other combinations); which is definitely cheaper than using roam like home. The sim card comes with instructions on how to activate it ahead of time so that its ready for you to use when you get to your destination. I don't think it will work in Argentina or Bolivia (i dont see those destinations on their website) but will work in Brazil and Chile."

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Chile

"I've had great experiences with 3 UK's international roaming sim cards. Amazon has them for like $50 for 12gb data for 30 days (or other combinations); which is definitely cheaper than using roam like home. The sim card comes with instructions on how to activate it ahead of time so that its ready for you to use when you get to your destination. I don't think it will work in Argentina or Bolivia (i dont see those destinations on their website) but will work in Brazil and Chile."

"In Chile our group of 6 went to a mall cell phone booth, the provider was named WOM. They gave us all free sim cards that had 200 minutes local calling and 3G of data."

"Movistar is ubiquitous in Argentina and Chile. Buy it at the airport if it's open where they are more likely to speak English well. Be sure to have them activate it correctly before you leave the store either by receiving the text from their server or directly from the agent serving you. When you install a new SIM card their main cellular system may not initially recognize your mobile device."

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Colombia

proven winners: Claro

"We used Claro in Colombia. It was very cheap and very useful to have!"

"I highly recommend visiting a Claro store, and buying a sim card for a prepaid data plan. This is so cheap, you can get like 4 GB of data for like 20 bucks, it includes WhatsApp and Facebook."

"In Colombia I went to a local grocery store. I believe I was set up with Claro and it was great. I paid under cad$30 for a 2 week package and the person working the electronics section set everything up on my phone for me."

"In Colombia, Claro worked well."

"In Colombia (Medellin) I used the Claro sim (go to a local mall)... 15 days 20,000COP ($8.00 CAD) for 2GB of data and unlimited call and text."

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Peru

"I recommend Claro in Peru. You can buy a sim card for 8 soles (approx. $3 CAD). They have a brilliant pay as you go plan which gives you free Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp."

"In Peru, Movistar or Claro are both decent. Pick them up in the airport and order an Uber to the city instead of paying for the prepaid taxis- that alone will cover the cost of the SIM!"

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Africa

"Have used AirTel, SafariComm, TelKomm and a handful of others when living/working throughout east/west/southern Africa. Almost always a booth/vendor in the arrivals terminal of the international airport. They’ll always need a copy of your passport, some may not accept cards (only local currency and/or USD) so make sure you have that on hand. A 10GB, 1 month data plan may run you 20ish USD, depending on the country. Use the data to make calls/text on WhatsApp using your home number (so you don’t need to re-register/home can find you)."

Egypt

"In Egypt I used Vodafone. In Israel 019. In Russia, Beeline. All good experiences, no problems."

"In Egypt I went with Vodafone."

"I use my Skyroam in small out of the way villages and towns (Mexico, Egypt, Jordan, parts of Africa etc) without any trouble at all. For an approc $100 investment and paying only when you need it (when other wifi not available) I found it was cheaper than our international plans like Telus, especially considering several friends can share the daily use cost."

"When I tried to use Orange in Egypt I had no luck."

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Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)

"In Southern Africa (South Africa, Eswatini & Mozambique) I use Vodacom. It seems to be the easiest to find and I've not had any issues in the last 6 years. In Mozambique the SIM card is ~$6 and data is $2 per GB. A bit more expensive in South Africa & Eswatini. I've also used MTN in South Africa and it was fine."

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Kenya

"Just on my way home from Kenya. With a Safaricom sim card for $10 USD you get 4gb of data and 200 airtime minutes. And you can top up if you run out."

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Madagascar

"In Madagascar, it was quite easy to buy a Telma SIM and put credit on it straight away."

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Morocco

note: Orange in Morocco is related to Orange in Europe, but they operate independently. If you have an Orange SIM from Europe, you may want to buy a separate one when you get to Morocco.

