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7 of the Best International SIM Cards for Australian Travellers

From GPS navigation to booking an Uber, smartphones have made travel a lot easier — so easy that we can’t imagine travelling without it! But that begs the question: what’s the best way to stay connected while overseas without breaking the bank?

Global roaming costs with mobile plans quickly add up and local SIM cards aren't always easy to buy. Fortunately, there’s another option: international SIM cards.

Prepaid travel SIMs come with many benefits but you need to pick your card carefully. International SIMs cover different destinations and have varying data amounts and validity periods.

Some can be recharged while others are single-use. Some are physical SIM cards while others can be downloaded from an app.

We’ve taken it all into account in our comparison to bring you the best international SIM cards for Australian travellers.

group of coloured sim cards

7 of the Best International SIM Cards for Australians:

Airalo Discover Global eSIM - Best Overall

Keepgo Lifetime World SIM - Best for Data

Australia Post International SIM - Cheapest Global SIM

SimCorner Europe eSIM Card - Best for European Travel

PREPAIDSIMS USA T-Mobile Travel SIM - Best for North American Travel

SimsDirect New Zealand SIM - Best for NZ Travel

Vodafone Mobile Plan - Best International Roaming

E-sim Offer

Airalo E-sim Offer

Airalo Discover Global eSIM - Best Overall International SIM Card

  • Data options between 1GB and 20GB
  • Validity options between 7 days and 180 days
  • Works in 84 countries
  • Easy-to-use app to buy and activate eSIMs
  • Trusted by over 1 million people worldwide

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Airalo makes it easier than ever to stay connected overseas with their digital SIM cards. These eSIMs are easy to access and can be arranged in a heartbeat from your couch before you travel. No shipping fees or nail-biting delivery delays. Just download the straightforward Airalo app onto your phone and pick the SIM that works for your travels.

The variety of Discover Global eSIMs means you can tailor the SIM card to your travel needs. But it’s essential to check that your phone is eSIM compatible before you buy.

  • Provides the ability to hotspot from your phone
  • Can work in dual SIM mode (if your phone is compatible) so you can keep your Australian number active for calls and texts
  • Variable top-up amounts available
  • Data packs available for more than 200 countries and regions
  • Customer support available 24/7

Keepgo Lifetime World SIM Card - Best International SIM Card for Data

  • Comes with 3GB + bonus 2GB
  • Works in 100+ countries
  • Access high speed 4G internet
  • Data doesn’t expire as long as you top up once per year

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This is a pay-as-you-go travel SIM that allows you to stay connected in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. Keepgo partners with the top mobile carriers around the globe, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2, and Orange.

We picked this as our favourite travel SIM for data because the data never expires, as long as you top up with as little as US$3 once per year. Top-up amounts include 100MB, 1GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, and 25GB.

  • Can use your phone for hotspot and tethering
  • Top-ups start at just US$3
  • Automatic recharge is available
  • 24/7 customer support

Australia Post International SIM - Cheapest Global SIM Card

  • Can be used in over 90 countries
  • Just $5 plus GST
  • Buy $5 top-ups
  • Easy to buy at your local participating post office

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Of all the international SIM cards we compared, Australia Post offered easily the most affordable plan. You probably won't get far scrolling on social media with 50MB of data so you will likely still rely on WiFi. However, the ability to make and receive phone calls and texts is welcome — few international SIM cards provide this feature.

  • 30 day expiry from last recharge
  • 50MB substantially limits internet browsing
  • 50 minutes of standard calls
  • 50 standard international SMS (SMS are free to receive)
  • Top up before expiry to rollover any remaining allowances

SimCorner Europe eSIM Card - Best Travel SIM for Your European Sojourn

  • Generous 30GB of data
  • Works in 50+ European countries and territories
  • Unlimited texts and calls within the UK and Europe
  • Receive 25€ credit for calls and texts to international numbers (including Australia)

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Although it isn't the most affordable travel SIM for Europe, SimCorner’s Europe eSIM is ideal for staying connected. The generous 30GB of data is better than almost every other travel SIM we looked at for European travel. There are also generous inclusions for talk and text, including 25€ credit for calls back home — something few other European travel SIMs offer.

This SIM cannot be topped up, which means that once the data expires or your 30 days are up, the SIM card will no longer work. If you’re travelling for longer than 30 days or you need extra data, consider buying extra eSIMs to last your trip.

  • 30 days expiry
  • Provides the ability to hotspot or tether from your phone
  • Comes with a French phone number
  • Cannot be recharged
  • Receive your virtual SIM via email

PREPAIDSIMS USA T-Mobile Travel SIM Card - Best International SIM Card for the US and Canada

  • 30 days expiry
  • Unlimited 4G LTE data in USA
  • Highly customisable
  • Unlimited free calls and SMS to North America numbers

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The PREPAIDSIMS USA T-Mobile travel SIM available provides unlimited data in the USA but what we really love is the customisability through add-on packs.

