Buying a prepaid travel SIM card overseas

We take a look at your best prepaid SIM options when travelling internationally and where to purchase them.

If you’re a frequent traveller, it’s likely you’ve already been lectured on the perils of global roaming. Well, we’re not here to tell you something you already know, but rather provide feasible alternatives for prospective travellers. We’ve looked at all the options for travellers wanting to avoid the epic bill-shock that global roaming can bring on and found that the most economic method to stay in contact while overseas is to purchase a SIM card in the country you’re travelling to (so long as you’re comfortable using a temporary number).

Before you go

If you’re planning on purchasing a SIM card overseas, it’s really important that you make sure your phone has been unlocked from your mobile carrier’s network. Luck for you, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on unlocking your handset from any network here.

CountryBest Prepaid SIMFeaturesPriceWhere to buy
Hong KongOne2Free Power Prepaid SIM
  • Fast and reliable 3G HSDPA.
  • Local calls.
  • Long distance calls.
  • Local SMS.
  • International SMS.
($15.31 AUD) or
($31.32 AUD)
You can purchase a prepaid One2Free SIM card from convenience stores like 7-Eleven (Shop 106, Level 4, Skypier) but we’d recommend heading straight to the telco store 1010, as they’re bound to have a bigger range. The 1010 store can be found in the Arrivals Meeters and Greeters Hall, Level 5, T1.
MalaysiaU Mobile Starter Pack
  • Calls.
  • SMS.
  • Data.
  • Data roaming in Singapore.
  • Unlimited data plans also available.
  • 250MB Free
RM 8 ($2.83 AUD) (comes with RM 5 preloaded credit)You shouldn’t have an issue tracking down a U Mobile prepaid SIM at Jas & Jas Convenience Store (Level 1 (near the bus station), Check-In Convenience Store (Level 2, near car park C/D), D’Bazaar (Level 2, Near Car Park C/D) or Airport Shoppe (Level 3, Arrival Level, Main Terminal Building)
FijiVodafone Prepaid Starter Pack
  • $50 recharge value.
  • 60 minutes of free calls VF-to-VF.
  • 60 free SMS VF-to-VF.
  • 60 MB of Data.
  • Calls.
  • SMS.
$70 ($44.16 AUD), with $25 ($15.77 AUD) recharges.Vodafone’s outlet at Nadi airport: Exit through customs and turn left past the arrival greeting area. Located next to ANZ.
SingaporeStarHub’s 'happy' Prepaid SIM Card
  • Free incoming calls for 18 days.
  • Global calls charged at a local rate.
  • Free 100 MB data.
  • 50 Free global SMS.
  • 6 month expiry.
$18.00 ($17.88 AUD)You can purchase a StarHub SIM from the following locations at Changi airport, UOB Foreign Exchange Counters (Changi Airport), Changi Travellers Counters (Terminal 2 and 3 Arrival Halls), 7-Eleven and Cheers
ChinaChina Unicom: Basic 3G Voice/Data SIM
  • Flat rate calls.
  • Calls.
  • SMS.
  • 300 MB of 3G data included.
  • Incoming calls and SMS are free.
66RMB ($14.26 AUD) monthly prepaid.Beijing International Airport: Purchase from the China Unicom store in Terminal 3.
United Kingdom Tesco Mobile
  • 500MB worth of data
  • Calls.
  • 5000 texts
  • 1GB upgrade.
  • Calls to AU numbers.
£15 ($23.00 AUD)Heathrow has a SIM card vending machine in the baggage reclaim hall at T3. Failing that, visit WH Smiths in T4 or T5.
ThailandAIS: One2Call
  • 300 MB.
  • 'Unlimited data'
  • Lots of top up locations.
  • Free Donut!
380 Baht ($15.00 AUD)There is an AIS kiosk in Suvarnabhumi airport’s arrivals hall. OFten AID and other telcos will hand out free SIM cards to arriving travellers.
  • Easy activation.
  • Unlimited national talk.
  • Unthrottled 4G LTE data.
  • SMS.
  • International call add-ons.
  • 2 GB of data.
$55.00 USD ($73.70 AUD) for 30 days. Shorter plans available at a lower price.LAX Airport: You won’t be able to get a READY-SIM inside LAX. But they are available at the Arco gas station on West Century Boulevard leaving the airport.JFK: Again, not available in the airport but find a Nycom Wireless store and they’ll sort you out (the closest one is in Franklin Square).
IndonesiaTelkomsel simPATI Tourist Card
  • 52 MB
  • Preloaded balance of 5000 rp
  • Calls.
  • SMS.
50,000 rp (approx. $1.00 AUD)Denpasar Airport: When you leave the arrivals gate, walk to the parking lot. Along the hallway wall, there should be two SIm vending machines, one of which is Telkomsel.
New Zealand2 degrees Combo Pack
  • Calls.
  • SMS.
  • Data.
  • Data add-ons.
$19.00 NZD ($17.15 AUD)There’s a 2 degrees store at Auckland Airport. IT’s just outside the terminals, close to the Ibis Budget hotel.
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What other options do I have when travelling overseas?

If keeping your own mobile phone number while travelling is important to you, you may want to consider global roaming, or you may not, there are many possibilities to get connected while travelling abroad. Check out our guide to everything global roaming.

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