"Just used Orange in Morocco for two weeks. About $12 cdn for a Sim and 10gb for 30 day prepaid. Bought the SIM off a kid in the Medina in Marrakech, who walked me to a shop that sold prepaid cards and then showed me how to enter the prepaid SIM PIN. Easy and cheap with good service."

"Went to Morocco last fall. They have Orange as their provider and I used that, no problem."

"Maroc Telecom offers a free SIM card at the airport kiosk in the baggage claim area, and installs it for you. It comes with a little bit of time on it so you can make a few calls, then in the concourse area (or anywhere out in the street) you can top it up as you like. Rates are very good, and you can get combination plans for calls or internet."

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Mozambique

"In Southern Africa (South Africa, Eswatini & Mozambique) I use Vodacom. It seems to be the easiest to find and I've not had any issues in the last 6 years. In Mozambique the SIM card is ~$6 and data is $2 per GB. A bit more expensive in South Africa & Eswatini. I've also used MTN in South Africa and it was fine."

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Rwanda

"In Rwanda I used MTN ($8 for SIM and 7GB data only plan, purchased at the MTN outlet in Kigali)"

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Senegal

"In Senegal you can ask for a sim card with Orange (best network in the country) for about 1,5 euros and then add whatever credit you want. For 7,5 euros you get around 5GB which is one of the cheapest deals you can get in Africa."

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South Africa

proven winners: Vodacom

"In Southern Africa (South Africa, Eswatini & Mozambique) I use Vodacom. It seems to be the easiest to find and I've not had any issues in the last 6 years. In Mozambique the SIM card is ~$6 and data is $2 per GB. A bit more expensive in South Africa & Eswatini. I've also used MTN in South Africa and it was fine."

"Currently using Vodacom in South Africa - 1 week to 30 days prepaid plans for set amount of data and calling add on. 4G connection in Cape Town mostly."

"I got a Vodacom SIM in the Johannesburg airport and it was a good move. I'd recommend it as well."

"South Africa - I use Vodacom whenever I go but MTN is almost just as cheap."

"I use Cell C in South Africa."

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Tanzania

"Easy to purchase - Safaricom had decent rates. Just make sure you’ve got your passport with you."

"We got one in Dar es Salaam at DAR airport. They have a kiosk at the airport."

"We have done well with WiFi almost everywhere we stayed in Tanzania."

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Uganda

"In Uganda MTN and Airtel are the largest providers with the best coverage."

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The Middle East

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Iraq

"In Iraq I use Korek for the north and Zain in the south. Korek works in both the north and south but Zain only works in the south."

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Israel

"Using a SIM card while in Israel has been the easiest experience for me! I use Pelephone, which allows you to top up monthly- the cheapest plan is about 20$/mo with 35 GB of data and nation-wide phone service. SIM card will set you back about 30$. I wasn’t able to make international calls on it though which was the only downside, but overall amazing coverage and easy to use."

"In Egypt I used Vodafone. In Israel 019 Mobile. In Russia, Beeline. All good experiences, no problems."

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Jordan

"In Jordan use Zain, Orange or Umnaih. They all have similar coverage."

"An Orange sim card worked very well for me in Jordan & the Merzouga."

"I use my Skyroam in small out of the way villages and towns (Mexico, Egypt, Jordan, parts of Africa etc) without any trouble at all. For an approc $100 investment and paying only when you need it (when other wifi not available) I found it was cheaper than our international plans like Telus, especially considering several friends can share the daily use cost."

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Saudi Arabia

"I used Zain and Mobily in Saudia Arabia."

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Australasia & Oceania

Australia

general advice: While Telstra is the proven winner in Australia, if you're looking for a provider that works in both Australia *and* New Zealand, you may want to look at Vodafone.

proven winners: Telstra

Telstra

"In Australia I went to Telstra store and got a SIM card for $10 for 22 GB for 30 days but there was a sale."