Just US$5 more enables you to use the SIM in Canada and Mexico — although you won’t get unlimited data in these countries. An optional International call and SMS pack allows you to make unlimited calls and SMS back home to Australia.

  • Ability to hotspot or tether from your phone
  • Comes with a US number
  • Free delivery Australia wide
  • Just $5 more to add the Canada & Mexico pack for unlimited calls & SMS and 5GB data in Canada and Mexico

SimsDirect New Zealand SIM - Best Travel SIM Card for Your NZ Trip

  • 30 days expiry
  • 10GB data
  • Access high speed 5G internet
  • Unlimited calls and texts to NZ and Aussie numbers
  • Top-ups available

The SimsDirect New Zealand SIM Card (10GB)

SimsDirect makes it easy to connect as soon as you land with the New Zealand SIM card. Once activated, you will receive an NZ number to make unlimited calls and texts throughout New Zealand and to family and friends back home.

Access the very best data with high speed 5G internet using the 2degrees network. If you run out, you can top up via 2degrees. Other New Zealand travel SIM cards are available for 3GB and unlimited data.

  • Ability to tether or hotspot from your phone
  • Free shipping across Australia
  • 100% money back guarantee
  • No expiry — you can recharge after extensive periods of inactivity

Vodafone Mobile Plan - Best International Roaming Plan

  • An extra $5 per day for global roaming
  • Works in 100+ countries
  • Uses your local inclusions overseas
  • Stay contactable through your Australian number

Vodafone International Roaming

One of the most affordable international roaming offers among Australian telcos, Vodafone allows you to use your local inclusions overseas with a $5/day fee. Once you’ve used up the data limit, you’ll be charged $5 per GB — unless you have a Vodafone Ultra+ Plan, which covers unlimited mobile data overseas.

If you have a Vodafone prepaid plan (Prepaid Plus or Pay and Go), you can also access Prepaid Roaming Add-Ons. These range from $5 for 200MB data (expires in one day) to $35 for 2GB data (expires in 7 days).

International roaming isn’t the most affordable option. It's best for short holidays or business trips where you need to use your local Australian number.

  • $5 is only charged on the days you use data, make a call, or send a text
  • Only valid with Vodafone Infinite, Plus or Ultra+ Plan
  • Can be used for a maximum 90 days per calendar year
  • Global roaming is automatically activated — you don’t have to do a thing

International SIM Card FAQs

What is the best international SIM card for Australian travellers?

Our favourite global SIM card for travel abroad is the Airalo Discover Global eSIM. It provides a great range of data and validity options and can be topped up as needed.

The best travel SIM for data that doesn’t expire is the Keepgo Lifetime World SIM card. Australia Post International Roaming SIM offers the most affordable prepaid option and the best postpaid mobile plan is the Vodafone international roaming plan.

The best travel SIM for Europe is the SimCorner Europe eSIM. For North America, it’s the PREPAIDSIMS USA T-Mobile Travel SIM and for New Zealand is the SimsDirect New Zealand SIM card.

Where can I buy an international SIM card?

It’s easier than ever to buy an international SIM card. You don't need to visit a dedicated store or buy one at the airport. These days, you can buy it online. It will then be delivered to your door (often with free delivery) or you can instantly download it via an app.

How does an international SIM card work?

International SIM cards remove the hassle of staying connected while abroad. You can buy the SIM card online and install it on your phone before you land.

Travel SIM cards connect to local networks wherever you travel and are usually activated as soon as they connect.

Most SIM cards stipulate the terms of use. Be aware of your data limit and expiry date and read the fine print to make sure you get the most out of your travel SIM.

How much do international SIM cards cost?

The cost of an international SIM card depends on the region it covers, the data amount, and the expiry date, among other things.

Most global SIM cards cost between A$50–100 in Australia. However, more affordable options are available. For example, the Australia Post International SIM card is just A$5 and it’s often cheaper if you choose a SIM card that only works in one country or region. For short trips, many international roaming plans are A$5 per day.

International vs local SIM card: What’s best?

Many seasoned travellers swear by local SIM cards. This involves waiting until you arrive in the country and buying a SIM from a local telecom company.

This is usually the most affordable way to stay connected while you’re travelling but there are some drawbacks. It can be a hassle finding a store to buy the SIM card and you will often need ID to register the card.

The SIM card may also only work within the country you bought it in — although many SIM cards from European countries work throughout the Eurozone.
Does an international sim card change your phone number?
It depends. Many international SIM cards are data-only, which means you will not receive a phone number or be able to make or receive phone calls and texts.

However, many regional SIM cards or country-specific SIM cards provide their own phone number. For example, a North American SIM card may provide an American phone number and European SIMs may provide a UK or French number.

If your phone is compatible, you may be able to have two SIM cards active at the same time. This means you can have your travel SIM card or eSIM while keeping your Australian number active. Just beware those roaming charges!