"We just bought a Telstra SIM card in Australia - really cheap, and it provides coverage in some more remote areas that other providers don't - so look at their coverage and your plans when you select which provider to go with!"

"We usually get a mobile SIM card from Telstra. Best coverage if you are going out of the cities."

"Telstra has the best coverage if you are out and about away from cities. Now that our phones here are unlocked grab a prepaid sim at a telstra shop I think my hubby got 30g of data for introductory deal of $8."

"We bought a SIM card with Telstra. They have better coverage than Optus. Just ensure your phone is unlocked."

"We have been to Australia many times because family resides there. We stay from 2 to 8 weeks. We always use Telstra. The coverage is great wherever we travel, and the cost is half if what I pay with Sasktel. I just forward my Sasktel messages to email and check/respond to messages daily."

"Telstra in Australia, they aren’t the cheapest but their service is noticeably better ! $30 AUD for 20GB and unlimited calling to Canada !"

"Currently using Telstra prepaid SIM in Australia. Best coverage in rural areas, lots of data, able to call internationally- but can’t text internationally, so I’m using WhatsApp or FB. My plan is $40, 35GB, 35 days. Just top up before it expires and keep unused data up to 200GB."

"I agree - Telstra is the best Aussie option - Optus doesn’t have the coverage."


Optus

"Go with Optus. $40 for unlimited talk and text and 10gb of data"

"Optus had very poor coverage in Western Australia."

"I'm currently using Optus, and I have never had any issues. I would not recommend Vodafone, as many of my friends have issues in the big cities. Telstra is the most expensive, but best coverage. Optus is second best, and coverage is pretty close, and cheaper."

"At the airport we got an Optus sim for $15 and the bonus we had was for a total of 10GB of data."

"If you fly into Sydney, there is at the airport booths that sell you SIM cards and more importantly get it activated. Optus has a great plan where its $3aday for unlimited everything."

"In Australia we use either Vodafone or Optus which offers lots of data at a low price unlike Canadian plans which are cash cows for them."

"Optus in Australia. If you are only there for one month then they have prepaid SIM cards that are very reasonable. Particularly good as public wifi is not quite as available as in North America."

"I use Optus in Australia."


Vodafone

"Go with Vodafone or Optus."

"Sydney airport in Australia has a Vodafone store in the lobby. You give them your passport for a second and they will even activate it for you. It’s $30 for 10gb and unlimited calls. Or at least it was last time"

"We bought phone and SIM card from Vodafone in Australia to use."

"In Australia we use either Vodafone or Optus which offers lots of data at a low price unlike Canadian plans which are cash cows for them."

"I’m currently in Australia using Vodafone. $30 Aus for unlimited call/text in Australia. 30gb data and 1000 mins and 150 text back to Canada, coverage for 35 days."


Amaysim

"In Australia use an Amaysim Sim card. Great deals. Can pick up one at the Post Office or the grocery stores Woolworths or Coles. I pay $40 for 20GB of data unlimited talk an text and free international calls to 10 countries."

"Amaysim or Vaya are the cheap short term ones."

"Check out Amaysim in Australia."


Aldi

"Aldi prepaid $15 at a time, lasts 365 days, data, calls and texts and uses Telstra or Optus network, forget which, but best coverage all over."

"Aldi (gives best coverage if going rural)"


Boost Mobile

"In Australia, Telstra has a low cost division called Boost. The first time I was there I bought a SIM card with 15GB data and unlimited local calling for $20 (1/2 price). My wife recently got 30GB for $15 and it included 200 mins of international calling. I bought my Vodafone sim at the BNE airport ($20 for 15GB and 200 mins of international calling) but their coverage was about 60% of what my wife got with Boost. Go Boost!!"

"Avoid the airport lineup and go to any location that sells Boost Mobile. It’s a on the Telstra network. https://boost.com.au/. Makes sure your phone is unlocked before you go."


Other

"I’ve used Google Fi in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, and China and found it very reliable. You don’t need to find a local provider and it works on long haul multi-country trips. However, at the time I got it you needed to have a US address and credit card, and access to a google phone for activation."

"I just got back from Oz and got a 5$ SIM card from Kogan that had 16 gb of data and unlimited call and text."

"I use Lycamobile in Australia...cheap and I buy it here"

"I picked a SIM card up from a provider named 'Yes' at Sydney airport. It was only supposed to be $30 for 10 gb. They ended up having a bonus and now I have 60gb of data, and I just hotspot my fiancé so we only needed one sim. Amazing deal, they did say that the bonus offers were only at the airport but unsure if that is true or not. No issues with it so far!"

"I've successfully used Skyroam in Japan, Australia, through the Baltics, France, Mexico,... too many to mention. 47 countries and 6 continents. Many with my Skyroam."

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New Zealand

general advice: While Spark is the proven winner in New Zealand, if you're looking for a provider that works in both New Zealand *and* Australia, you may want to look at Vodafone.


Spark

"I’m currently in New Zealand. Getting a phone plan here is hella cheap. $29 pay-as-you-go with Spark. 2gb, 100min call, unlimited texting. Definitely recommend. Just make sure to get your phone unlocked before you come."

"In New Zealand, I went with Spark. I was with 2degrees, but coverage was spotty. Great plans, though. Both work well in the cities, 2degrees not so much in rural areas."

"In New Zealand I use Spark - buy it at duty free on arrival in Auckland as it’s cheaper. Something like $50CAD for 2months 11gig of data and unlimited NZ Calling/txt, 200 international minutes and 200 intl. txt"


Vodafone

"In New Zealand ... just go talk to Vodafone (also Vodafone has good deals in Aussi as well) ... if your phone is unlocked you can get cheap SIM cards with way better 'pay as you go' deals than in Canada"

"Vodafone in New Zealand is good."

"I’m in New Zealand now and when we arrived we passed through the duty free where a lady held a sign advertising the Vodafone SIM card. For $25nz or $22cdn you got 1.5g of data and ability for local calls and texts and calls back to Canada for 30 days. "


Other

"I would recommend 2degrees for a prepaid sim in New Zealand. Pretty good coverage, except in very rural areas."

"I’ve used Google Fi in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, and China and found it very reliable. You don’t need to find a local provider and it works on long haul multi-country trips. However, at the time I got it you needed to have a US address and credit card, and access to a google phone for activation."

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The Cook Islands

proven winners: Bluesky (your only choice)

"We are here now (thanks YVR deals ;) )and purchased a SIM card for $50 NZD for 3GB, 100txt, 30 min of calls. One phone and you can tether off each other. If you stay at a place that offers bluesky WIFI you dont need a sim card, just pay your resort $50 and they give you login credentials you can use for 4gb of data only (when u run out, pay $50 again for another 4gb). Also multiple logins are possible, we have two phones and an ipad running off the same login at the same time. Unfortunately with the sim card it's a bit of highway robbery once you run out of data... u can pay $50 again but it's a 20cents per MB which is crazy so if you NEED a sim card, once u use it up, just buy another dont top up!"

"Are your phones unlocked? If so, you can grab a Bluesky sim card at the airport when you arrive"

"Some resorts will provide free internet chips (like 500mb per person per stay). Restaurants and cafes are your friend. You can get Bluesky pre-paid internet at the local post office and Bluesky kiosks around town as well but it's pretty bad service (they have been known to randomly deduct time even when you aren't using it) probably because they are the only option."

"Last time we were in Rarotonga we used Chantal’s Concierge to purchase SIM cards (for Bluesky). Chantal's was great to deal with. They are located right beside the Fruits of Rarotonga."

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Fiji

"We get Vodaphone when we go to Fiji, but mostly because my husband’s family is mostly on Vodaphone and it tends to be cheaper to use the same provider to call them. Digicel has really good coverage though."

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Tahiti

"I’ve used Google Fi in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, and China and found it very reliable. You don’t need to find a local provider and it works on long haul multi-country trips. However, at the time I got it you needed to have a US address and credit card, and access to a google phone for activation."

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Worldwide (to be used in many countries)

General advice: For frequent travelers, there are certain SIM card providers out there that claim to work in many different countries.

The nice thing about these providers is that you don't have to hunt down a local SIM card and swap it out every time you travel to a new country.

You have to look carefully at the prices of these 'global' SIMs, and compare them to what buying a local SIM card in each country would get you.

I get the feeling that overall, it's usually likely cheaper to buy a local SIM card. You're paying a bit more for the convenience. Kind of like exchanging currency at the airport.

If you have an e-SIM compatible phone, the way of the future will be to just download an e-SIM from a store like Airalo whenever you visit a new country.

(Read more about e-SIMs below).

proven winners: Skyroam

Skyroam (130 countries)

"I love Skyroam. It works in many, but not all, countries worldwide. Buy the device, then pay by each 24 hr period needed. Preload your account with # of days, can add as you go. Check the website first before buying to make sure there is coverage in the countries you are travelling to. I've used mine worldwide. Only load my 24 hrs when I do not have hotel or other wifi options available. You do not need a SIM card unless making actual phone calls."

"I've successfully used Skyroam in Japan, Australia, through the Baltics, France, Mexico,... too many to mention. 47 countries and 6 continents. Many with my Skyroam."

"I use my Skyroam in small out of the way villages and towns (Mexico, Egypt, Jordan, parts of Africa etc) without any trouble at all. For an approc $100 investment and paying only when you need it (when other wifi not available) I found it was cheaper than our international plans like Telus, especially considering several friends can share the daily use cost."

"I have had my Skyroam for three years and have used this one in Italy, Spain, UK, and Ireland. I know these devices work in many countries. The nice thing about this device is its portability, its charging capability as a battery, and when using the daily plan, UNLIMITED data for multiple devices. Personally, I don’t like changing SIM cards. This device works for me and my family."


KnowRoaming (200 countries)

"I’ve used KnowRoaming on multiple trips. It’s more expensive than a local sim, but cheaper than purchasing a plan from home. If you’re in the country for just a couple days, it usually doesn’t make sense to purchase a SIM card, or you can use it until you buy a SIM card (if your flight comes in late, stores might be closed). I’ve used it in Europe/States/ and Middle East and always been impressed. You can preload an amount of the app, and have it auto reload, or not."

"I have used KnowRoaming for both the USA and Europe, including Iceland, and it has been fabulous."

"I use KnowRoaming too. They usually have deals around Christmas for unlimited data."


Keepgo (120 countries)

"Keepgo (data only SIM) has worked all over the world for me (15-20 countries so far)...except Japan and I knew that before I got there. My regular cell carriers support calls/texts over wifi which works over this data sim as well. As long as you add some data at least once a year, your data rolls over and otherwise doesn't expire."

"I got a KeepGo for my birthday and we just tried it in France, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland and it works great. You just prepay for data and use it as a mobile hotspot."

"In Switzerland I had an excellent experience with a Salt Prepay SIM which cost me CHF 30 for the 26 days I was travelling."


AlwaysOnline Wireless (90 countries)

"I have a sim from AlwaysOnline Wireless. One sim card, valid in some 90 or so countries. I just have to buy service for each country for the dates when I need it. I don't think the service is any cheaper than buying a local sim, but here it's just one sim and i can use it in multiple countries (as opposed to buying a new sim in each country). And as long as i buy service once every 365 days, the sim card doesnt expire. The downside is that their sim cards are data only (no phone calls)."

"I picked up a global sim through Always Online Wireless. It was about the same price. The nice thing with AOW is that the sim card is usable in many different countries, and doesn't expire if you use it at least once every 12 months."


Flexiroam (53 countries)

"I’ve been using Flexiroam (works in 53 countries). They give you a SIM card sticker that sticks on top of your current SIM card. Then you can toggle between SIM cards on your IPhone without physically changing cards ever again. I purchase data for the region I am going to before travelling via their app. It can be a bit finicky to get started with to be honest, but now that it’s setup , it is so convenient!"

"I love the FlexiroamX app. I’m in Japan right now and got 10g for $15 and it’s worked great even on remote islands. I love not having new SIM cards in every country or having to deal with that first thing after long flights."


GigSky (140 countries)

"Gigsky is a really good world data SIM carrier and you can get the starter card for $10 or less. I would recommend using WhatsApp or Facebook for texting/calling home. There is no really good all in one world SIM but gigsky is really good if you can live without a phone number."

"Go with GigSky! Their SIM is good in over 190 countries. I’ve used it in Iceland, the Caribbean and will be using it next month in Europe. It can also be used in North America. This company is super reliable, affordable and they are the company Apple chose for their newest dual sim phones. They also sell a hotspot device where 20+ people can connect so I have one of those also as six of us travelling together to Europe. I’ve used other SIMS but this one is by far the best."


Google Fi (200 countries)

"Look into Google Fi cell phone plan like $30 a month but unlimited data in like 160 countries - always take it with me to Florida and Mexico great deal."

"I’ve used a Google Fi sim in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, and China and found it very reliable. You don’t need to find a local provider and it works on long haul multi-country trips. However, at the time I got it you needed to have a US address and credit card, and access to a google phone for activation."


WorldSIM (200 countries)

"I like World SIM, I have had it for about 5 years and top it up for whatever countries before I go. It's really simple and can be used all over the world with the one card."

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Hey, what about e-SIMs?

e-SIMs are definitely the future. They work exactly like a physical SIM card, except they're digital. Which means, no more hunting down an actual SIM card when you land in a new country. Just download it!

*But* only certain phones are currently capable of handling an e-SIM, such as the iPhone (11, XS, XR) and Google Pixel (3, 4).

With these phones, you can think of them as having two SIM card slots. One slot for an actual, physical sim card, and another 'slot' (software based) for an e-SIM.

When you travel, you can do cool things like using your Canadian cell phone provider in the e-SIM slot, and putting a foreign cell phone provider in the physical SIM card slot.

Or, you can just keep your Canadian cell phone provider in the physical slot like you always do, and download an e-SIM with a cheap data plan from a foreign cell phone provider.

It won't be long before all cell providers offer e-SIMs, and all phones have eSIM capability.

There are already online stores that sell e-SIMs from cell phone providers in many different countries. The most popular one is Airalo, with e-SIMs from 100+ countries.

e-SIM stores

Airalo (100 countries)

"Airalo e-sim has worked seamlessly worked in Japan and Vietnam so far. I was able to have data without the hassle of switching my physical sim and the data has been very fast so no complaints!"

"Check out the Airalo app. You can pick any country and it’ll walk you thru how to set it up, make sure your phone is new though as it has to have the esim ability."

"If you have an e-sim compatible phone, I would recommend trying out Airalo! I am currently using it for data during my trip around Asia and its easy to use. As it is a e-sim (not a physical simcard) I can still have my primary simcard in so family/friends can call/text me directly on my usual number."

"I used to buy SIMs at the airport. Since Airalo started, I’ve been using eSIMs. So far I've tried eSIMs in the USA, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan & Japan. It is the next natural progression of technology. I don’t think I would go back to local SIMs when I travel. eSIM is so much cheaper, and simpler, seamless. The only downside is no cell phone calls & texts, just data, which still served most of my travel needs (I used WhatsApp, TextNow etc...)."

"If you have a newer phone and don’t care for voice/text I use the Airalo app. It installs an e-SIM on your phone and has pretty good rates."

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2019
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2019
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2018
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2017
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2015
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2014
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2013
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